One of the things I love about my religion is the ability to both lean on the past, and make stuff up as you go along 🙂 The “Wheel of the Year” is what we call the cycle of holy days that make up the witch’s calendar; celebrated at the solstices, equinoxes, and the midpoints in-between (it comes out to 8 holidays, each about 6 weeks apart). We are coming up on what many would consider the High Holy Day of neo-paganism: Samhain, better known as Halloween.
Each holiday has its own energy that is hooked into the cycle of the Earth: Samhain (pronounced saw-wen), for example, is the end of the year because it is the dying time. All of the plants are closed down for winter. The next six weeks will be ones of rest as we sink into the dark, rich compost of Mama Earth, taking time for contemplation and recharging. Samhain and the time leading up to it are also intricately connected to the world of dead, this being the time that the veil between the worlds is traditionally the thinnest, reaching its most intangible on the night of October 31st.
This year I have been working on creating or continuing specific traditions that we celebrate as a family to mark the Wheel’s turning. Our oldest and most beloved tradition is one that happens every October, as soon as the pumpkins hit the market: baking pumpkin cake rolls! It’s not necessarily a Samhain-specific tradition, but the Grandmothers like a good slice of pumpkin cake role as much as anybody, and October is definitely the month to spoil the ancestors with nummy offerings 😉 In fact, for me, it marks our “anniversary”: it was an October many years ago that I began an intentional ancestor practice and first made them offerings.