The phases when something ends and something else begins are always significant and hold new possibilities for us. On a small scale, there are days: If my day today was rather annoying, I have the opportunity to let go of it in the evening to finish and start anew the next day. It gets a bit bigger when preparing for a new week or even a new month. However, we do this rather rarely. Days, weeks and months usually just merge into one another. The turn of the year, on the other hand, is special – it’s like opening a whole new book, not just a new chapter or page. For many of us, the time “between the years,” from Christmas to New Year’s Eve, is a time of quiet and reflection. Maybe you’re in the mood to make this a mindful one? Here are my five tips for end-of-year rituals.
Now is the time for retrospective. Take some time and do some soul-searching, reviewing the past year. There are several ways to do this:
- Journaling: use the “brain dump” technique, where you set an alarm clock for at least 15 minutes and just write away – resolving never to put down your pen during the set timeframe. If you can’t think of anything to write, just write “I don’t know what to write right now.” With this technique, you’ll tap into your subconscious and perhaps write about things you didn’t even know were on your mind anymore.
- Write a year in review: If you like things structured, you can write a year in review, gradually looking back at each month. Maybe you want to write about it prosaically, maybe just list the highlights of each month. It’s entirely up to you!
- Your year in pictures: If you’re more visual, scroll through your phone’s gallery and pick out your favorite photos for each month. Maybe you want to create a collage with them? Let your creativity run wild!
Surely not everything went well this year. Surely you have wishes for the new year (we will come to that in the next point). In order to fulfill these wishes, it is good to create space beforehand. Become aware of what you want to leave behind in the old year. Journaling is a great way to do this, but you can also meditate on it. Visualize how light and free you will feel without what you want to let go of. Maybe it’s just small things, or maybe you want to change a long-ingrained habit, change jobs, or even cut a toxic person out of your life. But let go in a loving way, without resentment. If you like, you can complement the meditation and visualization with affirmations such as “I allow myself to let go” or “I make room for something new”. A small ritual can also be very helpful, especially if you want to let go of something bigger. Write what you want to let go of on a piece of paper, hold it in a candle flame and let it burn in a fireproof bowl. Meanwhile, you can work with visualizations and affirmations. You can give the ashes to the wind afterwards.
What do you wish for the new year? Visualize this as well! In meditation, imagine how you will feel and act when you have it. Are you creative and like to tinker? Then you’ll have a lot of fun creating a vision board. You can do it virtually or in the traditional way with scissors and glue. Either find a stack of old magazines from which you then cut out pictures that fit your vision and put them together to form a collage. Or work with a digital design tool that allows you to create a virtual collage. Even if you create a virtual collage, you should end up printing it out and hanging it in a place where you can easily see it often. This way you will always stay connected to your vision. If you enjoyed the letting go ritual with the note and the candle, you can also perform another small ritual for manifesting. Write your “order to the universe” on a piece of paper – formulate it as if your wish had already come true, for example “I live in my dream house”. Then bury the note in nature or in your garden. Think of it as a seed that will grow over time into what you wish for.
Whether you would like to use sticks or incense in a small bowl – especially in this phase of the year, the herbal aromas are a wonderful background for our meditation and yoga practice or simply provide a cozy mood in between. There are even specific incense rituals, for example to cleanse (sage) or to drive away negative energy (juniper). Feel free to experiment a little with the different scents and incense options – it’s fun!
Celebrate the “Rauhnaechte” (Twelfth Night)
The “Rauhnaechte” refer to the twelve nights between Christmas Eve and Epiphany. They are considered a particularly magical time and are ideal for rituals of all kinds. Each Rauhnacht has its own special features and meanings. Engaging with them can be a lot of fun and very inspiring.
How do YOU celebrate the end of the year? Do you have rituals that should not be missing in any year or does every year end look different for you?
I wish you a wonderful start into the new year!