Blessed Samhain and a Happy Halloween to all. I’ve been looking forward to this day all year! It is a time steeped in lore, traditions, mystery and fun. It’s the one day of the year I can run amuck, dressed in my witchy finery and no one bats an eye. Then, when the last of the candy and goodies have been given out and the last little goblin is home in bed, the ritual area is set, the fire is lit and the serious work of Samhain begins.
In many traditions Samhain is thought of as the Witches’ New Year and it is has always been so in my household. While much of the focus of this season is on the thinning veil and working with our ancestors – a worthy focus and one I share – I have another ritual I perform every Samhain, one I wish to share with you here.
On the calendar New Year, January 1st, it is a tradition here in the States to make resolutions and goals for the coming year. We decide what changes we wish to make in our lives, write them down, tell our friends and then find ways to accomplish them. Goals such as “I will lose 20 pounds this year.” or ” I resolve to drink less and exercise more” are often made in haste or even during a frenetic celebration (I’ve heard more than one resolution being made after several glasses of champagne). These goals and resolutions don’t seem to last very long, some are even forgotten after the first week.
While I can be heard making these types of resolutions during the calendar new year, on Samhain, I perform a ritual where I make firm, binding resolutions and goals, all pertaining to where I wish to take my Craft in the upcoming year. These goals can be as simple such as increasing my meditation time, to the complicated – learning the Kabbalah or a new divination technique. No matter what the goal may be, it is something that I feel, at that time, is something I desire to make, create or nurture for the year.
Unlike the haphazard way I seem to make my calendar new year goals, my resolutions and goals made at Samhain are done during ritual, in sacred space. Here, where the Gods observe and listen, they take on an importance, a spiritual commitment, that the other resolutions do not. Those things I write down and then recite to the Universe, become a pledge to Goddess and the Universe to do my utmost to make these goals a reality. Once ritual is complete I place those goals on the wall above my altar where they are a daily reminder of the vows I have given to myself and the Gods.
Each day of the year I do one thing to help myself achieve those goals. If it is a new technique I wish to learn I order books, research, find an instructor and get as much information as I can about it. I then study, absorb and practice, practice, practice. If the goal is more ephemeral, such as planning a single ritual or creating a sacred object, I set short-term goals to accomplish it along with a time-line for completion.
Yes, I sometimes falter, misstep, or fail altogether. Life can get in the way, and the Goddess often decides that what is in my best interest isn’t always what I think I need to do. But I try, each and every day, to achieve those goals, to heed the resolutions that I have made. Is it easy? No, but having been initiated during Samhain, in ritual, they seem somehow more obtainable. It’s as if you have your ancestors, the Universe, the Gods, beside you, encouraging you, urging you on. You can’t help but be successful with that kind of cheering section. Just remember to stay focused, put forth the effort and enjoy the journey.
At year-end, the day before Samhain, I take those goals off the wall and review them. Did I accomplish everything? If not, do I know why? Are some of these goals still in progress? What do I need to accomplish this year? I then sit, write down a first draft of my new goals and resolutions. I then meditate, read them again, polish it up and commit to a final list. This I take with me to ritual the next day. The circle is complete and I am ready for the upcoming new year.
I encourage you this Samhain to start your own tradition of the Witches’ New Year Resolutions. Create or re-create the witch, the magickal practitioner, that you’ve always wanted to become. Let your heart take you places you’ve never been and allow the Universe, the ancestors, and the Gods show you what you are capable of. Remember, new year, new witch. Make this the best year, the best you, ever.