The ancient Roman god Janus, from whom we have the name of the first month of the year, is portrayed as having two faces, one looking back upon what has passed and the other fixed upon the coming year. In fact, one origin of the name ‘Janus’ is from a very early word for an archway or passage – in other words, that which stands between one place and another, a point of transition.
For those who study the Sufi path, this might bring to mind the state of kemal, the point of suspension when neither the receptive state of jemal nor the active state of jelal prevails. If one is engaged in spiritual contemplation, meaning that the illusory dance of the ‘I’ has been stilled for a moment, this is a state of ‘perfection,’ and that is how kemal is usually translated. But if one is involved in worldly affairs, it can bring unexpected, and even chaotic results to our endeavours, for neither beauty nor power can be fulfilled.
The coming of the New Year, therefore, is a moment to go gently, and devote our attention to the spiritual, rather than to celebrate to excess, as is the usual custom in the world. Since the days of Hazrat Inayat Khan, mureeds have gathered on New Year’s eve to send love and blessings to their fellow mureeds around the world, and to address the Divine Presence with the following prayer for safe passage into the ‘new.’
O Thou, who abidest in our hearts,
Most Merciful and Compassionate God,
Lord of Heaven and Earth,
We forgive others their trespasses and
ask Thy forgiveness of our shortcomings.
We begin this New Year with pure heart and
with clear conscience, with courage and hope.
Help us to fulfill the purpose of our lives under Thy Divine Guidance. Amen