For Wiccans, New Year's celebrations were enjoyed in October during Samhain rituals, but that doesn't mean that January should be neglected.
To me, there is just so much positive energy everywhere and in everyone during traditional New Year's, that Wiccans should emerse themselves thoroughly, and remember to return the excess back to the earth.
As Wiccans, we believe that we can make positive change in our lives and the planet through our faith paths. It is an active religion, we don't wait passively, we jump right in. What better time to do that, than in January?
Like Samhain (Halloween) it can be a time of deep reflection, but unlike some of the somber aspects of Samhain ritual, traditions in January are of a different tone. Coming off Yule and the Winter Soltice, January can underscore the joy of Spring to return.
New Year's resolutions are often abandoned by the end of January. A New Year's Day Wiccan ritual takes a different approach, focusing on what's important in the year ahead.
Rightfully or not, New Year's Day appears to create a clean slate for everyone and to allow a fresh start. Beyond the traditional parties and TV shows, one way to celebrate the New Year is to incorporate a little of everything wished-for in the year ahead on New Year's Day itself. In effect, TODAY becomes symbolic of the year, but in microcosm.
Creating a List of Wishes for the New Year
The first step is to create a wish list for the year ahead. The New Year's Day ritual creates a practical link with each specific desire.
Common wishes might include:
— More money
— Better communication with family
— Spend more time with friends
— Maintain a healthier lifestyle
— Work to encorporate your faith path daily
— Read more
— Stop texting and driving
The trick is not to have too many wishes; if there are too many goals, it is hard to use a symbolic representation of all of them on one day. Also, if there are too many goals, it is unlikely that all of them can be achieved in a single year regardless.
Planning Today's New Year's Day Ritual
Weather conditions will likely be a determining factor in some activities, and at this stage a glance at the weather forecast is helpful. For example, a motorcyclist who wants to ride more in the year ahead may need to choose between a long ride, a very brief ride, or a symbolic ride.
Figure Out a Way to Represent Each Wish in the New Year's Day Ritual
For each wish, find a way of representing that goal symbolically or literally. Some goals, such as "read more," are easy to represent. The potential power reader need only flip open a book and read for five minutes. Others might be a little more challenging.
Encorporating your faith path daily could be thought of as: "I want to be more spiritual." That could be symbolized, variously by walking a labyrinth, meditating, lighting a candle in dedication to deity, etc.
Once the "sample pack" of symbolic experiences is assembled, all that remains to do is plan which order they'll be accomplished today and get going! Remember to give thanks to deity at day's end.
January 4, 2:50 am — Partial Solar Eclipse, 3:03 am — New Moon
The new moon in Capricorn is the perfect time to set your priorities for 2011. Capricorn New Moons fall in the sober minded category and when Saturn in Libra squares it, the message is clearly about taking care of business. We barely have time to clean up after welcoming the New Year in before the reminders start rolling in telling us to get back on task.
Since the Moon was in Sagittarius for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (contributing to the need to party), when it moves into Capricorn at the beginning of the week the transition from party mode to work mode will be clean and sharp.
Is Saturn squaring the New Moon all that terrible? Saturn not only rules Capricorn but is exalted in Libra. Those of you with plenty of Capricorn in your natal charts or lots of Saturn aspects will likely heave a huge sigh of relief as other people wake up to what you already know — setting priorities and having a good plan in place is critical to lasting success. A generous application of good old fashioned “common sense” would be lovely too.
Pluto in Capricorn conjoins Pallas and that combo is just perfect for recognizing the deadwood and clearing it out. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going through your wardrobe or looking over last year’s books for your business, what is no longer useful needs to go. A word of caution about Pluto – his influence, while extremely powerful, is subtle and you can go too far all too easily. Dispassionate Pallas helps us step back and see the big picture, allowing us to find the perspective we need to sort our molehills from mountains.
Mercury is picking up speed once more in Sagittarius but a semi-sextile to Mars in Capricorn can give a decided edge to our communications. The frustrations built up during the Mercury retrograde may have people in a combative mood, so please refrain from shooting the messenger! All those people stranded by foul weather over the holidays and looking for lost baggage? Not pretty. Mercury retrogrades seem to affect collective efforts more than individuals, i.e. all those travelers hit hard by winter storms in airports on the East Coast and Europe.
Mars in Capricorn is still feeling the waning square from Saturn in Libra, exact on December 28. Thankfully, this influence is fading and the resulting frustration falling away. Besides, throwing temper tantrums is so not Mars in Capricorn’s thing anyway — this Mars excels at biding his time before burying his opponents.
In the love and romance department, there is plenty of action. Venus in Scorpio closely squares Neptune in Aquarius and is trine the last exact conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in Pisces. If that isn’t a recipe for leaping into a red hot romance with both eyes tightly shut, I don’t know what is! You could fervently believe you have FINALLY met your soul mate one day and wake up the next freaking out as you shove them out the door. Give anyone you meet now a through vetting before taking them home to meet your family because there is a very good likelihood of skeletons in the closet and nasty ones at that.
Do keep in mind this is a partial solar eclipse with the added punch that brings to a New Moon. It is important to do your homework before choosing where to focus your energy in the coming months. Take advantage of Capricorn’s ability to organize and plan ahead for a successful outcome. Where this New Moon falls in your chart will help determine your particular focus.
January 19, 3:21 p.m. — Full Moon
Moon of the Secret Pearl
The Cancer Full Moon represents the hidden or sequestered, like the tiny grain of sand inside an oyster that becomes a pearl. Similarly, conception occurs silently in the womb, hiding new life until it emerges. Karmic lessons may also be hidden, often only understood in retrospect.
As the Crab carries her shell-home on her back, the practitioner of the Craft must protect and carry secrets. Exposing coven members' secrets could ruin relationships, jobs or public standing.
Think of a secret wish you've never revealed. On the night of the Full Moon, write it on a piece of paper. Wrap it around a pearl or a crystal. Place it in a box, bottle, or jar and hide it. This is your secret pearl. When it manifests, you will recognize it as your own. Include five minutes of silence during a coven ritual. Instruct members to visualize a treasure chest, a place to store secrets hidden in the mind and heart. The chest's key represents the commitment to protect the secrets of the coven and its members. As the meditation ends, members should siltently put secrets in this chest, lock it and hide the key in their hearts.
Herb of the Month
Ginger Root — Fire/Jupiter, Gender - Masculine, Parts Used - Root, Magickal Properties - Success, Power and Money, Uses - Burn the crushed dried root for attracting money and success in a business endeavor, carry for power in a given situation (caution: please be sure you have thought out the situation and your stand on it before trying this one, it could backfire on you!), used in love wishes too as an added boost of power.
Stone of the Month
Garnet — A stone of vital power and energy, it lends vitality and strength. It aids in raising and directing the flow of kundalini energy and increases sensuality. It is associated with the root chakra. Given as a gift, garnet symbolizes true and never-ending love and devotion. Garnet invokes and releases one’s creative ability and inner fire.
Rune of the Month
b Berkano (B: Berchta, the birch-goddess.) – Birth, general fertility, both mental and physical and personal growth, liberation. Regenerative power and light of spring, renewal, promise of new beginnings, new growth. Arousal of desire. A love affair or new birth. The prospering of an enterprise or venture. Berkano Reversed or Merkstave: Family problems and or domestic troubles. Anxiety about someone close to you. Carelessness, abandon, loss of control. Blurring of consciousness, deceit, sterility, stagnation.
Tarot Card of the Month
The Empress — The Empress is a symbol of love, fertility and motherhood. She represents compassion and devotion. Positively associated with fertility, birth, motherhood, harmony, nature, prosperity, joy, love, and artistic ambition. Negatively associated with domestic upheaval, emotional blackmail, over-protectiveness, poverty, infertility, unwanted pregnancy, and suppressed logical expression.
Correspondence of the Month: Stones
Amber – Protection, magickal workings, solar energy (fire)
Amethyst – Dreams, astral work, relieves stress, imagination, meditation (air) Aquamarine – Divination, relaxation, protects from drowning, creative imagination, removes blocks energy (water)
Aventurine – Prosperity, abundance, fertility, optimism, healing old emotional wounds (earth)
Beryl – Scrying, crystal gazing, intellect (air)
Bloodstone – Confidence, strength, control over your life, luck (fire)
Blue Lace Agate – Feminine energy, peace, soothes headaches, relaxation (water) Carnelian – intuitive talents, astral travel, sexual energy, prevent miscarriage (fire) Chrysocolla – balances emotions, relieves depression, emotional healing (water)
Citrine – Healing, increased physical energy, hope, encourages new beginnings (fire) Emerald – love, protects against violence, communication (earth)
Fluorite – Creativity, mental abilities, meditation, astral travel, confidence, inspiration (air)
Garnet – Passion, courage, fertility, prosperity (fire)
Hematite – absorbing and grounding negative energy, healing, balances energy flow (earth)
Jade – Long life, prosperity, dragons, good fortune, health and longevity (water)
Jet – Protection, divination, Goddess energy (earth)
Labradorite – Imagination, releasing inhibitions, self-confidence, communication with spiritual beings (air)
Lapis Lazuli – Psychic protection, love, peace of mind (water)
Malachite – Good fortune, business success, protection from accidents (water)
Moonstone – Lunar energy, psychic matters, clarity of thought (water)
Moss Agate – Plant magick, new friends, reveals deceit (earth)
Obsidian – Inner strength, protection (earth)
Onyx – Protection, hope, endurance, acquiring knowledge (earth)
Peridot – Astral work, protection from nightmares, emotional healing, inspiration (earth) Quartz – focusing energy for any purpose (air)
Red Jasper – Passion, blood magick, protection from nightmares (fire)
Rose Quartz – Love, friendship, joy, self-healing (water)
Sodalite – Courage, intellect, creativity, protection on journeys (water)
Tiger Eye – Protection, balance, mediation, starting new business (earth)
Turquoise – Protection from psychic attacks, reconciliation, divination (water)
Spell of the Month: Book of Shadows Consecration/Reconsecration
The Book of Shadows is your own personal journal, so to speak. In it, write down spells and rituals and ceremonies you collect. In the beginning, record the basic rituals of spell binding, casting a circle, etc. After more practice and study, start creating your own rituals.
Your Book of Shadows can be anything. I have several large, three ring binders. I find it easy to add to them and reorganize them as I receive more information. Some people prefer more elaborate ones like hard-backed books with "Book of Shadows" engraved on the cover in gold or silver. Everyone has a different type of book. You can make your own from recycled paper and decorate the cover. You can use a plain journal bought from a store, it's up to you.
The Book of Shadows is a sacred thing. Think of it as your Craft Bible. Do not let anyone outside of your coven or trusted group of friends use or look at your book. By purifying and blessing your Book, you are also blessing everything you write in it from this day forth. Note: I do this every year, it rededicates my book to deities, and refocuses my own magickal energy.
Arrange to perform this ritual during a waxing moon (the time between a New Moon and a Full Moon). Cast a circle and place your Book of Shadows on the altar or on the floor in the center of the circle. Sit in front of it facing NORTH.
Visualize a beam of light shining down from the Heavens, and a beam of light from the top of your head, meeting as one. (If this is a group ritual, visualize a cone of light rising from the group.)
Pick up the book and take it to the NORTH.
"I consecrate (reconsecrate) this Book of Shadows,
With EARTH so that it may be a fitting repository
For my magickal engergy."
Pass the book over the salt dish three times.
Say this each time at all the points, replacing EARTH with AIR, FIRE and WATER. In the EAST, blow on the book. In the SOUTH, pass the book over the candle (careful not to burn your book!), and in the WEST, pass the book over the bowl of water.
Place the book on your home altar and continue visualization. Slowly lower this cone of energy until it is absorbed into the book. Say:
"I consecrate (reconsecrate) this Book of Shadows with SPIRIT.
So that it may be a fitting repository
For my magickal engergy.
So Mote It Be."
Open the circle in the usual way. Your Book of Shadows is ready — or again ready — for use!
(Note: Some of this material comes from Elizabeth Hazel in
Llewellyn's 2011 Witches' Datebook.)
— Danu's Daughter