Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Blessings and Magick for a Happy New Year!

May the Graces Bless Us with
Joyful New Beginnings!

xHappy New YearTake out, then take in:
Bad luck will begin.
Take in, then take out:
Good luck comes about.

Blessings of the Tarot Year of The Hermit – a time of powerful transition, cultivating wisdom, and reflection. I’ll be writing much more about what this means in the coming week.

But meantime, today is a very magical day, full of lore and custom.

As I wrote yesterday, everything you do on this day has magical implications for the coming year. So don’t throw anything out (even the trash), or lend money or pay bills.

If you must carry something out, be sure to bring something else in first, preferably a coin or cash you concealed outside last night!

Since whatever we do on this day will be repeated throughout the year, I like to make New Year’s Day an ideal day, and do a little of all the things I most want to enjoy in the coming year.

For instance, it is good luck to do a little bit of work on the first day of the year, as long as you enjoy and are successful at whatever it is. But more than a token amount of work today is very unlucky.

No laundryAlso, I will not be doing any laundry today, lest someone I love be ‘washed away’ (die) in the upcoming months. The more cautious warn against even washing dishes, which is just fine with me.

Naturally, I will wear something new, to ensure that new clothes will be coming my way in the new year, and, just like my mama taught me, I will be speaking only sweet words.

A Little History

New Year’s, as we now celebrate it, comes from the Romans, who moved the New Year from Spring Equinox to January in 153 BCE and celebrated with six days of carousing and rejoicing, ending just as the Twelve Days of Christmas do, on January 6.

They got drunk, wore disguises, and kept their tables laden with food all night long to ensure plenty in the coming year (and perhaps to appease the Fates).

Boniface, visiting from England in 742 C.E., complained about how the Kalends of January were celebrated in Rome with “dancing in the streets, heathenish cries, sacrilegious songs, tables laden with food and women wearing amulets and offering them for sale.” Janus

To somewhat dampen the enthusiasm, the Roman Catholic church declared this the Day of the Circumcision.

The ancient Romans also gave each other small gifts (called strenae) on this day, symbolic of good luck for the new year, like coins with the faces of the God Janus on one side and a ship on the other (for He was considered the patron of ships and trade). The modern Roman ritual is a plunge in the icy Tiber River.

New Year’s Around the World

In England, gloves and pins were the traditional New Years gifts up until the 19th century. In France, children give their parents handmade gifts with a wish of “Bonne Année!”

Food eaten on New Years Day always has significance, as it also affects the quality of the coming year. In ancient times, the Romans gave friends a glass jar full of dates and dried figs in honey, along with a bay leaf branch, so the coming year would be sweet and full of good fortune.

Toshigami offeringThroughout Japan, preparing and serving special New Year’s foods are important rituals. This sacred meal is shared with the kami (spirits) as well as family members.

Rice is one of the most important foods served. It is specially prepared and shared with the ancestors and the Gods, like Toshigami, the rather fierce Year God, who each family hopes will smile upon them, bring good fortune for the coming year.

Hoppin’ John

One of the most famous magical foods to be eaten on New Year’s comes from the American South. Hoppin’ John is an old favorite dish that was a staple of slaves in the antebellum Carolinas, where African bean stews (also found in the Caribbean) met the local American rice industry and came deliciously together.

Possibly the earliest appearance of the dish by the name Hopping John was in an 1847 cookbook called The Carolina Housewife. No one knows for sure how the name originated, but one reasonable suggestion is that it’s a corruption of the French-Caribbean words pois à pigeon, or pigeon pea, a relative of the black-eyed pea, and which would be pronounced “pwah-ah-pee-john.”HoppinJohn

Every Southern cook (and cookbook) I know has a recipe for Hoppin’ John, but there are three basic ingredients that never vary (unless you are a vegetarian). The black-eyed peas (sometimes field peas or crowder peas may be substituted) are the most important symbolic food. In many cultures, beans and other legumes are thought to bring good luck because of their resemblance to coins (which means the promise of wealth).

The rice is for fertility (which is why we throw rice at newlyweds with such gusto). And of course, most old Southern recipes require that fatback, ham bone, or bacon is used to flavor the stew, since pigs are lucky and cooking up a pig in a pot is a sign of prosperity. Usually, just to ensure plenty of extra folding cash, collard or mustard greens are also served on the side.

While nowadays, you can find Hoppin’ John recipes that are all chic and gussied-up, with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, black beans, or made with a fancy rice pilaf, I think that plain and simple is the real spirit of it. It is just a mix of cooked rice, black-eyed peas, and some kind of seasoning (pork, if you eat it).

As a vegetarian, I skip the ham hocks. But I have found that original Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice® (read the ingredients carefully – some kinds have chicken flavoring), simmered with black-eyed peas, served with sides of greens and cornbread makes a lovely, satisfying meal that has brought plenty of luck to our table!

The Graces by Bottecelli

Blessings of Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia

Wishing you splendid health, wealth, and joy!

May the Gods of plenty load your life with more and finer abundance than you could imagine! May the Graces illuminate all the days of this year for you.

May peace, prosperity, and harmony be plentiful, for ourselves and all our relations.

Happy New Year! Welcome, 2016!

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  • January 1, 2016, 1:10 pm Nina

    This is wonderfully informative. I wish I had thought to research the best magical way to spend today. I will incorporate what I can. Next year (or more accurately, later this year), it would be greatly appreciated if you send this information out in December reminding everyone to plan and be prepared for today. (Maybe you did and I missed it?)

    I think I will plan a ritual for the Autumn Equinox to cull away what I don’t need spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Of the still useful possessions, I will give what I can to friends and family. I like the idea of taking photos of the items and having a virtual Giveaway. I could send the group of photos to family and friends and let them decide what they want. Whatever is left can go to charity. Then I would responsibly dispose of the rest. The remaining items should be comprised only of items that are broken beyond reasonable repair or otherwise of no use. Then, I believe a reflection of the previous year would be beneficial to determine what was successful, what I had learned and how I had changed.

    I would then think about the upcoming year and determine what I want to accomplish and acquire in the new year and plan accordingly. This would be an ideal time for a ritual visualization and maybe the construction of a dream board (I’ve never used one but I hear they are effective). Then I would use that plan for the year to design a New Year’s Day that would mirror what I want the year to look like.

  • January 2, 2016, 8:32 am Kate

    Happy New Year, Beth, to you and your family!

    I also enjoyed a vegetarian version of Hoppin’ John, along with some lovely dark green kale and roasted sweet potatoes! With a glass of champagne, of course!

    Thanks for making the holidays even more festive and sweet with your excellent writing and wonderful good wishes.

    Wishing you peace and sweetness, all this new year,
    Kate