Chris Friend-Winter, 2023
|Art by Chris Friend © 2023
New Year's Eve people often set off fire crackers and make noise sometimes
referred to as 'rough music'. Most likely a relic of an earlier practice of
driving away the negative forces of the old year and welcoming in the more
positive forces of the new year. New Year's Eve is a threshold time, not being
the old year and not the new one, being betwixt and between. Since transition
happens at midnight, another threshold time, which adds to it's being an
uncanny time. Because their ambiguity makes thresholds a place of supernatural
and uncanny activity. Twilight and dawn are thresholds between night and day
and are magical since they are between the two.
spirits were believed to congregate at crossroads due to the fact they are four
directions at once. It helps they are places of confusion where travelers could
easily get lost. This created the crossroads good prime places for vampires,
werewolves and other evil spirits to find easy prey. At New Year’s special
rites were used to set the stage for welcoming in the hope of a better year
ahead. With the betwixt and between of the New Year all manner of ways to chase
away the year. Besides rough music some would take a broom and sweep from the
back door the front to chase away the shadows of the old. Many people would go
to church on New Years to get the New Year off on the proverbial first foot.
on the New Year is offering a toast to the New Year as a way of toasting the
new year. Such a toast would naturally occur at midnight. And simply saying
Happy New Year could also be considered a good luck charm to get the new year
off on the first foot.
|Art by Chris Friend © 2023
I have often written, the month of January gets its name from the two-faced
Roman god Janus. Janus had two faces with one looking back at the past and the
other looking forward towards the future. This ability to see in both
directions gives him a certain connection to thresholds such as doorways and windows.
He has the rare gift of governing time.
seems that Janus is a very old member of the Roman pantheon of Roman gods and
goddesses. It is possible that before Jupiter became such an important god of
the Romans it was Janus who was the more important deity. Even after Jupiter
moved ahead in the ranks, Janus maintained his right to be first. As an
important deity of beginnings and one soon have a connection to the first day
of the month with January 1st being his feast day.
the Romans moved the New Year from March 1st to January 1st, it became a day to
honor the god of beginnings. With this ability to look back at the old year and
at the same time look forward to the new helped make Janus a deity connected to
divination and rituals to start the New Year on the proverbial right foot.
were often decorated with evergreens such as holly and mistletoe with their
obvious connection to magical forces. Decorating thresholds such as doorways
were especially important to honor this lord of beginnings. His number is one
(obviously) and his tree is the sturdy oak. He sometimes goes by the name
Dianus or Giano. And so it goes.
Chris Friend, firstname.lastname@example.org, of Parkersberg, W.Va
who wrote BP #91 Poems, “Land of Big Teeth” & “Possessed” (+ BP’s fall 2018
poems, “Demons Play Flutes” & “Purdy Picture”; BP #84’s poems, “The
Sentinel” and “Psalm of Mithra”; the BP #81 poem set, “Angel of the Bereft,
“Beauty’s Sleep,” & “Dark Trinity”; the BP #80 poem, “The Temple of
Colors”; BP #79 poems, “The Marquis” and “My Bloody Valentine”; the BP #78
poem, “The Old Yule Goat”; BP #77’s 4-poem set: “At 50,” “Owls,” “Vintage
Halloween,” & “Xmas in the Doll Asylum”; BP #76’s 4-poem set: “Hag Fairy
Communion,” “Love’s Sepulcher,” “Night Wanderer,” & “St. Andrew’s Feast”;
poems for BP #75, “Angel of the Pagan Dead” and “Churchyard Watcher”; BP #72’s
2-poem set, “Ed Gein” & “Sour Puss”; and the 2008 poem “All Hallows’ Eve”),
writes and illustrates our “MARS News” column. He did a cover for Black Petals
back in 2000 for the fall issue, and has been around ever since. BP keeps up
two websites for him and prints his column in the issue quarterly. Chris
has a gallery at http://chris.michaelherring.net/ and was featured artist in Kurt Newton’s Ultimate
PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].