The first few days of 2021 are already underway, and despite the trepidation so many people feel about making New Year's resolutions during a time of so much uncertainty, that hasn’t stopped the usual suspects from repeating their own renditions of the “new year, new me.”
To be honest with you, I’ve always hated the phrase. In my opinion, there was no difference between who you were on Dec 31st and who you are on Jan 1st, especially not if you just claimed it to be so the day before. It would be impossible to make any sort of monumental change like that, over the course of a single day, simply by saying it, and so I always dismissed the sentiment as a silly one.
However, after all of the twists, turns, and changes brought on by 2020, I have a deeper understanding of why so many people all around seek to reinvent themselves on the New Year. People seek to wash off the stress, trauma, confusion, and fear that is behind them in order for them to continue forward. For some, this is a kind of escapism, and though the desires may be real they aren’t founded on anything grounded which prevent any goals set from materializing in the material world. This is the type of mentality that I once had a distaste for. For others, though, leaving the struggles of a previous year behind does not mean to forget and pretend that they did not happen, but it allows the mind to reset and prepare for the unexpected while still being able to have hope for the future.
Sure, the Gregorian Calendar Year is not universal, the Lunar New Year is in February, and the astrological New Year isn’t until the Spring Equinox in March, but Jan 1st has a frequency all on its own that we are collectively tapped into. Each “year” is experienced by all of us, and therefore possesses its own individual energy outside of what cosmic influences are at play or dates set by past government officials. And it is that energy, which is held in the minds, bodies, and spirits of those who experience the calendar year in this way, that so many people wish to shed as they transition into a new year of possibilities.
Like a snake shedding its skin, we must too shed the layers of our past to make way for new growth. This time of shedding is different for everyone and Jan 1st just happens to be when most people in the West decide to make that transformation.
But how can we make that change successfully? How can you reinvent yourself in a way that’s authentic and has real results?
If you’re entering the year with a “New Year, new me” mentality, wish to shake off the shackles of last year, or want this year to create a shift in your life unlike the ones in the past—you know, the years where you set resolutions and forgot what they were by May—, the best way to start is with a clean slate.
Cambridge University defines a clean slate as “a state in which you are starting an activity or process again, not considering what happened in the past at all.” In the past a slate would be used in the same way that we use loose leaf paper today. It was a slim, stone tablet with a smooth face where writing utensils would be used to inscribe writings, images, equations, etc.
When you start on a clean slate, you are essentially a blank sheet of paper. On it, you can write your own story and reinvent yourself in a way that embodies your highest self & life vision. The meaning of a clean slate is to approach your life like an empty canvas, ready to be decorated with art. And, because you are not limited by utensils, new or old, you can create this vision of Self in whatever way that you’d like. If you’re going to be a “new you”, the best place to start is from the up.
Once you decide that you want a clean slate, so it is. From there all you need to do is take the steps to make your life vision into a reality.
Check out the video and pictures below for a quick look at the entire festival. I'm so grateful for the beautiful, women of color who put together this event. We partied and shared energy all day together. It was such a blessed experience.
I remember running outside with my sisters on the first really warm Saturday of the spring, when the rain decided to recede for a few days and when the sun always felt so much warmer than it did in the summer. We'd roll around in the small grass hills in front of my family's apartment and let the wind pull us as we took turns riding my scooter down the small slanted walkway in front of our home's stairs, which we'd wheel back to the top for the next to get a quick rush of adrenaline.
After getting bored with that, we'd sit at the small stone pillars around the hill, watching the ants find their way to sources of food and shelter. This was my favorite time. I'd grab the best nearby flowers that I could find, the ones everyone called weeds but I always thought were beautiful. Then after gathering some dirt (sometimes wet, sometimes dry) I'd combine the contents in a small dip in one of the pillars which I used like a mortar and pestle. Yup, I used a sharp rock to crush all that stuff down into a muddy, green and brown pulp.
Then, I'd offer the mixture to the nearby ants or have a southern dinner party with my imaginary friends -it was southern because I called my plant mixture jambalaya.
All my experimenting with herbs and flora started outside that apartment, during the spring and summer seasons. It wasn't until I was 18 that I could identify those flowers: red and white cloves, dandelions, violets, wisteria, holly berry, etc. I even had a run in with poison ivy at one point, that surprisingly didn't give me any sort of rash whatsoever! That holly berry I ate in preschool definitely did though.
My younger days were filled of experiences with nature and her fruit, on class trips to nature trails, with my mother and siblings at parks around the city, the summers with my friends sitting in grass that made them itch but always just tickled to me. Eventually, it led to impromptu treks through the woods with college friends to smoke weed in private and to me eventually finding a stream that became my sacred communal space out in the woods until I left my college down. That area saw so many of my tears, my laughs, my pain, my magick, my love...
When I look back on these experiences I know I was always meant to be close to, and work with, Mother Earth. Nature has been instrumental to my personal healing, and has kept me fairly grounded throughout a lifetimes worth of trauma. Without the trees, the grass to sit in every now and again, the mud to get my hands dirty in...I might've never found my personal power. It's through these same elements that I seek to heal others, to bring them a sense of peace that people and society never once tried to offer.
I now know that spending time at that small pedestal, crushing herbs and mud together, digging my fingers in and offering it to the creatures of the earth that I loved so much, is what led me to the practice of herbalism, green magick, and mysticism. It was my very first initiation. And somehow, unbeknownst to me, I passed with flying colors.
One day, I hope I can lead my children in these small innocent practices. I want them to see the same world I saw as a child: one of magic and exploration. I want them to see the flora around them and be filled with wonder. I want to see them come up with their own ways to use the nearby leaves and fruits, vegetation gifted to us by the planet that we call home. If they're my kids, I know they'll be filled with the same drive to experiment as I did.
A tea to help you in the spring-summer transition. Sun and Uranus are currently moving through luxurious Taurus in trine with Jupiter now Retrograde in Sagittarius. This is a perfect time to take a look at ourselves, the foundations we've made in our lives, and how we're going to improve them moving forward so that the "monument" of our life can be safe and strong.
Author - Mani Matterz
This is where I gather tips and tricks, current events, astrology overviews, and other fun stuff.