The Sabbats of Wicca
The term "Sabbat" is the witches term for a "Holy day". The sabbat is the celebration of the progression of the god, throughout the year (4 of them) and the turning of the seasons. The sabbat is a very important time in the witches calendar, since it is a time of celebration. The God is represented by the sun, and therefore the different aspects of the solar year are celebrated at these sabbats.
Normally, magic is not done on a sabbat since the idea of the sabbat is celebration.
There are 8 of these sabbats located equidistant from each other throughout the year. The most recognised start of the witches "New Year", in a witches calendar, is Samhain (pronounced: Sow-en) (October 31st)
This gives a brief look at the Sabbats of wicca, there general timing and what is normal practice a particular time of year.
Imbolc: (Feb 1st)
This is the first sabbat after mid winter, a very important time in many cultures due to the fact that spring was at last on its way! Which in ancient times freedom from eating those dried meats and veggies and onto some fresh food. In essence the banishing of the winter season.
A white flower, which naturally comes into flower this time of year is placed upon the altar, and also burning a white candle is appropriate on this sabbat. Also the practice of "spring cleaning" is also done at this time.
The lore of this sabbat, details how
just after sunset on the sabbat that every light in the house, or
a candle in every room is lit, if only for a few minutes. This
honours the suns rebirth. Also walking in the snow a few minutes remembering the warmth of summer. Also trace an image of the sun
in the snow. If you have not got snow, then I suggest you just
imagine the warmth of summer and I am sure in many places that
will not be hard!
Ostara (21st March)
Fresh flowers are placed on the altar and around the house. If you have a cauldron fill it with fresh water and put some blossom onto the altar. A potted plant is also sometimes used.
The lore of this sabbat, is to go into a field and randomly pick a few wild flowers (make sure it is legal and thank them for their sacrifice.) You could also go to a florist. The few that you have picked can be used to reveal your inner emotions.
This is also a time to go to a nearby woods, or place of natural beauty, just to be there! In celebration of the renewed year, and the renewed life you see around you.
This is also a good time of year to start thinking about herbs, and planting them, however make sure that any frosts are gone.
Beltane (30th April)
The celebrations of this day mean only one thing...... fertility... in all its glorious connotations. This sabbat is the last of the three spring fertility sabbats, where everything starts preparing for the summer months ahead. This is a time of love, union and the one phallic object which has survived Christian dominance, the Maypole! If you consider this day to be the act of sex then you have taken it too literally, fertility means physical, mental and spiritual fertility.
It was traditional after this practice to go into the nearby woods, or back home and do a bit of unioning! Since the joining of two things to form a third is in the spirit of Beltane. The 'unioning' part can be symbolic by doing some plaiting or weaving. Two threads, ribbons, join together to form a cloth or platted rope, etc. the third entity.
Flowers should be on your altar, and flowers picked just before dawn is hung on the front door, and the petals of which can then, after the day is done strewn around the house as protection.
Midsummer (June 21st)
This is obviously the date with the longest day and the shortest night of the year
This is the time to perform magic of all kinds. Healing, love magic, and protections are very suitable for this time of the year.
This is the Sun King at his peak. His energies at its maximum, now is the long slide down to his death.
If you are having a fire outside, leaping over it is for purification and renewed energy.
If you have an Elderberry tree, or bush, this is the time of year, where it is said that you will see fairies and other phenomena. I am not certain what time of day it is supposed to be, but I believe it is near the sunset of the day.
The existence of fairies, and the "little folk" in Wicca is common to the new "Fluffy Bunny" pagans, however the belief in this phenomena is not standardised and therefore can't characterised wiccans.
A ritual for this day would be a pouch of herbs filled with
selections of Lavender, Chamomile, St. Johns Wort or Vervain, and
of course any other herbs you think suitable. This pouch is then
subjected (in thought) to all your troubles, problems, sorrows,
pain. etc. Put as much of it you can into this pouch, and then
close it with red ribbon.
A small fire, or main fire, is built and the pouch thrown in. This signifies the burning up of your problems.
Altar candles for this time of year, are normally coloured red or gold.
Lammas (Lughnasadh) (August 1st)
The altar should have some autumn produce on it, e.g.. sheaths of wheat, apples etc.. A small loaf of bread, in the shape of the sun, or a man, could also be put onto the altar.
This, obviously represents the first of the very important (to the ancient peoples) sabbats.
This is a time of year when your herbs, if you planted them are harvested, and dried, to be put into your apothecary.
Any seeds which are consumed in the ritual are then planted. If they sprout you look after them with love and attention, since this signifies the love and connection with you and the lord and lady.
The famous Corn Dolly is also made at this time of year, if you have access to such materials.
The wheel turns again...
Mabon (September 21st
- Autumn Equinox)
The altar is decorated with acorns, seeds of all kinds, e.g.. corn, fruit and nuts are also placed there, also leaves.
This is the second harvest festival
The traditional practice is to go into
the woods or forest and collect seed pods and dried plants (for
decoration or magic)
The foods of Mabon include the second harvest gleanings, e.g.. grains, fruits, corn.
Samhain (Oct 31st)
You would need your head in the clouds if you didn't know that Halloween was on 31st Oct!!
The altar now sees apples, pomegranates, pumpkins, and late autumn fruits on it. Flowers are also good too, if you have any.
This is the witches New Year. As normal for a new year it is traditional to make a 'new you', your resolutions.
This is a time of year when you put down on a piece of paper what aspects of yourself you wish to change. You will need a heat proof receptacle for the fire, e.g.. cauldron, or Pyrex dish (I know it isn't fancy), with sand in to take away the direct heat.
This is also a time to think of friends and love ones that have passed away and remember that they have gone onto greater things. The physical isn't the only reality and that your soul or sprit will live on (for those non-reincarnationalists your spirit will carry on to any progeny you have)
It is also traditional to leave a plate of food outside your door, for the souls of the recently departed, who have not yet left this plane of existence (Not for the kids as you might have thought)
All kinds of fruit, veggies and especially meat is appropriate for this time of year, and for those vegans out there Tofu is the one to have.
Yule 21st December
This is the Midwinter Sabbat where it is the shortest day and longest night.
The altar is adorned with evergreens, e.g.. pine, rosemary, bay, juniper, etc. Dried leaves are also placed on the altar.
Your cauldron or heat proof receptacle should have ignitable spirit or a red candle in it. This signifies the returning of the sun.
This sabbat is also the time of year to make a Yule tree, with wiccan decorations, of any type.
If you have the fireplace for it this is the appropriate time to burn a Yule log, this signifies the rebirth of the god inside the sacred fire of the goddess. The log should be of oak or pine. The log normally has a figure of the sun, or a representation of the god chalked, or carved with your white handled knife, onto it.
The foods are most vegetables kept over from the harvest and meat.