Lunar New Year!
After the January behind us, I am certainly ready for a do-over. Wouldn’t it be nice to start new, to believe in the good things? The comfort, the love, the closeness, the abundance coming our way? As much as I don’t believe in do-overs, I do believe that every day–every second, actually–is a chance to start anew. I have to carry with me the discomfort, confusion, loneliness, and pain that I have known, AND I always have the opportunity to act as though I believe in comfort, clarity, interdependence, and wisdom.
The lunar new year is celebrated in about half of the world.
A common tradition is to offer an envelope of money to loved ones. I have been very lucky to receive multiple envelopes in my life–sometimes there was a coin inside, sometimes a bill worth $100. I had to learn the appropriate way to receive these gifts: it wasn’t, as I had practiced in my childhood, to look at it with wonder and to reject it anyway, saying, “Oh, no, this is too much!” It was to grab it, to smile, and to say, or even shout, “Thank you!”
I learned that a key to receiving gifts is to trust that people are offering what they have to spare; it is never my job to micro-manage what someone else feels called to offer. (It is, of course, my job to double- and triple-check what I feel called to offer.)
Do I have it to spare? Am I offering it from a place of love or from a place of fear?
I remember this lesson not just at the new year but whenever I am offered generosity–an envelope of money, a parking space, a cupcake. This lesson about receiving gifts feels particularly relevant at this new year beCAUSE:
This year, the year of the wild boar, is a year of prosperity and generosity (pigs know how to find valuable wealth in the muck).
It’s also a year of, for lack of a more spiritual term, cuteness. Pigs, and their wilder cousin, the boar, are straightforward, affectionate beings. While they sometimes struggle with clear communication, they are great providers. The boar’s energy imbues everything about this year, so whether you’re a snake or a bunny or a dog*, this year is a good one to focus on your resourcefulness and building your material comfort.
This year is a good one to trust your generous instincts and to have faith in the compassion and generosity of those around you.
The lunar new year starts at this new moon in Aquarius. Aquarius energy is about community, innovation, and the common good. Aquarian instincts are clear; if you can remember the last time you had a gut feeling that you didn’t doubt, then you are familiar with Aquarian energy. Whether or not you are well-acquainted with relying on your gut, these next couple days are prime time for you to tune into how and where your intuition guides you. Even if something sounds irrational or out-there, consider jotting down any insights or pushes that come to you so that you can examine them slowly as you continue on your daily trek.
And WHY does this all matter?
New moon in Aquarius (sextiling Jupiter, by the way, in Sagittarius), lunar new year, year of the boar…isn’t there enough to keep track of already? And why bother tracking this?
There are lots of reasons people track the moon and have since the beginning of humanity (planting seasons, moods, relationships between people and between nations…). My reason, though, is simply ritual. You know that I love ritual; I’m not sure if you know, yet, that I rely on ritual for healing. It’s a time to slow down, to focus on one or two ideas or events, to focus on whoever is around me and their experience–even if I am who is around me.
Unfortunately, this definition of ritual is in contradiction to our cultural understanding of celebrating holidays. When I think of holidays, I think of ramping UP instead of slowing down, and I think of flurry, scatter-brainedness, and overwhelm instead of focus.
In December, I talked to a brilliant elder who raised three children. She told me that when her kids were young, she “did it all” at Christmastime and that, while her kids enjoyed great Christmases and have great memories, she was left each year with exhaustion, debt, and anger. That feeling–emptiness tinged with resentment, or maybe resentment tinged with emptiness?–is what I recognize from attempts to celebrate the cultural rituals we share. (I have sworn never to cook a whole turkey again, and I will stick by it.)
I grew up understanding that holidays were determined by god, and that’s why we celebrated.
Around adolescence, I learned that when people said god, they meant the people in charge, the rule-makers. In case you didn’t know, my rising sign is Aquarius (happy new moon to me–and to you). So you can imagine how well it went over when I learned that I was to celebrate because someone else said so.
Uh-uh. Aquarians make our own rules.
Another way to say that, is, Aquarians make our own choices. And creating ritual for myself around the moon’s cycle teaches me, roughly twice each month, how powerful my choices are. I determine what I want, and I determine how I think about what I have. I determine how I act every moment of my life, including the moments when I am ashamed of how I acted a few moments ago. I determine how I respond to external stimuli, from rude neighbors to rude weather to rude presidents.
At this new moon in Aquarius, this first new moon of the lunar year, this shift from the year of the rooster to year of the wild boar, consider creating a ritual around your choices.
Whether it’s with a candle for an hour tonight or in the shower for four minutes tomorrow morning, make space for your soul to take the reigns. As with any moment of life, a ritual is a great time to create your own framework. If you like suggestions, perhaps reflect on these questions:
What choices have I made (in the past month/six months/six decades) that make me proud? How have I skillfully cared for my soul?
What choices can I make in the month ahead that will make me proud? How can I skillfully care for my soul in the weeks ahead?
What generosity has been offered me in the past month or six months? How have I received it? How do I intend to receive generosity in the month ahead?
What are the gifts I have to spare, to share freely? Where can and do I offer them?
Kellen and I are so thankful that one of the choices you made in the year of the rooster was to invite us and North Node Clinic to be part of your path. We look forward to building with you in the year of the boar!
In prosperity and health,
Ellice and Kellen
People who were born in the year of the wild boar are turning 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96, or 108 this year. AKA: anyone having a Jupiter return. If you’re curious about how your Chinese zodiac interacts with your birth chart, reach out!