May we all do a bit of dancing in the new year!
Susana invited me to a Yemaja ritual today and it was lovely. Yemaja is the sea goddess and she hears your wishes. A group of us came in white and blues and purples, with white flowers and 10 shiny dimes each for offerings. We gathered on Surfer’s Beach in El Granada at 3pm, the low tide. It was a beautiful and expansive way to end the year, to bask in the incredible energy of the Sea itself, to cleanse our auras, our spirits, and to feel the impact of the Sea stretching out to the horizon.
During the Winter Solstice some of us got together to create. I introduced Amaterasu, the Japanese Shinto sun goddess, because her story was ideal for the season.
Amaterasu decided to go into hiding in a cave when her brother began wreaking havoc in her kingdom and she couldn’t do anything to stop him. During her retreat, her land went into darkness, since with her went the light and the warmth. Her subjects began to starve with no sunlight to growth their crops. They devised a plan to coax her out of the cave. They drummed and sang and called for her to come out and see the new goddess. Out of curiosity, Amaterasu, emerged to see herself in a mirror. The first ray of light that came from the cave became known as the dawn. After Amaterasu sat back on her throne, she always kept a bow and arrow in case her brother got out of line again.
To honor Amaterasu and our selves that were in rest in our own winter caves, six of us decorated mirrors. On our mirrors we wrote one word we wanted to bring light to in 2009. My word was based on a card I drew before I began the process, “ripeness”.
Searching around for info on the new year, brought me to http://www.paulfite.com/. Here is what I found!
Here are some of the ways we attempt to guarantee a good outcome through our acts on that portentous first day:
Kissing at midnight: We kiss those dearest to us at midnight not only to share a moment of celebration with our favorite people, but also to ensure those affections and ties will continue throughout the next twelve months. To fail to smooch our significant others at the stroke of twelve would be to set the stage for a year of coldness.
Stocking Up: The New Year must not be seen in with bare cupboards, lest that be the way of things for the year. Larders must be topped up and plenty of money must be placed in every wallet in the home to guarantee prosperity.
Paying Off Bills: The new year should not be begun with the household in debt, so checks should be written and mailed off prior to January 1st. Likewise, personal debts should be settled before the New Year arrives.
First Footing: The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight will influence the year you’re about to have. Ideally, he should be dark-haired, tall, and good-looking, and it would be even better if he came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, and some salt. Blonde and redhead first footers bring bad luck, and female first footers should be shooed away before they bring disaster down on the household. Be rude to them if you have to, but don’t let them near your door before a man crosses the threshold. The first footer (sometimes called the “Lucky Bird”) should knock and be let in rather than unceremoniously use a key, even if he is one of the householders. After greeting those in the house and dropping off whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through which he entered. No one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives. The first traffic across the threshold must be headed in rather than striking out. First footers must not be cross-eyed or have flat feet or eyebrows that meet in the middle. Nothing prevents the cagey householder from stationing a dark-haired man outside the home just before midnight to ensure the speedy arrival of a suitable first footer as soon as the chimes sound. If one of the partygoers is recruited for this purpose, impress upon him the need to slip out quietly just prior to the witching hour.
Nothing Goes Out: Nothing — absolutely nothing, not even garbage — is to leave the house on the first day of the year. If you’ve presents to deliver on New Year’s Day, leave them in the car overnight. Don’t so much as shake out a rug or take the empties to the recycle bin. Some people soften this rule by saying it’s okay to remove things from the home on New Year’s Day provided something else has been brought in first. This is similar to the caution regarding first footers; the year must begin with something’s being added to the home before anything subtracts from it. One who lives alone might place a lucky item or two in a basket that has a string tied to it, then place the basket just outside the front door before midnight. After midnight, the lone celebrant hauls in his catch, being careful to bring the item across the door jamb by pulling the string rather than by reaching out to retrieve it and thus breaking the plane of the threshold.
The coastside trail in Half Moon Bay, California
Happy New Year everybody Swedish style! Thanks to Hi jin for playing song at midnight one New Year’s Eve a while back.