The festival of Samhain at the end of October is extremely ancient. It was observed by Celtic tribes in days of yore. Samhain can light up your Autumn with inspiration and encouragement.
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CELTIC NEW YEAR
Some scholars believe that the Celts celebrated New Year at the start of November. The Celtic world-view was different from ours for they saw darkness as a time of beginnings. Just as their day began at nightfall, so their year began as Nature retreats and winter shadows close in.
Why not make this a ‘new year’ for you? This doesn’t have to be about resolutions and changes that you may plan in January. Instead, think about what you need to let go of, in order to make your life lighter in all senses of the word. Here are some ideas of things you might like to banish:
- a bad habit such as smoking, drinking too much, binge eating
- saying ‘yes’ to commitments you don’t want
- having too little down time
That’s just a small selection of possible undesirables. Write your rejects on small pieces of paper (pick three at the most at one time). Relax and play soft music while you imagine as vividly and in as much detail as possible your lovely life without these habits.
Now dispose of these in the best way possible. This was a Celtic fire festival so a great ending for these bits of paper is in a bonfire (see below). You could also let them float away in a running stream or shred and bury them. Good riddance! Don’t worry if you need to repeat this. Every time you do it the affirmations become stronger.
THE WARMTH OF FIRE
Few homes these days have an open fire, which means the magic of the fire element is rare in our lives. Luckily, firework displays are frequent now, so make sure you visit at least one (whatever your age) and enjoy the amazing energy and brilliance of fire.
If you have a garden, however small, kindle flames in a fire-bowl or chimenea. Barbecue simple food and be fascinated at how the heat from the flames gradually cooks and browns – so much better than a microwave! You could also go out into woods and parks where there is provision, and light your fire. Of course you must always observe regulations and safety precautions, clearing up after yourself as you leave.
Making fire may seem like a chore at first but the effort of doing this and succeeding will make you feel revitalized and fresh. The season may be drawing in but you can still get out, engage with the elements and be successful. Let this symbolize how the coming winter will be for you.
TIME FOR ‘ME’ TIME
Summers razzle-dazzle is over. Now begins a more ‘inward’ time, of dark evenings and drawn curtains. This signals the start of more time for yourself.
Obviously life goes on and certain occupations – teaching, for example – can be busier in the autumn. However, this must not get in the way of time for yourself. You need the opportunity to slow down, reflect and care for your needs.
Maybe you would like more time to read, pursue a hobby or meditate. This can only happen if you make a commitment. Put a date in your diary for ‘me’ time. This must be at least once a week, but preferably several times a week.
Turn off the phone. It’s also best to turn off the telly, because although you may think putting your feet up and watching your favourite programme is pampering, it will only be nice while you’re doing it. Afterwards you could feel drained, if the whole of your special time has disappeared.
Use your time well. Maybe have a facial, do your nails, work on a novel you’ve been planning, paint, embroider, do something creative. You could use this time to phone a friend, you could share your space with someone like-minded, but only, repeat only if you are going to enjoy every minute and feel at the end you’ve been taken out of yourself.
When planning your ‘me’ time think carefully about what’s going to make you feel good at the end of it. That’s all that matters.
For the Celts this was the start of the story-telling season, when the Bards would travel from settlement to settlement with their wonderful stories. If possible, renew this tradition with friends and family. The story can be eerie and poignant, but it should always have a happy ending.
By all means read to each other if you like. Another idea is to have a round-robin story where one person speaks for a minute and then the thread is taken up by someone else. This can be hilarious and crazy. Again the only rule is ‘happy ever after’.
The news is full of doom and gloom but in real life there are countless happy stories. Tell yourself these and affirm that your life is one such – a happy story!
HOW WE CAN HELP
Now you know about Celtic New Year, the importance of fire, ‘me’ time and story-telling. These give you ideas for a positive, cheery autumn. If you need more uplifting suggestions, or if you’re struggling through a bad patch and fearful of the coming dark season, there’s plenty of help at hand. Just get in touch with one of our encouraging Readers who will give you all the positive thinking you need.
PUBLISHED: 05 October 2018