Spiritual Leaders On How They're Welcoming The New Year With Ritual
Happy New Year! January 1 has always served as occasion to set fresh intentions for the year ahead, and this year is no different. In fact, a burst of potent lunar energy could set the stage for an even more transformative first day of 2018. We reached out to some of mbg's spiritual authorities to ask how they are using ritual work to kick off this exciting new chapter.
Walking and releasing.
For the past few years, my NYC Jan. 1 ritual has been to walk the entire city with my husband Simon, talking about all our hopes and aspirations for the new year and writing them down as we go. At the end of the day, we throw them all into the Hudson, to symbolize that we are ready to surrender the details of how they manifest over to the Universe.
Gathering with friends and family.
There’s a full supermoon on January 1 and it’s in Cancer, which is all about connecting to our emotions and intuition. On New Year’s Eve, the moon is in Gemini, which is more about socializing and connecting. So we’re going to enjoy the clock turning midnight and save our rituals for the evening of the first. Since the full moon is in nurturing and bonding Cancer, we’ll probably gather with friends-who-feel-like-family and talk about how we’d like to feel in the coming year and ways that we can help each other feel supported around those goals.
Very touchy-feely, we know—but that’s what this sign is all about. Cancer is a water sign, so a ritual involving water can help restore flow. Since it will all probably be ice outside, maybe a bath with essential oils and detoxifying salts. And also, since there may be Champagne flowing the night before, some alkalizing water or hydrating nonalcoholic drinks to get our bodies back in balance.
Cleansing the body.
I will be doing a weeklong mono diet of kitchari along with abhyanga massage with warm sesame oil applied in ritual with the intention of fully supporting, hearing, and celebrating my body temple.
—Julie Piatt, plant-based chef and spiritual guide
Eating a decadent feast.
In keeping with the end of the year's Capricorn astro energy, I love to celebrate with a feast that's both decadent and hard-won. Think truffle butter, difficult-to-grow wine grapes, root veggies, hard candy, snow cones—luxe flavors that are forged through a bit of healthy struggle. To top it off, I add a dose of expansive self-mythology by creating a playlist that symbolizes all of the year's challenges and treasures, and strutting it out to these epics beats in the icy New York streets.
Reflecting near the ocean.
New Year's for me is a time to stop and take stock. I reflect on how far I've come in the year, making sure I've digested all the lessons and setbacks, and evolved from my experiences. Then, I always submerge myself in water (preferably the ocean) to cleanse and find balance. This reflective and refreshing ritual quite literally submerges my soul in the year that was.
To welcome the new year I’ll carve out half an hour to light an essential oil candle, put on some sacred music (like Loreena McKennitt), and sit with my journal. I’ll write down one thing from my life that worked out beyond my wildest dreams in 2017—and also something that broke my heart. I’ll reflect on all the amazing grace opportunities that helped me achieve that "beyond my wildest dreams" moment—as well as survive that heartbreak.
This is a great reminder that we will all be given grace opportunities in 2018 from the universe that will help us achieve things beyond our wildest dreams and survive any heartbreaks. I’ll close the exercise by asking my spiritual guidance squad for signs and synchronicities over the next few days about my highest path for 2018.
—Tanya Carroll Richardson, author and psychic intuitive
Hosting a letter-writing ceremony.
For over 15 years, since I was a preteen, I've worn white on New Year's Eve and done a burning ritual to release anything I want to let go of. I'm half Brazilian, and in Brazil people wear white on New Year's, so it's a nod to that.
I also build an altar—often with friends—and share music, dancing, and a New Year's morning feast. Again, in all white. Then I write a letter about how I will be in 2018—what life will look like—and I fold it and carry it in my wallet all year. Then, I'll burn it at the end of the year.
Meditating at an altar.
Every day is an opportunity to start fresh. Yet there's something special about the collective energy that gathers on the eve of and the first day of a new year. On New Year's Eve, I will sit at my altar, light a candle, smudge the surrounding space, and sit for 20 minutes in meditation before expressing gratitude, releasing old resentments to help me move forward, and sending love to family and friends. I end my morning prayers by consciously connecting to my "why" for the day. In honor of the coming year, I will also dive deep into a writing practice I like to call "Spirit Write." Since this has been such a monumental year for me, I plan to write out all of my greatest lessons, insights, and obstacles of 2017, allowing what must arise to come to the surface—thoughts, feelings, epiphanies, tears, laughter—so I feel it all one last time. Then I will write in concise clear form what I am invoking and welcoming in for 2018. I suggest writing this part in first person, present tense, while focusing intently on the visions that make your body and spirit feel healthy and receptive. Close by closing the eyes, feeling into all that you wrote, saying "thank you" three times in a row, and blowing out the candle.
On New Year's Day, I will continue with a shorter version of this meditation ritual and move into my day living with this perspective as best as I can. This is a great day to show up with all that you are, see the world through your ideal lens, and put a more magnetic and grateful way of being into practice.
Setting intentions over coffee.
I love waking up the morning of New Year’s Day and setting aside time, just for me, to feel the energy of the new year. The a.m. starts with a yummy cup of coffee. I'll chat with my husband about all we’ve experienced the past year and what we’re both grateful for. Then I’ll give us both intention-setting cards so we can take our own time to manifest, create, and explore the new year’s energy. Once my husband and I have both written out our lists, we have lunch together and share them so we can hear what each other is seeking, desiring, and intending in the new year. Accountability is a big thing for us as husband and wife, as it allows us to keep supporting and shifting with one another.
—Kelsey Patel, Reiki master
Looking to craft a new personal ritual in 2018? These three steps will help you get clear on what it can look like.