Am I the only one who doesn’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions? I just think it is such an exciting time, and we are so full of hope, we often, in the moment, commit to changes we aren’t really ready to make. Two weeks later, we realize our lofty goals, and then sometimes just give up entirely. The motivation we felt when everything was fresh, exciting, and in the moment with friends is gone, and reality sets in.
Some one once told me of this old Celtic ritual, the Shamanic Fire Ceremony. According to her, this ceremony was often done in Spring, after the harsh winter when life was born and beginning a new. Makes sense, as the Celtics didn’t follow our modern calendar creations. Their passing of time and years centered around the harvests. Spring indicating that the old is dead and gone, and life is starting once again. For them, it was a new year, time to replant, re-spawn, and whatever else they wanted to do. The fire ceremony was often done during the May Day festivals.
Our modern calendar is not so much correlated around the solstices as they were in the days of antiquity. So, I incorporated the Shamanic Fire Ceremony as my New Years tradition. For us modern folks, January 1, is the New Year, not the start of spring.
Anyway, it’s quite simple. I write down, draw, or create/find representations of the things I want to let go of in the New Year. They can be people, habits, beliefs, anything. Anything I don’t want to hang onto and plague my fresh start. Anything I want to let go of and change.
And one by one, I toss them in a fire, let them burn, release them out of my head, body, spirit, and into the world, into the ashes, to burn away and forever end. I think this is a better way to end the old year, and start the new one. Clean, fresh, and ready. Not demanding expectations we may not keep, or are not even remotely ready to commit to, but rather letting go of the things we want to be rid of. Getting ready to face the experiences of the new year by shedding and destroying the old skin.
Maybe next year you should try it too. It’s very liberating, and you don’t need a big pit. Heck, I do it with a candle over a bowl (just make sure you do have water handy) next to an open window, in my sink. You can do it before, or after the stroke of midnight, alone or with people. You can add a religious element to it, or you don’t. The ritual is entirely up to you, and it’s something everyone can do.
I recommend maybe next year trying this. Sure, you can still make your resolutions. Maybe add this to your ritual, or maybe make it your only ritual. It’s your choice.
As for me, I’m happy a new year has started, and look forward to all it brings. I’ve shed what I hope to get rid of, and start off fresh faced.