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Posts Tagged ‘2011’

Here’s an interesting article from the Irish Times by Brian O’Connell.  It’s all about how many people view and/or observe older traditions in Ireland.  It also expresses concern that, while some traditions remain or are being transformed, the newer generation is less interested in them.

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I’ve seen a lot of people making pessimistic remarks about the New Year.  I’m not referring to such comments as, “2010 sucked.  Glad it’s over!”  Some people have genuinely unfortunate years.  While it’s true that most people don’t even know who Janus is and why it’s significant that the first month of the year is named after him, and while it’s true that Samhain is a more spiritually important New Year observation to me – I recognize the power of the transition between December 31 and January 1st.  As previously discussed, it is a threshold, a crossroad, an in-between state.  Any Druid or witch worth her salt knows that such things are big, powerful deals!  Yes there is Samhain, but the Scottish Celts have Hogmanay.  This can still be an important time to a Druid.

It disturbs me to see so many negative comments about the New Years celebration.  I’ve seen many people claim that it’s just another day.  Others are grumbling about how 2011 will be the same as 2010 and people who think otherwise are delusional.  Further, I’ve seen people look down their nose on resolutions, stating that people shouldn’t set goals just because it’s a holiday.

That’s all well and good.  Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but at the same time that’s just being passive aggressive and/or down right rude!  Some of the people I’ve seen making these comments are in some tradition of Paganism or studied such things as anthropology in college (so much for cultural relativity!).  Why be such a scrooge?  Sometimes I get a little put-off by how in-your-face Christian holidays can be, but I am so over the whole “militant Pagan / your holiday is stupid and stole everything from mine and is wrong” phase. I saw Pagans laughing at Christians who had a religious holiday decoration vandalized.  Really?  That’s funny to you?  That’s disturbing and doesn’t say much for such people or our religion.

But back to the New Year.  Just because it’s not one of your holy days, doesn’t mean there isn’t magic to be found!  What is just another day to you is a day of joy for another!  And so what if someone uses a holiday as an excuse to set a goal.  Humanity has set a president for that!  There are many examples of cultures that set aside certain days for certain activities – including reflecting on the past year and making new goals/resolutions/oaths/magical tools/etc.  It’s part of being human!  And in a community that should understand the workings of magic, it surprises me when someone decides to verbally poo all over another’s excitement and desire to make a change.  Even if someone is not making a resolution based on magical correspondence, some people need an excuse to even admit that they want to make a change.  Some people genuinely are hopeful for something better.  Saying that 2011 will be the same as 2010 will not make the person who lost his or her job feel better.  It will not make the person who wants to give up smoking feel better.  It will not help the person trying to write that first novel, buy that first house, have a baby, do better in college, etc etc etc…  Why be negative?

Some people will always be negative.  I’m not saying I’m perfect and free of pessimism or judgment, I just don’t understand why some people are bahhumbugging what could be very meaningful to others.   We need to stop looking down our noses at another person’s harmless celebration and find some sort of joy in it – even if all we can say is “I hope it works out for you.”  Because that’s all New Years is about – hope for a better tomorrow.  What is wrong with that?

That said, I want to wish everyone a very happy 2011.  May the new year be filled with the blessings of your Gods, good food, drink, friends, and accomplishments!  May you be happy and may you reach your goals.

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I do consider Samhain to be the beginning of my spiritual year, but I also cannot deny the status quo in regards to modern society.  Generations have looked to the point between December and January as the threshold to a new year and the continual existence of all. I can’t deny the power associated with such a movement, even if I don’t always observe it with much excitement.  Last year I spent it quietly with my husband.  We relaxed.  This year, I’ll likely spend it helping my sister move and then celebrating with some of my tribe.

Another thing I want to do is clean my home as best as I can.  Many people believe that what you do at the end of the old year will follow you into the new year, and that we should strive to surround ourselves with the qualities we want to fill our lives with.  I want my apartment to be cleaner and I want to take more time making it thus.  I spent some time today cleaning and organizing the kitchen.  There is still work to be done but it’s slowly getting better and more user-friendly.

I also find myself looking forward to the green half of the year.  With the Winter Solstice pretty much over (I plan to take my decorations down on the 6th.  There’s an old Irish belief that it’s unlucky to do so before or after.), I find myself excited for Beltaine.  I feel a bit bad about that since I don’t feel as giddy over the next high day, Imbolc, which is sacred to my blessed Lady Brighid, but to me that’s more of a quiet holiday for counting one’s blessings.  The Spring Equinox has never been that festive to me either.  Beltaine, though, is another story completely.  The ground will finally be completely or in the process of thawing.  The leaves will be blossoming and the robins will assuredly be back by then.  It is when my grove erects a May Pole and we dance about it to provoke the Earth Mother into fecundity.  It is a flirtatious and celebratory time!  I find myself excitedly looking through seed catalogs and humming Jonathan Coulton’s “First of May”…

This time of year is also when I find myself a new calendar.  This year I am going to use  The Artisans Guild of Ár nDraíocht Féin 2011 Calendar.  It supports the guild I belong to and features the work of several amazing Pagan artists – including a couple of my dolls!

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