“Beginnings and endings are so very sacred, to give honor to all that has transpired, every experience, every joy, every pain, is a doorway to the magical. Hold your entire year between your hands, every day, every thought, every breath. Now bless it with gratitude, love and humility. You have done more to transform this new year than a thousand resolutions.”
–K. Allen Kay
This week, I supposed to hold a closing ceremony for the year-long Ariadne’s Thread study group I’ve been guiding this year. Everyone ended up backing out, but I held the ceremony in full anyway, expanding it to include acknowledging and appreciating the work I’ve completed over the past year, including my D.Min degree. People’s reasons for backing out of the ceremony were very valid, but I still felt let down and disappointed. Holding the closing ceremony for myself and acknowledging that I kept my commitment to doing a full year of this work in circle, felt like a powerful declaration and affirmation as I showed up for myself.
I often find that it is easy to rush forward into the new year and skip the opportunity to review, evaluate, and appreciate the year that is coming to a close. I am also very likely to ignore or brush past the things I’ve accomplished in pursuit of the next goal and it felt like an important honoring of myself to look at all this generative work we’ve released into the world in 2016. It really felt important to me this year to take a conscious pause to connect with, honor, validate, celebrate, and acknowledge the work of the year before I move quickly into the next year.
Sometimes at a late winter or early spring Red Tent, I guide the women through a meditation in which you walk retrospectively through your year, remembering and looking at and honoring those experiences that made up your year. Then, you gather the year up (mentally), thank it it, and release it like many sparkles of light.
In the companion book for the Goddess Oracle Deck, Amy Marashinsky, explains the power of ritual:
“Ritual is the form and structure that enables your spirit to fly free. Ritual is the safe space you create that allows you to open to the deepest parts of yourself. Ritual is the magic that you do for yourself, your circle of loved ones, your community. Ritual is play.
Ritual is transformational. You begin the ritual in one state of being and end it in another. Change of consciousness is what happens and it can be major or minor. Group ritual, in order to be transformative, must involve all participants in an active way. An effective ritual will leave you transformed; an ineffective one will bore you.
Ritual contributes to your wholeness by allowing enough safety and freedom for all the parts of yourself to be expressed. Ritual contributes to your wholeness by letting you swim and scamper with the Sacred.”
I began my ceremony by cleansing with sacred space spray, created by me using spring water collected during the December full moon and charged with crystals, blended with sage, lavender, and rose essential oils. I rattled and drummed and created an altar space, acknowledging each of my creations from the last year in turn. I sang Circle Casting Song and lifted my arms to the sky to recite the Charge of the Goddess. Since it was our Ariadne’s Thread group, I also sang two of Shekhinah Mountainwater’s songs: Power Spot and We Are Women, We Are One. I’d made my moon crown the day before and I carried the crown and a candle out to the labyrinth in my front yard.
I call upon the Goddesses of Spirit, Air, Fire, Earth, and Water.
I call upon the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone.
I call upon The Great Goddess Who births us all, and to Whom we all return
to please support and witness here the Initiation of Molly as she recognizes the completion of this year and her work therein.
When I entered the labyrinth, I found a beautiful, delicate bird’s nest in my path. In the center, I again lifted my arms to the sky, closed my eyes and felt the sun warming my body and blessing my path.
When I exited, I stopped to kneel on the earth and to speak aloud of the work completed during the year, thanking myself for that which I had created. I also heard, “sometimes you will walk alone” and a reminder that I must take good care of myself in order to continue my path.
Then, I read aloud again from Ariadne’s Thread:
Who has traveled deep and well
We thank this woman for her presence
And the tale she comes to tell …
And, then I anointed myself with my sacred space full moon spring water
Brow: May the Goddess be ever in your thoughts.
Throat: May you speak and sing Her names.
Heart: May your heart be ever filled with Her love.
Solar Plexus: May your powers flow freely.
Womb: May your womb-fires rise up at your desire, in pleasure and divine creativity.
Feet: May you ever walk in the ways of the Goddess.
Hands: May you do the work of women and the Goddess in joy.
Crown: And when your time has come, may you return to me.
On the way back in to the tiny temple, I dropped my candle and spilled, yes…you guessed it…candle wax across the threshold. Since I speak of Candle Wax Priestessing often in the Practical Priestessing course, that moment in itself felt like another initiation and a “seal” of approval on my year’s work.
While I also like reviewing the year in our Shining Year Workbooks and doing the “completion circle” in those, this personal ceremony in which I made a physical connection with the things we created this year went beyond a “review” and into something more special. This past year as a whole has really highlighted for me how powerful personal, intentional, dedicated, private ceremonies are! If you don’t have a group…that’s okay, you’re worth it on your own!
Happy New Year! May you take the time to honor your own accomplishments, celebrate your work, and engage in deep, personal ceremony.
Pre-registration is now open for the next Goddess Magic Circle.
And, the Creative Spirit Circle is always open (and is free!).