Releasing the old, Embracing the new: A New Year’s Ritual
At a New Year’s Eve gathering earlier tonight, I led a group ritual of reflection, purification and creation that I designed awhile back for the end of one year and the start of another. For this ritual I use rotting fruit, fresh or dried flowers, a trash bucket, and some plastic bags.
The purification part of the ritual began with a couple of moments of reflection about the year about to end, in particular about what served us well and what didn’t. Then each person took one rotting fruit (tonight it was banana peels, but I’ve used apples too) While holding it, deeper focus is given to a situation, relationship, perspective, emotion that feels to be rotting inside and no longer serving. People then had time for reflection, to discern whether it could be released. If so, the fruit was tossed into the trash bucket. If not, fruit was placed in a plastic bag and kept by the person. He or she then took another fruit, while thinking of another situation, and reflecting on whether that one can be released. If not, the person continued taking rotting fruit, until one was released. While there is no right or wrong or shoulds regarding whether something is released or held onto, most people were able to toss out their rotting fruit right away. The rotting fruit would later be composted, and thus returned to the earth and transformed.
In the second part of the ritual, people reflected for a moment on the year ahead, on what they wanted to see happen in their lives during the year ahead, what people wanted to embrace, and what might their life be like one year from now. Each person then took one or more flowers (tonight I used dried rose buds) and envisioned what he/she wants to create in the year ahead. People were asked to keep their rose petals with them during the New Year, and encouraged to bring them out when needed as a reminder of what is wanting to be created in the year.
At the end, there was an opportunity for one-on-one or group sharing for those wanting to speak.