Happy New Year! In 2015, on New Year’s Eve, my appendix burst and put me in the hospital. I was 25 years old. For years I had tried to make New Years Eve this night of ‘going out, celebrating, partying,’ and I hated it. After I was released from the hospital several days later, I came to the realization that ‘it might have been one of the best New Year’s Eve’s I’ve ever had.’ This began my tradition of ‘staying home,’ and using New Years Eve as a night of ‘going inward.’ I’d reflect, maybe do some activity that was reflective in nature, and then usually go to bed. Today, I did the same. I rested. It’s been a very busy couple of weeks as a mental health therapist and my brain and my body said, ‘you deserve to just rest.’ We all deserve a bit of rest after this crazy ride of a year. A few years ago, I, not knowing this is a tradition that some do, chose a word ‘brave,’ because I needed it. I was coming out of a period of loss, transition, and I had to find a way to get my heart and mind back out into the world. I told my friends that ‘this year I was going to be brave.’ We sort of used the word throughout the year as a means of encouragement to one another. When one of us would struggle, we’d simply remind one another ‘be brave.’ Together that statement helped us manifest ourselves back into a better mindset. As a writer, I believe words have power. I remember being in workshops in school and being challenged by peers or professors in workshops about the choice of one word a character would say in a short story. “That character would never use that word,’ they’d critique, and they were usually right. The one word had disconnected the reader to the character. I believe words are powerful in our personal lives. In teaching feelings and assertiveness, I encourage my clients to find the correct feeling word when being assertive that ‘gets the point across,’ but is not too strong that it turns the other person off. This year I’ve become very conscious of the words I am saying to myself. Instead of ‘I don’t want to get sick.’ I try to say to myself, “I am healthy and vital.’ In a year where I spent an enormous amount of time alone, the words I used to talk to myself very much mattered. Throughout the year, I think most people have studied something new or taught themselves how to do something they did not do before. I studied astrology and really focused on developing a practice of mindfulness and meditation. I am extremely drawn to words. I am always writing words I hear down that I love. I have journals of just words, waiting to find themselves in a poem. If I hear something and there’s nothing around, it goes on my hand. I’ve tried to do this less over the years, but I still do it. If I hear a word and I love it, I need to write it down. Over the last few months, one word continued to come to me. It was not a unique word. In fact, it’s sort of cliche, but every time I heard it, I thought, ‘That is a beautiful word.’ The word never really struck me before. As I said, I found it rather cliche. However, a sound is just a noice until you name it. It has no meaning. This word was just a word, I think, until I began to really dream about it and what it could look like if it was manifested in all sorts of realities. I thought about the year I chose ‘brave,’ and decided that this word wanted to be ‘my word of the year.’ This week, I found out this is a tradition that some people do, ‘choosing a word.’ I asked clients about ‘what their word would be, co-workers, etc. Yesterday morning, I was doing my meditation and it kept coming to me. I do this silly thing after my meditation/prayers in the morning, where I sit in silence for a few minutes and ask my ‘guides, spirits, angels, higher self, God,’ to give me the strength I need to be of use to my clients. I also ask that they give me the knowledge and insight to know what my client’s needs are, so I can meet their needs for their higher good. I’ve been working at my aunt’s house and she has this deck of ‘inspiration cards.’ I then choose two cards one that reminds me of something my client’s need and one that reminds me of something I need to remember about myself. I had just told my co-workers the day before that the word I was playing with choosing, the word that had been haunting me, was ‘peace.’ The last sentence on the cards was, I’m literally not joking, ‘I am at peace.’ I felt this was a solid sign. The word just seems so perfect and beautiful. I’ve written about my ‘dislike,’ for the word ‘better’ before because ‘it’s comparing. I usually try to go for ‘I’m ok,’ versus, ‘I want to be better.’ I feel like ‘I want to just be at peace,’ is so powerful. The idea of inner-peace just speaks so appropriately to me right now. Not only the idea of ‘inner peace,’ but the idea that when we interact with others, to always remember we do so ‘in peace,’ ‘to bring them greater peace.’ Today, all day, in my head, Ive had the lyrics to the church hymn they used to sing at my childhood church, ‘Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,’ and those lines just speak to what I want my year to be about. I’ve been deeply studying the astrology of 2021. I have pages of notes. I went through each month, every transit, etc. Throughout this year, one of the things I found myself saying to my client is, ‘If we look at history, after every pandemic there is a renaissance.’ In this year, I meant that to have meaning worldwide, which is true, but I also wanted it to be applied at an individual level. From our darkest hours that plagued us, we are reborn. We get some of our greatest transformations from some of the worst times of our lives. I became ‘brave,’ because I needed strength after an incredibly dark period. I do believe after this pandemic we will find ourselves in a renaissance. I don’t think it will be born in one year. It will take time, but I think we are headed into a renaissance. In 2020, the skies were filled with constant challenging astrological transits. 2021 definitely has those too. The difference between the astrology of 2020 and 2021 is in 2021, we have some ‘nice pockets of energy.’ In 2020, there were none. The major theme in the cosmos of 2021 is that Saturn is in Aquarius and it will directly oppose Uranus in Taurus three times directly next year. Saturn is structure, rules, reigning things in. It is ‘the old ruler of Aquarius,’ so it’s comfortable there, but it’s opposing Uranus, who is the new rule or Aquarius. Uranus is in Taurus, so we have the planet of ’surprise,’ ‘the unexpected..’ I like to think of Uranus as the punk of the Zodiac. It’s in Taurus, which is an ‘earth sign.’ Taurus is the sign of ‘earthly pleasure.’ It’s ruled by Venus. Taurus is very rooted in earthly comforts (food, shelter, earth). As I studied the transits month by month of this year and tried to find a summation of this year, one day when I was meditating, I just kept getting the image of, ‘the old becomes the new.’ This does meet the energy of Uranus, who rules the internet, in the sign of Taurus, earthly comforts, opposing Saturn (rules, structure) in the sign of Aquarius, a sign of change, evolution. When I looked at the bigger picture, the idea that ‘the old becomes new,’ made a lot of sense. We have been working in new ways, depending on the internet for connection (Uranus rules the internet), and staying indoors a lot in 2020. The idea of hugging, going outside, traveling, will all look different, but the idea of just doing them is ‘revolutionary.’ The idea of ‘the old becomes new.’ Remember how we abandoned records for (8-tracks, cassettes, CD’s, digital) and just the other night I was on a Zoom call admiring a friends ‘amazing record collection.’ We have not been able to go to stores and have been having to ‘online shop.’ It’s my guess that when possible we might return to the bookstores. The idea that having a physical book after buying books online for our electronic devices is an example of ‘the old becoming new.’ I think we have started to see the beginnings of this. People doing things like ‘baking homemade bread.’ I believe when it’s safe, we are going to ‘go outside like we’ve never done before.’ I believe there will be a focus on earth and sustainable farming and living, in new innovative ways. This is very Uranus in Taurus. The idea of understanding we are individuals who are part of a collective is very Aquarian energy. I think we will find new ways to come together. Forgiveness will be critical in this year, but I think this year will start to introduce us to the idea that we are ‘better together,’ and that will begin to influence the future moving forward. These sound like wonderful ideas. 2021 starts a cycle that really takes us into 2022 and beyond. In Chinese New Year, we enter the year of the Ox. We have the strong energy of Uranus in Taurus, the Bull. Uranus is that planet that will look at Saturn and say, ‘this is simply not good enough.’ I expect we are going to see political unrest at times. We definitely will see movements start. Overall, 2020, shook us up. It gave us energies in the cosmos and on the ground that we have never seen before. 2021 is the year where the planets and the people are looking at all that’s been shaken up and asking, ‘how are we going to make sense of this.’ Plans will begin to take shape, be debated, fold, and some will take shape. One thing is for sure, we are going to be moving forward. We are in the very beginning of some sort of renaissance. 2021 is the year that begins to take its shape. As we look at old structures and say ‘this does not work,’ we will have the work of deciding what structures need to be changed and how. I would expect that we might look back at the past and revolutionize some old structures. We tend to think of ourselves as a society that is ‘the brightest ever,’ but I think we may begin to recognize in 2021 that older societies and traditions had some strengths and use some of those ideas, reshaping them, and reforming them. I think 2021 is the beginning of renaissance. Again, they don’t happen overnight, but there’s lots of new energy here and this will be the year that we begin to decide what we’re going to do with it. On a final note, I want to say thank you to all you have taken the time to read my thoughts. It has given me a place to share ideas during a year when I did a lot of talking with myself. I wish all of you a Happy New Year. I’d love to hear what word you are going to use for 2021. I send you all love, light, joy, and deep, deep peace tonight.