Grundsaudaag, or Groundhog Day, in English, is remembered in modern times by a celebration that most people think of as a strange and silly custom, and nothing more. In Punxsutawney, a groundhog is hauled out and “consulted” about the weather, while the Grundsau Lodges (no affiliation with this blog!) enact their own ritual dinners to celebrate Deitsch culture and this peculiar holiday tradition.
In Urglaawe, we go back to the Pagan roots of this holiday: the return of the otherworldly messenger, the groundhog, from his journey throughout the nine worlds, or realms, of the Lewesbaam (World Tree), bringing tidings from the gods and ancestors. Over time, this came to be known as a weather prediction because information about weather conditions and the proper times to plant would have been the most important information to an agricultural society.
Modern Grundsaudaag is still a holiday that we spend preparing for planting–but in the modern context, we don’t just plant physical crops alone. We also plant our goals for the year–remember those goals we declared at Berchtaslaaf? Now it’s time to lay a path to those goals, and to release any lingering burdens that stand in our way. This begins with the symbolic cleaning of the hearth on Grundsaudaag, and is continued in the work of Spring cleaning that begins now and continues until Walpurgisnacht (April 30th), when all must be in order for Holle’s return.
In the ritual I used, I honored Frigg and Gefjon with two readings each. The readings I used for Frigg are here and here. The readings I used for Gefjon are here and here. I also gave offerings of bread, honey, eggs, and milk. These are traditional offerings for deities of hearth and home, as well as being traditional offerings of fertility, abundance, and the Spring season we hope to welcome soon. Yes, I used a picture on the cover of “Pennsylvania Game News” to represent the groundhog–don’t judge me! (Besides they looked cute in that picture.)
This ceremony also included a Kannsege, or “Ceremony of the Corn”, where the Butzemann is animated with the spirits of the plants that grew last year, given a name, and shown the property he is to guard. This spirit represents the masculine qualities that nourish the plants, while the land, and the goddesses of the sovereignty of the land (in this case, Frigg and Gefjon) bring the feminine qualities. If you’d like to learn more about what a Butzemann is, check out my entry “B is for Butzemann“. If you’d like to meet Schaeffer der Nei, my first Butzemann, and learn more about how I created him, take a look at my entry here. Schaeffer (pictured at the beginning of this post) received offerings of beans, honey, and an egg.
It was very interesting to me to perform the Kannsege, because it was one of my first ever Braucherei rituals, and my first time serving as a bridge between this realm and the Western Leaves (one of the regions of the Lewesbaam) in order for the plant spirits to step through and assist in my task. The energies were potent and quite unique. I love working directly with the spirits of plants in this way and look forward to more such work in the future. I have always experienced plants as having spirits just as lively as the more popular animal spirits. I don’t treat them as only ingredients or food items.
Happy Grundsaudaag, and many blessings upon you and the good works you hope to accomplish in the coming growing season!