Saturday, 2 February 2013

Imbolc / Groundhog Day

It's one of the most significant days of the Beaker calendar. After all, how often do three festivals fall on the same day?

The liturgy is the same as every year. To the accompaniment of Sonny and Cher, the Beaker Bunny hops out onto the lawn. She notices, as she does every year, that her ears, being absent, cast no shadow.

Then, being the bad-tempered old ratbag that she is, she bites some poor unfortunate on the ankle.

If it's a man, 6 more weeks of winter. If it's a woman, six more weeks till spring. The Beaker Folk are a gullible lot, but they are bright enough to know you can't forecast the weather with small mammals.

This afternoon we will have the traditional Imbolc celebration. We will spend the time until then trying to work out what that celebration should be. All we know is that Imbolc is something to do with the lactation of ewes. And to be honest, there's only so far you can go with that.


  1. I thought today was something to do with purifying an immaculate virgin who somehow became unclean through giving birth to God. I can't get my head round the theology of that one.

    Maybe the original Beaker Folk tried something similar with ewes which had given birth, prophetically anticipating the birth of the Lamb of God. But if a ewe could lactate enough to see its shadow in a puddle of its milk poured out of a beaker, the lambs would survive another six weeks until they could find some grass to eat. Then when the Beaker Folk fled to America to escape the invading Romans (or whatever the true story is!), because of the shortage of ewes they tried the same trick on poor unsuspecting hibernating groundhogs. Or something like that.

    So for today I suggest you try pouring sheep's milk out of your beakers. And since a groundhog is also called a woodchuck and a whistlepig, I suggest you reenact the following:

    How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
    If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
    He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,
    And chuck as much as a woodchuck would
    If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

    - followed by a visit to the Pig and Whistle.

    1. Why on earth would they milk groundhogs? That's never gonna give you a return on investment.

  2. Make the ewe's milk into cheese and eat the lambs....well, perhaps you'd have to wait a while for the lambs to grow a bit.

    Anyway, to judge by the price of sheep cheese and lamb, you'd surely get a return on investment. Groundhogs probably aren't nearly as tasty.


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