It’s a seductive thing, the clock ticking back over to zero again with the promise of a fresh start, offering us a line in the sand and an anchor for our lives. This is because certainties are so rare in life and the energy offered to us by New Year’s Eve is even rarer.
New Year’s Eve is more than a date, it is a huge source of magick, power, and potential that is created and whipped up over the course of a year through the power of human belief and action. To explain what I mean by this I’ll look at the simile of an egregore. An egregore is defined as an autonomous psychic entity that’s created by the power and belief of a group of people. Effectively, a group of people can believe strongly enough in a concept that they bring it to life through the power of faith. So, even though New Year’s Eve is just a date on a calendar, the importance, excitement, and power given to NYE from humans across the globe transforms an ordinary night into a magickal gateway.
New Year’s Eve has themes of hedonism, community, death, and rebirth. If NYE were to come to life as some kind of magical beast or god it would be something akin to Dionysus and his Maenads. They feast on revelry, intoxication, freedom, madness, fire, music, dance, sex, explosions, music, and wildness. Dionysus and the Maenads are also linked to themes of freedom and rebirth which relates to the longstanding traditions of NYE’s resolutions.
It’s easy to make resolutions. It should also be easy to keep resolutions … on paper, anyway. The most common resolutions are weight loss, promotions at work and/or saving money, plans to get healthier, and plans to find love. Then there are the basic step-by-step tools to achieving these resolutions such as the S.M.A.R.T. goal structure. However, despite this easy and clear process of goal setting and planning, most people fail to achieve their NYE resolutions year after year. This can even lead people to disliking NYE because they associate it with failure.There are a thousand reasons people fail their resolutions, these reasons range from having lofty goals, lack of support, lack of direction, inability to adapt, lack of honesty, expectations, low self-esteem etc. The list goes on and on. But that same list can ironically be why some people succeed. So, what is the difference between those who success and those who don’t? Sadly, I don’t have a magick answer for that, but I do have another form of, and perspective on resolutions that has worked for my clients, students, and myself. I have found that by working with archetypes that it can be easier to achieve more mundane and specific resolutions.
New Year’s Eve is the perfect night to make resolutions. All year, people all around the globe have been sending the energies of excitement, hope, and anticipation to the night of NYE. Some scarily organized people start planning their NYE on January first! But this does mean NYE has been fattened up with good vibes all year. While some of that energy will be chaotic from all the drunken partying, a lot of NYE’s energy is powerfully deep and quietly full of optimism, and absolute faith in a new dawn. New Year’s Eve is a night alive with hope.
As much as I love magick and celebrating, I am not going to pretend NYE will be easy this year. The world is a mess, life is a struggle for most, and the idea of celebration is far from a lot of peoples’ minds. 2018 has been hell for many and the hard truth is that if we want 2019 to be different we will have to make it different. Climate change is making our world uninhabitable. The majority of the world is starving. We are ruled by fascists and plutocrats. They stand over us with their boots on our throats while keeping us just comfortable enough and just scared enough to remain malleable as they shape us into slaves. We are kept just docile enough and just dumb enough that we don’t see and rise up against the wars, the pharmaceutical industry’s murderous and tyrannical campaigns, the international chokehold of the world banks, the gross and bloated worldwide obsession with debt, the steady erosion of unions and workers insurance across the globe, etc., etc., the list goes on and on. Human greed is out of control and we have all fallen victim to it.
It’s hard to maintain hope let alone keep some flimsy resolution when that is the reality you are faced with every morning. What does eating an extra cookie or saving an extra five dollars matter when the world is on fire? Apathy and distraction are the easy response. The harder response is to ask who you want to be in the face of so much pain and hopelessness? Do you want to be another tired face that turns away? Or, do you want to try and be someone who stands strong, compassionate, determined, and alive regardless of the hate the world might throw at you? There is no right or wrong choice. Perhaps you will swing between the two options, but if the latter choice interests you, having an archetype to follow and refer back to for guidance and motivation will help.
The world needs heroes not for entertainment but to remind us of who we are when the world grinds us down. Humans are capable of extraordinary things, sometimes we just need a little reminder.
It is one thing to make a resolution about behaviours such as eat less, exercise more, spend less money, work harder etc. However, they aren’t very motivating or inspiring goals. Sometimes the more helpful questions to ask are more holistic and come from a broader perspective such as: who do you want to be in 2019? It is much easier to change and adapt your behaviours if you are working towards a more tangible, complete, and exciting gestalt, such as an archetype or a hero that displays the qualities that you would like to emulate.
There are a number of ways you can look at who you want to be and do an inventory of yourself, your ambitions, personality, desires, fears, hopes, ethics, values etc. However, some people find this process overwhelming. A way of simplifying this process is to choose a tarot card for yourself for the year ahead and use that as your archetype.
The tarot card you choose is the archetype and the lesson you decide you want to work on throughout 2019. People often use Temperance for balance or Strength for compassion and spiritual integration. Some people who are trying to overcome addiction choose the Devil to remind themselves of what they are fighting. I often choose the Hermit to remind myself of the inner journey and light I am seeking. In the past I have chosen the Eight of Cups, Nine of Pentacles, and the Hanged Man.
Once you have chosen a tarot card for your archetype it is good to build upon it with visuals and keywords. It can also be good to relate your tarot card to some heroes you admire (real life or fictional), this helps ground your choice. Some of my clients and students set up small vision boards. You may want to meditate on what you admire and why. Examine the values, ethics, traits, qualities, morals, drives, etc., of this archetype and then look at how you relate to it and how you differ. Consider how you would like to grow to be more like and less like this archetype (archetype work isn’t about just copying a hero, it’s an aid to help you become your own hero), but also consider their story and what it is your need to learn from their journey.
If you stay dedicated to your work and journey with your archetype over the year, you will find it is easier to achieve your other resolutions such as saving money or losing weight. This is because as you work with the archetype you will develop the ability to act rather than react to situations. This is because archetype work demands that you constantly question your inner processes while referring back to the stance of your archetype. Working with archetypes helps develop poise which aids in careful, deliberate, and purposeful decision making. This gives you the ability to really choose who you want to be, otherwise known as self-mastery.
Having an archetype also gives you a touch stone to compare yourself and your reactions to when you find yourself at one of life’s crossroads. It is usually the unexpected twists and turns of life that derails peoples plans and abilities to meet their goals. Life changes constantly. As such, your goals will likely change, or at least your path to achieving them will have to adapt. These changes can feel like failures to some people and can cause them to give up all together. But if you are working with an archetype, these changes become opportunities to work with your chosen archetype and see how you can grow. It is okay for your resolutions and even your archetypes to become redundant during the year ahead. This is a sign of growth.
Finally, the last and most important step to this exercise is the second tarot card.
After you have decided which tarot card archetype suits you for the year ahead, it is important that you choose your second tarot card. However, this time it is not a conscious choice. So, shuffle the deck and blindly choose a second card. Turn it face up. This is your shadow archetype for the year.
It is easy to choose a card that we think suits us for the year ahead, but it’s important to let the Universe show us the parts of ourselves and our journey that we are hiding from. You may not wish to do any work with this card but it is something to keep in the back of your mind. It is an archetype to consider now and again, especially during the highs and lows of 2019, and think about how it might apply to you and what you might be hiding from.
This shadow archetype may not seem relevant for most of 2019 but there will come an ‘aha’ moment where this card will show you something about yourself and your life that you have been running from and it will offer you a choice, either to face it and start healing it, or to push it back down for another time. Only you will know when this moment arises and what the right answer is for you. It is not a failure to say you are not in a healing space at any given moment, healing needs space and time, both of which are rare luxuries in modern society. I would strongly urge you not to skip this last step. Shadow archetypes often hold the most important lesson of the whole year.
2018 has been a bitch. And let’s be real, 2019 will probably also be a bitch. But you can still work on yourself, developing the strength and sanity needed to navigate the crazy merry-go-round of reality. Whether you choose to dance the night away or huddle around a caldron, New Year’s Eve is a night full of magick, lean into it and enjoy it. Set your resolutions but also think about who you really want to be in 2019, what archetype could help you be that person? What archetype could guide you as you work towards becoming your own hero? And remember, heroism, growth, striving, life… None of these things are about perfection. Perfection is a myth. They are guides to help us live our lives in the best way we know how. You are already a hero, you just need to be reminded.
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