January brings a fresh new year, a blank canvas waiting for creation, a phenomenal opportunity for investing in new opportunities.
The ancient Romans dedicated New Year’s Day to Janus, the God of gates, doors, and beginnings. Janus had two faces, allowing him to look both backwards into the old year and forwards into the new one. His image reminds us that at the beginning of a new year we have an ideal time for both reflection and creation.
Reflecting on the past year
As I reflect on the year that is ending I find great value in pondering how some of the events that have occurred in 2013 have impacted me both personally and professionally. The following reflection questions have helped me gain deeper insights into the overall significance of these events. I hope they also help you process more completely the impact on your life of some of the happenings of 2103.
1) What are the two most significant events that touched my life during the past year?
2) How did each of these events impact my life, both positively and less than positively?
3) What short term and long term learning did I glean from each event?
4) What images, emotions, and learning do I want to incorporate into my life and bring into the New Year?
5) What images and emotions do I want to release and leave behind as I enter this New Year?
I have found great value in taking the time to reflect on the above questions and to then journal my reflections. When I decided which images, emotions and learning I wanted to retain I began to create a collage on which I placed pictures to depict them. For the images and emotions I did not want to retain I wrote a detailed letter describing the reasons I did not what these aspects to be a part of my life in the New Year. This letter was burned in a simple fire ceremony. As the letter burned I prayed “May the Fire Spirit burn from me these unwanted images and emotions. As the smoke of this burning ascends to Creator may I receive in exchange a powerful blessing that will open many new doors.”
For one of the more difficult emotions attached to a disconcerting image I found it necessary to do a cord cutting exercise. For this I used the cord cutting imagery from my CD Releasing Ties, but during this imagery instead of cutting ties with a relationship I chose instead to name the emotions and images I wished to release.
The above exercises provided me a sense of completion and a feeling of closure to all that had been in the year that is ending. I share my experiences trusting that you too will find them beneficial. If you are a group facilitator you might also like to use these activities in a group setting.
Creating Opportunities for the New Year
Once the activities for bringing closure to the old year are completed it is time to begin the process of creating the new. Here are some suggestions of activities to help each of us step into new opportunities.
1) Take a daily walk and purposefully walk into the East. On the Great Medicine Wheels of the World, East is considered the direction of new beginnings. Many people, on a healing journey, find that each time they begin an outdoor walk they are instinctively drawn to walk in an easterly direction. This was true in my own life during a time of great healing and I now pay attention to this soul urging each time I have a need to ponder what is next in my life.
2) Increase the use of the color yellow. Yellow is associated with the East and therefore with dawn, with clarity, illumination and with new beginnings. Add yellow clothing to your ward robe; use this color in decorating and in creative activities. When someone I am working with begins to use a lot of yellow I know they are ready to step more fully into a new beginning.
3) Complete a collage depicting everything you want to bring into your life in the coming year. Once you have completed the collage mark it off in twelve equal portions. These divisions will represent the coming months. Place the completed collage where you view it each day. At the end of each month review your progress. I find the act of reviewing my monthly progress to be very motivating. If I have successfully completed what is set out for that month I reward myself in some small way. If I have not achieved that goal I write a few short term goals to help me move more steadily in that direction. This year I am using the collage I began last week. That collage contains images representing what I want to bring along from the past year. On the remainder of the collage I will paste pictures to represent all that I want to accomplish in 2014.
4) Pay attention to the guidance being offered in your dreams. Dream symbols of death can inform us that something must die before the new can come to life. Symbols of death most frequently announce that a change is happening or needs to happen. Dream symbols of keys, gates and door often announce that we must use a particular key of knowledge or wisdom to unlock the doors and gates that open to new places and new opportunities. Many of these dream symbols have folklore and ancient practices attached to them to remind us of their symbolic messages. One such story is of the door.
In medieval England the New Year began with a custom called ‘first footing.’ At the moment January 1st began people waited behind their doors for a visitor who carried a piece of coal, some bread, some money and some greenery. The coal symbolized that the house would always be warm, the bread that there would be enough food. The money symbolized there would be enough wealth to meet the needs, and the gift of greenery was symbolic of a long and peace-filled life. The visitor would then take a pan of ashes from the house, to signifying departure of the old year.
5) Create a symbolic ritual or ceremony to depicting the ending of the old in your life and the welcoming of new opportunities. I like the symbolism and symbolic actions done in the practice of ‘first footing.’ Our souls long for symbolic food such as this. I have on occasions found that externalize my desires in a ceremonial way increases the chances of achieving the goal.
6) Many astrologers believe the best time to begin a project is at the times of a new moon. The first New Moon of 2014 occurs on January 1. Resolutions made at this time can receive a dynamic boost and since there are several planets in Capricorn the resolution will be provided a stable structure to ensure manifestation. A second New Moon occurs on January 30, giving us another opportunity to get our projects off to a great start.
7) Embrace the magic of the New Year and acknowledge that there is a power available now for you to harness. The universe awaits your decisions and when your choices are made and you commit to those choices the universe will support you and provide you with all the resources you need to make your miracles happen.
The month of January is definitely about launching the new. It is about planting seeds that will soon become seedlings, then bud and bloom so we can reap a grand harvest by this coming autumn. May 2014, be our best year yet.