Here we are: 2014, a year away from the Hover Boards we were promised in the movie ‘Back to the Future 2’.
Bringing in the New Year has undergone many changes, especially in modern times where the mainstream celebrate with fire works and lighting Chinese Lanterns, perhaps unknowingly passing the old year and welcoming the new with the most basic (and instinctive) method of communal celebration: fire.
The New Year in folk tradition paints this as a time of transition, not only numerically, but in the world around us as well as the Otherworld. Yorkshire lore has it that high winds around NY are the ‘Winds of Change’ where the new year is literally blowing away the old year, its effects and energies being cleared away. In some areas including Yorkshire and beyond (apparently this also applies in Southampton), it was tradition to open all the windows just after midnight to let out all the bad luck and spirits gained from the old year… you had to be careful closing the windows though, because you could end up trapping a passing spirit in your home!
And in this transitional chaos, the world was seen as being in flux. Meaning, if you knew where to look you could divine what the new year portended.
One Celtic tradition has it that if you were to watch the skies all of NY night, and you knew your clouds, you could tell what the year has in store. I honestly can’t remember where I got that from, I think its Irish with variants in Scotland and Wales.
* First Footing: good or bad luck on you and your household depending on the looks of the first man to come to your door just after midnight:
Dark Hair: Good fortune
Red Hair: Bad fortune (there’s your racist).
In fact, with that tradition, apart from the dark haired fella, any red headed, squint eyed, flat footed, women (there’s your sexist) are all bad luck! Although if a man has a high instep or rides a horse then that’s very good luck (!?…). I have flat feet and, in the right light, red in my hair, so next year I might go and knock on the doors of any neighbours who piss me off!
* Clocks: Should be wound up at the time of the beginning of New Year to bring good luck.
* Waking up: For a girl to awaken in the morning of New Years Day to see a man pass by, from her bedroom window, supposedly meant she can hope to be married before the year is ended.
So, getting into the spirit of New Year divinations, I asked my Druid Animal Oracle this simple question:
“What do I need to focus on in 2014?”
Raven (Bran) reversed.
It means recognising that you cannot build or make foundations of something new without the destruction of the old. It can also represent having to endure the dark in order to find the light.
Or it can mean the realisation of opposites “in light there is darkness, and in darkness, there is light”. There are stars in the night sky and there are embers that darken in any fire.
I will admit to thinking “Oh shit” when I drew it, but at the same time there is a sort of dread excitement… a development of something new but something will have to give way, what that will be is for 2014 to reveal.
Anonymous, ‘The Complete Book of Fortune: The secrets of the past, present & future revealed‘, Blaketon Hall Ltd, Exeter, 1988, p. 483.
Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm, ‘The Druid Animal Oracle Deck‘, Connections Book Publishing Ltd, London, This version printed 2005, pp. 20. Illustrated by Bill Worthington.