Groundhogs, Dragons, and Reigniting the Creative Flame

Groundhogs and Dragons

"Tired of slogging through slush" (Photo by Susan Chambers)By the time February rolls around,

We are tired of slogging through rain or slush on the ground.

Eagerly, we wait to be told

Whether we’ll have an early spring or more of winter’s bitter cold.

What an odd rite is this modern day omen

Of a groundhog emerging from his den.

Will the jittery creature see his shadow and run,

Or might he stay outside and bask in a wintery sun?

Meanwhile the dragon coiled at the base of the tree,

Cares not about shadows, senses only a shifting energy

As the angle of the sun’s rays shift and grow longer,

Warming the dragon and making it stronger.

Undaunted by the groundhog’s skittishness and fear,

The dragon makes its first majestic appearance,

To chase away the stale old year,

And get the New Year started with its colorful spring dance.

Sue Chambers

February, 2008

The groundhogs have spoken—albeit not with a unified voice. (You can see the list of contradicting predictions here.) If you live in Ontario or Nova Scotia, you have a 30-40% chance of seeing an early spring. If you live in Alberta, Manitoba, or Pennsylvania, you might be in for another six weeks of winterdepending on whether you believe the groundhogs or the meteorologists at the weather network.

If we really want agreeable weather and just the right amount of rainfall, we should probably be currying favour with dragons since they are the rulers of water and weather, according to Chinese mythology. We have also just ushered in the year of the Dragon with the Chinese New Year’s celebration on January 23rd. In eastern Asia, dragons are generally regarded as benevolent and as symbols of power, strength and luck, so the year of the Dragon is considered exceptionally auspicious. Dragons are also associated with the life force energy that increases as the days gradually lengthen and warm up in the spring.

In the old Celtic cultures, February 2, Imbolc, was observed as the start of spring and new beginnings. A festival honouring Brighid, the Celtic goddess of poetry (and inspiration and creativity more generally), smithcraft, and healing was also held on this day.

If, like me, your creative drive and energy levels took a cue from the groundhog and went into hibernation over the winter months, here are some suggestions for dusting off the winter sluggishness and reigniting your creative flame.

  1. Do an early spring clean and sort through any clutter that might have accumulated over the winter months. I don’t know about you, but I find that when my surroundings get too cluttered, my energy drags and my creative flow is clogged.
  2. While taking a shower or a bath, imagine washing away any mental, emotional, or energetic clutter and dust that have accumulated over the winter. A drop of rosemary, citrus or eucalyptus essential oil on the floor of the shower stall smells wonderful and is both cleansing and invigorating.
  3. Get outside and go for a walk near a river or stream. The negative ions generated by the water will also help to clear the mind and stimulate some new thoughts or ideas. Take a tip from my friend Kate’s book on inner work, and “notice what you notice” while you’re on your walk. It’s amazing what catches our attention when we’re in the moment instead of dwelling in the past or fussing about the future.
  4. Draw on the meditative and healing power of a candle flame with this meditation.

How do you get your muse or creative energy fired up again after a long winter’s nap? What new projects are you working on this year? What new beginnings are opening up in your life? I invite you to share your ideas and inspirations in the comments section.

Here’s to an auspicious year of the dragon and a refreshed, inClay dragon (Photo by Susan Chambers)spired muse with a spring in her step.

February 3, 2012 · Susan · 4 Comments
Posted in: Creative process, Spirituality

4 Responses

  1. Hem - February 5, 2012

    Hi Susan,
    wow, groundhogs & dragons your muse is running deep and wide.In Honk Kong(where Tapan was last week)it is known as the year of the Water dragon– much more gentler and giving than the Fire dragon whose year brings great calamities. Your yearning for Spring has been well brought out. I can feel the shivers in my bones.

  2. Susan - February 5, 2012

    Namaste Hem. Thanks for dropping by and checking out my blog. Our winters on the “wet coast” aren’t usually as severe as they are in central and eastern Canada,
    but days and weeks on end of gray skies and rain leave us all vitamin D deprived and grumpy.

    I thought I’d try something new in this post and add in some of my poetry and photographs instead of my usual essays or “how to” posts.

    I’m glad to hear we have a gentle Dragon year–I think the world has had more than enough calamities and chaos over the past few years.

  3. Pam Sourelis - February 5, 2012

    You are so right about the need for a clean space. I’ll be cleaning my desk and the floor space–yes the floor space–around it this week in preparation for getting back into my fiction writing in full force.

    When I lived in Chicago, I would often sit on the rocks on the shore of Lake Michigan, a sweet muse. But now that I am inland, horse barns create that spiritual spark. As it continues to warm, I will be able to spend more and more time with my horses. Although this is Northern Illinois, and this is February, and while our winter has been incredibly mild, we are nowhere near in the clear in the weather department 🙂

  4. Susan - February 6, 2012

    Hi Pam,

    I spent a few hours cleaning the surface areas in my work and living space over the weekend and that made a difference for me. I still have to tackle the hidden clutter in drawers and be ruthless with the clutter, but I’ve started to make a dent in it. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your fiction writing.

    I tend to think of watery settings as my “go to” place to get re-inspired because I live quite close to a creek, and some fabulous walking trails near the creek. It makes perfect sense to me that since you live in a rural area and you have horses, one of your “go to” places would be horse barns. I bet your horses always appreciate the extra time with you when the days get longer and warmer.

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