Using the Liminal Space Before the New Year

Using the Liminal Space Before the New Year December 29, 2019

The liminal space is defined as the space between “what was” and “what’s next”. To me, no better time period personifies this than the space between Christmas/Yule/All the Holidays and the New Year. The celebrations have been celebrated, food has been eaten into infinity, and the merriment is wearing a bit thin. We breathe a sigh of relief as we head into the new year, for beyond that time is the shining bright space of quiet and hibernation.

Photo by Wikimedia

Our ancestors knew how to hibernate, but I fear it is a process now lost. Even as I write this, I know that January has a three day weekend, as I live in a tourist town. I remain hyper aware of holidays, because the population swells and the driving gets worse. Valentine’s Day items are already on the shelves, I have no doubt (I am avoiding stores as long as I can). Winter is predicted to possibly be mild, or conversely, regular snow will be turned into “snowmageddons” via the feverish media.

Take a moment and pause. The week between Christmas and New Year is a liminal space. A space where time seemingly stands still, or moves very, very slowly. Calories are still not magically counted. Work may be peaceful, as your co-workers take time off, or you are furloughed for the week if you are a contractor. It’s a perfect time to slow down and focus on your practice.

Sure, people make New Year’s resolutions and the like. Gyms are gearing up for the onslaught of people who resolve to live healthier and exercise. You may be thinking of a trip you want to take, a new job you want to pursue, or a plan to change up your life.

Yet you may be sitting in your pajamas, half-heartedly watching movies, gesturing vaguely at the future as you read this. New Year’s Day seems awfully, close but you will deal with that tomorrow.

Instead, I urge you to take this time and do the following:

Find a word: A friend of mine started this tradition with me years ago, and it’s certainly not a new concept. Find a word to define your year. My words in the past have been transform, unfolding, mastery, simplify, and more. Use this word as your mantra, post it on your bathroom mirror, and tattoo it on your arm. Let this new year and decade be one of the strongest you’ve experienced, and it all can begin with one powerful word. If you are the sociable type, have a party where you and your friends really sit with the process, and reveal your words to each other at the end. You can become accountability partners as time passes by, to make sure you are holding firm to the concept of your word.

Practice Commitment: By this I mean to commit to practicing your spirituality. Commit to doing one thing, whether it be to change up your altar, create one for your deity, add a kitchen altar, keep up with your Book of Shadows, practice spell work regularly, or participate in community ritual. Excellent if you do all of those, but commit to one, and see what develops.

Follow The Wheel of the Year: While you’re at it, commit to really following The Wheel of the Year. Even if you are a solitary practitioner, you can celebrate each Sabbat, no matter how small a celebration. Light a candle for Imbolc, pick flowers at Beltane, and bake bread at Lammas. It doesn’t have to be a huge effort on your part, but let it be meaningful. You decide how much or how little you want to do, but go ahead and take this time to plan now.

Envision Your Life: What do you want your life to look like? People shudder when I ask that question, and I get it. Seems overwhelming to overhaul your life. So don’t. Take one section of your life and envision it: your health, your community, your spiritual practice, or your environment. Pick one, really decide what you want it to look like, and write out steps to change it into what you want. It’s not as overwhelming when you just focus on a section. Yet the magic happens when one part of your life improves, because you will be nudged to work on other parts of your life.

Boundaries: What do we do best at this time of year? Let go of what no longer serves us. That includes uncomfortable or painful relationships, efforts that are not appreciated, unhealthy habits and time drains. Review what your day-to-day life is like, and see what no longer serves you. Replace it with something you’d prefer doing. You don’t have to decide to do it all at once. Commit to a week, and see what happens at the end of it. If you are still unhappy, tweak it a bit and try again. Or, if you’re not ready, use this time period to bolster you when you want to revisit it down the road.

Deepen Your Relationships: Especially with your deities. You know they are there, and you may have not been as devoted as you have in the past, so revisit that. See if new books have been written, new websites developed, or write up your own book about your practice. Be still, and listen. Your deities will tell you what they need, so make a commitment to follow through. Spend at least one day a month communing with them. This also works for your ancestors, and your personal relationships. If you have been neglecting some or all, see how you can get back to regularly integrating those relationships into your life. Your efforts will be well rewarded.

Lists: Make a list of what you like about yourself. If it is short, then take that as momentum to really add to that list. Really focus on yourself, and see what you’d like to change. Many of us spend so much time focusing outwardly, because honestly, we avoid going inward. Try doing that at at least one day a week. Go inward, see what you would like to change, and figure out ways to do it. If you are lonely, get out there and do activities. Friends and community will not magically appear in front of you without effort. It requires effort, and if you are self-absorbed, or all gloom and doom, you may want to be more aware of this. If you are content to be by yourself, and actively enjoy your own company, then kudos. Build upon that, and see if you can share your knowledge of how to do this with the world. Commit to volunteer, and help others. This will change up your life in so many ways.

Hibernate: Commit to truly hibernating this winter. Read those books piled up by your bed, and finish one book completely. Then get another. Watch a series you’ve been interested in, or revisit one you’ve loved. Commit to healthy foods and make meals you enjoy. Get your rest, stay hydrated, all those things you know you should be doing.

This week only comes but once a year! Use its magic to transform and change your life. It starts with one step. Take that step. So mote it be.


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