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The Promise of the Harvest
A Midsummer Labyrinth Walk…Winding the Way Back Home
The Summer Solstice: A Time for Awakening
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New Years' Resolutions for Witches
Article ID: 2607
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,088
Times Read: 10,913
Author: Peg Aloi [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: January 1st. 2000
Times Viewed: 10,913
New Years' Resolutions for Witches:
The Next Hundred Years
by Peg Aloi (Boston, Mass.)
Email: [Witchvox Staff Page Link]
I read (and loved) Bev's article on the Millennium. In many ways, I agree that this arbitrary date has little real significance for witches: we observe the passing of time as a cycle of endless renewal and change and growth, death and rebirth, connecting all living beings in the universal dance of existence. Besides, even for Christians, the date itself is not even accurate: centuries of calendar mutations have made it pretty much meaningless. But despite all this, many of us may feel swept up in all the hoopla: Y2K, people of all faiths pouring into Jerusalem, various religious groups the world over waiting for the Second Coming of Christ or some other momentous event. Because so many people are channeling so much energy into this date, whether excitement or panic or anticipation or dread, it is hard for those of us for whom the date has little significance to ignore all that energy. We are being swept up in the tide. This is not necessarily a negative thing; in fact, this can be a powerful window of opportunity, to ride upon the crest of this energy wave, to effect some positive magical change for ourselves and the planet.
Witches celebrate the return of the sun at Yule: the rebirth of light, rejuvenation, life and hope. Some witches observe Yule as the New Year: a time to forgive past wrongs of ourselves and others, a time to move forward and continue on the path of transformation that all seekers walk upon, a time to make changes, some subtle, some grand.
In the season of winter, we journey inward; the dormant fields and darkened skies are reflected in our hearts and minds. This time is for reflection and a renewal of our magical and mortal selves. This time calls for strength, a vow to work for change within and without: seeds of change which, once chosen, we will sow, plant, tend, and reap with the harvest season, as the Wheel of the Year revolves and we turn with it. As witches, we allow the change of the seasons to affect our bodies, hearts and minds: to let the changing colors and smells and growth in the landscape speak to a part of us that understands beyond words. The solstice shift, from the dark and cold of winter into the warmth and light of spring, is one of the more powerful points on the wheel. We feel this moment of the sun's movement profoundly, and make a silent oath to go forward on a brighter path than before.
Interestingly enough, many non-witches among us embark upon a similar oath: to better themselves and create change in their lives. New Years' resolutions are a time-honored tradition in the United States and many other countries, which allow everyone an opportunity for transformation. Most people opt for basic, no-nonsense resolutions: Get in Shape. Find a New Job (Apartment, Lover, What Have You) . Some resolve to behave differently: to be more generous, perhaps, or more patient. To spend more time relaxing and less time, say, trading stocks online. To play outdoors with our children instead of watching TV with them. And of course, just as many of us still celebrate some of the more secular holidays like Thanksgiving, or Valentine?s Day, or exchange gifts at Christmas, witches and pagans often see January 1 as a day for new beginnings, a time to resolve to make changes.
The energy put forth by so many people embarking on the road to change is powerful. And choosing to be part of that is also a powerful act.
I offer then, some New Years' Resolutions for Witches, as we embark on what is sure to be a year full of excitement and unusual occurrences. If witches everywhere prepare themselves for change and upheaval, our magic may do wonders to help all beings of the planet make this transition. If we maintain steady focus in the light and remain open to our intuition and understanding of serendipity, perhaps this shift into the Millennium can become a time of positive power and enlightenment and peace. For as we each make choices in our individual lives, our actions and words and thoughts ripple outwards, like wind upon a lake, creating patterns of shining silver in the light of the moon, gold in the light of the sun. We are all connected: all beings, our plants and animal brothers, our Mother the Earth, our Father the Sky, and we, as sentient, conscious beings of Earth, have the capacity to do great things and strengthen the web of light and energy that joins us together.
Well perhaps that is enough for now. I invite any and all of you to share your own suggestions for resolutions and ways we as magical beings can be a force for positive change.
- Live in the moment.
Do not dwell on the past; do not worry about the future. Focus on what you are doing, as you are doing it. The more aware we are of our behavior, the less likely we are to have regrets, or to experience anxiety over what is to come. In this way, hindsight and foresight become more effective tools for us to live by.
- Be fully aware of your surroundings.
Attune to the sounds and sights of the living world. This is one of the most potent sources of strength and peace for the witch. No matter where you live, the outdoors, the ground beneath your feet, the moon above you, the trees, allow yourself to learn their lessons.
- Be compassionate.
Your patience and kindness in difficult moments can have a dramatic effect upon the lives of others, every moment of every day. Think how one hasty decision made out of selfishness can have lasting effects; how would things be different if we all thought of the welfare of others more often than we do now?
- Be good to yourself.
Many world religions believe that the human body shoudl be treated as a temple; others see it as a vessel of the gods. We should be honoring this singular, magical vessel with the best offerings we have available to us: fresh and healthy food, fresh air and water, pleasing surroundings, pleasing pastimes. Activities like walking in the woods, yoga, meditation, dancing, singing or laughing have very healing and rejuvenating effects upon our bodies. Witches are able to use ecstatic experience for great healing; we should remember our bodies are as much a part of our magical work as our minds.
- Be good to the planet.
Our Mother is strong and forgiving; but her children have not treated her very well in recent years. Record population growth and consumption of resources are straining the Earth's ability to heal Herself. She needs our help and love more than ever. This can take many forms: environmental activism, reducing and recycling, organic gardening, conservation of species and lands. In this commerce-driven world, we have the power to vote with our dollars: we can say NO to poisonous industry and pesticides and factory farming and development of pristine wilderness. When one of the earth's species is killed off before its time, this has irrevocable effects on all living beings. But we can make a difference. This is one of the most magical acts a Witch can endeavor to take on, and although it is a difficult path because opposition to it is strong, we must choose to do what is right. We live on a beautiful vibrant planet: let us care for Her as She has cared for us.
- Accept and love yourself.
Some believe we choose the family we are born into; others think it is important to choose one as we grow and learn. We often blame our upbringings for qualities in ourselves we would rather not have. But what is most important is to accept and love ourselves. No one is perfect; accepting our own limitations and those of others is the first step towards better relationships. Self-confidence allows us to grow and achieve and learn and share. No witch can move forward on his or her path while they doubt their own self-worth.
- Work magic for the greater good.
Experienced witches will often say that one valuable lesson they have learned is that it is often better NOT to do magic when given the choice. In other words, there are more subtle ways to effect change in our lives than seeking energy from other planes to help us. In time we are all better able to see when we sometimes act out of self-interest. Recognizing this tendency allows us to utilize magic in ways that have a wider depth and reach outwards. This coming year (think of all this Millennial energy coming to a peak!) will be an important one to work for the healing of the planet and its creatures.
- Be proud to be a witch.
Some witches live in fear of following this most fulfilling and difficult path. Persecution and prejudice is frightening. But as we grow in numbers and solidarity and strength, we have an opporutnity to alter awareness. By being true to our path and not hiding who we are, we add power to the community of witches around the world. By standing up for our rights to worship as we choose, we honor the memories of our ancestors who suffered and died at the hands of tyrants.
- Be open to other beliefs.
In the words of Merlin in The Mists of Avalon, "It is all one." All life-affirming paths to the divine are valid. Witches do not proselytize about our religion; neither do we criticize or judge the religious paths of others. Do yourself a favor this year: read up on the teachings of other world religions; attend another religion's services. Stop and have a conversation with that person on the street handing out tracts; you both may learn something valuable, even if it is only tolerance.
- Reach out to others of like mind.
Sometimes, as practicing witches, we get so caught up in our own rituals and magical work, we forget there are many people just embarking upon the path who could use some help. Share your experience and knowledge with those "newbies" or teens out there; remember the earliest days of your seeking and how bewildering it was sometimes. Don't lecture or advise; listen and be supportive. And if there is a "witch war" in your community, don't feed its energy--offer healing magic to its participants.
- Remember that life lived simply is beautiful.
Think of those regions of the world where people get by on very little. Don't worry so much about your possessions. Rejoice in simple pleasures: the scent of flowers, the taste of a favorite food, the company of loved ones, the devotion of our animal familiars. Once in a while, try working magic without all your tools and robes and jewelry. Attune to the elements, to your chosen pantheon, to the Earth. This path of simplicity is healing to the psyche and, ultimately, the planet.
- Live the Witch's Rede. No, really.
This is difficult. Try it for a day, and gradually work up to a week. Attempt to make your every word and act one of positivity and for the good of all. It's tougher than you thought, isn't it? Think if we all made that extra effort each day. Every world religion has some tenet akin to the Law of Three, the Golden Rule, karma, you name it. Now live it.
- Let it all go.
We are part of an endless cycle of life, death and rebirth. Western culture has a problematic relationship with death. The sooner we lose our denial and fear, the better we may enjoy the earthly pleasures and teachings upon our path. Life's difficulties balance its times of joy and ecstasy. Live each day as if all is right with the world--because it is.
Blessings to you all as we celebrate the return of light
aka Albion Summerisle Morrison
Media Coordinator - The Witches' Voice
Location: Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
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