The Road Ahead

Though I and many Pagans celebrate the changing from the old to the new year in November, there is a sense of moment in the passage of the cultural New Year. The Gregorian calendar seems onerous to me sometimes–a petty tyrant that tries to rule a world where changing seasons do all the real work.  So I’m looking at 2014 with the old year at my back. I am looking at the road ahead and wondering about the signs and omens, as one does in liminal times.

Here in the Southern Highlands, we are bracing for an uncharacteristically cold few days. I find myself unaccountably anxious for the land around me, for the critters (including the homeless humans), even for my old house. Silly, really. Cycles–from mild to brisk, from dry to wet. They govern us as they govern all the great old world.

My gut feeling, as I’ve said to several friends and colleagues in the past few days, is this: if  you had a relatively unremarkable 2013, 2014 will roll out challenge after challenge and it would be wise for you to gather your resources now and tie up loose ends as you can. If 2013 was a challenging year for you (and please see “challenging” as a euphemism for ball-busting, ass-kicking, driving you to your knees and then loading your shoulders with impossible boulders…and repeating that every few weeks), you have already developed some strong skills for the challenges of the coming seasons.  I wish I could paint a rosier picture or thought that everything would return to a mythical golden age but it seems to me we’re all better off looking down this road with clear eyes, judging the lay of the land and the curves ahead.

Ah, but perhaps there is something to be learned from these times that are our times. We function best, in good times and in not-so-good ones, when we have the support of our chosen community, of the other members of our tribe, if you will.  So here’s a suggestion as we step onto this road of 2014 together–open up the channels of communication, heal old rifts, strengthen tenuous relationships and look for new allies and companions. Find your tribe. Embrace it. Figure out the ways to celebrate with them–build an emotional fire pit and gather round with your drums and rattles.

It’s time to face it and the way we will do that most effectively is if we do it together.  Perhaps I am thinking a bit of Boudicaa and her massing of the British tribes.  Maybe I am thinking that when we know ourselves and stand together…we stand a chance of facing 2014 and emerging at the end of the year stronger, wiser…and trailing shreds of something like glory.

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