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Yucca: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-Based Paganism. I'm your host Yucca.
Mark: I'm Mark.
Yucca: And this week we are already talking about this February holiday Imbolc or Candlemas River Rain. Is that right?
Yucca: Or for us Second Winter, Nos Gwyl Fair. It's got a lot of names.
Mark: Yes exactly. It seems that the cross quarters always accumulate this big pile of names, whereas the solstices and equinoxes just usually have one or maybe two. But this is this is a pretty important holiday for many pagans. And so we'll be talking about what it means and what kinds of ritual practices we have associated with it and what our metaphorical associations are with it.
And this marks, the last of the solar holidays that we are doing a podcast about For the first time, this is the eighth. We started at the Spring Equinox last year. And so we've come all the way around the Wheel of the Year to the February Sabbath. So that's pretty exciting. And thank you for taking this journey with us.
We really appreciate our listeners and we're glad you're here with us. Thank you.
Yucca: Yeah, thank you. And. the emails that we asked for some last time and got several responses from all of you. And that always is just incredible and wonderful. And we really appreciate that.
Mark: Yes. Yes. And your ideas are really helpful to us. So keep them coming.
Yucca: Yep. So we've got several that we've been able to put onto the list for that.
Yucca: So let's start. What's going on in your climate? Mark.
Mark: In my climate, what I have, I've usually named this holiday River Rain, which is the festival of water. And the reason for that is, is that it is usually raining torrentially at this time of year . January and February are the wettest months of the year. And all of the Hills have turned green. Occasionally we'll get a cold Arctic storm and there'll be a little dust of snow on the tops of the mountains.
But it's generally about rain, everything greens up and the creeks are all fendering then there's just that sort of inward cozy staying in at home kind of feeling, but not the same as at Yule because. It's evident now that the light has returned quite a bit, the days are definitely longer.
The the sunrise is definitely earlier. So. It's a time to notice, Hey, the years getting on. And even though it may be a little early for say, planting a garden or something like that, because we're still likely to have freezes it's a time for planning and getting your tools together and learning whatever skills are necessary to approach the work of the coming year. How about yours? What's happening in your environment?
Yucca: For us, this is the coldest time of the year. I am in a desert, but we're a high desert right at 7,000 feet. And so we get real extremes at every night is freezing. And most of the days will come up above freezing, but it's still pretty bitter and we're moving towards the wind. There specially in the next couple of months, there'll be a lot of wind that we'll get that really accentuates that feeling of coldness and bitter. is Second Winter for us. It's not spring. Spring is not in the air. There's nothing springy about it, except that change in the light. So there's a beautiful quietness. There's a sense of waiting a little bit what you're talking about with the planning. It's still winter. We've moved away. It's not Yule anymore. But. But there's still a restfulness this time of year. And I think in some ways, this is perhaps the only restful time of the year for what's happening in my climate.
All the other times, there's always this growth happening in the rains coming and the harvest and the planning and all of this stuff. But now it's just quiet and cold and waiting. And actually it's probably not picking up on the mic, but it just started to hail here. It was snow a moment ago. We'll get hail all the way until June actually, but not much will stick we'll get a little bit. And then, because we only get about 12 inches of precipitation total throughout the whole year. So, so I hear the night, the wind and the hail coming down and it's chilly it and cozy. So, yeah,
Mark: Nice. Yeah, it's like, this is actually the coldest time of year for us too, in that it, we do get some freezes at night occasionally but what that means, I mean, the days are still. I mean even the cold days are in the high forties. And the warm days. I mean, especially now with climate change, we just had a week ago we had a day in the seventies.
It was ridiculous. And of course people love the warm weather, but at the same time, it just feels really creepy. It's just so wrong for this time of year, but finally this week we're getting some good rain. I don't know if I mentioned this. We're supposed to get about nine inches this week.
Yucca: Good amount.
Mark: It's yeah it's a good amount. Yeah, rain and so Everything is greening up. All of the fresh green grass is springing up and the bare dirt. So the Hills are all turning green from the gold that they were with the brown grasses. It's still not quite time for wild flowers which this is where I actually see real spring starting.
I consider this to be the beginning of the spring season. But it's usually a few weeks into it that we started having the wild flowers come up, which is when I start looking towards the Spring Equinox. And I don't know whether you know this, but California, when it was first encountered by white settlers, was this dazzling display of wild flowers before the European grasses were introduced. And what was here were bunchgrasses rather than carpet, grasses and.
Yucca: Than your sod formers.
Mark: Yes. And a tremendous volume of different kinds of wild flowers. So there are tons and tons of native wild flowers here, and there are still places where you can go that are carpeted in California, poppies or paintbrush, or, other plants like that.
So it can be a very beautiful time of year as you get into March and April. So. We've talked about this before. Besides the metaphors and symbol systems that I associate with the Sabbaths that have to do with the climate and the agricultural cycle. I mean, traditionally, this holiday is the holiday of getting your tools together, sharpening your agricultural tools and figuring out, how your garden's going to get planted this year and laying in seeds and all that kind of stuff.
But beside that, I also map the Wheel of the Year on to the cycle of a human life. And so this sabbath. I associate with infancy, kind of the infant toddler sort of range of human life. And because this is the time when you're accumulating lots of knowledge and skills that you're going to then use later on in the cycle.
Just as babies do with this incredible, information flood and figuring out how to use their bodies and just how to navigate this world. So that's really interesting too. I mean, I know that a lot of pagans associate this holiday with the Irish goddess Brigid. And they, there's a tradition where you make a little baby Bridget and put it in a cradle as a part of your ritual for the year.
And I do something very similar. Although what I call the little corn Dolly that I make rain baby and the rain baby is a witness. To all of the Sabbaths going forward from this time until we get to Hallows or Samhain. And when the rain baby is burned in the Samhain fire to call the rain back.
And then the cycle begins again at at River Rain or the February Sabbath. Right. So that's, those are the sorts of things that I associate with this holiday. There was someone in the Ethiopian Facebook group who termed this holiday Brightening. And I really like that term because it's so much more universal. I mean, anybody in the Northern hemisphere is going to experience that the days have gotten longer since the winter solstice. So I may start usi…