The Year of the Body: Week 6
in which Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow and winter continues...or maybe not!
Friends, soul writers, lovers of prayer,
This week was ripe with mystical dates. Dates that, if it weren’t for the humorous celebration of Groundhog Day, I would have missed.
And I bet you missed them too.
Until last year, I never paid any attention to February 2—Groundhog Day. Sure, there was always a paragraph in the paper announcing if the groundhog saw his shadow or not, but it carried no weight for me. Just a cute, rather silly, ritual.
Only maybe not.
There are several threads to this Groundhog Day story.
- First, of course, there is the movie with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. It came out in 1993 but only now am I seeing that it is a profound mystical story with a message that just may have blown my life wide open. (Thanks, Bill)
- February 2 is Imbolc—Old Irish for “in the belly,” which refers to the fetus lambs in the bellies of the ewes which will be born in Spring. It’s a day of hope and new life.
- February 2 is a cross-quarter day, a midpoint between seasons, the halfway mark between the Winter Solstice at the height of winter and the spring equinox. It is a harbinger of the return of Spring.
- And it’s Candlemas—celebration of the Presentation in the temple. That feast day has a simple sounding name, but it’s not simple. There are layers of mystical meaning, starting with the mysterious pronouncement of a psychic at the front gate predicting an arrow will pierce Mary’s heart.
- And it’s St Brigid’s Day. Brigid started out an ancient land Goddess and found herself a Christian saint. Irish Goddess. Catholic Saint. Doesn’t matter. The incantations in the Carmina Gadelica, a compilation of prayers collected in the 1800s in their original Scots-Gaelic, have prayer after prayer calling for the protection of the Virgin Mary in the same breath with Brigid. Call one; you get both!
- And today, I realized something massive happened to me on Groundhog Day in 2018.
All of these threads are weaving themselves into a banner. I can’t see the images yet, but I’m pretty sure the words are Mystic Witch.
It all begins with that movie.
In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray is a weatherman sent to Punxsutawney Pennsylvania to cover the woodchuck poking out of the ground and predicting the length of winter. He is not happy about this assignment. But he goes, fussing all day long.
While he’s there, he steps into a black icy puddle on the sidewalk. When we wakes the next morning, he realizes it’s still February 2. He goes through the whole day again. And again. And again. Day after day, he steps in the puddle and relives February 2.
No matter what he does, it’s February 2.
Until finally—finally—he glances down, sees the puddle, steps over it, and begins walking into a day filled with music, laughter, love, and joy.
When he wakes the next morning…it’s February 3.
Cute movie, right? It’s labeled a romantic comedy. But maybe it’s something more.
I saw the movie when it came out and proceeded to forget it. But then, last August, Perdita Finn recommended everyone in her class working with the dead watch the movie.
She said we each have a black icy puddle. And we have stepped in it dozens of times in this lifetime—that’s why we repeat the same relationship problems or financial issues or whatever our pattern is.
Furthermore, Perdita said, we’ve stepped in that puddle lifetime after lifetime.
But, if can know our puddle, see it in front of us, and step OVER it, life will change. February 3 will come. Spring will come.
So, as class was ending, she said, “Your assignment this week is to find your puddle.”
I looked over at my ex-husband’s ashes on my ancestor altar. Are you my puddle? Nah, we’ve healed our relationship. I glanced at my father’s picture. Are you my puddle? Nah, I don’t think so.
Nothing came to mind so I stopped thinking about my puddle and got up to make dinner.
My body said: Oh no, you don’t! No dinner for you until you send that email.
So I opened the email I’d been writing and rewriting for several days. No dinner for me until I fired my agent.
It’s a bid deal for a writer to fire her agent.
A big deal. You need an agent if you want a contract with a traditional publisher. And I have several books cooking inside me that want to be published. And I don’t have another agent in the wings.
But I knew I had to fire my agent. Because she told me I couldn’t use an endorsement I’d received from Rabbi Tirzah Firestone that opened with this sentence:
“Janet Conner, prayer artist, scholar, and 21st century witch, is a spiritual teacher who knows no bounds.”
I cried when I received Tirzah's endorsement. Cried. Because she sees me. She sees who I am. She sees my wild mystical magical self.
And she loves what she sees.
My publisher was thrilled with the endorsement. My agent was not.
My agent said I would lose readers if I let Tirzah call me a witch. I laughed, oh for heaven’s sake, I’m redefining prayer, I think I can redefine witch!
She argued. She sent articles about witches—all written by men, by the way. She called. She emailed.
With each successive attempt to get me to not use the word witch, it became clearer and clearer that she could no longer be my agent.
Because she couldn’t see me.
So that night, I finished the email firing her, clicked send, felt clear and clean, went downstairs and made a nice dinner.
The next morning in deep soul writing, I started to explore Perdita’s question: what’s my puddle. I didn’t have to go very far. I burst into tears, realizing I’d stepped over it the night before.
Without trying to figure it out intellectually, I had followed my gut and said NO to being watered down. No to being silenced. No to being unseen. No to having witch taken away from me.
It was easy to see how many times I let people silence me in this lifetime. I had let my father, professors, priests, boyfriends, bosses, friends, and my husband silence me.
But what about previous lifetimes? How can I know if I stepped in that puddle in lifetimes I don’t remember? Was Perdita right about that?
Well, turns out I answered this question on February 3, 2018.
That morning, I was saying Ho’oponopono and reached the line asking to cut the negative aka cords on my mother and father. Suddenly I turned to Archangel Michael and said,
“Oh, for heaven’s sake. My mother is forgiven. Show me the first person who silenced me.”
And immediately I sensed a man in the living room. I was as stunned as he was. But I was in the middle of the prayer, so I said it, asking Michael to please help me cut this man’s ancient sticky aka cords—cords that have kept him in chains for five thousand years. As I prayed, I knew I’d been married to this man.
Oh god, the first man who ever silenced me was my husband!
That night he woke me singing, “I don’t deserve this.” Oh god!
The next morning, I told Michael that this ancient husband didn’t believe I would forgive him. So I said Ho'oponopono again, and a couple more times.
When I finished, a prayer poured through my hand onto the journal on my lap. I didn’t know it, but that first prayer, “If I Forgave You” was the harbinger of what was to come, just two weeks later when a voice would wake me whispering “prayer artist.”
Luckily, I dated “If I Forgave You.” February 5, 2018.
Staring at that date, I feel the ancient truth of Brigid, Candlemas, Imbolc, and Groundhog Day coming alive. And all I can do is laugh.
Like Bill Murray when he wakes and it’s finally a new day.
My new days--my spring--are all now beckoning me, now.
- I am writing a children’s book re-sacralizing the word witch. That’s new. I’ve never written fiction before.
- I am embracing the label Mystic Witch and the most amazing things are happening. All kinds of new women are showing up—women from their twenties to their eighties. Women around the world. Magical women all.
- And—my huge assignment—I am creating The Return of the Witches, a Jeanne d’Arc Listening Novena that will open this June. And artists of all kinds are showing up to help create it.
Jeanne d’Arc isn’t just one of the witches; this is her novena. She is leading the way, carrying her banner. I'll be right behind her carrying mine.
So on this 6th week of the Year of the Body, you just might like to take this question into prayer and deep soul writing: What is my puddle? What have my poor feet stepped into over and over and over again?
Find your puddle. See it. Name it. And step over it. The joy of a new day is waiting on the other side.
to the strange and mystical joy of getting out of your own way by saying NO to your old story and YES to who you really are!
PS: You can still join Perdita Finn and me in the Take Back the Magic, Take Back the Dead.
We just opened. I'll send the first recording when I get your registration. Plus, you'll love this, one of the bonus videos is a talk Perdita gave at the Rowe Center last week on "The Gospel According to Groundhog Day."