Weather Divinations for Imbolc
Imbolc (Feb 2) was traditionally a time of weather divination, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens may be a forerunner to the North American Groundhog Day. A Scottish Gaelic proverb about the day is:
Thig an nathair as an toll
Là donn Brìde,
Ged robh trì troighean dhen t-sneachd
Air leac an làir.
“The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bríde,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.”
Imbolc was believed to be the day the Cailleach — the hag of Gaelic tradition — gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she wishes to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people would be relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over and spring is on it’s way. Read more here: Là Fhèill Brìghde.
Other weather divinations include:
- “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailor take warning”. This weather rhyme is a quick way to remember that dry particles in the air causes the sky to look red. Dry air in the west (the night sky), the weather will be dry. If the sky is red in the east (morning sky), wet weather is headed your way.
- “Circle round the moon, rain or snow soon.” A “circle” around the moon indicates moisture in the air, bringing precipitation.
- Catch the cat cleaning it’s ear’s on Imbolc? Tradition says that this means a storm is coming.
- Check out the pine cones. If they are closed, it means wet weather is on it’s way. Open cones predict dry weather.
Crickets have been shown to be very good indicators of air temperature. Count the number of chips a cricket makes for 14 seconds. Add 40 and the sum of the two numbers will equal the temperature to within 1 degree 75% of the time.