Simple New Year’s ritual

I didn’t realize it until now, but this is the perfect time of year for Crossing the River to come out, as we’re about to cross over the boundary from one year into another. You can read more of my musings on boundaries and liminality around the new year over at Pagan Square.

On a similar theme, I want to share a simple but fun ritual for New Year’s: after the stroke of midnight or first thing in the morning, make noise and chant:

Old year is gone away,

New year is come today!

See? I promised it was simple!

Seriously, though, the new year is a great time for change. Combined with the fact that the new moon is on January 1st, this is an excellent time for doing the kind of work that I’m starting to think of as “editing” my life. It can be banishing and removing, but I like the idea of editing, which is a process that removes what doesn’t belong and reorganizes and improves the rest in order to create a better whole overall. The “editing” metaphor is more intuitively accessible to me, and it’s more intuitively focused on a positive outcome. As always, use the visualization that works best for you.

This mini-ritual is simple and easy, so it’s an accessible way to engage the energy of this time even if you  haven’t been able to do a year-end review and set your umpteen thousand goals for the next 20 years of your life along with a detailed plan of how to achieve every single thing you’ve ever dreamed of…yeah, right. You don’t have to get too bogged down in the details here; just engage with the energy of the changing calendar and turning Wheel of the Year. Open yourself to the possibilities that a new year brings, and use that to kick-start your reflections and actions.

I have to admit, this ritual can also be fun and cathartic. There’s something visceral about making noise, which anthropologists dryly describe as a “primitive” way of scaring off bad spirits, but which can also be a way to change one’s feelings and experience, as I use it here. It is important to observe, however, that noise is NOT necessarily cathartic or fun for the people around you, especially if you’ve had more to drink than they have, so please exercise good sober judgment about this. If you live in your little Wiccan paradise and can go out to your own personal stone circle with no one around, take some pots and pans, take a whole brass band, and go to town. If, like most of us, you live in a place where others are around, or you’re fitting this into your other celebrations with friends and family, perhaps just clap your hands and blow one of those paper noisemakers.

Either way, make the most of the liminality of New Year’s; may it bring you an abundance of good things!

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About Literata

Literata is a Wiccan priestess and writer. She edited Crossing the River: An Anthology in Honor of Sacred Journeys, and her poetry, rituals, and nonfiction have appeared in works such as Mandragora, Unto Herself, and Anointed as well as multiple periodicals. Literata has presented rituals and workshops at Sacred Space conference, Fertile Ground Gathering, and other mid-Atlantic venues. Literata offers healing and divination services as well as customized life-cycle rituals. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation in history with the support of her husband and four cats.
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