The halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox has just past... 44 days marked the mid point and by my calculation made it February 4th. In some pagan traditions this time of year is called Imbolc, Brigid, Candlemas.
It was also the start of a new cycle in Chinese astrology- the Year of the Snake which began on the 4th even though the official New Year Celebration wont be until New Moon tomorrow, Sunday February 10th.
Snakes are on my mind at the moment as there is also an interesting association between Brigit and snakes. The first reference that comes to mind originates from The Genealogy of Bride in the Camina Gadelica, a Scottish sacred text compiled by Alexander Carmicheal in the 1900s (Carmina Gadelica Vol. 1: II Aimsire: Seasons). It goes like this:
Early on Bride's morn
The serpent shall come from the hole,
I will not molest the serpent,
Nor will the serpent molest me.
Thig an nimhir as an toll,
Cha bhoin mise ris an nimhir,
Cha bhoin an nimhir rium.'
In ancient Gaelic mythology, snakes often symbolize a time of 'silent observation' and heightened awareness... which to me seems perfect for this time a year as it is still winter - a time of hibernation, peace and quiet.
The Day of Bride, the birthday of Spring,
The serpent emerges from the knoll,
'Three-years-olds' is applied to heifers,
Garrons are taken to the fields.*
Thig an dearrais as an tom,
Theirear "tri-bhliadhnaich" ri aighean,
Bheirear gearrain chon nam fonn.'
Regardless of how long winter weather lasts- Imbolc brings the hope of Spring to our consciousness which as a season, promises renewal and transformation.
Thank you to SacredTexts.com for their interesting article / translations on the Genealogy of Bride.