As the 2015 Calendar Year comes to a close, change and endings seem to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Whether it’s the Winter season, the prospects of moving on towards a shiny new year, or the bittersweet reflection on the passing year, New Year’s Eve has an effect on almost everyone.
To some, it is a time for celebration and revelry, to others quiet observance. For me, I like a mix of both! Celebrating the new opportunities that await a new year, celebrating the survival or yet another year, and enjoying the time with friends and family. I also take time to mourn the losses of the old year and leave the negativity behind. It’s also another important time of year to honor those who have gone before us. I always make a point to light a candle to the Ancestors, and take time to freshen up the Ancestor altar. Refill water glasses, provide fresh gifts or flowers. Let them know I’m thinking of them. Then, comes what I consider the most important part of New Year’s Eve: releasing the past. For me this always entails a fire in some way. I like to have a nice roaring fire in the fire pit outdoors (or in a small grill or cauldron, depending on circumstances). A wood burning stove or fireplace indoors could also suffice, but you have to keep in mind the fire isn’t for ambiance–it’s for purging. Throughout the day, on New Year’s Eve, or during the days after Christmas if time allows, I will gather up things that need to be purged or released and left in the past. This could be old bills and debts, cancelled credit cards, pictures letters or momentos of past relationships, paycheck stubs of old jobs, etc. I’ve even thrown in old rings and photo albums. Anything that needs purged and left in the past. Then before midnight, I get my fire going good and strong and start burning away everything I’ve gathered. I like to thrown in some banishing or cleansing herbs as well to help things along. If its something particularly nasty I need to release I will bind it up or put it in a box of small coffin shaped box to “bury” it once and for all. And once everything has burned to ash, or to whatever is left, I left the fire burn and celebrate midnight and the rebirth of a brand new year! After the ashes and remaining debris have cooled I like to bury them or otherwise dispose of them and then walk away and never look back.
Releasing the past is an important thing to do. It can help us grieve and then move forward. It lets us take what is no longer good for us and no longer serves us and leave it in the past where it belongs. Let it go and move on. Let it burn so greatness can come forth from the ashes.