Posts In: gathering

Guest post by Debbie Philp

It starts with a groundhog

Winter in Schroon LakeA few of days ago, Americans acknowledged the old Celtic festival of Imbolc (or Candlemas) by practicing the art of weather divination. In other words, some folks woke up some groundhogs and, because some saw their shadow, declared there will be six more weeks of winter bleakness. (And, because it is 2018 and even the groundhogs are standing up for their freedoms, one Canadian groundhog bit a reporter who tried to stop it from escaping its pen.)

For the most part, I don’t mind winter and enjoy the snow, but sometimes it does seem to drag on and on. I suspect the Celts thought so, too, since they chose to celebrate the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It’s kind of an “over the hump” thing – the Wednesday of winter.

This winter’s temperatures so far have bounced between “too warm for winter” and “too cold for me and the pipes,” and rain has alternated with snow leaving a thick layer of ice on places like my driveway. The political and social climate in the United States has been equally inconsistent and icy lately.

Yet here we are at the middle of winter and there is reason to hope. Can you feel into that?

Gathering in hope

We may be gathering in protest, in celebration, or for a big football game, but we are gathering. We are leaving our homes, risking icy spots, to declare that we still have hope and winter won’t beat us.

This is the spirit of Imbolc. It is a time to shake off the winter doldrums and cultural and joyfully declare, “I know that spring is coming. We can get through this dark time.”

We also gather at the yoga studio. In addition to yoga classes, where we connect through the shared practice, we gather for events such as our drum circles and Reiki shares, goddess circles and Red Tent temples. Yoga teachers gather for teacher trainings to advance their own practices and to become better instructors for you. We do our best, working around winter weather when necessary, to keep our opportunites to gather going all year.

I appreciate everyone who braves the cold and snow to gather with me. You bring me hope. More snow is on its way. Perhaps the second half of winter will bring us opportunities to enjoy the outdoors as well as coming together on our yoga mats.

Check out our yoga class schedule for chances to gather and our home page for upcoming events.

Debbie Philp is the founder of True North YogaDebbie Philp, the founder of True North Yoga, sees the pursuit of wellness as a sacred journey that reveals the healer within. She offers yoga and shamanic healing practices to help you discover your innate power, your inner wisdom, and your ability to nurture yourself and others. Debbie is a E-RYT500 yoga teacher and a Shamanic Reiki Master Teacher. She teaches yoga classes, leads yoga teacher training, instructs Shamanic Reiki Levels 1 and 2, and offers individual healing sessions. Visit her website:

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