In my head, New Year’s Eve and Day don’t mean that much to me. After all, I mark each year’s close at the end of autumn when I observe the death and decay in nature, then I celebrate the return of the sun at the winter solstice and the signs of nature re-awakening at Imbolc. To my logic, the first of January is just another calendar date, and 2014 a human-appointed number. Yet I still get a little buzz, a little whirly-smiley-bouncy excited feeling of freshness and new-ness. Renewal – yes, I feel renewed. Particularly so this year, when the calendar change has coincided with a new moon. We’ve freshened up the house with a cleaning mission, benefited from some family time and some deep conversations, rested ourselves and firmed up our solstice goals. This year calls for a bit of a new rhythm to our life as Rob moves to a new job role with more hours, as I drop my work with a holistic therapies clinic that was just spreading me too thin, as Dylan grows so fast in that way small children do, as we realise what just hasn’t been serving us well – and also what we need and want more of. I love that, in spite of how commercial and soulless this time of year can seem, our society still kind of sleeps for a week or two at this time. People have time off, shops reduce their opening hours, schools are on holiday, animals are hibernating, there’s less traffic and everything and everyone seems to be going about their business just a little slower. I love the parallel between this and the sleeping earth; I think we all need a winter rest, whether or not our jobs and commitments allow this to be exactly over Christmas. We’re part of nature and nature needs this annual slumber to keep moving, producing, fertile and beautiful. I’m also part of the society I live in and that society is now putting new calendars on the wall, naming the year a new one and referring to “last year” as being the one that encompassed January-December.
At such a time of renewal and fresh starts, it seemed apt for this to be reflected in our sacred display on our kitchen table. Also, our festive visit to my in-laws enabled the return of our beautiful wild god plaque from where it had been stored for safety when we moved house. In the dilemma of where to put it (so heavy to hang on the wall, might damage it just standing it up…), the idea came to lie it down as the base of our altar and put other things on and around it. I liked the imagery of the god aspect underpinning nature, of the revolution of the seasons around him being represented by the placing of the objects I have to represent them and the elements. The display, now dressed for new moon, has a pale cloth arranged in a crescent shape around him, some dried lemon balm (a Christmas gift from my mum) providing lovely scent being offered for air, some soda bread that we made last night being offered for earth – upon a wooden spoon carved by Rob. We often burn a candle of a corresponding colour at sabbats and esbats on the tall candlestick Rob made, whereas day-to-day we burn the beeswax tealights I make. There is a creation of Dylan’s too! The little modelling clay plate “for goddess, for goddess eat dinner”. The water in the tiny bowl usually comes from one of the springs around Glastonbury tor and is dabbed on or sprinkled over bruises of both the physical and emotional kind!
The oak king himself was made by an ex-boyfriend. I know, it seems a little weird to have such a thing on your kitchen table, in your home that you share with your husband and son. I totally understand that a lot of people just wouldn’t want that at all. Both of us respect our own and each others ex’s as part of the story of our lives. We’re both comfortable with the good times, pain and lessons those people all wove into our tapestries – not at all right for us now, but there’s no changing the significance they had. And the plaque is a plaque: it’s not my ex himself on the table! A plaque that we both find gorgeous. In my relationship to nature and the seasons. honouring the past and what has created who we are is quite important to me. Again, I emphasise that this is just how I feel; you’ll have your own view on your story and its characters.
Blessings for any goals you make for 2014 or for this moon, and may the next chapter of your story be exciting, whenever it starts. ♥