Twelfth Month Rituals

If you are reading this on publication day I wish you a happy new year. Even if you’re not, I wish you a happy new year. I made it all twelve months without missing a highlight reel. Twelve ritual posts to support my 2020 theme of Ritual. Back when this became a wellness blog I called each of these end-of-the-month posts my Work Release. This year I elected to describe and observe these monthly posts as Rituals themselves, in addition to being filled with rituals which support wellness. Welcome to a highlight reel of December’s rituals, shared here to inspire, encourage, and sometimes enlighten as a wellness enthusiast.

If you enjoyed these monthly wrap-ups they will continue in 2021, mostly because I can’t think of a reason not to and also because my 2021 theme of Honesty is likely to challenge me in ways I will probably want to document and affirm. Just this morning I explained to someone that when we tell other people what we want we are also telling the Universe what we want. It’s the same with things we learn. When we share those lessons or insights with other people we affirm to the Universe what we have learned. Sending it out via our voices or written words such as these makes us a conduit for the wisdom of the Universe. If ever there was a good reason to continue a wellness blog, that’s a compelling one.

Physical Wellness

No changes to the the line-up of rituals boosting physical wellness; yoga, tennis, running, and hiking still remain the core four. Even in this weather, you ask? But isn’t it too dark, you ask? More safety gear! Remember the more cowbell bit from SNL? That’s me on weeknights leashing up the dogs for winter runs (I’m not even going to bother calling them walks anymore). Lately those runs after dark also include light rain, ergo more safety gear.

We now have blinking lights on the leashes, twinkling lights on headwear, glowing armbands, reflective shoes and vests, and these fun suspender buckle-ons seen in the slideshow below. Too much? Not if they work. Every time an oncoming driver slows to a crawl or a dead stop in confusion, dogs and humans are safer. I kid you not, drivers will pull over and stop, then stare in wonder as we huff past. I’ve even had folks roll down windows to ask where we got those lights, etc. So yep, ting tang, more safety gear!

Said gear doesn’t (didn’t) stop one (me) from tripping over uneven pavement and falling ass over teakettle onto the cold, hard, bitey concrete to skin knees, rip expensive winter running pants, and bruise everything from shoulder to ankle. However, since I’m known to do exactly that in blazing sunlight, we can’t blame the dark. You may remember the last major fall resulted in a torn meniscus and months of rehab. Not this time; thankfully just the bruises and scabs. And holey pants, but I’ll take it.

There was a Kris Kringle in daily residence on the town square for most of December. The human actor is usually a festacular event in Mercyburg but with COVID it made sense not to have the annual lap-sitting photo shoot. This bespectacled stand-in was therefore on duty morning, noon, and night for our wishmaking needs. As we ran by on a Dog Jog I suggested we stop to let the dogs visit. Since we are also trying to teach the Dog Younger not to launch into the lap of strangers every time she encounters one sitting down, it was also good practice. I’m serious about that part. The first time we took her to the dog park she ignored all the playful dogs and leapt uninvited into the lap of an elderly fellow unprepared to be mounted. As for Kris Kringle, neither dog found him more stimulating than sniffing the bushes around his gazebo. However, if they did make wishes I’d wager Dog Younger’s wish was more birds. Dog Elder’s was probably I wanna go home now.

It was a good run though. Such was their contentment upon returning home:

Financial Wellness

November’s Spending Diet ritual was practical to compensate for unexpected expenses and I’m not sorry for the practice of temporarily restricting spending. However, let’s not forget that if we want to attract wealth, scarcity thinking is counterproductive. Last month I may not have emphasized that Spending Diets and Spending Fasts are practiced for a given period of time. There comes an end date. Upon that end date we can return to things such as investing, or as it is otherwise known, spending money to make money. After weeks, months, or a year of the discipline it takes to make a fast or diet work, any non-essential spending can be scary. Stressful. Sometimes paralyzing. This is when we have to exercise some faith and trust.

I’ve done this myself over the years. After several periods of restricted spending, releasing my grip on money for something non-essential after the restriction ends can cause a panic. It can set off feelings of desperation, wherein we cling to money out of fear. This is scarcity thinking and it is poisonous to prosperity. Rather than saying Yes to an opportunity the Universe might bring me I would only see the risk and say No. I’d be afraid that any money spent was just gone, never to be recovered, and I’d be left in hardship without it. Worst case scenarios would play on repeat in my mind, reinforcing lack rather than abundance, and I would attract and reinforce nothing but more lack, need, and fear. I neglected to mention this last month when lauding my ritual of recouping October’s losses by tightening my belt in November. So my work in December? Signaling to the Universe that I am ready for more, not less, by releasing scarcity thinking. In fact, I am all in when it comes to changing my relationship to money in 2021. Prepare for some hardcore manifesting, y’all.

And once again, in case you’re just tuning in and have not read any previous posts giving credit, spending diets and spending fasts are not my ideas. I discovered them here.

Social Wellness & Relationships

Folks who work with crystals believe charging or recharging their crystals periodically keeps the metaphysical properties of the stones strong, effective, and flowing. As I understand it, this can be done by exposing them to moonlight overnight, or sunlight, or minerals (salt, etc.), sounds, or other crystals. Some believe it can be done by intention alone. Whatever the method, the point is obviously periodic renewal. Revival. Rejuvenation. I believe humans need the same. Specifically, I think humans who spend time with certain other humans can find themselves all charged up or recharged, keeping our powers and properties strong, effective and flowing. And for maximum potency, physical contact is preferable to digital.

This ritual of exposure to humans who have specific energetic properties was powerful stuff in December. Deliberately placing myself in the company of powerful people turned me into a lightning rod for the new work ahead and it was exhilarating. The phrase get off your ass was uttered more than once. There were questions to be answered about permission; as in what kind of permission are you waiting for? In one afternoon, over lunch and conversation on the journey by car, energetic stalemates were broken. Dormancy cleared. Dust shaken. In these days of contagion there were plenty of practical reasons not to go but without a doubt my immunity is now surging because I (we) did go. If you can do this safely, sometimes this is a ritual reason to be together — to be charged or recharged by exposure to other superheroes, lightworkers, healers, artists and magicians. And if they are similarly charged by you, this is win-win wellness for everyone.

Environmental Wellness

The free-to-me Christmas trees are being passed on! Whoo hoo! Some folks just getting out of COVID quarantine lamented lack of funds for a Christmas tree within earshot of my antennae. Another voice piped up suggesting they hit the stores the day after Christmas for clearance deals. Enter Mercy, ready to do you one better. I’ve got two extra trees in great shape. You can have one, or both, for free. With lights. Don’t buy one. They were free to me; they can be free to you. Re-gifting is my favorite holiday ritual, y’all. Those of you who insist this is tacky can kiss my landfill.

I read just the other day the average American unwraps at least one unwanted gift each year. Do the math, my friends. That’s roughly three million unwanted gifts. Three million unnecessary purchases. Three million times every. damn. year. And that’s not counting all the decorations. The Universe has dictated I become the foster mother for these things until I can find them new homes. Adoption Day for my foster trees came in 2020. My Hi Ho Silver tree and my Black Swan tree have gone to their new homes with tidings of great joy. If you’re ever inspired to try any one of my wellness rituals, please start with this one. If the world stopped producing holiday decorations today there would still be enough in circulation to deck all our halls and fill up our storage. Trade, barter, re-gift, and re-use but if you can help it, don’t buy new. Nothing is more tacky than holiday waste.

Intellectual Wellness & Creativity

I had lots of sparkly, glowy, merry things to photograph in this month, which was the most significant creative ritual practiced. But I created and/or facilitated much of the sparkle and glow as well. On tables, floors, in the air, and upon screens; my holiday spirit was off the charts this month. Although I didn’t write much about it, nary a day passed without some Solstice, Yule, Festivas, Hannukah, and Christmas gaiety. I covered the irony of this in November with my post about Fa-ing the La Las so I won’t repeat all my justifications. I’ll just share the fruits of my ritual photographic celebrations. Here’s some:

And here’s some more:

This category includes Intellectual Wellness too, however. I did learn some important new things but let me get a confession out of the way first. Instead of seeking out documentaries this month I launched myself headlong into the discovery of holiday movies I’ve never seen before. Some classic, some modern, some animated; I just wanted to expand my repertoire and enrich my experience of the season. I watched half a dozen (one at a time, no binging) holiday movies that were not new but new to me. My favorite of them all was The Polar Express. I will add it to my annual rotation next year with great anticipation of seeing it again. But on to the learning.

I spent a great deal of time researching the origins of a diamond ring which came into my possession this month. I knew it was vintage. It was an estate piece. I wanted to know how vintage it might be, so I journeyed through the internets starting with the makers mark on the ring. I found the mark in the archives of antique jewelers and by following the history of the jeweler himself, dated the ring to the years between 1890 to 1934. The ring was made in Rhode Island, which is about as far away from Mercyburg as one could get in the good old U.S. of A.

The family history of the jeweler was documented and researched so well by his descendants that I was able to follow his line back through colonial New England all the way to the Tudor period in Old England, both maternal and paternal, with several famous relatives discovered along the way. As with all families, some relatives were famous for good things and some for bad things. Nonetheless, we are talking about twelve generations of a single family. The fellow who made my ring was eighth generation from the time parish recordkeeping became law. Jeweling was the not the family business. He was the first strike out in such a direction. And yes, I read through all twelve generations up to descendants still alive today. So you can easily see why I would need to take breaks from this project and watch holiday movies rather than documentaries. Not that I need to provide a reason.

I know you’re curious about it but I have not yet photographed the ring in formal portraiture. However, while modeling the length of a beaded necklace for another project, a glimpse of the ring can be seen here:

Yep, that’s the frayed collar of an old t-shirt. It was a candid photo to show where a 16-inch length would fall on the neck. But everything you see is vintage so I can call it an accidental composition. The amber beads are prehistoric (all natural amber is prehistoric). The t-shirt is clearly old AF, the half-zip sweater is over 20 years old, and then there’s the model. I’m almost an antique too. But for visual reference, to date this is the only photo of the ring which occupied my studies this month. You’re wondering why the preoccupation with the jeweler, aren’t you? Magic, of course. I think the ring is magical. I believe the ring is magical. Ahem. The ring is magical.

I was with my charge-up friends in a place known for its strong healing properties. We were there to help a friend release some old baggage. The ring was presented to me by a stranger who watched me stroking the hands of my friend. It came with a compliment about my …

um, my …

… ability to stir certain passions.

Mm hmm. Those are the ones.

I agreed to try it on and … well … worlds collided. I could tell the ring had magic without knowing anything else about it so there was no way it was ever going back. The ring immediately fell in love with me. Full on gone in love with me. And this does/did not surprise me because love/lust/passion has long been a superpower. But I’m always looking for deeper connections, as you well know. Other than the allure of its beauty I was naturally curious about its origins and its journey to me, hence the intensive study. My own family history is not sufficiently documented to know whether or not there is any human connection other than I certainly got to the New World via the British Isles through my ancestors as well. I had the ring professionally appraised and it is indeed an item of great physical value so compensation was made. No, I did not sleep with the stranger but after I took the time to learn its value and then paid for the ring, my admirer was no longer a stranger.

Yes, of course I had a few flashes of trepidation. Could I afford this? What am I doing? Am I getting carried away here? Remember that scarcity thinking? I would normally have said I was in no position to unexpectedly pay for a diamond ring I had no intention or premeditated desire to possess but some things you just don’t question. You simply trust the magic. The ring and I were on intersecting paths and my position was to receive it. Making payment was simply a ritual good faith transaction to seal the journey’s end. And also so demand can never be made for its return because the ring is now home, I assure you. It is working its three-stone sorcery and I’m not worrying about money. My fascination with it sent me back in time through twelve generations to peasants living under the reign of Henry VII. Who knows were it will take me next?

Two weeks later I found these prayer beads while out on a run.

Which brings us to our final category, Spiritual Wellness. My loves, this is all spiritual wellness. All wellness is spiritual. Every breath. Every nap. Every meal. Every embrace. Every emotion. All spiritual. This post is an act of worship and gratitude. We spend money as a form of prayer. We cook food as an Alleluia. We mop floors in devotion. We share wisdom as a sermon. Laughter is praise. Offerings, blessings, benedictions, with every step of our feet. So when I say just the usual this month, I mean everything.

Since this is the last post of the year I thank you again for reading. In looking ahead to 2021 the naysayers are already telling us that nothing is necessarily going to be better just because we flip a page on the calendar. Or because we start the year with new leaders in government. Or because we’ve entered a new celestial phase punctuated by the Great Conjunction. Or because we survived the last year. Or because we’ve resolved something of significance for the next year.

Yes, it is going to be better. It most certainly is. There is no chance it won’t be better. Some things will be better than ever. Some things won’t change at all. Some will get worse. Our approach directly affects outcomes, so if you’re holding hope and intention and resolve in any one of the conditions listed above you are contributing to better. And you are powerful. Yes, you are.

Despite the naysayings, the birth of change for better or for worse is a single featherweight thought. You know this. If you’ve decided on better — if you’re planning, plotting, strategizing, and practicing for better — then better will be made. Better isn’t luck. Better is made. Better is co-created. With practice. And since I’m determined to make, have, and share better, I’d love for you to co-create with me. If you want better too, consider better a foregone conclusion. It’s already happening, ball drop or no, and it started weeks ago. I have no tolerance for foregone conclusions to the contrary because they do not contribute anything better. So let ’em bounce off and keep doing better. The next better thing, and then the next, and then the next until we are thriving better with ease.

See you next year,

Mercy

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