Death & Birth on New Year’s Eve


 

What’s so new about the new year?

At midnight tonight we enter a new time that’s not so new—that’s only a continuation of what came before.  Yet we’ll think of 2011 as being an entity distinct and different from 2010…

…just as we consider the 20th century to be a block of time distinct from the 21st—though 1999 looked a lot more like 2000 than it did 1900.

Yet at midnight, as we cross that manmade line, there will be a change, a change in our conscious thought as we realize one year has passed and another has dawned…

…but a change on a deeper level as well…

…because the event of New Year’s contains something of ritual and rituals help connect us to an unconscious, spiritual reality.

Collectively, on New Year’s eve, we recognize the passage of time.  It’s a paradox.  We’ve traveled on the horizontal line of time, yet gone in a circle.  We’ve passed through all the months and ended up back at the beginning.  As one year dies, another is born.  We’re a year older, yet born once more.

I will die many times in this life, only to experience new birth with each death.

Maybe our New Year’s rituals need to do more to help us realize this spiritual reality of death and birth.  Getting drunk and starting the countdown at ten seconds to midnight doesn’t seem to be quite enough.

Well, sooner or later, humankind creates what it needs–at least, that’s my hope.  So, in time, we will create more effective rituals for our New Year’s observance.  Our new mythology will help lead us to these rituals…

…just as such rituals will help shape our new mythology.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton
dream steps

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About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, essayist, cartoonist, graphic artist, peace miller, new mythologist, and fledgling world citizen.... I grew up in Northwest Arkansas and have lived and worked all over the United States.... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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