In the early years of my spiritual evolution I gobbled up blogs about New Year’s Eve rituals. You know the blogs. The ones that involved complicated ceremonies with candles, incense, gold and myrrh. Rituals that required extensive journaling honoring the blessings of the passing year and listing the manifestations you wished for the coming year.
I discovered the spiritual side of New Year’s Eve right around the time my oldest started to walk. As the mom of a two year old and newborn the big giant vats of space required for these rituals were not readily available. Quiet and peace was measured in seconds and on a rare occasion, in minutes but certainly not in hours.
Rather than helping me, the blogs on all these rituals just left me feeling like I was somehow screwing up this new year before it even started. I mean if I couldn’t create space to contemplate the meaning of life, release every single thing I had done wrong this past year, honor each and every gift of the past year (at least two pages worth anyway), bless the new year, list everything I desired for the new year in different colored pencils and then dance around a bonfire reading it – how would I ever succeed?
But I tried anyway. Three separate years I attempted all those important acts focused on bidding the exiting year farewell and welcoming a new year in a way that would make every god, goddess, angel and guide proud.
My kids grew older during that time, which just meant they were more vocal and needy, detoxing from the sugar fueled post-Christmas high that defines New Year’s Eve for many parents of young ones.
Finally, I did that one act that has always led to my greatest success and happiness. I gave up. I gave up trying to do New Year’s Eve like everyone else and just started doing it like me.
Having small children running about during my “spiritual awakening” helped me realize that one shaman’s right of passage does not work for all and finding what works for me is far more important than getting it right.
I have rarely bid the passing year the same way since, opting for whim and inspiration over dogma.
If you are interested in creating your own simple ritual to bid the passing year farewell and welcome the New Year here are my personal guideposts. Borrow what works and, for the sake of your soul, reject what doesn’t:
1. Light a candle. Candlelight connects us to the sacred inside and around us. It symbolizes the power of light to wipe out any form of darkness, no matter how large and overwhelming. The best part is that it takes about 10 seconds to light a candle. Assuming you can find matches or a lighter. If you can’t then skip this step.
2. Say goodbye and thank you to the passing year. There have been years I’ve written long love letters to the passing year detailing every single gift that year brought. (Those were the years my husband managed to wrangle the kids to the mall or movies for a few hours to give me some “space.”) But most years I’ve simply turned my eyes upward, blown a kiss and said “goodbye and thank you.”
3. Welcome the New Year. This can be as simple as opening your arms or as complex as writing a list of desires and demands for the new year while dancing naked under the moonlight while building a ceremonial fire. The key is to let anything you do be motivated by one guiding question: “What would make my soul dance?”
The passing year and the New Year require nothing from you. They are here to support you and allow you to find whatever lessons you came to find. They are your teachers and your guides, your scaffolding and your backdrop.
As long as you show up for yourself everything else will fall into place. I promise.