Written by Fat and the Moon December 31, 2018

By coven member Kelly Sinclair Vicars


Midwinter has been celebrated by some human lineages as a potent turning point in our collective annual cycle since wayyyyy back. Like, Stone Age timez.

These liminal days mark the end of one calendar year and the beginning of a new. The Solstice, Yule, and our calendar New Year also mark our transition from a state of contraction - shortening days and lengthening nights - into the expansion of sun and the return of fertile seasons.

Everything in nature, from bacteria to human cells, exists in cycles. Nature wastes nothing; everything dies and becomes fuel. Regeneration is happening all around us. ‘Re’ meaning again; ‘generation’ implying a life cycle; a life fully lived or used.

This month @ the coven we’ve been jamming on sustainability, and in the midst of the holiday madness I’ve become extra-aware of how seriously our culture venerates the NEW: new products, single-use packaging; lifetime warranties, iPhone upgrades. We have an unprecedented ability to create material items, and so we do. But it feels like this manic making desperately wants to come back into alignment. How the heck to we do that? How can Nature’s cycles re-inform the consumerism we’ve now grown accustomed to?

I think about a pair of red underpants I wore in college. Yep, undies. These red boy shorts had it going on. They fit perfectly and they were sooooo soft. I wore them as underwear, pajamas, swimwear; they traveled in my backpack when I studied abroad; I danced around in them in the forest on more than one camping trip. But there was something else about them, some ineffable power. The older they got, the more of it they had. It was like they became more alive the longer I wore them. The Red Shorts were inimitable; mythic; legend. They can never be replaced, and when they “died” - with a gaping hole in the crotch - I bid them farewell eagerly; knowing they’d be missed, knowing they’d been exquisitely well-used.

The Japanese have a word for this. It’s called wabi-sabi. In Japan it’s understood that the potency of an object (or person) increases the closer it gets to non-existence. Crazy, right? The nearer something gets to disappearing, the more of itself it becomes. WOAH. To reach wabi-sabi, an object (or a human) must live fully. Often it must live multiple lives: wabi-sabi appears when a bowl cracks and is glued back together again, or the sideboards on a house weather under uncountable sunrises and storms. My red shorts saw me through endless seasons: breakups, new jobs, romances, moves, trips home. Wabi-sabi is akin to wisdom, in material form. It’s what happens when an object lives, and dies, fully.

This time of year presents us with so much that is new: gifts, prezzies, a new year and the opportunity to dream ourselves into new iterations. Yet it is what we are Recycling, retiring, and composting that fuels this becoming. What is most alive for you on the precipice; on the edge of 2019? As we find in Nature, the edge of non-existence is the edge of everything new.

Photos by Hayley Harper @hayflux