Four Subtle New Year’s Rituals

Hello friends! As promised, I’m back with a post about the obvious.

New year’s tends to be a quiet affair around my household. No fireworks, drunk uncles(unless you count Loki), or a big family countdown. As such, my rituals for welcoming the change in calendar are pretty subdued, but even subtle magics can have big ripples.

For me, new year’s “season” starts around Yule. From there I do many small things leading up to the actual day itself. It’s a pretty withdrawn period in which there’s a lot of looking back, a bit of looking forward, and overall trying to stay in the now as best I can.  So here are a few of the things I’ve done for the past few years, every year:

New Year’s Tarot reading
I find that the space between Yule and “next year” is an excellent time to sit back and get grounded again before whatever happens next slaps me in the face. Around this time, either on Yule night, New Year’s Eve, or the Day itself, I’ll do a tarot reading to see what’s coming down the pike. This year I did one that includes a bit of what’s leaving me, which I found surprisingly useful. Now that I know which skins to shed I can shed them faster and move on with my life.

New Calendar Creation
This is on the really subtle end of the scale, and it’s not really all that “magical,” but I’m sure someone could put a bit of spark into it if they were so inclined. I take a lot of pictures each year, generally of landscapes, stones, and other beautiful things. Last year after Christmas I decided to go find an online calendar maker and make my own. I did it again this year, and I include things like full moons, the changing runic half-months, the Celtic Tree months(which is also useful for my writing since that’s what my book-world uses), and some smaller celebrations like my “Braniversery” and “International Tartan Day.” Because kilts.

Cleaning Out the Closet
Every year, partially on the insistence of my mother, I clean a bit of extraneous crap out of my closet. It’s always something different each year, but I find that it’s a good way to get rid of old energies that don’t need to be around any more. The simple act of digging through stuff, remembering, and figuring out what needs to go dismisses old demons and skeletons that might have been shoved into the dark space to rot. It’s also useful for getting rid of old identities, attitudes that no longer serve a useful purpose. Doing some cleansing with a little smoke or salt never hurt anyone either, as long as any fire is kept away from the flammable stuff.

Swearing an Oath
Every year on New Year’s eve, I stay up until midnight, at least, to make my new year’s “resolution.” This is by far the most involved ritual on this list, and it’s not super-complex at all(I tend to save the complex stuff for the Big Holidays). Back in the ol’ days, the Norse had a ritual called Heitstrenging in which vows were made on the bristles of a boar, which was then sacrificed. I, being who I am, feel like this is something of an important concept to bring back. The serious oath-swearing, of course, not the animal sacrifice. I don’t have a boar(except Gullinbluesti) and even if I did I’m not inclined to sacrifice it. So, before dawn on New Year’s day, classically I’ve sworn an oath on my hammer. This year, however, I thought it appropriate to swear my oath on my staff-spear(it needs a name and it’s a complicated little thing. I’ll take pictures at some point). What was my oath? Can’t tell you that. 😉

That’s all on that matter, for now. I might expand on this list next year, but for now, this is what I do. Quick, subtle, easy(ish), and effective. Perhaps on Imbolc I’ll find a more complex ritual to talk about, but for now that’s it from me. What do you do to welcome the new year?

See you soon!

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