Pagan Prayers for the New Year

The new year, as celebrated throughout most of the world, is a purely secular holiday – a time for excess, remorse, resolution, funny hats, fancy dress, and fireworks.  Good fun, all of it.

In recent years, Ankhie has gathered with close friends and family in the wilds of Upstate New York for a celebration that has turned from something silly (see above re. funny hats) into something serious and spiritually satisfying. Don’t get me wrong, there are still fireworks and potent potables, but there are other things too – rituals and prayers that have developed organically out of these gatherings.  They are quiet, contemplative, and often recalled in the days and months that follow.  These new year gatherings have become our opportunity to step away from the pressures and expectations of traditional holidays (both Pagan and Judeo-Christian) to form something new and personally meaningful.  The timing works because of the public holiday, and the season is naturally magical.

But not this year. There has been a sudden death close to several of our members, and the time now is for respect, remembrance and grief.

Soon, in the weeks to come, we will have our gathering,  and our rituals and celebrations will not be diminished. The new year, observed this way, begins not on a calendar, but in our hearts, spirits and affection for one another – and it begins whenever we need it to.

In the spirit of making your own, pagan way, may this excerpt from A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith inspire you to greet the new year when and how it comes to you:

Prayers for the New Year

These prayers are specifically for the beginning of the secular year, for January 1st. They invoke Janus, from whose name the word “January” comes. The second one (prayer) involves pouring out wine. I do this every year on New Year’s Eve, or, if I am away visiting friends, before I enter my house on my return. I pour it on the threshold, and use some to annoint the door posts. The lid on the inside of the threshold that makes for a tight seal also prevents the wine from flowing into the house. The red stain on my doorstep, which lasts for a while, may confuse the neighbors, but while it is there, it is a reminder to me of the sanctity of the threshold.

***

God of Beginnings, accept this offering,

sweet-smelling incense to make you glad.

Bless me on the beginning of this year,

and bless my beginnings throughout the year.

***

God of the threshold,

who opens up to a new year;

god of doors,

who opens on to a new time;

Janus, who looks both ways,

I pour out this wine to you

and ask you to look behind and ahead

and guide me through the year that begins today.

***

A New Year is born from you;

praise, blessings, and honor are due for this gift!

Hear my words, you who give birth to everything.

A newly born year takes its place among your wonders,

one more thing for which you might rightly be praised.

***

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