Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Witches' New Year

A year of beauty. A year of plenty.
A year of planting. A year of harvest.
A year of forests. A year of healing.
A year of vision. A year of passion.
A year of rebirth.

This year may we renew the earth.
This year may we renew the earth.

Let it begin with each step we take.
And let it begin with each change we make.
And let it begin with each chain we break.
And let it begin every time we awake.

--Chant from the
Reclaiming Samhain Celebration

Samhain--pronounced sow-(rhymes with now)-in--more popularly known as Halloween, is the Witches' New Year, Wicca's most solemn and festive holiday. In my book "The Spiral Dance," I describe it as "the night when the veil is thin that divides the worlds...when the harvest is gathered and the fields lie fallow. The gates of life and death are opened and to the living is revealed the Mystery: that every ending is but a new beginning."

For Pagans, death and birth are intertwined. Our goddesses and gods all represent aspects of the cycle of birth, growth, death, and regeneration. Every good gardener knows that fertility is born out of decay. Every fallen leaf becomes part of the soil that feeds the roots of growing trees."

Pagans have no dogma that must be accepted. Our spirituality centers on experience, not faith. Yet if we were to hold one common belief, it might be that our individuality lives on after death. We remain part of our communities, alive and present in a different realm.

At Samhain, we take time to remember and commune with those who have gone before, to express gratitude for what they've given us. In our frantic pace, we tend to forget our past. Few of us know much about our families beyond a generation or two back. Remembering the dead can help us keep a sense of connection to our roots.
by Starhawk

In my home, we honor those who have passed by putting up an altar on the living room table. We put up pictures and memorabilia, light a candle and say a prayer of remembrance. We often set an extra place at the table for the deceased ones during Samhain dinner, welcoming their spirits on the night when the veils between the world is thinnest.

Samhain is also a time of inner reflection and renewal for us, an opportunity to wash put away the old year and start anew. This means looking at the things that aren't working in my life, deciding what to keep and what to cast aside, and making some new affirmations.

The coming year is less about emotional/relationship changes and will be more focused on physical ones, personal things affecting my health. I am 43 years old and have so many wonderful things in my life, so many fabulous transitions have finally taken place, yet I feel like I'm being held back by my body, by not being as healthy as I should be. Oh, it's nothing big, just little aches and pains that weren't there before, as well as the obvious 20 pounds I'm still carrying around. I need to turn inward, figure out what's causing me to feel unwell, and to gently bring myself back to a healthier place. I can do this.

Blessed Samhain, Happy New Year.


Jen said...

I hope the new year brings you health & healing.

Happy Halloween!

Anonymous said...

Brightest Blessings to all of those souls at your home on the New Year! Once again -- the Wheel turns and we have a chance to start again. Yes --- I will be working on myself -- and that 20-pound globby mass that has taken over my hips, belly and thighs. Sheesh! And trying to eat better foods too! Moderation!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

the domestic minx said...

Blessed Be!!

An abundance of warm and wonderful wishes for you throughout the New Year, darling girl. xxx

You look positively ravishing in that phots. Just gorgeous xox

kerrdeLune (cate) said...

Blated Samhain blessings to you and your clan, and what a wonderful night it was.

Mother of Invention said...

You look pretty healthy and very happy to me! I', 10 years older and have a few more health problems but I can tell you that it is a bigger struggle now to take off weight so you are wise to start now.

Blessings for your new year. Do you also celebrate the regular new year on Jan. 1st?
This is a lame question but I'm interested if people who follow your beliefs see more ghosts or have contact with those who have passed on more on that night than any other night? Have you personally?
(You don't have to answer any of these if you'd rather not, of course.)

Rapunzel said...

Mother of Invention, I'm so sorry I'm just getting around to this, am spending some time cleaning out my Inbox. *grin*

Yes, I do celebrate the 1st of Jan as well, one thing about Pagans is that we love any excuse to celebrate! LOL

I myself have never seen any ghosts/spirits, am not sure about others who share my beliefs because, frankly, I don't personally know any! I'll have to ask some witchy internet friends, though, good question!