Well, a new calendar year has begun. As a few other Pagans have noted elsewhere, it is interesting to have celebrated a spiritual New Year at Samhain then a more secular one this weekend. As others have rightfully said, any day could be a beginning of a New Year, but there is so much collective energy around this particular transition that it is difficult not to become swept up in it. I know many who practice a Scots Gaelic influenced path celebrate Hogmanay, but that is something I’ve never really looked into.
Any transitional time is a good excuse to tidy the house and welcome cleansing energies. Some do this with besoms, others sacred or ritually charged waters, and still others use incense. I cleaned the social areas of the house in preparation for a New Year’s Eve party with friends. I lit incense as an offering to Brighid, protector of our hearth and home. I prayed for my sense of hospitality to blossom, for a joyous home, and a comforting home in which my guests would be welcomed. I also lit candles with a similar intent. There are many who believe in the use of loud noises to scare away more malignant spirits. This is not necessarily a Druidic custom but it is old. Growing up, my mother encouraged us to bang pans outside, something I may try to revive next year. This year, I gathered some old craft materials, cardboard spools, little film cases, etc and challenged my friends to create noisemakers using recycled materials. It turned out to be a fun and sustainable icebreaker activity! Some guests also brought “squawkers” which were passed out with champagne.
Ah, the booze… Any noise we made didn’t scare away the green fairy who, in the form of absinthe, made me quite drunk and eventually sick. It has been said that how your New Year begins is an indication of how the rest of your year will be. I’m being optimistic. Rather than believing my year will entail severe inebriation and gastronomical purging, I feel that, no matter the annoyances, I will be surrounded by loving friends and family who take care of me and sympathize. There will be fun and merriment with a group of people who I can trust.
That said, I’m taking a break from alcohol… Tea. Now there’s a good drink. You can blend different flavors like liquor. It is often aged like liquor. It usually tastes better and has very beneficial qualities. There’s a drink for me! I’m sure I will have alcohol again, but I am more respectful of its capabilities now. It all goes back to the virtues of moderation… Perhaps something else I can focus on in 2012?