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Reply To: The Ritual of New Year’s Resolutions


    Hello Stephen; yes; some of what I posted was a bit ambiguous concerning your query; (my apologies about that); so, let me clarify further what I was intending.

    “How do you mark the New Year? Do you have a tradition, a ritual, from resolutions to maybe a specific celebration – some place you always go, something you always do – to celebrate this collective recognition of the passage of Time?”

    Before the pandemic, yes, there were private meditative spots I would sometimes retreat to and attempt to communicate with my past experiences and refocus toward the future, but covid at the present time pretty much limits that option and much of my pursuits are focused inward. I also did, and still do, find that within my constant goings and comings what I’m thinking about much of the time is very relative to much of my inner individuation topics within the things I’m listening to, viewing through media, and reading about in hard copy such as some of the books in my personal library which cover a fairly large variety of topics, (many Campbell and Jung related); and then there are the internet research adventures I undertake where something I come across triggers an intense emotional reaction and I attempt to track it down. And then there is the dream work where the things I write down from my dreams are collected and then gone over the next day; (depending on what I’ve got to do for that day). But let me be clear in that because of my senior age and the pandemic, “I only go out to run necessary errands and then immediately return”; because so many people where I live often do not always observe proper Covid protocols; and many refuse to get vaccinated; plus, my vehicle is not in the best mechanical condition, so I have to improvise concerning what I use to do in my past rituals. For instance, before I would sometimes take some specific holiday music to play in my vehicle as I took long quiet meditative drives through a local park near where I grew up. One of my most meaningful ritual pursuits was with my camera where I would go to photograph specific spots that had particular significance.

    The last holiday excursion had two different designations; One was where much of my childhood drama had taken place and was being torn down; and I was able to capture not only the past that I had come from; but redefine how I had evolved. And the other to get a sense of what the future was pointing toward; (the newer structures that had some kind of meaning or purpose.)

    So let me give you a much clearer idea of what I mean. When I was very young, I was placed in a children’s psychiatric ward for about 9 months, and then transferred to a children’s home for 5 1/2 years. It was a nightmare pretty much; but I used that experience as a determined trajectory to define my own individual life; which I did through my musical career. But then comes the big Part 2 of the individuation process where you have to integrate the experience and the Shadow begins to have much more relevance since it is no longer being pushed down into the subconscious. And many of these various pursuits are focused on that direction.

    Sometimes I will call people and reminisce, and I had a wonderful holiday experience recently on a FB nostalgia page where dozens of old friends stopped by. But that is not what I’m getting at concerning Joseph’s themes. For instance, his birthday, where if my memory is correct, he would conduct teaching seminars at Esalen to help others on how to find one’s personal myth. (I think you told me that one; but perhaps I’m mistaken.)

    So, one of the things I did was to go out and capture the grounds where this children’s home was; and then I went and took some pictures of the children’s memorial to gun violence at a local park where Christmas lights and religious displays were reverently placed all around so the parents of these children could come and mourn. Sometimes I write about some of these things in various correspondences, so as a yearly formal church-like ritual, no, I don’t approach my personal communion with my past that way. But yes, I try every year to turn my attention in this direction. It’s a part of my personal Sacred Space you might say, but it’s not formally ritualized. I think each of us has their own version of the way they approach this season of Christmas to New Years. (I had many years of Christian indoctrination concerning this time of year; and yes, I put both Christmas and New Year’s together now because it represents or symbolizes to me a “doorway of transition”; which could also be seen as transformation as well.

    I really like the way you’ve approached yours; and it’s spectacularly arranged with a huge banquet of contemplative food for thought. I’m just at a much more subdued level right now; and the atmosphere surrounding Covid; especially concerning the Omicron variant, is definitely affecting much of what I do. I hope this is a little clearer since, yes, the last post didn’t quite answer your questions.