It seems to me that the New Year unfolds in increments, beginning at All Hallows and continuing through Candlemas.
She comes in quietly, like a ghost on All Hallow’s Eve. She unveils Herself a little more each day through the season of darkness, pausing to mark the birth of the Sun at Solstice, feeling the radiant warmth of the dawn’s rays.
And we enter the deep dark with Her, dreaming, resting, incubating. We look back at the year gone by and note our successes and our disappointments. We rejoice with our community at the Return of the Sun.
But the days are still dark, still short, still cold. Secular New Year’s Eve and Day comes and goes.
As the month of January unfolds, we will find ourselves desiring to cleanse ourselves, to eat austerely after our holiday feasting, to move our bodies, to wipe the slate clean and bring something new into manifestation.
And this holy longing grows. What do we want to do differently in the coming year? How do we want to be different? We carry these questions in our hearts into the cold January days, and we mark the daylight that grows longer each day, oh so infinitesimally.
Soon it will be time for Candlemas at the beginning of February — a time for initiation, for pledges, and for promises. And the Old Woman of Winter will make way for the Maiden of Spring.
Most of us who live outside of mainstream culture no longer make resolutions, knowing that they come from a place of lack and often from shame. And they rarely work.
But like the Seeker setting out on the path with the goal of reaching the top of the Great Mountain, we need to have an idea of where we want to go, if we ever want to get there. We Seekers walk the path of deepening and transformation. We make conscious choices by creating maps, making plans, and setting goals. At the same time, we need to be guided, to be nudged by intuition, signs and synchronicities.
“Here,” the New Year whispers. “Follow this path, follow the lead of the swallows and butterflies . . .”
And we lean into Mystery.
Throughout November, December, and January, as the New Year unfolds, we walk a continuum between making conscious plans to following the promptings of the Spirit, back and forth. We need both, in order to bring our visions and dreams into manifestation.
I have found that it is absolutely necessary for me to map out my plans for the coming year, to set goals and create strategies. But I rely on intuition and the guidance of the Spirit to help me make those plans.
And I keep myself open to the winds of change.