This will be my second year picking a Word of the Year. It's something I first encountered last year, and I thought it was an interesting idea. It's not just about picking a theme for the year (although it is that), or keeping yourself on track (it is that too) or about deciding how you manifest (also this...are you seeing a trend here?), but I feel like it is about being both mindful and grateful for how your year unfolds.
Time is a funny thing. Our lives revolve around these chunks of time that we divide our life into. And time has this way of sneaking up on you. The more years pass, the more I feel like time is speeding up. Hubby and I always joke about how a year seemed like forever when we were in our teens, but now it's like we blink and another year has come and gone. I definitely feel like it is so easy to get caught up in our day to day tasks, and when we lift our head and look around, months have passed without our notice!
There are lots of ways to slow this cycle down, to focus more on the greater scheme of things and to help ourselves not drown in the minutia, and the Word of the Year is one of these ways. Finding your Word can be a long process, or it can come to you in a flash...or it can be a combination of the two!
I think of my Word as a symbol of where I want to set my attention in the year to come. It is a reminder to keep setting my gaze back to my Word (and what it represents). When I am thinking about my Word for the coming year, I spend some time thinking about the previous year.
Last year, my Word was Harmony. I have a lot going on, in many different areas of my life, and being able to make all these different things work together, without neglecting or over-prioritizing one was a big goal for me. The year before I felt like I was very scattered, and I wanted to bring my life together into some kind of a homogeneous whole.
I thought about Balance as a word, but it still felt too disconnected. To me, balance is taking two different and separate things and managing them both, where Harmony was about creating a new thing out of two (or more) separate things...blending them together, which is very much what my path is about!
I feel like I worked with Harmony quite well last year. It was a process, but as the year went along, I felt like I got better at it. I found ways to make things work for me, to weave things together and smooth out the rough edges that remained. Looking back, I am satisfied with how my year went, which is not always something I can say.
Last year, coming up with my word was something that I thought about, mulled over, and debated. I considered different things, and had to work to come up with my Word. This year was completely different. I came up with my plan for a Year of Magic several months ago. The Year of Magic grew out of my Year of Moons, and last years (less successful in some ways) Year of Divination.
But, with a Year of Magic as my plan, the Word Magic just worked. It seemed so obvious, and so simple, and yet, like many things, there are layers in my Word that I can work with and uncover throughout the year.
Most importantly though, it will be a true representation of what the year is to me. Sort of like a keyword or tag, when I think of 2018, Magic will be in the forefront. When I see or hear the word Magic, it will remind me of my plan, of my focus, for the year, and keep my feet headed in the right direction.
There are a lot of ways to use your Word, once you have it figured out. I keep a bullet journal style daily planner, and the first page in my planner book features my word. I knot an anklet, that represents my goal for the year (and thus my Word!), which I tie on New Year's Eve and wear until New Year's day the next year. I have seen some really great applications of metal stamps, putting people's Word on a ring or necklace that can be worn throughout the year.
You could also place reminders on your altar or around your house. You might find and inspirational poster or meme with your Word, and use it on your phone or hang it on your wall. You could paint your word on a stone and put it on your altar or outside your front door.
Throughout the year, as you plan your own work and projects, you can check in with your Word. You might be inspired to feature your Word in your rituals, or at each of your Sabbats (if you celebrate them). Your Word might become your stepping off point for inner work: the questions you ask yourself this year might all spring form your Word and how to embrace it even more!
If you are struggling to make a decision or with a boundary that you are setting, you can use your Word as a gauge to determine if an action is right for you. Ask yourself, if this action or activity is in keeping with your Word. The answer might not be a simple yes or no, but it can definitely lead you in the right direction. Follow up by considering how you might act in a way that is more in keeping with your Word, or what other action you could take that would better serve your Word.
As with all things, a Word of the Year is a tool that you can use to enhance your life. Tools work best when we practice with them, and when they fit us. Finding the right Word is just the first step! Learning how you work with your Word and figuring out the best way to use your Word in your path is what will make it a powerful tool at your disposal.
If you haven't worked with a Word of the Year before, I encourage you to give it a try. It is a fun practice, that can have a surprising amount of depth. As with many things, you get out of it what you put into it, so you are in control of how your Word will enhance your life! And never fear, if your Word isn't working for you, or if you are struggling with how to use your Word, you can always adjust and pick a different one, or try again next year!