Today I wanted to share some of my favorite sacred, creative, and playful winter rituals for this time of year.
The Word of the Year
I have been choosing a word of the year for the last several years (2023 was the year of enlivenment). If you have a similar practice, I invite you to reflect on the past year through the lens of the word that you chose.
What did it teach you? How did it inform how you moved through the world? What were its gifts and its challenges?
In addition to reflecting on 2023, I also use this time to start mulling over my word for the coming year.
To choose a word, these are some of the questions I ask myself:
How do I want to feel in 2024?
What am I yearning to experience?
What can I sense is emerging from within me?
What do I wish to embody? Give yourself time for this. Light a candle and brew some tea. Roll the word around on your tongue and notice how it feels to say it outloud. Look up the etymology and history of the word. And finally, explore the word from a holistic vantage point. By that, I mean consider what it would mean to embody this word in all the areas of your life: your body, work, wellness, spirituality, mental space, heart, and wild soul.
Journaling Reflection Questions
These questions can dovetail into the word of the year practice, or they can stand alone. Reflect on all these questions, pick the one that jumps out, take one question at a time, or simply use them as a springboard to your own inquiry; there is no way to do this wrong.
Reflecting on 2023:
How was my heart this past year?
What did I embody?
What challenges and difficulties did I encounter? Have I allowed time to honor and digest them?
What am I grieving as this year comes to an end? What am I leaving behind?
When did I feel most like myself this past year? What was present in those moments that made them possible?
What did I learn in 2023? What did I discover or uncover about myself?
In 2023, I was most proud of [fill in the blank].
In 2023, I felt most alive when [fill in the blank].
As this year comes to a close, I am grateful for [fill in the blank].
If you were to choose a word for this year after the fact, what word would you choose and why?
Dreaming into 2024:
In this moment, I am most excited about [fill in the blank].
What dreams are you desiring to bring into fruition in 2024? What fills you with nearly equal parts excitement and trepidation?
What do you most long to feel next year?
What would you like to embody?
In 2024, I want to spend more of my time and energy on [fill in the blank].
In 2024, I want to spend less of my time and energy on [fill in the blank].
How do you desire to nourish yourself – body, mind, heart, soul and spirit – in this next year?
What conversations do you want to be a part of in 2024?
The Soulful Art of Divination
For many ancient people, this dark time of the year (at least in the northern hemisphere) was a time to listen for what the coming year would hold.
In that spirit, on the winter solstice in 2022, I pulled a card from my favorite deck for each month of 2023. That card then became an intention or guide for that particular month.
Because my memory isn’t always the best and I enjoy creative art projects, I decided to feel into the meaning of each card for me personally and artistically offer my own interpretation. Using colored note cards, magazines, and pens, I recreated my collage version of each card, pulling out a few key phrases from the card description. Creating the cards felt like a sacred time of connecting with the coming year; and each month I would refresh my altar with that month’s card to keep the theme(s) top of mind.
Again, I invite you to make this practice your own. Maybe instead of a card, you’d prefer to pick a word or image for each month. Maybe collage isn’t your thing, and you’d prefer to paint or draw that month’s theme. Or you can simply put the card of the month on your altar or line them all up for the 12 months of the year!
Listen for the rituals that resonate with your own wild soul.
Virginia Rosenberg’s Astrology Forecast
In resonance with all of the practices above, I also attend astrologer Virginia Rosenberg’s Year Ahead Astrology Forecast. Through the lens of astrology, Virginia guides participants to reflect on the previous year and look forward to some of the major astrological moments of the coming year, both personally (based upon your sun and rising signs) and collectively.
I look forward to this call every December; this year, I also bought the companion calendar.
Full disclosure, I am an affiliate for this offering, so if you register through the link in this post, I will receive a portion of the purchase amount (at no additional cost to you). I have never been an affiliate for anything before, but I have attended these forecasts every year since 2017 (it’s my annual birthday gift to myself!). It is an offering I fully stand by.
If you are wanting to reinfuse your holiday season with more sacredness and reflection, and less hustle, bustle, and commerce, it is my sincere hope that one of these practices resonates with you or that they may inspire you to uncover your own year-end rituals.