Reflecting on 2016 & Some Practical Magic
A few years back, our little family started a tradition of having a night where we hang together, discuss the preceding year and ask for some guidance in the form of what some might consider the witchy woo practice of drawing oracle cards.
Do we necessarily believe in magic/magick? Well, to varying degrees among the four of us, yes. But maybe not in the way you’re picturing. I’ve come to consider my perhaps less than orthodox practices, rituals and beliefs as forms of ‘practical magic’.
It’s o.k., you don’t have to get it. But, maybe you're someone who feels a resonance with these kinds of things too. If you do, you're not alone.
Lately, I've been having so many flashbacks to my childhood and realize that my relationship to all things mystical, has always existed. In fact, although it's never openly talked about, belief and experience with the witchy woo, runs in the family.
What I've come to know, is that using these kinds of ‘magical tools’ is really more a way of listening to your intuition/soul/divine guidance (or whatever you choose to call the greater wisdom that we all know or have experienced on some level… even if we dismiss it or call it coincidence).
To do this particular ritual, we plan a night where we know we'll be relatively well rested and in the right head space. It usually happens after the holiday craziness abates. If we pick a day and things don’t go according to plan, like someone gets sick, or life happens and we’re all feeling frazzled, we put it off, because we know it won’t feel right to force it. Practical Magic doesn't work that way.
I also want to mention that the more I feel connected to the astrological/natural/pagan calendar that begins a new year in the Spring, the more I consider doing this ritual then, or maybe doing two a year instead. One around the time of the Winter Solstice and one around the Spring Equinox. We/I often do similar rituals around the time of the new or full moon. Nothing is written in stone. Like I said, the most important thing is that the timing feels right.
So Tuesday night was the night this year. I de-Christmassed and cleaned the house, we had a nice dinner, lit a fire and some candles and began by reviewing the cards we’d drawn last year and discussing how the themes showed up for us and what we learned from them. If nothing else, this is an awesome way to engage in some really meaningful conversation with family or friends.
If you’re interested in the specifics, to date, we always use a card deck I’ve had for awhile now. In fact, it’s the only card deck I owned until fairly recently, and I feel a connection to it. It’s by Colette Baron Reid called, The Wisdom Of Avalon.
Each of us chooses a personal card (we draw youngest to oldest) and then I choose one card as an overall message for the family. So, five cards are drawn in total.
This is how it went last year, for 2016 (picture above). I’m keeping these explanations very simple and brief here just to give you a flavour for how things played out and how accurate the messages were.
Marley drew The Novice – a card that is all about being a beginner. We talked about how 2016 had been a year of many firsts for her. She moved ‘upstairs’ to the Junior/Intermediate floor at school, began taking drum and swimming lessons in place of the skating she had done for many years prior, and will soon be taking up downhill skiing too. She learned a lot about life, growing up, and what it feels like to be new at something.
Evan drew The Deer – which represents gentleness and diplomacy. We saw this show up in several different ways, most notably in learning to navigate the entry into adolescence and the drama that sometimes unfolds with friends and internally at this age.
Sean drew Birth-Rebirth – a card that symbolizes the uncomfortable process of birthing something new and the gold that lies on the other side. Which if you know what happened in terms of his career last year, could not have been more fitting! At the time he drew this card last January, he had trouble seeing how this might play out. Now looking back, it’s unbelievably accurate.
I drew the Movement card, which is about change and all the difficulty and blessings that come with it. Let me tell you, this was most definitely a major theme over the past year. There were changes in family dynamics, a physical move with my parents, changes in friendships, in my work life, in my life’s direction, and so much more.
The card we drew as the overall message for our family, was The Horse – which symbolizes asking for help and delegating authority. This was an ongoing lesson over the past year. As I’ve admitted before, I suck at asking for help and my loves aren’t much better at it. We’re kind of an independent bunch over here and we had to practice swallowing our pride and reaching out a lot in 2016. But in the end, it was all for the best, and we are all a little more humble and grateful for it.
Doing this review was crazy validating and it encouraged us to pay even closer attention to the messages that came forward for this year.
Here are the cards we drew on Tuesday night. In the interest of brevity, I'll spare you the descriptions right now. Suffice it to say, they all resonated with us.
We talked about what these things could mean for each of us and how we could use this guidance to make the best of whatever comes our way in the coming months. I’ll keep you posted as to how it all unfolds!
If you’re into or even curious about this kind of practical magic, I’ve decided to start a little feature over on Facebook and Instagram. It’s a way to gauge interest among my audience, to allow me to connect with and practice honing my witchy woo skills even more, a way for you to get some guidance when you feel you need it, and it’s just plain fun! Really, couldn’t we all use a little more fun?
Regardless of how, when or if you choose to mark the New Year, remember that you can commit to change and fresh starts whenever it feels right to you. You can even choose to use a little Practical Magic to help guide you.
Wishing you all a future filled with your heart’s desires!