Whatever name you may call it by–Imbolc, Candlemas, Groundhog Day, or just another Tuesday–in our family, today is a day for Elpis.
There are several versions of her myth (I prefer the versions derived from Theognis over those of Hesiod), most of which are better known by the name of the human woman that she was given to. But either way, if you really think about it, Pandora’s myth (or, the many myths of the story of Pandora, each of which was crafted to tell a slightly different story) is truly the story of Elpis.
Zeus gathered all the useful things together in a jar and put a lid on it. He then left the jar in human hands (the hands of Pandora). But man (her husband) had no self-control (having been tricked by the gods) and he wanted to know what was in that jar, so he pushed the lid aside, letting those things go back to the abode of the gods. So all the good things flew away, soaring high above the earth, and Elpis* (Hope) was the only thing left. When the lid was put back on the jar, Elpis (Hope) was kept inside. That is why Elpis (Hope) alone is still found among the people, promising that she will bestow on each of us the good things that have gone away.
Whether its as simple as the hope that Phil sees his shadow (the American version of the Cailleach taking a nap), or for something more serious going on in our lives, this is the day to celebrate hope. To know that the promise of Yule has been fulfilled, that the darkness is passing, and the sun will shine again.
If there is anything that is truly universal among humankind, its is this:
Where there is life, there is hope.
Happy Imbolc from our home to yours!
Let Elpis shine.