In With the New: Word of the Year 2016

Visualization and meditation are usually the first tools recommended to new witches, and with good reason: our attention is a powerful tool for manifestation. When I learned about Christine Kane’s Word of the Year sometime before the end of 2014, I wondered what would happen if I built an entire year’s worth of focus and magic around a single word instead of creating a standard to-do list of resolutions. So, in 2015 I chose the word vitality, and here is a short list of what happened: I did a year-long gardening project around it, enrolled in Christine’s Uplevel course, got sober, made some brave choices in exploring relationship, started this blog, worked to support social justice activism in Baltimore, attended Earth Activist Training with Starhawk, attended two Reclaiming workshops and one spiritual retreat, planned a dozen rituals, got published in the Gods & Radicals print journal, took over schedule coordination for my coven, had many amazing times with friends and family, and learned to bake bread. As my friend Heather would say, “SHAZAM”!

Last year was one thing after another, and I leave 2015 with many seeds for the future waiting to be sorted and planted. I’m working now in a  focused way on not letting myself get away with myself. My word of the year reflects this: sovereignty.


This isn’t some princess fantasy about being royalty; my people are peasants going back to the homeland, where ever that was. This is sovereignty as the power that comes intimate relationship with the Divine, the Goddess-granted gift of self-rule, of protection and challenge and victory over that which threatens to topple. It’s about inner strength and steadiness, courage and daring and self-possession. It’s not a passive thing where someone dies and oh, now I’m in charge. This is something to work for, to fight for, to fight to become, this sovereignty.

And yet, it’s also a gift. I didn’t set out to make 2016 the year of sovereignty. I had been thinking of “transformation” as my word of the year (confession: I started settling up on 2015 and getting ready for 2016 a bit before Yule.)… then I had a dream last week in which the Goddess – I’m still not sure which one – came to me and and threw me down and told me in no uncertain terms that it is time for me to claim my power. That unearthly voice roared a single word in a tenor that touched to my very core: sovereignty.

In practical terms, this means I am looking at my goals, what I am called to be and what I need to do to achieve them, and I am making myself actually do those things. I am looking for solutions. I am asking for what I need in direct language. I am forthcoming with my loved ones about how I feel about them, showing up to help them, reaching out to show them that they matter to me. I am paying attention to my spiritual longings and the subconscious messages I give and receive. I am doing the work. I am getting behind the wheel. In short, I am putting on my big-girl panties this year. I have spent way too much time on auto-pilot. I am back in control and ready for takeoff. Seatbelts fastened.

This is not to say I will not be having fun. Or being silly, or having down time or taking a rest. I will still eat candy and leave dirty socks on the floor and cackle with my friends and wander through life amazed. But I will do all of these things, and more, while wearing my crown.

Another yearly practice I like, which I learned about in Mary Greer‘s Tarot for Yourself, uses simple math and the major arcana of the tarot: the card of the year. My card this year is 7 Chariot, which matches the energy of my word of the year very well: mastery, control, victory, and “harnessing all my forces toward my purpose and controlling my fears.”

From where I sit, there is much to look forward to this year. But, if last year is any indication, it’s the things I can’t see yet that will be the most powerful and life-changing.


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