Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Groundhog Day replete with religious meaning

"Lessons of the Groundhog", a sermon by Rev. Mark Hayes (Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County at State College, Pennsylvania) explores religious associations with the date February 2, commonly celebrated in North America as Groundhog Day. Hayes describes a number of references and writes, "So February 2 has had religious significance for a long time, throughout both Christian and pre-Christian Pagan history. And believe it or not, there are connections between Groundhog Day and both Imbolc and Candlemas. By Pagan legend, Brigid's snake would emerge on Imbolc, either from her womb or from a mound of earth where it hibernated, and its behavior would indicate the length of the remaining Winter. Doesn’t that sound familiar?"

Hayes quotes Thomas Moore's Original Self and Care of the Soul. Barque initially linked to this sermon in September 2008. It is more relevant today: "The final lesson I’d like to draw from the groundhog this morning comes from taking a metaphorical view of its emergence from the darkness of the underground burrow back into the light of day. Its retreat into its underground shelter from a temporarily inhospitable world could be likened to our occasional retreat from the busyness of our lives into a burrow of solitude, where we might find emotional and spiritual renewal and regeneration."

Recently, Hayes delivered a sermon, "Dark Nights of the Soul", drawing from Moore's book with the same title.

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