The writer agrees with Liz, on the importance of ritual and ceremony, on its unhelpful neglect in our cultures, and on the ‘how’ of creating our own (arising from within, not imposed from without). Don’t be put off by missing 31/12 or 1/1 – this stuff has more flex than that… We could amend point 3 (and have no doubt Liz would endorse this) to read:-
‘Take notice that today is a special day — because you have just been given a brand new day, with no mistakes or sorrows in it yet…and you get to begin creating it afresh, right now.’
Here’s Liz’s text, for those who have difficulty with Facebook links:-
“January 1 2017
HOW TO CREATE A HOMEMADE NEW YEAR”S CEREMONY
1. Believe that you are entitled to peace, liberation, transformation, and second chances.
2. Understand that without marking special days through sacred rituals, humans can become lost — to the point where every day, or even every year, can feel exactly the same.
3. Take notice that today is a special day — because you have just been given a brand new year, with no mistakes or sorrows in it yet…and you get to begin creating it afresh, right now.
4. Decide that you will mark this day with a deliberate ceremony.
5. Recognize that humans are allowed to invent their own sacred rituals and ceremonies. This is one of the mysteries and privileges that make us human.
6. Either go be alone, or join with up with a person or people you love — whatever you most need.
7. Gather together a pile of mundane (but kind of magical) objects — like paper, ribbons, glue, matches, buttons, memorabilia, stamps, incense, flower petals spices, old photos, newspapers, candles, moss, and pennies. You don’t have to buy anything. I promise: You have all the items you need in your home. (Or you can scavenge them on the street.) The items will take on magical properties as soon as you begin your ceremony.
8. On a big (or small, or special, or totally boring) piece of paper, start writing down everything that you want to get rid of this year, or everything that you want to become this year, or prayers for the people whom you love, or a vision for the world that you want to help create, or a truthful inventory of all the pain and shame and sorrows that you desperately wish to shed. Or maybe just write down one magical word. Or maybe write a lengthy manifesto. It’s totally up to you. But use your words. Remember: In the beginning, there was the word. Words matter.
9. Decorate the words on your paper by drawing, pasting, gluing, ripping, or sewing around the words with the mundane/magical items you had gathered together. What you will end up with is some sort of a messy or beautiful collage that represents EVERYTHING.
10. Now it is time to burn your creation — or bury it, or set it afloat into water, or tear it up and scatter it into the wind from the top of a tall tree. But you have to let it go now (no matter how pretty or painful it is) and you must do SOMETHING with your creation that represents at least one of the four elements…earth, wind, water, or fire. As your creation burns (or floats away, or drifts into the wind) ask whatever divine source you believe in for help. I did my ceremony at midnight last night, with two of my beloveds. We tied our three creations together with one ribbon, and set it all on fire with three matches. Today I will put the ashes in a river, and let it drift toward the sea. But you can do your own ritual right now, or on your lunch break, or when the sun dips below the horizon tonight, or at first light of dawn tomorrow morning. Whatever time of day you decide is sacred, is sacred. It is sacred because you MADE it sacred, by drawing a circle around this moment, and asking the universe for blessing. It is sacred because you need this moment to be ritualized, or you cannot put the past behind you and move on in peace. This is how we create our own ceremonies. This is how we let go of our pain. This is how we ask for miracles and deliverance. This is how we say thank you for life. This is how we mark the New Year.
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling Exeter since 1994