New Year Medicinal Themes

To resolve or not resolve… that is the question…

Happy 2017!

Welcome to the New Year, where we reach the beginning and decide: resolutions, or not? There are many thoughts on each end, whether to have a resolution or not. I don’t have an opinion, personally, one way or the other, I just know that each new year brings for me an opportunity to explore, REevaluate (perfect as we’re still in Mercury Retrograde), and plan. We all have goals we want to reach, and whether we resolve to shift, change, or transform, the sentiment is still the same: create anew for our best year. Isn’t that what we ultimately hope for? A year that is better than before? Better than the rest? Well, that can feel like a lot of pressure, which is why many choose to forgo the resolution road, because it feels like a lot of self-imposed pressure.

I create themes each year for what I am personally aiming for. It becomes a focal point for the year, while also allowing me to digest parts throughout each month, making sure that I set myself up with attainable goals. Setting yourself up for success is the most beneficial way to achieve anything. Sometimes I can add too much to my list in a month, feeling like I need to wear my Wonder Woman cape at all times. The roles we each tend to, the many hats we wear, somehow we’re afraid or even discouraged from putting them up from time to time. Even Wonder Woman needed rest!

For those who know me, I’ve talked about how I create my New Year’s. It’s a three-part step:

  1. I begin at Samhain, the Witches New Year, where we complete one Turn of the Wheel and take time in the dark to reevaluate and set new goals. For me, I look at what I have completed in this Wheel (from Samhain to Samhain), and what I would like to achieve by next Samhain. I feel my roots of inspiration digging deeply into the soil, nestling against the Great Mother and drawing up the life force energies of creativity into my bones. Sometimes I am able to access them immediately, though come December it begins its own regeneration, much like our preparation for the Light’s return…
  2. Leading up to calendar New Year, I take time to feel the newness as Yule/Winter Solstice approaches. This year I took a “13 Days of Darkness” practice leading up to Solstice, which allowed me to sit in the shadow of things that I might still be holding onto since Samhain. What were the shadowy parts telling me? Could I begin to release them in preparation for the Light’s return? Then on Solstice I offered them up in gratitude, and there was certainly a “lightness” that emerged within me as well. Being in your darkness does not mean you have to be your darkness. Then on New Year’s Eve I reflect on the calendar year coming to an end. What were my goals? What did I achieve? What where my challenges? Can I lay to rest one year in gratitude and bring in another?
  3. My final phase begins (and ends) with my birthday this month. Even just the few days after the calendar year has shifted gives me time to finalize my “theme” for the coming year, and I put them into action come my birthday.

This has been a practice of mine for as long as I can remember. Some years I am in more alignment with that process, or the results are more to my liking, than other. It’s all compost in the end, offering me opportunity to turn the soil in the next year and get my hands ready for digging into my roots.

How do I create my theme? It seems more like a collaboration between me, my Higher Self, the Goddess, the Universe, Nature Herself… and so on. I don’t necessarily “choose” anything, I feel more like it is chasing me, similar to the Rumi quote: “What you seek is seeking you.”

Between Samhain and my birthday I begin to listen, truly listen, to what is seeking me. This means I must not only pause, I must surrender. Samhaintime offers such a great opportunity to pause in the stillness of the dark. What sought me just as much as I sought it? One word narrated the entire thing:

RISING

Everything would then be sculpted around my Word of the Year. What seeks you? What will create your personal 2017 theme? Here are some ways that I am working with it:

  • Word of the Year — one word, like a seed, that offers you guidance, kinship, encouragement for what is to come. A statement can even work here, though I like the idea of one word, as many know I often teach with my preference for “one word medicine”.
  • Element of the Year — what element calls to you in conjunction with your word? Is there an element that you seek to attune yourself more to, that can heighten your experience for your theme? Do you seek Sovereignty through Earth? Will through Fire? Truth through Air? Love or Compassion through Water?
  • Goddess of the Year — I will often dedicate my year to a particular Goddess*, not in the sense that they become my Matron deity, but one I may learn from, one that I may offer my service to, one that may allow me to not only aid my personal word, but the collective world as well. This year it was pretty obvious to me, though in prior years it took deep meditation and communing to hear. Sometimes I pull a deity card from a divination deck and will receive the appropriate Goddess to work with. It can be such a humbling experience to work on a deeper level with deity and create a sustainable relationship with Divinity. *For those working in dual relationships you can certainly work with a God of the Year as well. I have done this in year’s past as well when it felt appropriate.
  • Mantra of the Year — I am a chanter. I love my malas. It is one of my go-to sacred tools next to my journal. For me chanting and doing mantra recitations is so helpful for me. This may not suit everyone. Sometimes you can use your Word of the Year as a mantra focus, allowing yourself to use a set of malas to continually reinforce this Word Medicine into your energy field. However, you may also meditate on a particular word, or seed syllable, or look up some until you get that feeling in your gut that says “this is the one”, and then meditate on it further to decipher if it is correct for you. Then work with it throughout your year. At least once a week to keep those energies flowing.
  • Song of the Year — Yes, I am such a music lover. I love music. I need it. Each year a song claims me, and I am unable to shake it from my core. In there, no matter how many times I listen to it, I learn something new, I hear something different than from the time before. It’s amazing. A couple of years ago my Song of the Year was played nonstop at home, and I heard it every time I put on the radio whenever I was in need of guidance. It would either play at the beginning, for me to soak in the medicine in its entirety, or it would play at one particular part, always perfectly in sync with what I needed to hear.
  • Quote of the Year — Much like a song, I find that there is a quote I can’t shake. It clings to me and roots itself into my brain, repeating itself over and over and becoming integral to my yearly theme. Mine tend to make its way into my teachings, so after a while my students are sometimes able to tell which one it is if they listen closely enough.
  • Sacred Tool of the Year — This doesn’t have to be in alignment with your Element of the Year, though sometimes it just might be. Each year I have one particular tool that I either can’t leave home without, or becomes the focal point on my altar; either way it is centralized in my practice.

You can certainly add to this list, yet somehow these seven feel auspicious, like they are tailored to the chakra system, making its way through me to create ultimate balance and harmony in my new year. All of these have their own unique vibration, allowing creativity to flourish, inspiration to birth, and any sense of stagnation to be moved. Like any medicine, sometimes you’ll be willing to take it whole, other times resistant. This is okay, it’s the journey of self that we uncover these parts and listen to ourselves, even in spite of our themes. If these themes call to you, make them your own, challenge yourself to make it part of your practice, to not create guilt or blame if there are days you don’t feel in alignment with it, and continue practicing.

A sample of my Sacred Tool of the Year with my Word of the Year:

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#100daysofritual

I’ll admit, I love a good hashtag (yes, back in the day it was a pound sign!). There’s something humorous about squishing words and statements together to make a point… if to humor no one else but yourself!

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, also known as Mabon, where day and night are equal, the sign of the Second Harvest, and we reap what we have sown. We hear so much about balance and gratitude during this season, and for good reason: it’s an invitation to acknowledge and honor what we truly have.

At Mabon I take time to journal about gratitude, taking a full page (or more) to just be present with my bounty. Today I took time to sit with the Earth, barefoot upon the ground, which had an interesting rhythm of dry and lush grass. We are so desperate for rain in New England. I chanted upon the ground, allowing the soles of my feet to flow the energy I was generating into Mother Earth and my offering for Her bounty. I spoke to Her of gratitude and was present with another turn of the Wheel. Here we are again, approaching my favorite time of year. While the Sun felt in opposition to the crispness of what this season brings, I know it won’t be long until apple cider makes its way into my fridge, mmm!

I wanted to honor this season as well as generate shift for what I am working towards in the coming year. And because I love hashtags, I thought it would be fun to work through a visual hashtagging of documenting 100 Days of Ritual. What does this look like?

  • Being present in the every day.
  • Looking for magick in the every day.
  • Recognize that ritual consists of more than casting circles and sitting before your altar: it’s in the magick you create daily. This isn’t to take away value from circles, because they are phenomenal. This is a shift in perspective to create a dynamic shift.
  • Taking pictures of these moments, shifting mental perspective by introducing more visual stimulation of what you want to see. (We’ll be flooded with plenty of memes about everyone’s political opinions well into the election — why not create what you want to see?)
  • Honoring that your definition of “ritual” is what is magickal, heart-warming, and spiritually medicinal to you.

I’m choosing today, the Equinox, to start as 100 days from now it will be December 30th. It gives me the next day to proceed with reflection of what these 100 days brought while allowing me time for my personal New Year’s Eve practice. It will also offer me the opportunity to create, as the artist of my life, how I wish to complete this calendar year, and I want it to be FUN!

What might my 100 days look like? Probably…

  • My Goddess statues that I’m working with.
  • Fun farm foods (seriously, last year I got a potato in the shape of a heart, how cool is that?!)
  • Whatever I’m knitting or crocheting. Yarn is always cast on something in this house.
  • My daughter (aka my Pumpkin ), because she’s awesome.
  • Hopefully adult libations because I do appreciate a great pomegranate martini!
  • And anything that becomes my ritual for that day.

Want to follow along? I’ll be posting on Instagram, my Facebook page, and Twitter. Want to join? Create ritual, get snapping, and then hashtag #100daysofritual! Remember to be present and love the mindfulness of your ritual, however it manifests for you.

Abundance Comes In Three’s

Everything comes in three’s is the belief many of us have, and even the experience to back it up. We have beautiful moments that come in three’s, and even hardship that arrives threefold that sometimes feel denser than the lovely experiences we may have just had. Our good friend Awareness reminds us to pay attention to the cycles of life and how we respond to those cycles.

Lammas has arrived, the First Harvest, the time of grain and celebrating the abundance we are taking into our hearts and homes. We begin the first signs of Fall, giving way to Summer’s end and preparing for what the darker half of the year will bestow upon us. It’s certainly a great time for introspection, to curl up with the bounty of our harvest and share that bounty with our tribe.

Everything is abundant and thriving, if only we take time to see, acknowledge, and hold gratitude for it. I’m a true believer in abundance everywhere — how we view that abundance and how we label it determines our current path. We either have an abundance of beauty or we have an abundance of struggle. We can certainly teeter between both pleasure and suffering, though with honest reflection I think tend to find that many of our scales are not as balanced as we might think.

I don’t know about you, but the second half of the year for me is always filled with various events or social gatherings or family celebrations. It’s a wonderful time that recharges my heart chakra, and it’s a reminder to sink into the abundance of what I have and not drink from the fountain of lack.

Don’t we all have some kind of lack story or scarcity mentality that lives all cozied up like a hobbit in our minds? Perhaps even burrowing into the belly and poking us with fear and stories of “not enough”? I know I have them. My lack hobbits are more like slimy gremlins that have tendencies to throw wild parties that quickly get out of control (I blame my 80s obsession here). It happens. They stir up a mess, though the beauty is that they uncover a hidden component that asks for healing and nourishment. In this case, I sometimes don’t mind the gremlins… sometimes… I mean… they are rather slimy, but their maniacal laugh does amuse me now and again.

My belief is that if we can honor the Harvest season with what we do have instead of worrying or clinging to what we don’t have, then we are better equipped to nourish ourselves instead of withhold from our psyches. This is why for the next three Women’s Circles I am focusing on the ABUNDANCE of the Harvest with three rituals for the Three Harvests. While there is benefit in cycling through all three, women must trust what feels appropriate for them.

In these rituals we will be focusing on:

  • Synergy Of Prosperity: Knowing ourselves and understanding the world (our world) relative to mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual prosperity. We’ll be working with the beautiful Quartz Crystal or other stone found in nature during this ritual.
  • Mala Manifestation: Working with the art of manifestation as the natural wisdom from the Divine Feminine Principles — that which is inherent in our Blood Mysteries. We will be working with a 40 day practice immediately following the ritual with our sacred malas. You may even feel called to create one specific for this working!
  • Moon Magick: Our final abundance ritual culminating with the divinatory art of tuning into the rhythms of the Lunar energies and aligning with our Sacred Muse — She Who Inspires.

I’m looking forward to this journey of claiming, gathering, supporting, nourishing, (all the magificent “ing’s”!) and deepening the bonds of gratitude for that which is bestowed upon me and my sisters.

What are you gathering this Harvest? May it be bountiful, and may it sustain you deep into your roots, centering you in limitless grace.

pink flowers