Punxsutawney Phill

Nothing against Aquarians, but February is not a cakewalk as months go. We have spent our money, and bills are due. Pipes are frozen, and you can’t smell spring. We have gained weight, and resolutions haven’t paid off yet. Taxes, like heating bills, loom large. Given that the above are true, what do we most need? Hope & Silliness, not necessarily in that order. Groundhog’s Day goes a long way to satisfying hopes with lashings of silliness.

Groundhog Day history is a strange combination of European and Native Indian ritual and story.
In February 4, 1841 a Pennsylvania-German storekeeper referred to a celebration of Candlemas, which has origin in the pagan celebration of Imbolc. It is timed for the mid-point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Candles were lit and carried home to dark houses. Superstition was that if the weather was fair, the second half of Winter would be stormy and cold.

The other half of the Groundhog equation emerged from the Delaware Indians, who considered groundhogs honorable ancestors. According to their original creation beliefs, their forebears began life as animals in “Mother Earth” and emerged centuries later to hunt and live as men. The Woodchuck comes from the Indian legend of “Wojak, the groundhog” who was considered to be the Indian’s ancestral grandfather. Punxsutawney comes from the Indian name for a location, “ponksad-uteney” which means “the town of the sandflies.”

So far so good. None of this is particularly interesting or makes any connection to today’s legend. They simply increase the nonsense around Groundhog Day, casting wierd shadows on it’s history. What I love is that from these disparate, sacred beginnings, it took Americans only a few short years to turn them into the bizarre ritual of Punxsutawney Phil looking for his shadow.


Asanas: If the requirement is to be hopeful, and silly, then the poses are: Bakasana/Crane into Sirsanana/headstand, and back up again. Many of you never thought you’d ever stand on your heads, the other half never thought to be able to ‘pull your bodies up into a ball over your arms. You’ve done both. There’s hope. Now you are to put them together, and think of how silly it looks to be squeezing yourself into these positions, much less worrying about whether you can do it or not. The Groundhog roots for you.

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