January is named after the Roman God Janus who is shown facing two ways and this is very much the feeling of January – looking back to what has gone before and looking forward to the New Year that lies ahead. The first days of January offer a time of deep contemplation after the get-togethers over Christmas when we meld into our family and community, for better or worse.
On New Year’s Eve, we can feel more of our own separate self and more of an individual sense of where we are at the turn of the year. Perhaps it’s our higher self, calling to us and reminding us of our highest ideals and aspirations. Resolutions are made as we strive to connect to our destiny and those starry tasks we have yet to fulfil.
Christmas Day is the first of twelve Holy Nights that run through to Twelfth Night on January 5th. Decorations stay up until the 5th when they need to be taken down in readiness for Epiphany on January 6th. The Holy Nights are a very special time of year. The night sky is bright with stars and there is a silence and a stillness we can enter into consciously. This is a time when deep insights can be gained into the truth of our life. If you carry your questions in your heart through these nights, you can find answers will come to you that will guide you forward in the year ahead.
Epiphany means manifestation from above. The Three Wise Men arrive at the birth of the Christ Child on January 6th bearing gifts for the newborn baby whose destiny they recognise. You can journey from the birth of your own self in newness of life at Christmas, through the Holy Nights to Epiphany and find yourself discovering new insights and wisdom appearing as gifts of magical manifestation.
Traditions on this day involve water rituals. In Russia some communities will carve a huge cross in the ice and one by one people immerse themselves in the freezing water. This is an extreme dedication to receiving a water blessing. At home a simple water ritual on Epiphany could be to light a new candle in its holder which is placed in a beautiful bowl of water. Burn some frankincense in an essential oil burner. Sit in meditation and ask for guidance on those matters you have been pondering in your heart through the Holy Nights. Answers may come to you or they may come to you in your dreams or in the weeks ahead. Blessing the water will connect you to all those rituals taking place round the world on Epiphany, honouring water, wisdom’s element.
As the month progresses, it is good to clear out all that belongs to last year. Calendars, cards, paperwork, kitchen stuff, unwanted items and bits and bobs that are tired and faded. Wipe the slate clean, clear any chaotic energy and make ready to welcome the awakening of spring.