Column: A New Year, A New Vow

Pagan Perspectives

Today’s column comes to us from Clio Ajana. Clio is an Archieria for the House of Our Lady of Celestial Fire in the Hellenic Alexandrian Witchcraft & Spiritual Tradition, and she also practices Romuva (Baltic Heathenry). She currently lives in Central Minnesota.  Her interests include divination, eldercare, prison ministry, and death midwifery. 

The Wild Hunt’s weekend section is always open for submissions. Please send queries to eric@wildhunt.org. Traditionally, the change of the calendar from December 31 to January 1 marks a time to start new habits and to sweep away the debris of the previous year, regardless of whether it was a happy or sad one.

Welcome 2009, or, We Need Four Billion Religions

Instead of reading more 2009 predictions from a collection of local psychics, let’s turn instead to the SF Gate’s interview with astrologer Rob Brezsny. The “free will” astrologer takes some time to punch holes in the predictions of your neighborhood doom-sayers.”I believe that some astrologers, not all, are like a lot of New Age prophets and right-wing fundamentalist prophets in that they gravitate toward the visions of the future that stimulate fear, because at this cultural moment fear is more entertaining than the more uplifting news, and it gives them power. It gives them power to scare somebody. I try to have a very tolerant nature towards all people, but I have to admit that it really grates on me when astrologers just fixate on the ugliest possible interpretation of any astrological aspect.”Then again, he also says the real prophets of our culture are creating a darker world.”The more dangerous prophets are the storytellers of our culture – the journalists, the filmmakers, the writers of fiction and many musicians who are constantly besieging us with dark visions. I think about Muriel Rukeyser, the poet, who said that the universe is not made of molecules – it’s made out of stories, and if the storytellers of our culture are constantly telling us that the only true thing is an ugly thing, then yes, I do think that’s a problem.”Being someone who alternately styles himself a journalist and an artist, I take issue with the idea that “dark stories” are creating an “ugly” future.

New Years Celebrations? Yeah, Those Are Pagan Too.

Randy Shore of the Vancouver Sun takes a somewhat lighthearted look at the origins of our New Years celebrations from pre-Christian antiquity. “If your head really hurts on New Year’s Day, you could point your finger at the Babylonians who started this new year revelry nonsense. Though the ancient Romans added the idea of alcoholic excess, or at least perfected it. Julius Caesar fixed the start of the year on Jan. 1 by letting the previous year run to 445 days rather than the traditional 365.