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Tar Barrels

Allendale in South West Northumberland has traditionally brought in the new year with the fiery Tar Bar'l festival for the past 160 years - although some believe the tradition actually began in the Middle Ages. Forty-five local men known as "guisers" (pronounced "geezers") carry half whiskey barrels filled with burning hot tar in a procession through the town on "Old Years' Night (New Year's Eve), attracting locals and visitors alike.

Followed by a motley band of trumpeters, drummers, trombonists and more, the men (in fancy dress and drag) march around the town before heading to an enormous bonfire in the town square. Shortly before midnight the barrels are thrown onto the awaiting bonfire and then something quite amazing happens. The crowd grows quiet and reflective as the flames leap to the sky. And as tradition has it, the last few moments of the old year are spent watching the flames and imagining / visualizing / picturing the dross and ill luck, the drama and grief of the old year being cleansed and purged in the fire. Burned away to make space for the new year ahead.

What ever you want to let go of, whatever your ritual. Reflect at years' end. See the lessons, acknowledge the progress, recognize the roadblocks and use them to fuel the new year ahead.

Here is a wonderful tool to help you focus from the past to the year ahead

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