5 Reflective Rituals To Finish Out 2021 & Start The New Year Strong
There's nothing quite like the end of a calendar year to get you feeling reflective, quiet, and introspective. It seems like we're all still taking in everything 2021 brought to the table, while simultaneously preparing for 2022—so, we rounded up five of our favorite reflective rituals to help you close out the year strong:
Make a vision board.
What better way to reflect on the last year and prepare for the next than with a vision board? Spend some time thinking about what worked for you—and what didn't—this past year, and ask yourself what you want going forward. Allow your reflections and insight to help you curate the perfect vision board for 2022. (Here's how to make a great one—be it physical or virtual.)
Do a candle meditation.
What you'll need:
- A pen and paper
- A candle
- Crystals or other spiritual objects (optional)
- Reflect upon all the things you would like to release from your life—from emotions and habits that aren't serving you to toxic relationships, etc. Write them down.
- Now, set up your meditation space with any of your favorite spiritual objects, dimming the lights if you can. Try to be somewhere quiet where you'll be undisturbed.
- Light your candle. If you wish, you can surround yourself with crystals and other objects to support transcending the circumstances written on your paper.
- Sit in your meditation space and breathe quietly for several minutes. You can reflect on what is written on the paper if you wish.
- When you are ready, say out loud, "On this day, I release all that is not in alignment with my greatest and highest good."
- Gaze into the candle flame and imagine these things that aren't serving you burning into the flames.
- In their place, envision the new energy that you would like to call into your life.
- Then, you can say (out loud or in your head): "I welcome a new path, new energy, new connections, new experiences, renewed health, new thoughts, and new beginnings."
- Blow out the candle and give thanks and gratitude to the energy of the fire, and yourself, to close out the meditation.
Clear your space (physically & energetically).
A messy or cluttered home (whether physically or energetically) is no place to start a new year, and according to author and spiritual coach Barbara Biziou, taking the time to "tidy up" will go a long way in the overall feel of your space. And as a bonus: clearing up clutter can also support your brain health.
In her article on winter rituals, Biziou suggests opening up your windows, and walking around your home, ringing a bell to break up any stuck energy. You could also burn your preferred herbs of choice, or use incense or aromatherapy sprays. "You may want to use a feather to spread the sacred smoke into every corner of your home. Don't forget to cleanse the front door," she writes.
Do a tarot reading.
Want a little extra insight into the year ahead? Why not consult a tarot deck? The following six-card spread from intuitive healer and tarot reader Lindsay Mack is a great one to get you started. Grab your deck of choice, give it a shuffle, and pull six cards in order. As you look them over, consider what each one is telling you about the following questions:
- Card 1: What is happening right now?
- Card 2: How can I move through it with ease and grace?
- Card 3: What am I learning from this cycle of my life?
- Card 4: What is currently leaving?
- Card 5: What is on its way in?
- Card 6: What's my medicine for the moment?
Try some shadow work.
And last but not least, if you're looking for a more "heavy-hitting" ritual, it doesn't get much heavier than shadow work. While it may be at times uncomfortable, shadow work is some of the best reflective work you can do. Here's a simple exercise you can try if you're just getting into the world of the shadow, from licensed therapist and co-founder of Viva Wellness Jor-El Caraballo, LMHC.
As he previously explained to mbg, "One way in which the shadow shows up for us is in what we find most distasteful or difficult in others. Often these images are a reflection of parts of ourselves that we find unlikable."
So, for this exercise, think of someone who bothers you and reflect on what it is about that person that might also be within you, Caraballo suggests. To figure this out, you can ask yourself questions like:
- What is it about this person that I don't like?
- Do I find that I have some of those same traits sometimes?
- What makes it so difficult to be around them?
- What parts of me does that person enliven when I'm around them? And how do I feel about that part of myself?
The answers you walk away with could transform the way you relate to others in 2022.
The bottom line.
Now is a wonderful time to intentionally reflect on the past 12 months, so you can be better prepared for the next 12. No matter what 2021 was for you, there are always lessons to be learned, so you can begin 2022 with a little more wisdom, grace, and clarity.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.