Build up a reserve of your own good things for the New Year

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Out of the Broomcloset photo by Leon Calafiore for Out In Jersey
Out of the Broomcloset photo by Leon Calafiore for Out In Jersey magazine.
Out of the Broomcloset
Here in the northern hemisphere, winter will soon be officially upon us, with all that entails — blizzards or no. While there are some who leap at the chance of tempting hypothermia while frolicking in the snow, I am not among their number. Were it possible, I would curl up in the library, by the fire, and alternately nap and read until spring. Such is not to be, but such is hoped.
Hope is the operative word; many of our cultural traditions and aspirations that have accumulated around this season, both in mainstream religions as well as in the popular imagination, have to do with hope, or the promise of new hope (without being a chapter in the Star Wars saga).
In many western magical/pagan traditions, the darkness of the season holds the promise of new life and light; the birthday of various Messiahs falls during this period, don’t you know. The Sun, or some avatar of hope, is either born or reborn at this time, or is laid away someplace, biding time to re-emerge.
Really that is the heart of the matter; much of the merrymaking this time of year is all to deny this dark time any long-term power over us, and to produce abundance out of the barren landscape. It’s magical thinking, really. And some of that magic should be put to work for you.
A prudent farmer will have held aside the best seed to plant in the ensuing year; a craftsman will put by materials for future projects, a baker reserves some starter. What have you put aside for your own future?  I know it sounds a bit like an insurance commercial, but I’m not selling anything.
You should build up a reserve of your own good things. Put them in a box for your own benefit in the coming year. Consider it a treasure chest, or a survival kit. But most importantly, it’s a cornerstone for the next stage of your progress through life.
First, you need a box, wood or metal, with a lid, 3” to 5” square, a sort of box you’re liable to find in gift or craft stores. This should be brand-new, never used.
If you can manage to keep an even temperament for a few days, carry around a small quartz crystal so it may be saturated with those emotions; just keep thinking those happy thoughts! If you can’t, delete that step; no one needs to carry grumpy around.
A length of red yarn, thread or ribbon, given to you, or found lying around (or, *ahem*, borrowed), should be put in, along with a few acorns and sesame seeds. Add some evergreen needles (pine or fir, none of those balsams)!  Any small stones, shells, or feathers that might pique your magpie interests can be added.
Pick up any loose change that might appear in your path. Obviously, if you stumble across a paper sack filled with cash, it won’t fit, but I’m certain you’ll figure out what to do with that. What you are doing here is gathering up the luck that others have thoughtlessly (and conveniently) tossed aside. This change will be put into an envelope created from a crisp dollar bill, folded so that the unfinished pyramid on the reverse is on top.
Finally, on a clean piece of paper, write down on one side the good things of the previous year you want to bring into the next, on the other side the things you desire for the ensuing year. Unlike Pandora’s box, this should only contain the good.
These components should be assembled between 7 am and 7:15 pm on December 21. This year, the Moon is conjunct with Jupiter in the morning, the Moon itself being between houses; also, the Moon is sextile to the Sun in the evening. All you really need to know is this: it’s the best of times to put everything together.
Top off your treasures with frankincense and myrrh grains, and a sample of your hair, then glue the whole thing shut, so no one can open it (see Pandora, above). Then, you may either wrap it as a present, or paint it with a faux finish. It should be put somewhere in your home where you will see it every day, and be reminded to fiddle with it on a regular basis. Let it bring all good things into the New Year.