A collection of tidbits from my posts in years past, with heartfelt thanks to Waverly FitzGerald, who is a faithful, invaluable Priestess of Time.
Out with the old and in with the new!
There’s magic on New Year’s in all that you do!
We stand at the crossroads of a new year!
I suggest that you spend some time today in sacred space, setting your intention for the shining promise of this new beginning.
There is a Capricorn New Moon in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, meaning that for the first time in some 19 years, we are given both a solar-calendar and lunar-magical restart. It also happens to be a Super Moon! So, even more than in other years, your clearing and initiatory magic, spells, and rituals are going to be amplified.
Be aware that in folk and magical traditions around the world, everything you do on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is loaded with magical significance.
For example, make a ritual of writing down a list of all you do not want to carry forward into the new year. A toss into the fire or a smoldering, cleansing-herb filled cauldron will release those energies and is a time-honored tradition.
Before midnight tonight, sweep and clean your house and take out all the trash. You don’t want to sweep tomorrow or take anything out of the house, or else you will sweep away the new beginning that tomorrow brings. (Please, may I finish the Great Purge of my office by tonight! Arghh!)
And be sure you finish any projects you still have to complete, for a task carried over will never prosper.
However, using that same sympathetic magic, you might follow the custom of leaving some money just outside your door, so that you can bring it in first thing tomorrow, setting a prosperity spell for the entire year. I have to tell you, it worked wonders for me this year!
Around the World on New Year’s Eve
The American custom of spending the night with the one you love and kissing them at midnight ensures that the relationship will thrive in the coming year. And if you haven’t already, make sure you have your black-eyed peas, collard greens and rice ready for tomorrow. Here in the South, the grocery shelves are already nearly empty of them! (I’ll explain about Hoppin’ John tomorrow).
In Vienna, the pig (sacred to the Goddess Freya, whose time this is) is the symbol of good luck. Pigs have been known to be let loose in restaurants, with everyone trying to touch it for luck, as it runs by. In private homes, a marzipan pig, with a gold piece in its mouth, is suspended from a ribbon and touched instead.
Since ancient times in Scotland, this night has been celebrated as Hogmanay. Outshining even Christmas celebrations (which were banned for over 400 years in Scotland), this is a time for rich feasting, drinking, dancing, tale-telling, and music.
The first person to cross your threshold after midnight brings luck into the house. Since medieval times, then, the best possible first-footer would be a tall, dark-haired, handsome man, who brought gifts of whisky, bread, a piece of coal or firewood and a silver coin.
He enters in silence and no one speaks to him until he puts the coal on the fire, pours a glass for the head of the house, and wishes everyone a Happy New Year.
Then, of course, the revelries explode and continue into the wee hours, even for several more days in some cases!
Naturally, this a powerful time for divination. Sorry, I am not available for Tarot readings tonight, but while we are still swimming in the New Year’s magic, I will be at Dancing Moon Books in Raleigh, all day Friday. Come by and together let’s plan your best year ever!
In the meantime, an alternative way to determine your future in the new year is to prick a newly-laid egg at the smaller end with a pin. Let three drops of the egg white fall into a bowl of water.
Then use your powers of scrying to interpret the designs it makes. This will give you a glimpse of what the new year holds in store for you.
In many parts of the world, the New Year is greeted with a lot of noise, sometimes made by church bells. Originally this was to frighten away evil spirits that might try to sneak into the New Year and try to spoil it. People in the Northern Hemisphere sometimes lit bonfires for the same reason.
And you know those resolutions we make year in and year out (or else resolve not to make anymore)? We are not alone!
There are records from 4,000 years ago in Babylon of New Year’s resolutions. Often they were announced publicly. The most common were to make good any outstanding debts and return anything borrowed.
Nowadays, the most common resolutions are to lose weight and give up smoking, closely followed by .. guess what! .. making good any outstanding debts and returning borrowed goods!
The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all had the tradition of showing off the first babies born in the year. In the 14th century the custom of showing a baby entwined with a banner of the New Year began, in Germany.
The Divine Ones
And this day is also set aside for honoring Vesta – the Roman Goddess of the hearth. Known by the Greeks as Hestia, She was credited with the art of building houses (since every home was built around the sacred central fire). A good energetic cleansing and blessing of your hearth would be a most rewarding activity today.
Perhaps echoing that custom, this is the day that many put away their Solstice decorations, for some say it is bad luck for them to still be up in the New Year.
At least be sure to give thanks on this night for the benevolence of Hestia, for the roof above your head, and the plenty in your life. So many in this grim economy are discovering that home is a precious, sometimes precarious gift. So blessed be your holy home, that gives you the nurturing and comfort that enables you to go out into the world.
In the ancient Egyptian traditions, today is the sacred day of Sekhmet, the lion-headed Goddess whose worship center was Memphis, Egypt. Nursing mothers would pray to Her to let down their milk and to protect their wee babes.
And as you know, the last day of every month is sacred to Hecate. Hecate is the Goddess of Witches and the psychopomp, who shows the way to those crossing to the lands of the dead. As such, She is the Guardian of the Crossroads, including all mundane road crossings as well as the crossroads between life and death. We also welcome Her as She presides at this crossroads of the Year.
She is the Triple Goddess in Her most ancient form, the trinity of Artemis the Maiden, Selene, the Mother, and by Her own name, Hecate, the Crone.
On this night, leave food at a crossroads in Her name. If you are especially wise, you will pick a crossroads where She can see to it that the hungry may eat it, whether they know it is in Her name or not.
Hecate also rules over prophecy, healing, visions and magic. This amplifies even more the magic of New Year’s Eve as an outstanding night for divination, meditation and spellwork.
So raise a glass, and bid with me a farewell to 2013.
For better or worse, it is now a closed chapter.
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses. The magic of 2014 arrives.