In this special edition, we focus on bloggers who are discussing the significance of starting a new year on the standard calendar.
Oath-taking was a serious business, and many of its customs can be found in modern advice about goal-setting. An oath was taken publicly. The deed that was to be performed was declared in front of other people. This had the effect of making the oath-taker accountable to those people. Once the oath was out there, it had to be followed through, or everyone would know. This is very motivating, as the fear of embarrassment or shame is often stronger than the desire to quit on our goals. Modern motivators advise making goals public for this same reason, and also because if others are aware of our goals, they may be able to help us to achieve them, either directly or by giving us a kick up the backside when we need it.
Oaths also had clear goals and deadlines, e.g.: “I will kill Olaf before the winter nights!” not, “I’ll sort out that Olaf soon!” A more likely resolution these days would be to lose some weight or spend more time with your kids, but instead of keeping it open-ended and vague, lock in some details. A deadline will focus you on the task at hand, and again makes you accountable. Being specific in your goals provides a clear target to aim for, and can also aide in deciding the steps you will take to achieve it.
— Heathen Embers, Season of the oath-breakers
New Year’s resolutions can be a catalyst for profound, soul-sourced change, drawing on the Path of She practice of yes magic. “Yes” is the most powerful magical word in our vocabulary. It’s a word that the universe pays close attention to. Say “yes” and doors of possibilities open. Say “yes” from the depths of [your] soul, and you can transform your life.
Right now, at this very moment, the power of yes magic is at work in your life. Every choice you make and action you take, consciously or unconsciously, is a “yes” spoken in the language of the material world that weaves the fabric of your everyday existence. This is powerful magic: you are, in effect, spell-crafting your life.
Yes magic is a form of spell-crafting that aligns the potent, twin powers of desire and will through a specific, consciously chosen intention. Desire is what you want, will is your ability to make things happen, and intention is the spark that ignites the magic between them, and sends this magic outward into the listening universe.
— Karen Clark, The Yes Magic of New Year’s Resolutions
When I was a kid my mom told me that you have to eat black-eyed peas on either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day “for good luck.” Sometimes we’d just have some from a can as a side dish . . . but we’d always try to eat at least a few. . . . Later I found out that you’re supposed to eat collard greens and cornbread with your black-eyed peas, so that’s how I do it now. I also cook the peas with the leftover ham bone from the Yule ham (with any leftover meat still on it), because the peas need some kind of smoked pork in them. The leftover meat ends up falling off the bone, and then I shred it up into bite-sized pieces and mix it back in.
— Amanda the Conqueror, The Sacred Twelfth Day Feast for Southerners
Everyone in the South knows that on New Year’s Day, the only meal to eat is lucky beans and greens. This is some old folk magick, y’all. Now, my Kentucky and Alabama grannies would tell you that this meal must consist of black-eyed peas. The North Carolina grannies will insist on collard greens. They’ll all swear on a stack of bibles that you eat the beans to draw coins, and greens to draw green cash money into the New Year.
— Heron Michelle, discussing her own lucky beans and greens recipe
“You can use this formula at any time during the year to break apart negativity and destroy blocks that stand in the way of your prosperity and general happiness. In warm weather, use a broom to completely wash the front steps, porch, and back entrances into your living area. A good formula for general ritual circle, for cleansing the area before a wedding or baby blessing, or clearing out your sacred space once a month.”
— from Silver Ravenwolf’s recipe for a new year’s floor wash
Don’t work hard this year. Work effectively. Work wisely. Do what needs to be done. Work in a sustainable way that won’t break your mental health. Resist the idea of work for the sake of work. Work is not a virtue. It’s just that if working people are worn out from all the work they do, they don’t have any energy to protest, or to imagine some different way of living. Exhausted people lose self esteem and stop believing they deserve better.
— Nimue Brown on setting intentions