Julie Gillis

Jan 3

3 min read

Luck Be A…

We humans are superstitious, magical thinking kind of creatures, aren’t we? Each New Year’s Eve, I pull together a wide variety of little rituals to face the new year, and on the 1st of January, I make a traditional set of foods (from my southern homeland), and I even have made a vision board or two!

There are New Year’s rituals from around the world, and I adore finding out about them. From wearing brightly colored knickers (red for passion, green for money leading me to change outfits and undergarments many times during that day just to cover all my bases), to eating grapes at midnight, to a full body scrub to get rid of the old year, to burning notes either saying goodbye to the old or hello to the new in the fire place. And of course, a kiss and something sparkling to drink.

On New Year’s Day itself many folks in the U.S., especially those from the south, will eat black eyed peas and greens for luck (and money). Cornbread for…gold? Sometimes the peas are made with fatback or bacon (for love I was once told, though I’m not sure bacon automatically equals love? Certainly not for the pig), though lately I’ve been making mine vegetarian.

I’ve been making this meal since my college days, and back in the 90’s it was part of a party (a hangover party truth be told) called Hair of the Dog. The afternoon after a huge and late-night-into-the-wee-hours NYE concert that our friend’s band hosted, we’d gather, headaches in tow, with bloody marys, shots, and heavy greasy traditional foods for luck. The parties have continued for decades now, though Covid has kept them served in individual households, and for me at least, far less hungover.

Greens are delicious, if you know how to make them, and the meal is really quite good for you. If you want, I can post my recipes, just let me know in the comments.

With the Eve and New Year rituals completed (and with me well scrubbed, knickered, kissed, and fully fed) I have of late gone about the whole vision board thing. Now…I realize that it sounds, maybe, a little bit like an Instagram kind of activity, but I think there is something to sitting and thiking about what you want in the next year, and sifting through images, words, poems, quotes, and then glueing them to a big ole posterboard. I did this last year, and there were several things that “manifested” themselves. Er, or I manifested them? Something witchy like that.

There are, I believe, studies out there that show strong positive results when athletes visualize succeeding at a task. Making a basket, or leaping over hurdles. The physical practice is vital of course, but the mental imagery of that success really helps. That’s how I feel about vision boarding, though I did not go full Insta-fluencer with pictures of my progress and hashtags #witchcraft #2022. Maybe I should have?

We are superstitious creatures and we, well I at least, want luck, a change, a betterment. 2020 and 2021 were…years. I know I don’t have to tell you that. As lucky as I have been, its still felt scary and our family has gone through a lot with the kids and their school, jobs, worry, and just general disillusionment and deep concern for so many in my community and our nation in general. It’s no wonder I’m hoping for luck, but no matter what luck comes my way, its on me to act on it instead of withdrawing or hiding. It’s up to you to do the same.

Eat your peas, eat your greens, kiss those you love, and vision a better world.