Today marks the end of the Julian year and the beginning of the next. Celebrations will occur throughout most of the Western world. In some places such as Europe, the New Year has already rolled in. The Eastern Lunar New Year is about a month or so away and will usher in the Year of the Green Wood Horse. It is a year slated for luck and growth and lead into the Year of the Fire Ram where the wooden element will feed the fires of creation.
As we look back over 2013, things have been very changing and stressful for the world as a whole. While stress is not always bad, it does bring change. Marriage equality has taken a front seat in the public eye along with privacy, free speech, and religion. From a spiritual point of view, the world is “growing smaller” with people becoming more aware of the various pathways that people walk. The Year of the Water Snake (2013) has not settled for mediocrity.
We have also seen a new Pope installed in the Holy See. While not unusual, this showed that it is possible for a Pope (Benedict) to step down and not leave the office through passing away. While not Catholic myself, his Holiness has set the world on its ear with adherence to Liberation Theology. His Holiness has made it very clear that modesty, helping the poor, and tolerance is going to be the new path for the Church.
The development of the Retreat has been interesting over 2013. What started as a place for me to practice writing (esp. brevity) and to express ideas about the world has turned into something that I hope grows into something that will help people who find it as a resting point along their personal journeys. The Retreat has added not only a wider range of materials but also started on commenting on social policy. This was a difficult choice because of my beliefs regarding the role of religion and church in relation to politics.
It is my hope that everyone will have a good year and that the blessings in your life will be plentiful.