Like every December in years past, I find myself pausing, look back, and reflecting. Not surprisingly, my 2020 annual review was like no other.
In previous years, I’d comb through the months gone by, make a list of my accomplishments in a well-crafted newsletter or blog post, and then proceed to start letting the year go and prepare myself for the new one to follow.
My pre-New Year prep always included choosing a “word.” ONE WORD. A word that will be my theme as I create my aspirations over the next 12 months.
But since 2020 was such a challenging year for all of us the constant extreme of highs and lows didn’t feel healthy to recap in my “well-crafted newsletter.” Nor did I do my annual review. Not that 2020 was a bust–quite the opposite! Over the course of the last 10+ months, everything had changed and it felt more like focusing on surviving instead of thriving.
I even didn’t want to pick a new word for the next year. ONE solitary word felt like such an effort for my already muddled brain.
But I also realized as I looked back on 2020, that I had unearthed the wisdom and peace of simply being. Being in the only moment I have which is now.
The subject of my One Word came up again closer to the dawn of 2021 as I was talking with my friend Becky. She said that she had secretly chosen the word onion for her word of 2021. Onion was poignant for her because it represented the peeling back of layers that no longer served her to reach the strong core of who she really was.
The moment I heard her Word of the Year was onion, it completely resonated with me.
At first, I used it as a joke. My 2021 word of the year wouldn’t be about the year to come but 2020, the year that was. All I could think about was that onions produce painful tears while cooking and that was a great reflection of 2020 for many of us.
I mentioned my word of the year with glib cuteness to a couple of my friends here in New Mexico. They LOVED my word and said that each of their families and or communities would gather women together to cut onions so that they could cry with purpose all the while preparing something good to eat at the end.
What started as a joke and unfolded into a sacred journey of the year. Not of the year that is past but the year that is currently inching its way forward.
Onion as Ally and Guide
Many of us in our individual practices call upon spirit guides, totems, guardian angels, and the like. It started to dawn on me that onions were from the plant kingdom and they too can serve as guides and teachers.
As I sat in meditation I called in my newest teacher “onion” and asked what her insights are.
Here’s a look at these gleanings:
In all it’s Wholeness
The word onion comes from the Latin word Unio which means unity or oneness. It’s from this word that its most magical and mystical teachings are shared. The Ancient Egyptians so revered the onion that they used it to swear oaths upon it. For the Ancient Egyptians, the onion was the symbol of eternal life. They were placed on altars and in tombs.
Onions are the most commonly used plants in cooking all over the world. It can be found everywhere. The entire onion teaches about unity and wholeness from its macro view to the smallest cell view under a microscope.
It helps us to see the multi-layeredness in all things. We can see the reality of each layer and its balance between all of the elements. She is greatly rooted in the earth and helps us to have great emotional release through our tears.
Protection and Healing
Onion has a powerful personality and is known for her curative preventions of certain diseases such as heart disease and cancer. She is protective in her healing power.
Though one aspect of onion is powerful and overwhelming such as its smell, there are other many sweet sides to onion through the planting of this beautiful bulb and the cooking of it until is it sweet, juicy, and full of life.
The Healing Magic of Tears
Onion is intimately known in both myth and symbology for the magic of its tears. I see this all around me in the cultures of New Mexico. Long ago they have not only incorporated onion into their delicious cooking but they have embraced her as a way of releasing both privately and in the community.
Much of our Western culture does not approve of crying. We are to remain stoic and not show our emotions. Onion doesn’t give us a choice, we must release. These tears of release are actually a defense mechanism our eyes use to keep out irritants. We all know that if we try not to cry while cutting an onion, only makes the pain worse. She gives in to it, release, cry, and feel a healing purge from the inside out.
Onion says, “Release, release, release, what is no longer serving you, which no longer feels right or good to you. Release the trauma you have suffered.”
The tears shed during an onion cutting episode are tears that release the body, mind, and soul.
There is a saying in Finnish which is used during times of grieving. “Cry until you can’t.” Onion shares the same philosophy.
Potent and pungent, onion as a teacher is asking each one of us to look in between the layers of our lives. To release, through the power of tears and sweat those things that are no longer serving us, and to welcome in the sweetness of new things ready to root themselves deeply in the earth.
Onion is asking that we marry two ideas together, to create unity between the earthy elements of this plant and the mystical elements of this plant.
So my year of Onion has just become. May we travel gently together and gather great insights.
Happy and Healthy 2021 to you and yours.