"January is named for Janus, the god of the doorway; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door (ianua) - January is the door to the year" (wikipedia)
the past month has definitely been one that can be symbolized by doors. In many different cultures and religions, doors are seen as portals:
Door: Hope; opportunity; opening; passage from one state or world to another; entrance to new life; initiation;
the sheltering aspect of the Great Mother. The open door is both opportunity and liberation.
Christian:Christ— “I am the door.” The three doors of a cathedral or church signify faith, hope, and charity.
Hindu:Divinities are carved on door jambs, indicating the deity through which man enters the Supreme Presence.
Mithraic:The entrance to the seven zones of Paradise or the cave of initiation.
Roman:Janus is the god of the doorway and holds the keys of the power of opening and closing.
Zodiacal:The summer solstice in Cancer, is the “door of men” and symbolizes the dying power & descent of the sun, the Janua inferni.The winter solstice in Capricorn, the “door of the gods” is the ascent & rising power of the sun, the Janua coeli. These doors are also associated with the entrances and exits of initiation caves and with souls entering and leaving the world. In Hinduism they are the deva-yana (Janua coeli)& the pitri-yana (Janua inferni).
(Dar-Initiation caves are prevalent in "A War of Witches")
Looking back on the past month, I can see that January has definitely lived up to its name. Not only has it ushered in a new calendar year, but January has also led to new ideas, discoveries, resolutions, decisions, friendships, and pitfalls.
New Years itself was eventful...
Shawn and James arrived in London on December 28th...for Dar and I, it was a giddy, surreal moment-when two completely different planes of life come crashing together, like the layering of two semi-transparent photos together to create a new, slightly weird in its complete normality, picture of your life. this happened the to me the first time i visited Dar in London after moving here...but having Shawn and James here...two completely non-student, non-long term, non-UK kids...really brought the contrast into high relief. It was fabulous.
We all trekked up to Edinburgh that night on the bus ride from Hell...
and then the Hogmanay extravaganza began!
In Edinburgh, the celebration of New Years is still referred to as "Hogmanay" and this city does it right! Four days of events, including the kick-off of the torch ceremony, in which thousands of people with torches trek up Calton hill and light a Viking effigy, then watch fireworks to begin the official Hogmanay.
The next three days are filled with concerts, Ceilidhs (traditional dances), parties, and the big Princes Street Party to officially bring in the New Year. the entire street is closed off to allow thousands of people to wander, socialize, drink, and listen to various bands perform. Midnight brings amazing fireworks...and then the party keeps going!
I was lucky to spend this time with some wonderful people-Dar, Shawn and James of course; and also Chris Taylor, Ken, and many of my Edinburgh friends. It was definitely an experience I will never forget!
January 2nd brought the usual New Years reflections on life and all its subtle quirks and questions...what to do about my thesis, where to go for fieldwork, when can I return home to see my friends and family? will i get funding? where will I live when my lease is up? what was I doing a year ago? how can the Twilight books be THIS good? have I really lived here for four months already? ???????
all these questions and musings are doors, of course...doors into my conscious/subconscious mind...things I worry about and ponder both awake and while sleeping (I'm light sleeper, and as such I often remember my dreams). None of these things are any scarier or worse than other years, or other times, but when you find yourself facing an entirely NEW set of months over which to leave your mark and make a difference, some things just become more important and thrown into sharp relief. This IS the time to make changes, to become self-aware, and to allow the symbolic nature of this time of year to carry you to resolutions for your life. It should be called a New Life resolution....not New Year...a year, in all actuality, is far too transient.
I know I must sound strange and metaphysical...But I do believe that there is powerful potential in the New Year...we just need to find it, hold on, and be willing to go for a ride!
I have met some wonderful people these last few months, and seen some wonderful things...I can't wait to see what 2009 brings!