Raunächte: Harsh Nights
Raunächte begin at winter solstice1–today–and they coincide with the university being closed for the holidays.
During this time, work is in this in-between space, it does exist and doesn’t at the same time. It’s rules are suspended waiting to begin anew in January.
The twelve nights of Raunächte2 are created by the difference between the lunar and the solar year. The eleven days and twelve nights are considered out of time. Some myths even state that during this time nature’s laws are suspended. In many European areas this time is related to a variety of traditions, such as burning herbs.
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What are you going to do with this in-between time? When everything is suspended: deadlines3, teaching, marking4, emails, meetings, conferences. We are in the academic in-between space, a perfect space for reflection?
Reading about Raunächte again, makes me wonder, if there are rituals, traditions you have during this time of in-between? Please share!
I usually work until the very last day, I love the quiet time for focussed work. So one of my Academic Raunächte Ritual (ARR, wouldn’t be an academic blog without abbreviations now, would it?) is to tidy my office, recycle paper, clean my virtual desktop, water plants, vacuum the place, reflect on the year, and plan for the next semester.
If the semester was particularly hectic, this can feel more like a purge than a tidy, and offers much time for thinking, reflecting, pondering.
And now I am wondering if there are rituals that would aid with virtually smoking-out the proverbial bad spirits?
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Rituals of Transition
You know, encounters from the year, where communication was uncomfortable, scenarios playing over and over again in your mind? Anger you have been holding on to? Unfairness you still chew on? Stress and overwhelm amplified by constant noise5?
So here is what I am reflecting on during my Raunacht Ritual, feel free to join in your own time, or share the things you want to reflect on:
🖋 What do I want to let go?
🖋 What did not work so well this year?
🖋 How could I approach it differently next year?
🖋 What was my biggest take-away, point of learning this year?
🖋 What am I most worried about next year?
🖋 What can I do to reduce the worry?
🖋 What was the biggest joy this year?
These are reflections I thought off so far. What do you usually reflect on, at the end of the year–the in-between space?
(1) well as with all such traditions, not everywhere, the times vary between regions
(2) harsh or rough nights, although the etymology of the word is debated
(3) I know, I know not for everyone!
(4) I managed to get mine done yesterday. Hooray!
(5) News, Twitter burn down, Illness etc