January can often seem a dismal, cold, and empty month after the excitement of the festive season has died down and spring is still just a distant prospect on the horizon. We are all probably feeling it more than ever this year, as the past twelve months have been incredibly hard on everyone. Most people feel their spirits flagging even more than usual.
But this is a whole new year, and a brand new beginning! The Sun Child, born at Yule, is growing and gaining strength, and along with him all our positive hopes for the future. If we look to all the old folklore rituals of January, we discover that they are concerned with making a firm break with the past year, letting go of all its difficulties and problems, and setting the right, positive tone for the new year. I think we especially need this in 2021.
This is a ritual to banish the old, the negative, and welcome in the new and positive.
Have ready some matches, a black candle (for banishing), a fireproof dish, a small piece of paper and a pen, a white candle (for new beginnings), a few seeds (for new growth), a small pebble or rock (for strength), and a flower—an artificial one is fine—(for beauty, love and compassion). Also have ready a small green bag or a small piece of green cloth.
Take the paper and pen and write down what you wish to banish from the past year. Keep it simple, and just use one word for each thing. When you have finished, light the black candle and ignite the paper in the candle flame before dropping it onto the heatproof dish. As it burns, visualise all the negative elements being destroyed by the purifying fire of the reborn sun, and declare:
“Be banished and gone! Be banished and gone! Be banished and gone!”
Do not let your thoughts return to any of the expelled negativity, but immediately light the white candle. Say:
“This is a new beginning. Let this flame kindle a bright future. I will be strong (hold the stone). New life will come (hold the seeds). Beauty, love and compassion will come (hold the flower). So mote it be!”
Allow both candles to burn out in a safe place. Put the rock, seeds, and flower into the green bag, or wrap them in a green piece of cloth, and place it beside your bed for the rest of the month. At the end of the month you can plant the seeds in a pot of earth, and return the rock and flower to the earth. (If you have used an artificial flower, don’t bury it, but keep it somewhere you can see it regularly.)
Our thanks to Anna for her guest post! For more from Anna Franklin, read her article “Tuning in to the Wheel of the Year.”