A few weeks ago, I was undulating from the Janus Surge, or the time between December 26th and January 6th. My Celtic sensibilities tell me that the season of Yule is not over until Epiphany (January 6th), or the day those mystical magi step out and have their Jesus party. I call it the Janus Surge because the “big” holiday of Christmas is over but the New Year hasn’t quite taken hold yet. Janus could see backwards and forwards at the same time, surely a quality the ancient Celts appreciated, being captivated as they were with the Between Times.
My husband and I went to Vermont this year for New Year’s. We stayed in an old B & B in Barre, the granite capital of the world, and relished in our annual tradition: opening the Red Box.
The Red Box contains slips of paper with moments, milestones, and bits of hilarious dialogue he and I thought noteworthy enough to write down. It is a wonderful way to remember the past year. It also helps us refine our Top 10 lists for the major players and superstars of the year. (My Top 10 moments in 2018 were the Top 21 moments—a HUGE year!)
We returned to Portland on the 1st (after stopping at five different grocery stores for black-eyed peas) and commenced boiling collard greens, doing laundry, checking the water in the tree. I love my home but there is something about traveling, about being somewhere unfamiliar, which takes you out of the time-space continuum. A new environment suspends you, just a little, out of your “regular” life and allows the softer, less urgent voices to emerge—a gift, really, in this world of hurry and distractions.
And so when I woke up on the 2nd, I wanted to hold on to that feeling. I wanted to ruminate a little longer in 2018, and through that reflection, devise my soulful intentions for 2019 (otherwise known as “resolutions”). I wanted to row out, fast, to the current of the Janus surge, looking forward, backward, sideways, inward, to call in the desires of my soul. A psychic inventory, if you will, re-forged as hope for the future. Besides, Yule season was still Yule season. I still had permission to stare at the middle distance, to revel in the twinkling lights of my Christmas tree, to pore over the new books I received as gifts.
But the pressure was there. There were emails to write and emails to respond to. There were thank-you notes to write. There was a money transfer to a credit card, a double-check of an appointment, a meeting to confirm. And that was just the small to-do list. I had a new website to launch (after re-imagining what I want my business to be), an application 15 pages long to finish up (to substitute! You’d think they were looking for the new Secretary of Defense). I had query letters to literary agents to think about, a workshop to prep for, a house to clean.
Luckily, I know this inner debate very well. It’s the one between my ego (who loves, loves, loves to get shit done) and my soul (who loves to create and contemplate, savor magical moments and appreciate the many facets of being human). And so I said, “No! Stop! I retain the right to stay enamored of the flow and force of Janus.” Yes, it was January 2nd on the calendar but I wasn’t quite ready for Baby New Year to start crawling.
So I called in supports. My Animal-Wise tarot deck had been bird-dogging me for three days. I’d brought the cards with me to Vermont, thinking the Maplecroft Inn would be a perfect spot to do a reading for the year ahead. For whatever reason, I hadn’t cracked them.
I knew I needed Spirit’s guidance through the cards because I knew that my ego’s agenda would not be easily quieted. As any spiritual practitioner knows, intention is critical. As I shuffled the cards, I thought of how badly I wanted to stay in the Yule magic and asked for a question to help me stay there.
The question that came was: What condition do I need to adopt today in order to stay in my soulful space, dreaming and journaling and seeking inspiration? Which animals and their special medicines can assist me in this endeavor?
I pulled 4 cards and placed them in each of the 4 Directions.
I turned over the South first: High Priestess, Major Arcana. Represented by no other than the Creatrix herself, the Spider. Key words: Weaver of Fate.
I turned over the card in the North: Hawk, Knight of the Winged Ones. Guardian of Ventures, knowing precisely when to strike.
I turned over the card in the West: Jaguar, 6 of the 4-Leggeds. Reclaiming Power in the Material World.
And lastly, I turned over the blessed East: Cicada. 6 of the Shapeshifters. Happiness from the Past.
I was not surprised at how perfect-for-me this spread was. I saw Hawk of the North watching over the High Priestess of Spider as she stitches and weaves her inner-most creation into the fate of her existence. I stared at the intense visage of Jaguar, deep green jungle leaves festooning his regal jaw, ears, leg. I imagined my own Jaguar medicine prowling around 2019, sniffing out what only the highly attuned can sense in the dark. And when I regarded Cicada and thought about the message, ‘happiness from the past,’ I knew that the wisdom and lessons of 2018 I had integrated inside of me were now boiled down and distilled for easy sipping.
The lessons are usually “happy” once in the rearview mirror, ie. past. And lessons make us who we are meant to be. Since this card was in the East, the Direction of re-birth and transformation, I took it to mean I too would be brought out into the Sun, glistening from my past challenges, intact, singing the song of what I most desired (Cicadas are known for their high-pitched mating calls and seemingly endless chorus).
And then it struck me: I may have asked for guidance on the day in front of me but what I received was the condition for what I needed to adopt for the entire year. These four were my A-Team! I was given an ego-soul-working-together blueprint for 2019!
On this planet, we have free will. So often we think things are done “to” us instead of “for” us. Or we think that some value we’ve placed on a person, experience, or situation will stick forever. But nothing lasts. Not even art, maybe love. Years end, new ones begin (and they end too).
We have a say on how we will respond to stimuli around us. We have a choice about the attitude we will meet our days with. It is a ‘condition’ that we can adopt, knowing it may change at any minute. (And then we can change again).