I have one brilliant friend who only makes fun resolutions for new year’s. Become expert at mixing cocktails, take a class to learn acrobatics, do a football fantasy camp — that sort of thing. Her theory is that if you need to lose weight or get on a budget, there’s no reason to wait for January 1st. (Yes, an Aires.) Do it when you realize that you need to do it. Save resolutions for something interesting and fun that you won’t have to force yourself to do. You’ll do it, have fun, and get a sense of accomplishment. And there’s a certain logic to that.
I have a different approach. Starting around Samhein, I do a lot of meditation, divination, and journaling about my life. I consider what I want to keep, what I want to grow, what I’m ready to let die, and what I want to introduce. (I stopped following an inspirational author this week when she suggested that the end of the year is a good time to “retrospect” your life. You know, “retrospect” is not a verb and, if it were a verb, it would be a wicked, wicked verb. I’m too in love with the language of Chaucer, and Shakespeare, and Thomas, and Parker, and (oddly) Dinesen to live in a world where “retrospect” is a verb.) Then, between Yule and the first of the calendar year, I choose a Word of the Year. It’s a practice that I learned from Christine Kane. I complete the worksheet that Kane’s developed and I make a screensaver for my laptop and a cover for my journal from pictures that illustrate some aspect of my word. (And, being, you know, a Witch, I do it with magical intent, inside a circle that I cast. I use all of the trappings that speak to my Younger Self: costume, candles, incense, music, lights.) Then, I set annual goals and monthly and weekly objectives. Those turn into my daily to-do lists.
What’s your word for 2012?
*Tomorrow is the day that calendars go on sale. Calendars are, IMHO, magical tools on a par with athames, wands, chalices, swords, and Words of Power. A calendar, more than almost anything else I know (except perhaps a clean, uncluttered, safe place to live), allows you to be in control of your own life. A calendar lets you control how you spend your time, how you budget your money, how you make time for your own health, spiritual practice, and friends. A good calendar lets you take advantage of the magical tides inherent in the Wheel of the Year, the phases of the Moon, the various retrogrades and conjuncts of the planets. A calendar lets you say honestly, “Oh, sorry, I can’t. I’ve got something scheduled,” even when (especially when) that something is “treadmill,” or “time at altar,” or “sleep.” I keep two calendars at work: one on my computer that my secretary and associates can access and one on my desk, which is what I prefer to use because it’s easier for me to see at a glance what an entire week looks like. I keep a We’Moon calendar on my altar. I keep a wall calendar in the kitchen. And, every year for Yule, I make a wall calendar for Son, DiL, and G/Son’s other grandparents with pictures of G/Son from the previous year. I started doing it when he was a baby and it’s grown into kind of a tradition. This year, DiL’s father said, “Imagine when we have a set of 20 years of this. Quite a record.” So mote it be.
How do you use calendars?
*My recent train trip had me thinking about how very much train stations and train trips fall within the province of Hecate. Nothing except a long boat trip feels so much like being suspended “in between” as a train trip, especially one at night. Beth Owl’s Daughter has a good post that discusses New Year’s Eve as a day influenced by Hecate.
*On the train, I read several chapters of Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales, which I’m liking better than I liked Ego and Archetype, especially for the author’s willingness to admit that no symbol has just one meaning. I also read Among Others, which has some v interesting musings about how magic really works (or apparently doesn’t work) in the real world and what the ethical implications are of shifting circumstances in accordance with will. I’m working my way through Starhawk’s Empowerment Manual and am re-doing The Collected Works of Dylan Thomas. While I wait for Season 2 of Downton Abbey, I’ve done the entire series of Upstairs Downstairs and of Edward, the King. The latter, especially, has given me a new appreciation for someone I’d long considered a mere playboy.
What are you reading and watching?
*For each of my wonderful readers and commenters, I wish a healthy, happy, prosperous, and successful New Year. I am grateful to each of you.