A New Year's Practice

The last full moon of the year falls on December 29th in the sign of Cancer. This Full Moon comes to us after Eclipse Season, after the Winter Solstice, and after what astrologers called, The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.

The Gregorian calendar tells us that at midnight on December 31st we enter a new year, 2021.

There are many different ways to reflect, to honor what has passed, to grieve, to celebrate. There are also many ways to look ahead, divine, and put your eyes toward what is coming up for you.

The energy of the Full Moon is on our side as we transition into this next year. In fact, astrologers are gesturing to the moon as a way to enact closure.

What does closure look like or mean to you?

I will probably be celebrating in some way, unplugging from the digital matrix, kissing my partner and my dog, crafting cocktails. Experiencing joy and sorrow at the same time is one of my specialties.

I also always turn to writing when I’m looking to mark time. Journaling can be as simple as writing a list. I always think about The Pillow Book written by Sei Shōnagon during her time as court lady during the 990s and early 1000s Heian Japan.

The Pillow Book is constructed of poems, lists, observations and fragments of thoughts. She wrote them as a private project. She threaded the needle through her story for enjoyment only for herself. This book was a way for her to express her inner thoughts and feelings that she was not allowed to state publicly due to her lower standing position in the court. The form of The Pillow Book is called a Zuihitsu.

Here’s an example that I love from The Pillow Book:

64. Surprising and Distressing Things

While one is cleaning a decorative comb, something catches in the teeth and the comb breaks.

A carriage overturns. One would have imagined that such a solid, bulky object would remain forever on its wheels. It all seems like a dream -- astonishing and senseless.

A child or grown-up blurts out something that is bound to make people uncomfortable.All night long one has been waiting for a man who one thought was sure to arrive. At dawn, just when one has forgotten about him for a moment and dozed off, a crow caws loudly. One wakes up with a start and sees that it is daytime -- most astonishing.

One of the bowmen in an archery contest stands trembling for a long time before shooting; when finally he does release his arrow, it goes in the wrong direction.”

As you close out 2020, what are some reflections that can be crafted in the form of a Zuihitsu?

A List of Things I Saw in 2020
Beautiful Moments of Togetherness in 2020
Moments of Grief and Mourning
Where I Felt Tension in 2020
Moments of Laughter in 2020

And as you look ahead to 2021, what intentions can you cast out under the light of the Cancer Full Moon?

Intentions for 2021
What I Hope to Experience in 2021
What I Hop to Learn in 2021

And you can craft your own….

Sei Shōnagon writes, “If writing did not exist, what terrible depressions we should suffer from,” as writing is a form of processing, creatively weaving, and reflection.

What can writing in your daily practice create?

Photostill: Tess McMillan for vogue.com September 17, 2019