Image courtesy of Annie Spratt at Unsplash

Beginning a worthwhile garden necessitates a period spent clearing the weeds and prepping the soil. Even knowing this, time and again I enter a new year with no prep work, no plan, and only a desperate urge to “do better this year.” Inevitably I find that, having rushed into a new hobby or improvement project, I haven’t done sufficient research or acquired all the tools I need. I’m ill-prepared, under-equipped, rapidly discouraged, and within a month or two (often less), I’ve shelved things and told myself that next time it would be different.

This time, I’m starting to prepare, beginning with being mindful of time itself. The new moon in December of 2021 falls on the fourth, a Saturday. I intend to harness the energies of this time to clear my weeds, to symbolically release the habits and mindsets which have been holding me back. Following that night, I intend to systematically cultivate the positive qualities I desire, culminating with a night of thankfulness on the full moon of January 17th, 2022 (a few scant days before my 36th birthday on the 22nd). The important part about the timing of this is that it gives me a month to let my negative qualities go and begin easing into the long-growth process of becoming the person I aspire to be.

For every negative aspect I clear, the intent is to replace it with something that will serve me better and balance out the “weed” I am clearing from my inner garden. As an example, I intend on giving up soda as part of this process (empty calories, gives me gas/indigestion, wears down my enamel, can give me heart palpitations) and to start training myself to drink tea (has nutrients, is a good way to incorporate kitchen witchery into my personal practice, can be relaxing). The loss of one thing is balanced here by the addition of another.

Because I have a tendency to neglect myself (part of dealing with depression, as well as abuse that made me fearful I wasn’t worth positive experiences), I will also undergo self-cleansings with ritual smoke, blessed water, and salt scrubs, followed by self-blessings with skin-safe oils and charmed amulets. I liken this to “prepping the soil” while clearing the weeds of bad habits.

I cannot control all things in my environment, but I have a great deal of control over myself and the habits I choose to hold on to or let go in my life. I believe that by taking these steps now, I ready my “garden” for the growth of, not only good habits, but also the effectiveness of spells and the blessings of the gods. I ready myself to take advantage of opportunities. I ready myself to aid others. All of it begins with getting my “garden” in order.

[Written by Ashley Nicole Hunter.]

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