Out with the Old, In with the New

2nd Wednesday: Cottage Witch Corner (everything home, garden & family)

It’s almost a new year, and on the verge of 2017 it is a great time to do a little magical maintenance in your life. New Year’s Eve/Day is full of energy people all over the world lend to it, it offers a lot of magical potential. Unless you grew up in a tribe in South America that was cut off for civilization, the understanding of New Year’s Eve/Day being an annual ‘rite of passage’ of sorts is embedded in your subconscious, so it’s a good ‘program’ to work with.

Many cultures around the world have long-standing traditions around Winter Solstice/early January to help ring in the new year right. The goal was to clear away anything plaguing us that we don’t need anymore, and paving the way for health, wealth and happiness to come to us. Let’s turn to some of those traditions and see how we can adapt them for our own spiritual magical practices.

Clearing Out the Old

In Ecuador, people burn scarecrows at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and photographs from the previous year. Fire has been seen as a means of purification in many cultures, and it can be a great way to purify energies no longer serving you in your life.

If you have a back yard fire pit or a fireplace, stuff a simple rag doll or poppet form with papers and pictures representing the things you want to leave behind as the old year comes to a close. It might be old dreams and goals, old relationships, old pains and losses. Whatever it is, use the transformative power of fire to turn the negative energy into something more positive and hopeful.

If you don’t have a fireplace/pit, try cutting out paper dolls and writing your wishes on them. You can burn them in a heat-proof pot somewhere safe.

Cleanse Yourself

In Sri Lanka, Buddhists take an herbal purification bath to purify themselves. In Burma people splash water at each other.  Water, like fire, is also cleansing, but instead of transforming anything water just washes us clean so we can start fresh.

It’s a great time to make an herbal cleansing bath or potion so that you enter the new year fresh and unfettered. Mix some sage, sandalwood, rosemary, lavender, hyssop or any other herb you use for cleansing together. Steep it in water to make a strong tea, then throw that tea into your bath water. Put some in a spray bottle, too, so you can go around spritzing your home.

Scare Away the Demons

If you’re worried there are any bad entities hanging around you or your home, make lots of noise on New Year’s Eve. This is where the tradition of exploding fireworks and blowing noisemakers comes from– it’s supposed to scare away any ghosts, demons or generally bad little buggars that are hanging around.

Try a bell. In Japan, on New Year’s Eve, they ring a bell 108 times for this purpose.

Set Up a Shrine

Worshiping various deities on New Year’s Day is a great way to attempt to gain a bit of their favor for the year to come. Ancient Romans would honor Janus at the turn of the year, the God of comings and goings. The month of January was named after him. He has two faces—one looking back, another looking forward. They would pay homage to Janus on the last day/first day of every month, at weddings and other events that meant the end of one time and beginning of another. In particular, Janus was honored at new year.

Put out a picture, statue or plaque of Janus somewhere (you can print pictures off the internet if you don’t have something suitable). Leave a couple of candles there and a little bowl for offerings. Say a prayer and give Him a gift of bay laurel incense, flowers, or a libation of honey wine. Thank him for the blessings of the old year and ask him to thrice bless you in the new!

Use Symbolism to Draw What You Want

In China, the front door was usually painted red on New Year’s Day because it symbolizes good fortune. Chinese families look to draw good fortune to their home. While color symbolism is very subjective, you could try putting something red on your door— or whatever color symbolizes what you hope will come to you. Perhaps a green wreath for money, a big blue ribbon for healing, or a swag of roses and lavender for love.

Think about the color you want to be wearing when you take your first steps into the New Year as well—choose your outfit carefully. Do up your hair and adorn yourself in a way that reflects what you wish to happen this year. Perhaps you’re hoping to graduate chef school; spend some time wearing a chef smock. Perhaps you’re hoping your finances will increase exponentially—wear your finest garments, or buy something new for the occasion. Hoping to get married? Slip that blue garter on your leg under your skirt—no one has to know! Cover and surround yourself with the things that represent your goals for this year; it’ll help you focus on drawing that energy toward you.

Be Generous

If you want money this new year, don’t forget to spread the wealth. After all, you reap what you sow. Stuff your pockets or purse full of coins. Spread them around—give them to children, leave them as offerings to deities or nature spirits, plunk some into charity collection jars, and sprinkle them around your property like confetti. Always keep some on you, too—don’t ever go broke!

Remember the law of attraction: like attracts like.

Break Bread

It’s impossible to talk about new year’s traditions without adding food into the mix, as food is probably the most common way people around the world celebrate anything. Food is also magical, no different from herbs, bones and other magical ingredients. In many cultures, people would eat beans for the New Year—beans. Stories about magic beans and bean stalks shouldn’t come as a surprise. Beans have long been used in folk magic to bring fertility and prosperity into a home.

In Greece, they bake coins in cakes. Other cultures use beans. Whoever gets the slice with the hidden treasure in it will be especially blessed in the new year—just warn your guests! You don’t want anyone choking!

Speaking of food, remember that law of attraction. Spark off your New Year with a special feast of foods that represent all those things you want in your life. As you sprinkle in your spices and stir your foods, pour all your magical intentions into them—then enjoy! Preferably with a friend/family member!

Here’s some more ideas for New Year Magic:

New Year’s Eve Prosperity Spell: Wiccan Magic for Abundance in the New Year

Simple Wiccan New Year Blessing Rite Without Tools or Supplies

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