January is named after the Roman god Janus, who looks both to the past and the future. While December is usually the month when we start making plans for the next year, there’s a danger that you’ll spend the last days of the year neglecting any business that needs wrapping up in favor of the bright blankness of the future. January offers a better position from which to assess the lessons learned of the past and how to apply them to the new year. As such, January is the month for planning, with the added benefit that most dated planners and calendars will be on sale.
Use Magick to Reach Your Goals
Look at your magickal goals for the upcoming year. Lots of self-help guides encourage people to pick a word for their year. This is meant to be a theme or mantra and often involves an idea or property you want to manifest in your life, which sounds just like magick to me. In that case, consider spells and rituals you can do to support your word for the year.
Don’t just focus on January with this. Schedule time throughout the year to work the spells or rituals. Use moon timing to make the scheduling easy. If, for example, your word is “Growth”, perform prosperity or self-improvement spells every full moon during the year.
Speaking of the Moon
Mark the moon phases on your calendar. There are plenty of websites and almanacs out there that will tell you when the full, quarters and new moon phases are each month. Take twenty minutes and add that information to your planner or calendar. Your future self will be grateful for it when they want to work on magickal timing. If you use an app or computer calendar look to see if there is a setting or plug-in that adds the information automatically.
Clean Your Altar
Yule is over and Imbolc is weeks away so your altar might be a bit neglected now. Take everything down and give it a good dusting and cleaning. Break out the black and white altar cloths, candles and crystals. Add some nuts or pine cones, or a bouquet of snowdrops or crocus to the altar to acknowledge the energies of the month and the seasonal cycle. Burn an incense of lemon to bring in solar and extra energy to start the new year off. Or go for a pine incense to help cleanse any negative or stagnant energies.
Get Ready for Spring Cleaning
It isn’t time, yet, to throw open the windows and invite Spring in, but you can take some time to prepare. Dump any empty cardboard boxes from holiday shopping in the recycling bin. Or put them to work by filling them with items to go to charity shops. Make a list of what major clean ups and repairs you want to tackle in 2021 and write down what steps you need to take to accomplish them. Go through your pantry, fridge and apothecary and get rid of anything expired.
Don’t focus only on your physical surroundings. Turn your attention inward and take note of any habits, thought patterns or beliefs you want to get rid of as well. Make plans for how you want to go about that, whether through shadow work, therapy, self-help or other means.
Don’t Forget to Rest
As I’ve written elsewhere, winter is for resting. January can often feel cold and dreary after the excitement of the holidays. This month is perfect for indulging in hygge. Light candles, cuddle under warm blankets and sip hot chocolate or tea while you read a book or watch a movie. Give yourself a spa night by making a face mask or soaking in a tub. Give yourself a foot or hand massage. Let your body know that you care for it and all that it does for you.
Check in with the Oracle
Break out the tarot cards, runes, bones, charms or whatever oracle you use and see what 2021 holds for you. Last year I drew a Tarot card for each month. I then recorded what I drew at the top of each month so I knew what energies I was working with. Consider starting an oracle journal where you keep track of this yearly reading along with monthly and daily draws. If you do so, and read over past entries regularly, you can identify patterns as the year progresses.
As you can see, January provides plenty of opportunities for not only self-reflection but to set foundations for the year to come. Use the magick of the month to leave behind that which does not serve you and to manifest the life you want.
Header image: Janus by Tony Grist from Wikimedia Commons.