January blues refers to that unsettled and unhappy feeling after the holidays are over. The joy and excitement have come and gone, and now there is nothing to look forward to. Of course, Imbolc isn’t so far away, so as a Pagan it’s probably a bit easier to cope with! But winter depression and SAD can affect anyone, so it’s important to keep an eye on your mood at this time of year and try and do something positive if you feel yourself becoming anxious or feeling low.
Here are some excerpts from a book I contributed to which has magical tasks for every day of the year. Every Day Magic: A Pagan Book of Days is a collection of 366 ways to observe the cycle of the year. These ideas can help make a grey and dismal January as magical as you need it to be.
January the First: New Year’s Resolutions
Resolve to enrich your spirit each and every day in many and varied ways. Aim to watch the way the seasons change; meditate a little; whisper prayers; light candles for peace, hope, joy, love and good health; dance and sing; learn about the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient world and celebrate the forces of nature, the Earth, the Sun, the Moon and the stars. Breathe in love and breathe out love. Be open to inspiration. Be blessed. Lucya StarzaI
January the Fourth: Janus
January is named after the Roman God of beginnings and endings, Janus. At the start of the year, cakes made of spelt flour and salt were traditionally burnt on his altar as an offering. Bake spelt bread (there are many traditional recipes online), then make an offering of a little to Janus. Tell him all the things you want to change and ask for his help. Light a candle in his honour. Ravenwings
January the Fifth: Focus and Control Pouch
Braided string, 6 inches in black, blue and yellow
Before preparing the pouch, apply cinnamon oil to the candle. Light it to aid focus and meditation. Leaving the oil on your hands, continue the work. Affirmation: ‘I am strong. I will focus. I remain calm, and use wisdom.’ Repeat this as you place the rest of the items into the pouch. Tie it with braided string. Laeynarrie Auvresti
January the Sixth
Twelfth Night Wassail
Recite this to an apple tree and offer it cider and toast:
Old Apple tree, old apple tree,
We have come to wassail thee.
Thirteen fires we bring to thee,
Ancient Mother apple tree.
Here’s cider-toast to break thy fast,
Now winter lessens here at last.
We wake the spirits with the gun,
Then sing and dance, have lots of fun.
Oh apple tree, oh apple tree,
Do blossom well we beg o’ thee.
To bear and to bow apples enow.
Hats full! Caps full! Three bushel bags full!
Barn floors full,
And a little heap under the stairs. Elen Sentier
What do you do to keep yourself joyful in January? However you spend this first month of the Gregorian year, may you be warm and merry in some small and special way.
About the Author:
Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.
She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.