Pagan News and Views Since 1998
I don't know about you, but fall has always been my favorite time of year; maybe because its the time of year when the veil between worlds seems to me to be the least dense. The feelings of joy and excitement start for me in mid-August and seem to last until late February. However it peaks around Samhain at the end of October.
I guess that I feel like the year begins for me on October 31 with Samhain. This date is the midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice and is also celebrated in Wicca as the witch's New Year. The word "Samhain" is Irish and it means “summer's end”. It marked the end of the third and final harvest of the year. The work was done, food was put away for the long winter months, and it was time to relax and celebrate. It was also time to complete final preparations for winter, like moving cattle from the mountain pastures to more protected pastures for the winter.
Samhain was also a time for divination . . . who will I marry? What should I do with my life? As the first day of my new year I find it a good time to take stock of the past year and review what I accomplished, what was left undone, and to make plans for the coming year. For me the rising of Phoenix is symbolic of the rebirth that happens with a new year. No matter how bad the last year was, a new year is a time to start fresh, to change directions, and to try and make life a little be better for myself and others.
If you enjoy looking into the heavens as I do, then take a look in the night sky at about 10:00 p.m. on October 31. If you look towards the Southern horizon, you will see the constellation Phoenix rising. It never gets completely above the horizon in the Northern hemisphere but will be at its highest on October 31. Take a look and celebrate with me the passing of another year and the start of a new one.