8 Comments

  1. Pyromancy – divination by fire / reading the flames. I guess it’s what the weathermen did before doppler radar!

    Weather forecasting was illegal and deemed sorcery in England during the reign of Henry VIII. This may be why! 🙂

  2. Max: For some reason my half-awake eyes read that as “…of Henry Vinyl”. Weird.

    I’m sure Max has it right, but my first thought was that this was like the Groundhog Day prediction, which always seems backward: seeing shadow = sunny = MORE winter? I’ve never looked, but concluded eventually that this meant that winter was in the gorgeous, sunny period at its peak, vs. starting toward spring when you might get more in the way of clouds/rain. But it still seems odd to me.

  3. @chemgal: Thanks, fascinating! Like most such things, this:
    A dark figure the Cailleach wished winter to last longer and would ensure Feb 1 was bright and sunny so she could collect enough wood for the rest of the winter. If the day was dark and cloudy it means the Cailleach would sleep and be unable to gather more would, therefore spring would surely arrive soon.
    …doesn’t quite make sense: why can you not gather wood on a dark and cloudy day? Especially if you’re a goddess or witch who LIKES winter?!

  4. I’m not sure if Groundhog Day really has Irish roots. There’s a similar proverb in Germany which uses a badger, and Pennsylvania had a lot of German settlers.

    Either way, there’s actually some predictive value in sunny = more winter. In northwestern Europe anyway. Sunny weather in early February means a high pressure system which will usually give way to a low, meaning more storms. Cloudy weather means a low that will soon give way to a high that will probably persist into March. It’s accurate something like 66% of the time.

  5. My father always said that if the groundhog saw his shadow, we’d have six more weeks of winter, but if he didn’t, we’d have a whopping 42 days more.

  6. Chak: 🤣

    Max: I suppose perhaps maybe pyromancy was what he was going for. He’s reading the fire like tea leaves or palm lines?

  7. DemetriosX – We go to the general Lancaster area fairly frequently (except since the pandemic started) and there are a number of grundhaag clubs.

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