Today is groundhog’s day, the one day of the year that this little rodent rises not just above its underground lodging but to the status of star. Why does anyone have interest in what a little woodchuck does on this particular day?
Those who farmed for a living relied on signs from nature to let them know when they could plant. An extended winter could be more than a surprise, it could also destroy seedlings planted too early in the season.
Most people do not have the senses to be able to determine the oncoming spring, but we have learned to rely on the animals that do. Who best to gauge the status of the season than an animal that hibernates through the winter months.
Groundhog day is actually close to the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. This means the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, and the midpoint, one of the two days when there is equal daylight and night.
In the legend of the groundhog it is thought that if the groundhog could see its shadow that there would be six more weeks of winter. The tradition, by name, started on this day in Pennsylvania in the 1880’s. Why the groundhog? It’s because there are so many of them in that state, so it was easier to find, and likely safer than seeking a slumbering bear.
Is there any spiritual meaning to the appearance of a groundhog on this early February day? No, its significance is more about farming and weather than a spiritual or metaphysical meaning. How many of our spiritual observations had their origin in a basic observation of the world around us?
The spiritual significance of any experience or observation could be associated with something that just happened to occur at the same time. Therefore the validity of any conclusion should be taken “with a grain of salt”, and not necessarily as a sign from the universe. Then again, couldn’t we benefit from anything that gets us thinking, and leads us to learning more about ourselves and the world around us?
For more articles on totem animals visit HummingbirdShaman.com. Author Estee Taschereau offers individual sessions by phone for turning questions into consciousness.