A New Year
The new year arrives subtly. After the long holiday build-up of champagne and anticipation the calendar shift, so stark on the page, sneaks slowly into our consciousness. Like a low draft from the hem of a door; you have to get used to its breath on your skin. The change happens in almost imperceptible increments. After a long time simply sensing the difference, it is as if the year itself decides to settle like a cat ceasing its circle on the bed.
It always takes me a while until I’m able to write the new year’s date without pause or reflection. It reminds me of fading bridal henna. While it lasts, the patterned sand colored ink is a reminder of the liminality of this moment. No longer a maiden, not yet a mother… you are expected to simply bask in this time of transition. This is often how I feel for much of January. I am neither the cheery-eyed concoctress who baked almond Yule cookies in voluptuous volumes, nor am I the mistress of all my future resolute planning and dreams. I am simply in-between. Changing woman in a changing year.
I like to give myself a few solid weeks to arrive in any new place— whether it be an unfamiliar forest, unknown inner landscape or an actual calendar year. 2014 has arrived even more slowly than others. For the first two weeks I have been like the snowflakes that covered most of the northeast, floating. I traveled from Fishtown, Philadelphia and its quietly buried cemeteries to the Adirondacks where I spent my days lounging by the woodstove and letting the thick layers of buttercream snow and sharp glazes of ice keep me slow and satiated.
It wasn’t until I arrived back home to Appalachia, almost mid-way through the month, that I felt close to beginning something new. The hullaballoo of the new year can feel eerily close to pressure. Somehow we’re all expected to clean our slates within days, make a list of resolutions that border on fanaticism and force ourselves into a strict regime of self-improvement that is neither kind nor inspiring, nor even helpful.
But what gives the whole idea of a “new year” power is that we believe in the possibility of rebirth. We always have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves, reorient our lives so they can mirror the freshness we feel inside.
My favorite new creation in the apothecary this season was a Reincarnation ritual package. Offering this package was, for me, a true exercise in reincarnation. Much has been stirring and changing within me and the ripples of transformation is sure to affect all I do– including One Willow. I have allowed this new year to be a herald of a new era for myself…
The reality is that great change does not arrive with a calendar date, it arises from within. At any moment we have the opportunity to create our new year. We must simply invoke the many-faceted stone of our intention and focus it like a light.
In my room I have two continuously revolving altar spaces. The more recent altar was an eclectic combination of items arranged in honor of my ancestors, the other a Healing Lyme mandala that has sat collecting artifacts and notes of support for almost four months (I was diagnosed with Lyme disease early this past October. Hence my prolonged vacation from Woolgathering + Wildcrafting). In the presence of this new year both altars felt stale, static. So, without too much fanfare, I cleared them off and started anew.
This year, instead of resolutions, I wrote my intentions for the year. I dedicated a whole day to simply breathing, stretching, recognizing. I went for a long walk and felt the warm sun on my winter shy skin. I sat down and wrote a list of everything that I am proud of from this past year (how important it is to remember our accomplishments!), a list of everything I am ready to release in this new year, and then a list of all that I wish to invoke. What do I want to see more fully realized in my life? Plans, goals, dreams… yes, but also feelings and ways of being. When I really thought about it, I realized that I needed little muscle in the way of long-term blueprints or ambitious projects—I have plenty of those. What I truly ached for was a vision of how I could feel contented, sublime, inspired on a daily basis. In truth, this is my biggest intention for this year…and one that I am absolutely resolute upon seeing manifest. I want to greet every day with happiness.
In the end, I created a simple altar. With small teardrops of local North Carolina quartz, a partridge wing and The Sun. This was my intention:
I call in a new year of magic, fulfillment, inspiration and joy.
May this new year herald a new era of groundedness, inner peace and joyous experience.
May I release all fears that limit me and the fullness of my being and expression.
May I embrace my life fully— recognizing the abundance that surrounds me and the infinite nature of all blessings.
May I let go of all coulds and shoulds and invite in my own unshakable knowing— the pureness of my being.
May all the possibilities of my life be like flowers in a wide, wild meadow and may I give myself the time and space to simply play.
May I remember, always, that love suffuses all— and that life is meant to be a celebration.
Let this, or whatever is in my highest good, be.