4 Halloween rituals for the spiritual New Year

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For the Pagan community, October 31 is the start of a new year. It’s referred to as Samhain (sow-wen), which means "summer’s end" - a time to reflect on the year past, and see what we want to take forward into the dark, quiet time of winter. Below are 4 rituals to do if you want to commemorate this spiritual new year.

1. Scrying ritual

Around this time it’s thought that the veil (or the energetic and psychic barrier between dimensions) is thin, meaning we have heightened intuitive and psychic abilities. It’s a great time to work with divination tools like scrying (looking into a mirror/water/crystal to receive messages or visions). You can do this ritual outside, under the moon, or inside by candlelight.

Here's how:

  1. Fill a bowl with water and think of a question you want answered.
  2. When your mind is clear and you’re feeling relaxed and in your body, look into the water and see what shapes take form - without forcing or overthinking.

Also: you can drip the hot wax of a candle into the water and see the shapes the wax forms.

2. Remember your ancestors

Because the veil is thin, now's an ideal time to think of the people who have passed, and had a part in making us who we are. Explore your ancestry by looking through old pictures, or reading old letters. The point is to gain a deeper understanding of who we are, and how we want to navigate through this life.

Alternately, you can do ancestry work inside yourself. Ember Honeyraven’s vid What is Ancestry Work? What is Shadow Work? Samhain Thoughts is a helpful resource. She says, “go to the roots of who you are, in your own family tree inside yourself and say, back in my late teens I used to love horseback riding and maybe that’s something you’d consider getting back to the root to...it’s about nurturing the parts of yourself that are rooted in history, where you come from.”

3. Do some shadow work

Shadow work is the process of digging deep inside the psyche through journalling, analyzing your dreams, your fears or aversions, or your judgements of others. See Kelly-Ann Maddox’s Shadow Work: Methods and Tips for some ways you can do shadow work. She says, “shadow work is not about banishing or deleting content, it’s about bringing it to consciousness, so that it no longer has control over you. The idea is that things are brought to consciousness and we accept them about ourselves and loves ourselves for all we are... those pieces of content that were pushed into the darkness before, will no longer have control, be domineering, be malicious in the way they operate - because we’ll be able to see them.”

4. Contemplative candle ritual

This is a simple ritual via Lonerwolf is a way to say goodbye to the old and welcome in the new:

  1. All you need for this is two candles, one black and one white. The black one symbolizes the past year, all your experiences and learnings. The white one represents the year to come.
  2. Light the black and reflect on what was. Blow out the candle with gratitude.
  3. Light the white candle and reflect on more ways you can experience joy and wholeness in each day. Blow out the flame with hope.