Sunday, January 1, 2017

Janus :: Looking Back and Looking Forward

It's January first today, New Year's Day.

Happy New Year!

Here we are at the turning point in the year, at the threshold or gateway to a new beginning, leaving the old year and moving into the new one.

We are standing on the threshold between the old year and the new year.

The month of January is named for the Roman god Janus, god of passageways, gates, doors and transitions, of beginnings and of endings.

Janus' head is looking both forward to the future and back into the past.

Rudolf Steiner speaks of New Year's Eve:

“On New Year’s Eve it is always fitting to remember how past and future are linked together in life and in the existence of the world, how past and future are linked in the whole life of the Cosmos of which man is a part, how past and future are linked in every fraction of that life with which our own individual existence is connected, is interwoven through all that we were able to do and to think during the past year, and through all that we are able to plan for the coming year…”

~ Rudolf Steiner The Cosmic New Year, lecture 4, 31st December, 1919

An Exercise for the Turning Point in the Year
This is a reflective exercise for you to do at this threshold time of the year. This is one that can be done by you alone, by you and a partner, or as a family exercise, with children who are  8 or so and older.

Create a mood for this exercise by dedicating 20 or 30 minutes, make a pot of tea or cups of hot cocoa, with whipped cream if you like it that way, take out a journal or pencil and paper. Light a candle. Take a few calming deep breaths. This is an opportunity to rejoice in different aspects of your year.

Reflect on the significant events of the past twelve months.

What comes up?
Sometimes it feels like a big blank, and it helps to go through the months in your mind.
I like to leave a spaciousness for reflections to emerge freely rather than condense things too much. 
Sometimes they do emerge, and sometimes a little prompting can be just the thing to get thoughts flowing.

Here are some questions to ask to get the juices flowing ~
  • What stands out for you from last year?
  • What new skill did you learn?
  • What did you learn about people?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • When did you laugh the hardest? 
  • When did you cry the hardest?
  • What are you letting go of, saying goodbye to?
  • What was an unexpected joy?
  • What was an unexpected obstacle?
  • What did you learn about the obstacle? About obstacles in general?
  • What do you feel you should have been acknowledged for but weren’t?
  • If you could change one thing about last year, what would it be?

Now look forward and share what each of you are looking forward to in the year ahead.

Looking back and looking forward, a reconciliation of the past with the future.

Looking Forward
  • What are you tackling? 
  • What qualities are you working on?
  • Choose one word that reflects a quality you want to cultivate in the coming year. 

If you'd like this Exercise for the Turning Point in the Year in PDF, click through here

If you'd love weekly inspirations and reflections for Tending the Hearth {He(art)}h = Hearth + Heart + Art within a warm and wise community, come on over and join Set a Pretty Table! here

Wishing you days filled with Love and Warmth in 2017!



  1. Thank you for this post, it gives me a nudge to do it and is simple enough not to be overwhelming. Best wishes for 2017 :)


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