A Ritual for the New Year

How to use ritual to mark the passing of time.

Posted Dec 31, 2020

Photo by Sayak Bala on Unsplash
Source: Photo by Sayak Bala on Unsplash

Rituals and ceremonies are important parts of marking the changes and transitions in your life. Purposefully creating a space to mark the passing of time is a helpful way to mentally leave and let go of what has been and to fully step into what is becoming.

New Year's Rituals and Ceremonies

Ritual and ceremony are powerful to engage in because they allow people to consciously cross a threshold. Crossing thresholds consciously can support a certain amount of reflection on what is being let go of and what is to come. This can help you feel more in control of, and a more active participant in, your life and the change that is occurring.

Rituals and ceremonies can be used in very personal ways to mark moments of transition. This new year, as shelter-in-place orders are in place for many households, community celebrations commonly marking the shift into the new year may not be available or may have shifted to a virtual format. Because of this shift, this may be an ideal year to explore using the power of personal ritual and creating your own ceremony to acknowledge the end of the old year and move intentionally into the new one.

Creating Your Own Ritual

Creating a ritual can be simple or intricate. Below are four steps to take to create a personalized ritual.

  1. Understand the Purpose

Before creating a ritual, it is good to be clear about why the ritual is being created and for what purpose. Here are several questions to consider before creating the ritual: What transition am I using this ritual or ceremony to mark? What is changing? What will be the same and what will be different after the ceremony?

2.      Express Gratitude 

By being clear about the transition or change taking place, a ritual or ceremony can become a place to express gratitude for what has been. If the ritual is being done with a group of people it can be nice to verbally express gratitude for whatever phase is ending. This can also be completed through a mental review or a written list of moments, interactions, and successes that invoke feelings of gratitude.

3.      Set an Intention

This is a critical part of any ritual or ceremony. It is vital because it brings each individual into actively participating in their future. Setting a new year’s resolution is an example of an intention. Setting intentions for the phase being entered into helps bring focus, energy, and excitement for what is to come and what is to be created.

4.      Engage Your Senses

The setting and environment of a ritual or ceremony sets the tone for the ritual and separates the time spent in ceremony from the rest of the day. Consider your five senses as you set your space. What would you like to look at? Surround your space with objects that bring a sense of beauty. What smells good? Bring in some flowers, incense, or essential oils. How would music or sound support the ritual space? Maybe you have chimes, a sound bowl, or a favorite song to listen to. Bring food and textures into your ceremony to bring in your senses of taste and touch.

These four steps help build the foundation for creating a personalized ritual for transitional moments in life to be recognized and for consciously crossing thresholds.