Tarot & Altar | New year, new year

An altar to welcome the new year

It is 11pm. Em has gone to the party. I am alone in the quiet with my tarot cards and the final hour of 2018. It is a mild night, the air is still, the fire is low and warm.

I ask the cards: What shall I ponder on the dawn of a new year? What idea shall I hold as this new cycle begins?

Earlier, in my morning pages I had been filled with inspiration, ideas, the way I haven’t been for a long while. I had to keep breaking off to note down the ideas in my journal, there were so many and I was so excited.

And I felt the tension. In 2018 I learned the gift of slowness, of doing less, I learned that the quality of my work and the sense of intention behind it depends on my willingness to put aside urgency, to wait out that initial fiery urge, and see what comes in the embers after.

No surprise, then, to pull the Ten of Feathers. A playful warning: do not pile on the projects and commitments before this new year has even begun! And the Two of Feathers – the spaciousness in the suit of fire – a card I’ve found frustrating in the past, now reminding me: create space. Space for true intention to emerge. Sit with your why. Let that be the fire in your belly. Not the fire of a brain having a hundred ideas, but the fire of passion and desire that burns hotter and slower way below that, the fire that will sustain the projects I ultimately decide to start,

the fire that will sustain me and keep me true to my own self.

I drew it. Then created my altar. Simple, peaceful.

A lump of quartz, a gift from the from the stream Nant Lliwdy, mosses lichens from its narrow valley Cwm Ysgolion, collected yesterday, on silent retreat. I covered the ancient rock in a soft blanket of growth, slowly, carefully, crafting a tiny monument to the landscape that I love, have always loved, a landscape that called me home two years ago.

Silence and mystery. Ancient wisdom, forged in fire, white for clarity, scrubbed like a bone yet still dirty with the earth. Lichen a symbol of clean, clean air, of tranquility.

Oyster shells from the Algarve, from a hot spring holiday where I learned a thing or two about relaxation and pleasure.

Desire will be my word this year. Shifting ‘I want to..’ from something my brain decides to something my body tells me.

I light the candle, spend a moment in silence.

It is time to make my bed, outside in the yard. Candles, blankets, a steaming tea. Just as I am ready, the fireworks explode. It is midnight. It is a new year.

Awake early to familiar mist, moist air, a sense of secrecy.

I remember my words. I whisper them to myself as I make a fire, make coffee, put on the oven for croissants.


Be in the mystery

I’m ready to commit to my words now. I add them to my altar.