Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Candlemas Carol

At first glance, Steve Ashley's Candlemas Carol might seem something of a downer.

Don't be fooled.

On Candlemas beware, old man,

the wind, gale, and the storm;

and if you think that Winter's dead,

it's barely being born.


And if you think that Spring is come,

with the bright Sun in the sky,

an icy wind brings icy tears

from the corners of your eye.


February, clear and cold,

is a hard time of the year,

and silver streets are slashed with gold

from a Sun that's never near.


When morning lasts for all the day,

and the color of the talk is gray,

and sunny smiles are hid away

till the Spring is a-shining clear.


La, la, la....


Check out what the websites have to say about the cross-farthing known variously as Candlemas, Oimelc, Imbolc, Grannog, and by many other names.

For the most part, it's all spring, all the time.

Well, not where I live.

Here in Paganistan, February Eve often enough marks the trough of winter, with whistling winds, snow piled deep, and spring barely a hope on the horizon.

That's what I love about Ashley's Carol: the sheer, honest pragmatism. It may be spring in our hearts, folks, but don't be fooled. There's plenty of winter yet to come.

And yet.

Yes, winter is, and winter will be, but spring is coming. It's winter still, but time now to turn our faces towards what's next. And maybe even laugh at little bit at the prospect. After all, we all know how this will end.

Old Man Winter, your end is in sight.

Maybe that's what those la, la, las at the end are all about: hope.

After all, there are two Candlemases, the Candlemas without, and the Candlemas within: the temporal cross-quarter, and the emotional.

And Candlemas Carol speaks to them both.








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Tagged in: candlemas Imbolc Oimelc
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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