The power of New Year’s Resolutions

P1070010Many people here in the West have made New Year’s resolutions. I for one think that this tradition is a good one, for I’m always seeking to improve myself, to live in better harmony with the world around me. I know that I can’t change others, only myself, and lead by example. And so, a resolution or three can help me to achieve that goal.

Why are resolutions so important? Well, simply put, it’s vocalising an intention. In much of Western Paganism and Heathenry words, especially spoken words, have deep meaning when applied with intention, and most magic (but not all) relates to words, spells, chants, invocations and more. Think of the many sayings that relate how important words are to us. We take people by their word, and our word in our bond. Sadly, this is all too often forgotten in today’s society. We have to take back the sacredness of our words, thereby sanctifying also our intentions.

There is a deep power when we say what we mean, and mean what we say. Not hiding behind pretension or illusion, we will do as we say and we will be truthful and honest in our actions. We will sometimes fail to come through, as we are all fallible, but still the power is not only in the result, but in the attempt to live in this manner. We can ask for help when needed, for we know that everyone needs help every now and again.

When we take the importance of our words to heart, we can also look at how we take the words of others into our lives. How much do we validate our life based upon the words of others? Are these words spoken with an honest intention that is in correlation to your own, or is there a hidden agenda within them? Many people seek to abuse trust, sadly, and feel that only they hold a real reflection of others’ self-worth. Only you know your own value, your own worthiness, and if you are true to your word you then need not seek external validation. Criticism, honest and valid criticism can and should be useful in everyone’s lives. Bitter, angry, mocking criticism, filled with contempt, is not helpful in any way, and is only a reflection of the person who delivers such words, not you. We live in a world where many feel that their own flame burns brighter by blowing out others’, but we know that this is not the case.

By being true to your word, you are also being responsible for your actions. This again is something that I feel is lacking in much of today’s society. All too often we can blame others for our misfortune, or sink into the abyss of apathy rather than taking an active role in our lives. We have to define for ourselves how we wish to live, and take a participatory role in achieving that goal. None other can walk this path for us.

Taking on resolutions can help us to give voice to the sovereign self that we wish to be, that idealised self that we can indeed become, should we have the courage to walk the path towards that end. They can clarify what it is that we wish to achieve, and even ask for help along the way, from the gods, the ancestors, friends and family. We need not seek their validation, but only their help should we need it, for we know our own self-worth. Hold true to your resolution, as much as you can. Use it to remind you of the sovereign self, that self that states that YOU are in control of your own behaviour, that state of integration with the rest of the world where you realise that you are a part of a great weave in the tapestry of life. We may falter, we may even fail, but at least we tried. And next year we can try again, or make new resolutions to help us find and achieve that truth that we seek within our souls through the power of our words.

 

Samhain: Ancient and Modern

Here’s a taster of a blog that I put up yesterday for SageWoman’s channel at PaganSquare. To read the full post, click HERE.

samhain 1Calan Gaeaf (Welsh) or Samhain (Irish) begins at sunset of 31st October and runs to to sunset 1st November according to most Western Pagan traditions. If working by the moon, it is the first full moon when the sun is in Scorpio. If working by the natural landscape, it is when the first frosts bite. Samhain was termed the Celtic New Year, as it marked the ending of one cycle and the beginning of another. The Celts reckoned their days from sunset to sunset, and so the start of the year would begin in the dark time at the beginning of winter. Samhain marked the first day of Winter.

Calan Gaeaf, however, is a time that is not a time, and therefore some Pagans honour this tide and season from 31st October right through to the Winter Solstice. It is a time after many things have died, and there is a stillness to the air, an Otherworldly feel in the silence. It’s a dark time here in the UK, with long nights on our northerly latitude, and usually a very wet time as well. It’s not hard to see how these months could be seen outside of time, outside of the cycles of life, death and rebirth.

Calan Gaeaf, Samhain, Hallowe’en, All Soul’s Night – for many pagans this is the ending of one year and the beginning of another. It is often seen as the third and final harvest – with the last of the apples harvested, the cattle were prepared for winter and the grain stored properly. It is also a time when it is said that the veil between the worlds is thin, and the realms of the living and the dead are laid bare to each other. We are approaching the darkest time of the year, and the killing frosts and snows await just around the corner. It is a time of letting go, of releasing into the dark half of the year, and getting rid of the dross in our lives so that we do not have to carry them with us through the long winter nights. We consciously make the effort to live better, meaningful lives and let go of all that holds us back – our fears and worries, our anger and hatred. We nurture the beneficial and the good that we have in our lives, ensuring that they are well kept for our plans to come at the winter solstice. So the cycle continues.  READ MORE…

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all the best for the New Year. Huge thanks to all who have supported this blog, commented, emailed me and more with their lovely messages.  I can’t even begin to describe the wonderful sentiments that people have sent over the last year, and my heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone. Big love to you all!happy new year 4

 

Happy New Year!

The end of another calendar year, and a time to reflect. What a fabulous year it has been. The ups as well as the downs, all of it has been a great experience. Life certainly is the best teacher.

So, what are the plans for next year? Well, I shall be continuing to write, a much longer book than those of the Pagan Portals series for Moon Books. This new project is called “Hedge Druidry”, and is basically an extension of The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid.

I also plan to start a much bigger vegetable garden next year, and go on a mushrooming course so that I am able to identify more mushrooms than just the parasol ones we munch on here that grow in the beautiful sandy soil.

I also have a wonderful new project that will hopefully start up in the autumn of 2015, but I can’t tell you about that just yet – I will hopefully have news for you very shortly! Hint – it’s about learning Druidry…

Lastly, I aim to simplify even more. This year I already reduced the time spent on social media, cleared the clutter in my house and spent even more time in meditation. I hope to continue on this path, making more time for the people that I love, the places that I love and the things that I really love doing.

In this time of reflection, don’t feel bad about the things you didn’t accomplish. Instead, reaffirm your resolve to try again, and persevere with a good heart and a pure mind. Make resolutions for the New Year, but for yourself and not for anyone else. If you want to lose weight, that’s great – but do it for your own health, with a doctor’s or nutritionist’s advice. Don’t do it to make yourself more beautiful – you already are beautiful. Likewise, quitting bad habits such as smoking or drinking are equally good resolutions to make, as long as you are truly willing to go the distance, for your own health and well-being. If we can do such things for ourselves, then we see that we can serve others as well. We have to take care of ourselves as well as each other.

And so I wish you a very Happy New Year. May you love one another, may peace fill your hearts. Love and peace are there, seeds waiting to be nourished by you and only you, not anyone else. Give them the attention that they need, and watch them bloom. Only you can do this.

With peace and love, and many thanks for following me down the forest path,

Jo. x