Most of us like the idea of a fresh start. Maybe not totally, but here or there starting over would help us correct mistakes that are stuck in history. In some cultures you would throw a stone up in the air as high as you can, and when it hits the ground, that is when you can begin again.
Some celebrate new beginnings on January 1st, the time when the star Sirius - the brightest star in the sky - returns to its starting position. Sirius is huge, twice the mass of the Sun, and in Ancient Egypt marked the flooding of the Nile.
Although the origin of the name is from a much older culture, the common name Sirius is from the Latin for glowing, or scorcher, and in ancient Greece the rise of Sirius brought on the Dog Days of summer; so called because Sirius is in the constellation Canis Major, or the Great Dog. Orion's dog was thought to bring fevers and suffering to humanity However, and older association with this star is found in the familiar poem Hey Diddle Diddle the Cat and the Fiddle the little laughing dog represents Sirius: the growing season "laughs bountiful; the dish and spoon are so full it is more than we can eat." (ca. 5400 BC. Duncan-Enzmann).
Another name for Sirius is "Star of the Sea," and the Polynesians used this star for navigation. Some early American flags connected with the Navy displayed inverted pentagrams (a symbol for Sirius), such as the one flown by Commodore Perry in 1854.
For us this star marks the end of one calendar and the beginning of another. I took all the old pages of my planner out, and now I have fresh, new, blank squares with numbers on them. A new start. One we were not supposed to have, according to those who put their faith in the doomsday version of the Mayan (actually from the older Vanir mariners) calendar. So we really have been given another chance.
Pagan and Wiccan traditions start the new year at All Hallows Eve; a time for new starts, new projects, new hope. For us, it is December 31 to January 1. Twenty-four hours represents such an important social opportunity.
And so a new year begins. 2013. The end of the Mayan calendar, which ends, just like ours does. Only they used Great Years (26,000 of our years) to organize the calendar; a brilliant piece of work actually devised by the ancient mariners (Vanir, Duncan-Enzmann) and brought to Maya. This event has created apprehension, and outright panic.
To some, 13 is considered an unlucky number; some suffer from "Triskaidekaphobia" - fear of 13. Although many cultures associate 13 with misfortune and change, recent association of foreboding to the number comes to us from the great Templar Knights, who, after their rise to power, were pledged to report only to the Pope. This "Papal Bull" was disliked (putting it mildly) by some kings, especially Philip IV, who was deeply in debt to the Order. He murdered his way into positioning a strong ally as Pope, then proceeded to capture and imprison every Templar he found. Tortured into false confessions, some were burned at the stake. The date for this surprise attack was Friday, October 13, 1307.
Other symbolism attached to the first number in the teens is more positive. It can symbolize the passage to a higher level of existence; Tarot symbolism is that of Death, representing a transition: death of one thing and beginning of another, cleaning and purifying. The Cabala links the dark number to the snake, or the dragon.
Prehistoric uses of thirteen are Lunar. Lunar symbolism links 13 to femininity, magic, and emotion. There are thirteen Archimedean solids in Sacred Geometry, is a prime number, and in the Fibonacci sequence. This associates thirteen with incorruptible nature, purity, and integrity.
In religious events: there are thirteen steps on the ladder to eternity in Egypt. Christ and Baldur were the thirteenth enlightened ones, bringing an association with ascension, resurrection, and enlightenment.
Out with the old, in with the new - good new. If you are a Mayan fan, some have decoded the calendar as having two sets of elements: thirteen numbers, and twenty days. 2013. If that is so, we will be seeing the greatest year of my 61 years manifest.
Me? Last February I watched Venus transit the sun. On your 60th birthday most of the stars and planets will be where they were when you were born. And on a rare occasion, Venus will transit. Astrologically speaking, that always precedes great change.
This will be a great year. We are riding around the sun together on this rock called Earth. Around and around. Infinitely. We chose to celebrate the start of another trip on January first. We could just throw a rock up in the air. Either way, make the most of this new beginning. Grab hope and run.