New Years Eve Ritual

Whether or not you are going to a blow-out party on New Year’s Eve this year, here is a little ritual you can do for yourself or with others to ring in the new year with a little bit more gentleness and intention. Doing it ensures that whatever happens that night (and whether you can stay awake until midnight), you’ll feel that you welcomed the new year with the best intentions. This ritual is best practiced with others, but it can also be done alone.

If you are with others, create a circle. This could be around the dinner table or a more formal circle. Signify the closed circle in some way, like, for example, lighting candles. If you are alone, set up your space similarly so you feel connected to your sense of yourself or your relationship with spirit. If you are alone, work with a journal. The ritual has three phases:

1. Learning

In phase one, we look back over the last year and consider what we learned. Take a few moments to reflect before anyone speaks. Choose an item to represent a focus on one speaker at a time. Anything will do—a feather, a flower, a unique gem, or a figurine. The person holding the item will express lessons learned to the group while you are holding the special item. The group is in the sacred role of witness and may only respond by saying, “We hear you.” If alone, write your lessons down in your journal.

2. Wishes

The second phase is about wishes for the New Year. Go around the circle again, expressing your wishes for the New Year. This can be anything—wish as hard and improbably as you like. Just go ahead and wish. The witnesses may only respond, “We wish with you.” If alone, write down your wishes.

3. Plans

The final phase of the ritual is about plans for the future. These are actions you plan to take at some point in the coming year —it doesn’t have to be on New Year’s Day, and they may or may not be related to your wishes. Think of three actions you plan to take and get as specific as possible—not simply, “I will make more time for myself,” but rather, “I will book one evening a week off to spend with myself.” Go around the circle one last time, with each person naming their three actions. The witnesses may only respond, “We believe in you.” If alone, write down the three actions you plan to take and reserve this paper to keep somewhere you can refer back to, such as in your wallet or on your nightstand.

When the circle is complete, members may like to take a few moments to write down their lessons, wishes, and plans, keeping the sheet of paper somewhere close.

When everyone has finished the official parts of the ritual, it’s time to celebrate. Traditionally that means time to feast—time to eat and share food and drink if you’d like. If alone, do something nice to celebrate—eat, for sure, take a bath, or dance around the living room, whatever gives you joy.

Happy New Year!


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