My Personal Rituals At The Turn Of The Year

I think that the end of the year is a pretty magical time, in the least it makes us pause and take stock of the last months.

Reviewing the year, backwards

In my journal I take stock of the past year by writing a couple of words, points or sentences for each month -- what important things happened, what was the mood of that month, how was I, what changed (or didn't ?) However I do it backwards, starting from December and working my way through November, October, etc. Doing this backwards is a game-changer -- it forces you to think deeper and helps you recognise connections and patterns you didn't see before, because it puts you into the position of an observer from outside rather than being in the middle of things.

Smudging and smoking

The tradition of using smoke to cleanse living spaces in very old in Europe as well, and in Germany it has survived in the for of the rituals done during the 12 days of Christmas, which are called here the Rauhnächte or the Smoke Nights. Usually juniper or locally gathered coniferous resin and other herbs are burned on glowing coal or tinder mushroom. I personally really enjoy this ritual and love harvesting sweet-smelling resin on walks in the forest,

Cleaning, decluttering, tidying

Sometimes I do a full round of putting my home in order. Sometimes I pull out one of Marie Kondo's books and read a little for inspiration, then I take stock of what doesn't serve me anymore. In a household with kids new stuff gets amassed fast, and I need to regularly stay on top of things. Also as I grow older I find myself reducing and streamlining my possessions, keeping only that what I truly love and need.

Burn the old on new year's eve

A friend of mine started this tradition where we meet on New Years Eve afternoon to burn things in a bonfire -- calendars, planner, notes, letters...

Get a haircut

Sometime in the beginning of January I get my hair cut. Sometimes it's a maintenance cut, sometimes it's a small change. And this time, well I'm thinking to cut my hair into a long, wavy bob.

Yearly Letter

A dream friend of mine writes a letter every December where she recaps her year, both important events and what she experienced, and sends it to her closest friends. I picked up this ritual as well, as it feels really good to sum up the year in this way and share it with others. I like to print mine out and give it personally (or post it by snail mail). If you want to try this tradition I advise to not be too superficial, to just start anywhere and go with the flow. Here is a short guide.

What do you do in the days where the old year turns to new? Let me know in the comments!

Photo credit:  Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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