Spiritual Fast: New Year, New Reset

Spiritual Fast: New Year, New Reset January 12, 2023

Here we are in another new year. Funny how some days last forever, and the months whirl by in a flash. During the last few months of 2022, I felt a persistent nudge to consider doing a spiritual fast during January of 2023. I work closely with the goddess Brigid, and when she nudges me about things, I definitely take heed, and don’t argue. Well, I try not to argue. Sometimes a few things will fly out, like “Really?!” “Now?!” and the infamous, “But…”

Interestingly enough, in the last week of the month of December, I felt a physical shift. Although I reveled in laziness and delicious food and drink during the holidays, a quiet sureness grew in me that this spiritual fast was needed and will reveal much. 

Photo via Pixabay, by Couleur

Doing this…why?

Doing a spiritual fast is not something I undertake lightly. I have literally no experience in this, and am fully placing my trust in Brigid as I move through this month of January. Based on my past experiences with this goddess, I know I am supported and guided, so this doesn’t seem scary or overwhelming. Instead I am eagerly looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Taking a few hard-earned life lessons with me into the new year, here are a few guidelines that I decided to follow:

No expectations or plans. I am curious to see how this will go, so I will not overwhelm myself with viewing the month as a whole. I will take each day as it comes, and do the best I can. Each day, each moment, each feeling.

Any food or drink I ingest will be simple and delicious. Making thoughtful choices of food and drink, reducing the amount I normally eat, and ceasing eating when I am full. 

Drinking lots more water to clear out the toxins. Having recently been without water for a few days where I live has made every drop of water even more precious and appreciated. I will not take water for granted, as I have done.

Each day, I will spend time in prayer, contemplating, journaling, visiting my altar, and listening. “Be still, and listen” has always worked for me in the past, receiving messages in the quiet, for a focus, a plan, or a new way of looking at things.

The overall goal is to do this all month, but if at any time, I don’t feel up to the challenge, I will stop. No guilt, regret, or feeling bad. Embrace the unknown, look forward with curiosity, gratitude and wonder.

And so it begins

As I stepped into January 1st, I have to admit I held my breath a little. Good thing I did, because being so open to possibility, flood gates seemed to open. If not a roar, then definitely a pleasant rush. Opportunities opened up, my head was much more clear, and I felt more grounded and centered than I ever have.

Another layer was added to the mix. In January of last year, I had undertaken a Dry January. Borne mostly out of curiosity, I had no concerns about alcohol, but also realized that I did turn to it regularly when feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Giving it up didn’t cause me any panic or upset, as I knew that within a month, I could return to have a glass of wine here and there if I wanted to, and that thought took away any sense of deprivation.

What I discovered during that month was a strong sense of contentment and quiet. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it, and the subject didn’t come up, mostly because I view January as Hibernation Time. The surprising thing was, I felt remarkably free. Free from what, I wondered? I come from a long line of exuberant drinkers, so that gave me lots to think about, as I navigated the month. I made it through that January with a new awareness of how alcohol moved in my life, and that awareness brought more thoughtful choices. Since I’d had such a decent experience last year (and I use the word decent with full gratitude), I have added this to the spiritual fast as well.

So far, not too bad…

So far, the results, in addition to what I’ve described above, are interesting, to say the least. I have had days of overwhelm, and days of exhaustion. There are days of fretting, worrying that I am wasting my time somehow, and wondering what is ahead. But the majority of my time is spent feeling supported by the deities, specifically Brigid, and a knowledge that all will be well. I don’t claim to have any answers in this journey, but I do know this: never have I felt so calm and sure in the face of the unknown. For once, I am not racing ahead, trying to make things happen. In fact, I have noticed seeds that I planted last year coming to fruition now. I am more observant and appreciative of my body. The body I usually ignore or take for granted has become much more meaningful as I take note of what I am really ingesting, whether it be food, social media or reading.

My spiritual practice, while not hugely changed, has me sitting in front of my altar a bit more regularly. I am doing more divination, a lot more moments spent in meditation, and also really listening. To others in my life, as well as the deities. The shift feels real and full of possibilities. I’ve also dedicated this month to preparing for Imbolc. Nothing major, spending more time at her altar, reading, and finding new resources for learning and insight. Imbolc being one of my favorite celebrations, this has been an added joy in this journey of the unknown.

I’ll share the end result of this month in another blog. If interested and you feel moved to do so, let me know in the comments what your spiritual fasts have been like, what you’ve learned, the outcomes and the takeaways. I would really like to know.

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