Ritual Calendar – January

A few days ago, I posted that, in 2014, I would be creating a calendar of rituals for my own practice.  I plan to share my progress here, but the extent of the sharing is still under consideration.  There is such as a thing as TMI, so I’ll spare you, darling reader, from the deeply personal and squicky parts of the process.  However, I think… or more precisely, I hope… that some of what I create for myself might be of use to others.  So, without further ado, here is the ritual for January:

January Ritual – Moving Into the New Year

Timing
  • To be performed on New Year’s, preferable centering around midnight.

Themes

  • Renewal
  • Transformation
Purpose
  • Banish negative/unwanted aspects of the previous year
  • Maintain those traits that have been helpful in the past
  • Manifest desired characteristics/events in the coming year
Preparations
  • Contemplate what things about the passing year should 1). continue or carry over into the new year, 2). stop or be removed before the new year begins, and 3). start or manifest in the new year.
  • Gather supplies as needed. At minimum, two candles and a tool for carving are needed.
  • If doing the full ritual, set up staging areas for candles and other items.
Ritual- Minimalist Version
  • Choose two candles of matching size, one black,  one white.  Carve the black candle with words or symbols of the things that you wish to banish. Carve the white candle with those things that you wish to attract.  If desired, candles may be dressed with herbs and oils, as appropriate. Light both while focusing on the changes that you wish to make in the coming year.
Ritual- Full Version
  • Set up three separate staging areas prior to starting:
    • An area to symbolize the past year: Include images, words, or symbolic objects that represent various facets of the ending year.  This area should also include a black candle as described in the minimalist ritual.
    • An area for cleansing or purification:  This area should be free from clutter and if possible contain only those items needed for purification. Also include, near the exit if possible, white clothing.
    • An area to symbolize the coming year:  Place a white candle as described above in the minimalist version. Also include depictions of anything that is not currently part of your life, but which you wish to include or manifest in the coming year.
  • When ready to begin, dress entirely in black. Before entering the first staging area, gather depictions that represent who you are. Include all traits and characteristics that define you.
  • Carry the representations of yourself into the first staging area.  Light the black candle as you state your intention to banish certain aspects and events from your life. As it burns, sort the representations of yourself into two piles- those you wish to retain and those you wish to be gone.   Sort the representations of the passing year in the same way.
  • Place the things that you wish to leave behind on the table with the black candle. Undress as you state your intent to move forward out of the passing year, taking only those things that will serve you well in the future.  Pick up the representations of things that you wish to keep and proceed with them onto the cleansing space.
  • Perform a cleansing and/or purification as desired.  If you wish  say prayers or invocations of blessing for the coming year.   When done, dress in white as you declare your intent to move forward into the new year.
  • Carry your the objects into the third staging area and place these with the representations of the things that you wish to attract.  Light the white candle and declare your intent to move forward into the coming year.  When ready, exit the third staging area and begin the new year.
  • Allow both candles to burn until fully spent.

Modifications and Notes

  • The purification/cleansing portion can take any form. My personal preference is for a ritual bath, but smudging or other method would work well.  The method here is less important than the action itself.
  • Colors may be altered as appropriate for individual symbolism.
  • If carrying representations is too difficult or unwieldy, you can symbolize  each group of depictions with a single object for each representation- i.e., one object for things you wish to carry from the old year into the new, another for the aspects about yourself you wish to carry forward, another for those that you wish to leave behind.  Other possible alternatives -small representations pinned to clothing  or symbols painted on the skin.  Each of these could be added or removed as appropriate.
  • Staging areas can be as elaborate or as simple as desired.  My only recommendation is to set up three distinct but adjoining areas that you can move through progressively without backtracking or crossing through other non-ritual areas.

 

I admit that this year, the full version only happened in my head.  Life has been hectic during the holidays and my resources for coping stretched pretty thin, making me glad that I decided to create both minimalist and full versions of the ritual.   The candles are still burning on my altar as I type (note to self: buy smaller candles next year!).  Now, time to brainstorm for February’s ritual…

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