December Reflections 31: my word for 2021

a compass rose stamped in red ink with the words
LOVE
COURAGE
WATCHFULNESS
CLARITY
SOUPLESSE
HERITAGE
RESONANCE
handwritten around it, with LOVE at North and then proceeding in a clockwise direction, in black ink

Why use one word when eight will do? Less flippantly, it’s been my custom for the last few years now to set a compass for the coming twelve months. This year I’ve been layering the hours onto that eight-pointed cycle, too, so it looks rather like this (the hyperlinks go to the Angel of the Hour, which I’ve been using this year to give structure to my working day):

NORTH – LOVE – CHRISTMAS – VIGILS

NORTH EAST – COURAGE – CANDLEMAS – LAUDS

EAST – WATCHFULNESS – LADY DAY (or Easter) – PRIME

SOUTH EAST – CLARITY – MAY DAY – TERCE

SOUTH – FLOURISHING – ST JOHN – SEXT

SOUTH WEST – SOUPLESSE – LAMMAS – NONE

WEST – HERITAGE – MICHAELMAS – VESPERS

NORTH WEST – RESONANCE – ALL SAINTS – COMPLINE

There are some there I’ve used before – love, courage, clarity – and some new ones – heritage was a bit of a surprise, and souplesse comes from cycling commentary, where it means something like flexibility, style, smoothness. I think I’ll need to feel my way into both of those.

It probably deserves to have a space of its own, and not be mixed up with my takeaway order and what I did at work that day, but actually I rather like it that way. Because that’s the point of it: all time is holy; this dark into light, light into dark, cycle is the structure that underlies life as I experience it.

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