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Samhain is the New Year for those who follow the old ways.

I opened the windows on the west side of the house, and put candles in the windows for my mother and my grandmothers. I made the foods we ate for Mabelle's funeral feast: Hot chili, cornbread and apple crisp.

I swept the porch and re-set the wards on my doors.

I cleaned and dusted my altars, and removed things I didn't need anymore.

Part of closing out the old year is thanking the earth for another bountiful summer, preparing to be inside for the coming months by simplifying, and and laying aside your strength and supplies for the fallow season to come. Remembering your ancestors and those who have passed and what they taught us in life, and continue to teach us in visions, dreams, and memories.

Letting in the New Year demands embracing the darkness that approaches: the winter is a time of rest and recovery, and of moderation. When supplies are low, rationing is indicated. (This is why the two major fasts (Advent and Lent) of the Christian calendar are in the winter.)

Samhain is also the time of letting go of things you don't need personally: acknowledging seasons that have passed, and preparing the earth for the next spring. People, patterns, and thoughts that no longer serve you. Let them go, with open hands and good will. Thank them for what they taught you on the way.

The newly cleared ground may look bare, but there is an awful lot of work happening unseen, underneath, and in the environment around that is critical to the next spring. The ground has to freeze for some seeds to sprout.

What a metaphor for personal growth!

At Samhain, you also set your intentions for the following year:

I intend truth. (No more tolerance of shenanigans!)

I intend trust. (Risk, and know the universe will provide.)

I intend balance. (Today's work is enough.)

I intend rest. (Do only what I can.)

I intend laughter. (Until it hurts.)

I intend presence. (Be with people.)

I intend compassion. (For myself and others.)

I intend to be for my body. (It's the only one I have, no returns, so getting right by it is the only choice.)

So I embrace the winter and the coming dark, the rest and the recovery.

As above, so below, So Mote It Be!