And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass.
- Ezra Pound
Among the many resolutions Ankhie makes every New Year, one remains consistent. Live more. I make this resolution as though it were a vow to be renewed. All of us, ALL of us lead busy lives – overscheduled, overworked, always tired, stretched too thin – our lives, you say, are already too full! But there is a world of difference between busy lives and full lives – one depletes, the other enriches. Think of a typical evening, hurrying home from work, shuffling the kids from one activity to another, making dinner, doing laundry, paying bills, falling into bed exhausted but too tired to sleep: that’s busy. Now think of another evening, standing under a starlit winter sky, the only sounds the wind in the trees and your own breath – the Milky Way so close, so bright you feel as though you could fall up into it: that’s full.
Resolutions, no matter how sincere or well intended, are often put aside or forgotten in the face of those very real and necessary day-to-day tasks. How so we make the shift from maintenance living to full living? How do we become more of who we want to be? As with all things, a ritual can help to focus priorities, and affirm commitments. The following is from Karen Harrison’s The Herbal Alchemist:
When we want to make changes and new beginnings in our lives, we often must first make room for them by releasing old habits, people, or ways in which we currently use our energies that are no longer working for us. This can be in any area of your life, so before doing this ritual, first begin by looking at the person, thought pattern, job, or lifestyle that you feel is hampering your efforts. Decide what you need to release in favor of new thoughts or perceptions that will allow you to alter your attitude and ingrained reactions. This will give you the mental space to plant new roots of behavior and to have them to grow in your life. Next, determine how you want to grow or change: spiritually, monetarily, emotionally, physically or intellectually. Once you know where you need to let go and what you wish to change about your life, you will be ready to do the ritual.
The supplies you will need for this spell are the following:
- electric blue candle and candle holder
- Incense burner
- calligraphy ink
- green quill
- piece of parchment
- an object that represents the new you (see Note)
- three- or four-inch-long black silk or cotton (not polyester)
- small box (such as a matchbox)
- Uranus Oil (see Planetary Formulas in appendix e, Formulas and Recipes)
- Uranus Incense (see Planetary Formulas in appendix e, Formulas and Recipes)
On an evening when you will not be disturbed, arrange your altar with your candle at the left top edge; your Incense burner at the right top edge; your ink, quill and parchment at the right bottom edge; and your”new you” object at the left bottom edge, leaving the center for the black cord and small box. For the moment, just lay the cord coiled in the center of your altar. Cast your circle or center your energy. Anoint your candle with your Uranus oil, from the bottom of the candle to the wick, and light it. Light your Incense charcoal from the candle flame. Let it ignite almost completely across, then set it down on a bed of insulating sand in your
Incense burner. Place a small spoonful of your Uranus Incense in the center of the charcoal.
In the center of the piece of parchment, draw with your ink and quill a symbol that represents the thing that you are releasing from your life that has been holding it back. If this is a person, you can draw his Astrological Sign or initials, for example. If it is your employment, draw the logo of the company or its initials; if it is a bad habit, draw a simple image that represents this lifestyle choice. Next, around this symbol, draw a square, which represents the limitations that this has set on you. Set this parchment sigil in the center of your altar. Pick up the black cord and knot the two cut ends together, concentrating on the problems or limitations that you have encountered with this person, job, or lifestyle, placing the energy of the problem in the knot. Lay the cord in a circle around the parchment sigil in the center of your altar. For a few moments, continue to focus on the problem while you also become aware of your breathing. Each time you exhale, imagine yourself exhaling the hold that this problem has on you. Feel yourself becoming lighter and more relaxed. After each exhalation, say, “I release you.” Work on this release for about three minutes, or until you feel very relaxed and light.
Next, pick up your cord and carefully hold the knot in the flame of the candle, igniting the knot and burning away the problem. Set the remainder of the cord in the box. Next, holding the parchment by the very edge, ignite it with the candle flame. Let it burn toward your fingers and go out. If it burns dramatically, you can blow on it lightly to control the flame and blow it out while concentrating on release. Place any unburned parchment in the box with the burned cord and put the box to the side. When you have finished with this part of the ritual, relax for a few moments, enjoying the release and lightness.
Now take in your hands the “new you” object, concentrating again on your breathing and what you are bringing into your life. With each inhalation, breathe in energy, motivation, and optimism. As you exhale, breathe on the object, filling and charging it with this new, exciting change. After you have filled it, set the energies by anointing it with your Uranus oil, then hold it in the smoke of your Uranus Incense and place the object next to the candle. Leave the candle to burn down all the way and go outside to dig a hole to bury the box with the parchment ashes and cord. Bury the box, firmly tamp down the dirt, and walk away, never looking back. Feel the freedom and lightness.
The next morning, take the jewelry from the altar and go to a mirror. Watch yourself adorn yourself with the jewelry, focusing on the changes it represents. If you have chosen an art object, take it up from the altar and place it in a location in your home where it will be prominent, being mindful of the changes it represents.
* An object that represents the new you: This object can be a piece of jewelry with a clear quartz, rutilated quartz, amazonite, or kunzite stone set in it, or a small, lovely art object that you feel sums up the changes that you will make. If you use an art object, you will later set this piece in a prominent place in your home after the ritual so that you can see it every day to reinforce your changes. If you have chosen a piece of jewelry, you will wear it every day after you have charged it in your ritual to keep drawing that innovative energy to you.
** Note: In this ritual, you are literally “playing with fire,” so be careful. You may wish to also have a plate on your altar on which to set the burning parchment in case you get nervous. That way you can let it continue to burn without scorching your fingers. Also, since you are letting the candle burn all the way down, which will take several hours, your altar needs to be set up in a room that is closed off to all children and pets. You do not want to set your altar up near curtains or other flammable things. Your jewelry or object is going to be on the altar next to the candle, and you don’t want it covered with melted wax in the morning. Be sure that the candleholder you choose has a bottom that can contain melted wax. You may wish to place your jewelry or object in a small container set next to the candle just to be safe.
ap p e n d i x e
Formulas and Recipes
These formulas are complete unto themselves, but you are encouraged to make them your own by adding or omitting ingredients and fashioning them in such a way as to create personal blends derived from your own intuition, knowledge, and inspiration. I have listed the amounts for each herb, essential oil, and resin in the time-honored unit of parts so that you can make the amount you deem useful for your workings. A part can be one handful, one tablespoon, one-quarter cup—whatever volume you prefer. I would recommend that with any of your essential oils, you consider ten drops to be equal to one part. After you have blended in your essential oils, let your creation sit overnight, then smell it to see if you would like to add more of any oil that you particularly like for a stronger scent according to your personal taste.
one part allspice berries, crushed
one part powdered nutmeg
one part gum mastic
one part clove oil
one part elemi oil