The Pagan Wheel of the Year is based on points on the Solar Calendar (Solstices and Equinoxes) as well as points that have their origin in Celtic festivals. We are now approaching the festival of Samhain (pronounced SAA-WIN) which occurs at the end of October on the date of Halloween.
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In pagan traditions, it is believed that Samhain is the time of year where the veils between this world and the Otherworld are the thinnest. Those who have passed are remembered and their spirits are welcomed into celebrations and feast. As death and birth intertwine and every ending is viewed as a new beginning, Samhain is also called the Witches New Year.
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In pagan beliefs, death is viewed as a passage into a new beginning. A new year and a new start includes remembering what and who went before. New Year or Samhain is viewed as a time to honour the ancestors by welcoming them into feasts and celebrations. Putting pictures of loved ones on your altar and telling stories about those who have departed allows their memory to stay alive.
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There are rituals that you can incorporate into the spirit of Samhain that honour the past and make way for the new:
  • Give thanks to those who have passed on. Reflect on who you are in this moment by honouring those who have come before you.

  • If you can, light a fire outdoors and write down what you want to release. Cast your paper into the fire and imagine yourself letting go of what no longer serves you.

  • Light a candle or stare into the fire and envision the renewal you want to  experience in your life. Set objects on your altar that represent what you wish for.

  • In a symbolic gesture of guiding the dead home and welcoming them, place a candle in the window to light the way and leave a plate of food outside to feed them.

  • Use a broom to sweep away old energy and create space for the new.

During this fourth fire festival of the year, the past opens the door to the future as deeper power awaits. Energy shifts inward in preparation for the time of reflection and deep introspection.  May the turning to the dark half of the year bring you renewal until the next turn of the wheel.
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