Happy New Year Sage Friends!
As you know from past blog posts here, we at Sacred Land Sage honor the transition of a new year over many weeks, something we call a New Year Season. This enables more time for ritual and celebration in our busy lives, (beyond a single day i.e. Dec.31 or Jan.1). It also deepens our ceremonial saging (a better term for smudging) rituals, which are intended to help us affect the energies inside and around us after all. Saging/smudging (the use of Sacred Plant Allies in sacred ritual) helps us clear out the old and stagnant energies, helps purify difficulties, and is a way for us to set our intentions for change. We recommend that everyone take their time transitioning meaningfully with their saging rituals over several weeks before and after Jan. 1.
Why celebrate a New Year over a season of several weeks?
I’ve talked extensively about the basis for the dates (Winter Solstice in December through Tibetan Losar in February) here, here and here. So I will only summarize: In a nutshell, as sage growers and ceremonialists, we believe that taking our time to create rituals over several weeks, helps us to more completely honor life and our journey, while attuning to Earth and atmosphere-based changes. Of course, we are seriously biased; keeping a regular sage ritual, a practice of energetic cleansing and inviting blessings helps reduce stress and is downright fun!
“For my New Year Smudge ritual, how should I Sage differently for a difficult past year?”
Each year I get asked this. Because it was asked so frequently this year AND because I had my own tough year, I offer my own practice suggestions for you to try. As always, I recommend to clients: trust yourself; try different methods in your sage rituals, add your own tried-and-true methods, connect to your beliefs, and leave off the rest. My 2019 was intense in so many ways. We had loss; a death in the family, surgeries, and major illness to contend with. Some years are like this, yes? I got to practice intensively what I teach at Sacred Land Sage. The result? My ceremonial saging practices kept me going in powerful and unexpected ways; saging as a practice, helped me to keep the energy moving as I went through a list of emotions; shock, sadness, numbness, and fear. So, how do we transition from a year of difficulties in our end-of-year ceremonies? Begin first with your usual self cleanse as is common in Saging ceremony, and end with the same gratitude and blessings request. In between, I add these steps and sample invocations.
1. Spend extra time Reviewing your past year for both the stellar and difficult events of the year. You can review your own life events personally, or list events considering your family, your tribe or circle, or even expand to document for your country and the world. Write down on a a piece of paper (to help, I offer my own Year End Review Worksheet here). Include any emotional charges that may still be lingering, or that you know you are still working through. Although it is tempting to kick a personally difficult year ‘to the curb’ without a thought, I suggest the opposite: Take the time to consider your life; we all deserve time to notice, process, and heal whatever has happened on our journey. And we all know that personally speaking, on some level, what we avoid thinking about or processing tends to set up camp inside of us. Demons (or their energies) can linger. They can follow us across the invisible threshold of a new year. Identifying them consciously and building our sage rituals to intentionally name and clear them, brings all to light in a ritual “Adios” release!
2. For Experiences/Entities that you have fully experienced and are ready to Release: Set up your New Year Saging Ceremonies to Clear and Purify these energies with a fire ceremony. If you can, give thanks first (this part lets you know if there are any residual emotional charges left over). Summarize these challenges in a list on a small piece of paper (2×3″ is good). Have a candle and matches handy, your sage bundle, and a 4-5″ firesafe ceramic bowl filled with dirt or sand. It should be large enough to hold a small piece of burning paper safely. Here is my sample prayer: “Thank you Creator for the balance of experiences in my life. These are (the lessons learned/ thoughts I have) as I release (name the challenges of the year) back to the Universe. I ask that all residual energies follow this sage smoke and that nothing remain behind.”
3. For Experiences that you are still processing that carry feelings (grief, sadness, etc): Light your bundle and say aloud a prayer stating your intent to keep working through a particular difficulty. Ask for the power and assistance to succeed, requesting blessings of wisdom and strength to do so. Sample prayer: Thank you Creator for the balance of experiences given me this past year. I am still working through some and request your help in continuing to release what should be let go from my life and energy field. Please fill me with blessings of Wisdom, Insight and Strength as I purify and keep going.
4. For the Good events of your life: Give thanks and Release (offer) them also, with a prayer of thanks in your firesafe bowl. When we release (good or bad), we create more space. I like to think energetically that after release of any kind, we are literally creating the space needed for added blessings, so don’t forget to ask for them in every sage ritual! The cacao in our ceremony is for the gratitude part of our ceremony; we all say our thank you’s while sipping and sharing our experience. This helps in both parts of the ceremony- offering the good and difficult parts of our experience.
5. Repeat Both/ Either Release Rituals as Often as you need until you feel an energetic shift in your body, mind, and spirit. For me, in 2019, I started my review, gratitude, and release ritual on the December Winter Solstice with the first fire release ceremony. I list and burn/offer both the good and difficult on two separate pieces of paper. And I have repeated the release of the difficult parts, weekly as a part of a similar smudge ceremony- in Gratitude and Release. Repeating this release ceremony often, helps me to move out emotions and spent energies as I continue to work through them.
Types of Sage Ceremonies for A New Year
Here at Sacred Land sage, we recommend honoring a New Year over at least 4 weeks, with three distinct types of Saging rituals involving:
1. Review/Gratitude/ and Release of the old/ Reducing affects;
2. Setting seeds/ new aims/ intentions; and
3. Drawing Abundance/ Blessings/ Manifesting greater outcomes.
All are timed with Lunar events, specifically, around the New moons of Jan., Feb., and March. Such generous timing adds power and gravitas to your saging ceremony!
Lunar- Solar Power. As well, during these three months, beyond the basic lunar changes, we have seasonal events, super moons, and Lunar and Solar eclipses- all of which serve to magnify or lessen energies. To time your rituals and their intent with the position of the Earth and Planets, with the Sun (equinoxes & solstices), and the cycles of the changing Moon (new, full, and waxing/waning) emphasizes their power and effectiveness. To me, it epitomizes the saying ‘the universe has your back’: we all get a lot more help when timing our ceremony with the pull and push of celestial bodies in the skies around and above us. Of course, if you are an astrologer- you will know much about about right timing for ceremony.
Here – we keep it simple suggesting basic lunar cycle timing. We all know how the moon affects our ocean tides, our bodies, activities, and our moods. To pay attention to the cycles of expansion and contaction via our seasonal and lunar events is, to me, where the science meets the magic. Literally, we set up our rituals as an energetic meeting place; our smudge bowl where we invite unseen energies (Creator/ Universe/ Heaven/ Spirit ) to combine with seen sacred tools (sages in our smudge bowls), all swirling together with our heartfelt breath of Intention.
Key dates for the 2020 New Year season: PST, San Francisco
Setting Intentions/ Goals/ Resolutions/ Aims/ Planting ideas/ Starting Activities
Jan 24 (1:42p) PST: First New Moon of 2020 (January 25 -Chinese New Year)
Feb 23 (1:42p) PST Lunar New Year begins on Feb 5 (Losar New Year: Feb 24–Feb 26)
Mar 24 (2:28a) PST / Micro New Moon
Creating conditions for expansion: Intentions to germinate and sprout (The First Quarter moons) through the growth, augmenting, and expansion into fruition (the Full Moon):
Waxing Moon through the Full Moon
Jan 1- Jan 10 Full Moon, and Jan 25-31
Feb 1- Feb 8 Full Moon, and Feb 24-29
Mar 1- Mar 9 Full Moon
Time for Contraction; Introspection/ Review/ Gratitude/ Release of the old, outdated, and negative. Cleaning House literally and figuratively; simplifying to create space for the new. Times of release during waning cycles start after the full moon through the 3rd quarter moon, up to the New Moon again.
Waning moon cycle
Jan 11–Jan 24
Feb 9- Feb 22-23
For many, the few days before the full moon are important times for ceremonies about expanding manifestation: of our intentions, of abundance, and favorable circumstances. Many will time their magical ceremonies in the days before the moon’s most abundant fullness, stopping promptly when the sun and moon are in direct opposite alignment. This is personal and depends on your beliefs and ceremony.
Full Moons, Super Moons, Eclipse, Solstice & Equinox:
Jan 10 (11:21a) PST Full Moon /Lunar Eclipse
Feb 8 (11:33a) PST Full Moon
Mar 9 (10:47p) Super Full Moon.
Thank you for reading and following! I would love to hear of your special ceremonies for the New Year. May your 2020 be filled with SAGE Blessings of Joy, Good Health, Peace, and Abundance!!