Why does our new year start in January?
The Astrological new year starts in the spring, which feels much more fitting. I don’t want to wake from my deep winter hibernation to celebrate a new beginning, only to dive right back into dreamtime. Other than the party, that’s disappointingly anticlimactic.
I’m no expert on the Gregorian calendar but from what I can piece together it was an improvement on the Julian calendar and before that, the Roman, which actually began in, you guessed it: March. It had some issues though, like a year being only 304 days long (January and February were just ‘the dark period’), and that time Caesar made a year last for 446 days to extend his political clout. Turns out, it’s just another tool created by powerful government officials and reformed by the Pope, requiring ever more complex mathematical calculations and ‘adjustments’ to keep religious holidays close to the appropriate season.
Luckily, the moon still keeps time. The world doesn’t care what the calendar says. We wake from our winter slumber into a spring that pulls us upright and alert. Crocuses, Irises and Lilies find their way to the sun before the spring winds have shaken the leaves from their skirts. Seeds, lain dark and dormant, germinate and rise up, unfurling the plan written in their genome.
We too, feel spring move through our bodies. To live wholly within the seasons can be challenging in this day and age, but to FEEL the energy of the world isn’t. Spring is here to motivate us. The quiet introspection of winter inspires dreaming, planning, formulating, reconnecting with the essence of ourselves. Spring shows up and shakes us out of our dreams and back into our bodies. Now is the ideal time to do the physical, literal work to make your dreams happen. Take your cue from the rest of the world; just listen to those birds and busy bees.
Personally, I struggle with doing things. I’m not much of a go-getter, more of a hang-outer. For most of my life, I only knew what the media tells me about people like me, that I’m lazy. I’m not motivated by check lists and goals. Turns out, I just wasn’t born with spring energy. But I sure will capitalize on it when it rolls around and lends me a get-shit-done hand.
The style of herbalism I apprenticed in uses the energies of the seasons to assess people. Are you lacking in spring (Wood) energy? Do you have too much (anger, rage, perfectionism)? Plants who qrow in this same world with this same cycle of seasons can help us find balance in our own physical and emotional states. It doesn’t have to be mathematical, logical, and scientific, like the Gregorian calendar. It can be intuitive, fluid and magical, like the natural rhythms of the moons and seasons.
Just don’t get me started on daylight savings time.