From sunset on October 31st to sunset November 2nd—wise women, wizards and mystics in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate a full turn of the Druidic year.
I’ve never truly resonated with the Gregorian New Year on January 1st.
I’ve long since abandoned celebrating the turn of the wheel according to a man-made calendar, and instead, I am following the rhythms of the earth. The pagan festival and ways of marking the passage of time seems to fit me naturally.
Wouldn’t it be exciting to abandon the norm and celebrate what’s magical about the turn of the wheel?
The Festival of Samhain (saa-ween), or All Hallows Eve (a more modern name), is the most important and magically charged festival of the year.
During the three days mentioned above, the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. Now is the time to look to the past and forward into the future to glean wisdom and insight.
The world of Spirit inhabits the physical world, and connecting to spirit guides, ancestors and angels is easier now than at any other time of the year. Many people go through major shifts emotionally, physically and spiritually during Samhain. Don’t be surprised if you’re feeling strangely un-grounded or questioning the path you are on.
If you have been hesitating to take the leap into the unknown lately—be it with finance, employment, love or life goals—do it now, while access to the “Other Side” and its wisdom is so generously available! Take heed of insights, dreams and internal longings for change. Because the veil is thin to the world of spirit now, we have a higher psychic ability, which can give us good perspective on whether decisions we wish to make are sound or not.
There are a few elements to be aware of at Samhain, when we slip further towards the dark of the year, as well as our own internal darkness. One can use these elements as a connection to the mystical energies that guide and protect.
Raven: I like to call on the raven as a guide at Samhain. There are many connotations for the raven as a macabre bird, but I value the raven for his intelligence, intuition and curiosity—and as a messenger of deep mysteries. Raven will come during meditation, dream-time and spell-casting, if invited. If the attributes of Raven are something you are seeking, do ask Raven into your New Year celebration and everyday life.
Apple: The Apple is a symbol of the afterworld (Arthurian land of Avalon), of love (Venus), sexuality and knowledge. Apples are also valued for their contribution to good health. I use apples as decoration on my altar at Samhain, and include them in recipes for the three day celebration period. Apples can also be used for love divination and spell work during this time of year. Added to oak leaves, gourds, nuts and autumn leaves—apples feature as decoration around my home when celebrating New Year.
Crystals: Wear smoky quartz, amethyst and obsidian, as crystals for protection and intuition, during your celebrations. Include these crystals when connecting to the spirit world, especially at dusk and dawn, when ancestors are more likely to cross worlds.
During modern Hallowe’en celebrations there is a lot of activity surrounding symbolism that is sacred to some and just plain fun for others.
And one would think that if celebrating the New Year, there should be forms of joy and gaiety to be indulged in. While this is true, Samhain is also a time for dreaming, visions, introspection and quiet magic. Now is the time to look to the future and new journeys.
If you have an opportunity to sit by a fire at Samhain, it would be the perfect setting for honoring the roots you have grown over a lifetime—for remembering ancestors, for letting go of the past months and embracing what is to come.
If you are a magic worker, Samhain is a perfect time to perform serious magic— initiations into the world of the mystic, planting intention seeds and casting spells for major projects and gathering with family to celebrate life.
This is a time of celebration!
1. Plan a gathering—perhaps a potluck—and include apples, squash, nuts and sage in the menu. Decorate the house with autumn treasures and carved pumpkins, lit with tea lights.
2. If possible, light a fire by which you can sit and tell stories about relatives who have passed—and call them into the fold. If fire is not possible, you can use orange, black and white candles instead.
3. Pass a stick of incense or a smudge bowl around the circle, to cleanse and bond all participants.
4. Ahead of time, invite everyone to create a mask of natural materials—glue leaves, acorn hats, feathers, branches, moss and such to a paper mask. The mask can be taken off as each person has their turn to speak in the circle.
5. If someone is gifted at Tarot, this would be a good evening for readings. If not, invite a professional tarot reader or simply pull cards from a divinatory deck you like.
6. Write your visions for the next full year on paper and keep until the next New Year. You may be surprised how much happens from written visions.
7. Sing, dance and be merry! Celebrate in gratitude for the past year—and look joyfully towards the next.
8. Set aside some time for quiet and perhaps some sunrise yoga. Greet the New Year with optimism.
I find this type of New Year celebration mindful and aligned with our internal mystic. It feeds my soul in a way that rushing around on January 1st—looking for someone to kiss and drowning my sorrows in alcohol—never did.
I still do all the kissing and there is alcohol if I want it—but the focus for me has shifted to something that creates magic and deepens my love of the mystery of life.
And so, Happy New Year my friends! I’ll be celebrating, and perhaps you will be too?
Author: Monika Carless
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina