On New Year’s Eve even though I had a horrendous migraine and family due to come over for a party, I took some time in the early afternoon to go down to the woods for a review of the past year of my Woodspriestess experiment. It felt really important to me to spend some good time looking over the past year and what I’ve learned in and from the woods. I ended up recording 15 minutes worth of reflections and I’ll come back to them later—I think they will come in handy for the conclusion of my thesis/book project. (One of my reflections was that this year was a complete thesis project and it just needs to be shaped and refined into an integrated document now.) After recording, I decided to try out an exercise I’d read about the night before in In the Shadow of the Shaman. It was essentially about going to a special spot in nature and walking no more than 12 paces in each of the four directions. At the twelfth step, or when felt called to stop, you are supposed to look down and find a gift. This felt like a very fitting ritual to conclude my year in the woods and so I did it. And, at the twelfth step in each direction, I did, in fact, find something waiting for me. To the East I found a piece of a hornet’s nest (I also see this as a helpful reminder from the woods to take a much closer look at the hollow tree nearby, because I think I was being told that it is harboring something stingy!). To the South I found two acorns joined at the caps. To the West I found a mossy piece of fallen branch. To the North, I found a small square rock. I laid them out on the stone to look at as a whole…And I picked up a message that felt like the closing thoughts for me from the land itself in terms of this year-long project. The message was this:
things change and decay and pass away (the branch), new things grow (the acorns), sometimes the world is sharp and stings you and it hurts (the hornet’s nest), but it is possible to discern clear edges and find a solid core (the rock)
This afternoon my husband and I worked on the New Year Intention candles that we’d started as part of the simple New Year’s Eve ritual we did with our family last night. These were my idea to be a combination of a vision board and an altar candle, with each lighting of the candle throughout the year serving as a reaffirmation of our intentions for 2014. I had a wonderful time creating mine and it felt like just the right project. We then lit the candles and spent some time on the Biz section of the Amazing Year workbook and it had a really incredible time of synchronicity and clarity about the direction in which we will be going in the year ahead.