Every year, I do the same damn thing. I say I’m not going to write about the Winter Solstice because I really don’t write about Sabbats. Then I go and write something anyway. (Recent evidence: my darkly contemplative 2016 post and my oven-mitt worthy viral 2017 post.) (Also, sorry to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere for the Winter focus, but you can at least glean relevance from the year-shifting bits.)
I’m neither in the mood to burn everything down (a la 2017), nor do I wish to slide into melancholy (2016). Though both have been trying to grab my attention, waving at me to stop for a visit, like those awful South of the Border billboards on I-95. (As far as tacky road-side attractions go, I’ll take Wall Drug over SotB any day. They have a giant jackalope you can sit on.) But those are not the exits I’m looking for. They had their time and place. Something else is needed now.
I think what is required as we move into 2019 is to clear away the debris and be ready to break new ground. If we look at every year as part of a larger cycle, then we can find ourselves walking the path of the Tarot’s Major Arcana. Which can be as simple as drawing inspiration from the last two digits of the year.
Looking back, I would say moving from 2016-2017, we needed to do some serious introspection about ourselves and the world around us. From the realization of the Tower (symbol of both foundation and folly) to the potential of the Star (guiding hope, possibilities). The transition from 2017 to 2018 called for the breaking down of barriers and ideas that harm and impede growth. We set to cutting, burning, burying, or trimming away what we no longer need or want, by the light of the Moon (attending to the past so we can move to the future). That means 2019 will belong to the Sun (happiness and harmony moving forward, alignment for success.)To prepare as we travel from the Moon to the Sun, we not only face what we have dredged up what we disapprove of in the larger macrocosm, but we’re also forced to look at what we dislike most about ourselves and our microcosm. That is some hard medicine to swallow, a cutting mirror that exposes deeply. Often that which we react against most strongly are the things that most closely resemble our own closely-guarded wounds. To heal, we must recognize the other found within, release the shackles of shame, and make peace with ourselves.
That means tending to our inner flames, to celebrate our beauty, power, and strength. We must take to care to make room so that we don’t burn us or others, and give ourselves breath to feed our souls. In order to help each other, we must take care of ourselves. Like a vessel of stained glass or cut crystal that becomes alive under the gaze of the Sun, we pull to ourselves protection, strength, and that which we aspire to. We can become like lanterns to inspire and illuminate the world – physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally.
Following this path is understanding that we’re not striving for perfection, but rather allowing for growth and change. We clear the path for the seedlings that emerged from the dirt to make their way to the light to flower. In preparing the way way, we make room for the potential in ourselves and others. And we shall do this throughout our lives: that is the mystery and the beauty of cycles.
So as the longest night approaches and the end of the calendar year, take the time to care for your body, your mind, your spirit, your heart. Be kind, be gentle, be graceful. Renew yourself in the best way for you – whether that’s through a private cleansing ritual at home, a festive gathering of friends/family, a walk in nature, or volunteering your time to help strangers. Do what you need to do for you to tend to your flame.
Remember: It’s not only allowable that you take care of yourself, it’s vital.