I thought I would share with you first a bit of history and then a ceremony you can do to welcome in the Celtic New Year.
First, here’s a bit of history:
Samhain (pronounced Sow-en), dates back to the ancient Celts who lived 2,000 years ago. Contrary to what some believe, is not a celebration of a Celtic god of the dead. Instead, it is a Celtic word meaning “summer’s end.” The Celts believed that summer came to an end on October 31st and the New Year began on November 1st with the start of winter.
At sunset on October 31, clans or local villages begin the formal ceremonies of Samhain by lighting a giant bonfire. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, and danced around the fire. Many of these dances told stories or played out the cycles of life and death or commemorated the cycle of Wheel of Life. These costumes were adorned for three primary reasons.
The first was to honor the dead who were allowed to rise from the Otherworld. The Celts believed that souls were set free from the land of the dead during the eve of Samhain. Those that had been trapped in the bodies of animals were released by the Lord of the Dead and sent to their new incarnations. The wearing of these costumes signified the release of these souls into the physical world. Not all of these souls were honored and respected. Some were also feared as they would return to the physical world and destroy crops, hide livestock or ‘haunt’ the living who may have done them wrong.
The second reason for these traditional costumes was to hide from these malevolent spirits to escape their trickery.
The final representation was a method to honor the Celtic Gods and Goddesses of the harvest, fields and flocks. Giving thanks and homage to those deities who assisted the village or clan through the trials and tribulations of the previous year. And to ask for their favor during the coming year and the harsh winter months that were approaching.
Now that you have a little bit of history… here’s something you can do yourself to celebrate the Celtic New Year and cleanse yourself of the past and prepare for the days to come.
On two sheets of parchment paper you will make 2 lists:
The first list will be of all things you don’t want or no longer need in your life. Be specific!
The second list will be of things you want to keep in your life and things you would like to see coming into your life. Again, be specific.
You will take the “Keep” list, roll it up, tie it with a ribbon and place it in a safe place for the year. You will then take the “Get Rid of” list and burn it in a fire. Watch that list burn and imagine all the things on that list burning out of your life with it. Be sure while you do these acts that you do them with love in your heart. You don’t want bad karma, mojo or intentions intertwined with your ceremony. Do all things with love. You don’t wish for bad to come to anyone or anything in your lists … you just no longer want or need them in your life so you should wish them away with love and kindness so that the parting be an easier transition for all who may be involved.
And as with all ceremonies you should take time to yourself to reflect, prepare and ground yourself before beginning. Cleanse the space, yourself, your mind and body before the ceremony.