Information Concerning the witches Sabbats.
Casting Instructions for ‘Basic Sabbat Lore’
The Eight Sabbats form a never ending circle which is known as the ‘Wheel of the Year’. These are the significant festivals of the Witch’s year. At these times, witches celebrate not only the changes in the Goddess: from maiden to mother then crone and eventually back to maiden again, but also the many faces of the God. The sabbats are a very important part of a witches life and should always be observed.
The names of the Sabbats can vary slightly from coven to coven and city to city, as they come from a time when spelling wasn’t an issue. So, if you are a solitary witch in home, use the names that feel most comfortable to you.
Samhain 31st October/Halloween
Pronounced sow-ain, Samhain is the most significant festival of the witch?s year, it’s the ending of the old year and the start of the new. At this time, the Goddess takes her role as crone or wise woman, and we look to her for guidance. On this night, the smart woman bestows her wisdom in many forms – for example in divination methods like tarot cards, runes, dark mirrors and other forms of scrying.
Samhain is the only one of the eight Sabbats that deals with death, and in history, this would have been a time for people to let their loved ones go, to finish jobs, pay debts and start to get everything ready for the winter months ahead. So now is a good time to put aside any differences you might have with someone, ready to move in the New Year.
We remember loved ones that have passed, and we place an excess setting at the dinner table to honour them. A time to remember, and also a time to look to the future. Known to the rest of the planet as Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, this is a truly magical time. For those who work the land by growing their own plants and herbs all plants must be chosen before this day. Anything left in the backyard after Samhain is said to lose it’s nourishment and belongs to the fae.
Yule 21st December/Winter Solstice
This is the winter solstice celebration of rebirth. Of the year, it’s the shortest day and longest night, which brings an end to darkness as the days will now start to get longer. An fantastic way to celebrate is to go out before dawn to watch the sun rise and welcome the coming Sun King.
You can make your own Yule log in precisely the exact same way that our ancestors did. Take a log with a flat bottom, as it must hold candles. Every person at your Yule celebration must place a candle on the light and log it whilst making a wish. Keep this log secure for the rest of the year, and burn it in your fireplace on the next Yule.
Exchange hand made gifts of good will with your friends, and drink plenty of mead and warm mulled wine. This is a time to rejoice, and to look ahead to lighter days.
Imbolic Feb 2nd/Candlemass
Pronounced im-bolk meaning ? in the Belly? , this is the time when the crone removes her winter cloak to become once again the maiden. The earth is about to give birth to new items, and we see with the first arrival of lambs in the fields. Now is a time to kick bad habits and look to the up and coming year with new thoughts. Pay off any debts, or bring to an end anything that you feel will help you to make a better start to your year.
Spring clean this month, and get ready to receive all of the things you have hoped for and thought about winter. Clean out your wardrobes and give to charity all that you know you?ll never wear again. You might even ask your children to ? spring clean? Their toys, as they will have received so many over the Christmas period and by now will know which ones they have outgrown.
We celebrate the goddess Bridget by creating a basket bed with a corn dolly dressed as a bride to represent the maiden, and put this with a symbol of masculinity to ensure the fertility of the earth in the months ahead.
Ostara 21st March/Spring Equinox
This is pronounced o-star? -a and is a time to rejoice the spring and natures? Beauty, to just get out and walk with the earth. We celebrate being alive at this time and that the days and nights are now equal, so this is an excellent time to balance out the things in your life which might not look very even at this instant.
Ostara gets its name from the free spirited goddess Eostre and the story is that while entertaining some kids, she turned a chicken into a rabbit and it preceded to put coloured eggs, and so we get the basis for the Easter Bunny and its eggs. This is also a time when the maiden truly embodies the spirit of spring, wraps herself in a cloak of fresh flowers, and sees the teenager sun god in a very new light. A time to celebrate being alive and truly look forward to what the year offers you with an open mind.
Share with the earth what you’ve got at the present time, bury one egg in every corner of your garden and your home will be fruitful all year round. If you don?t have a recycle bin or a compost heap, now’s the time to get one. Witchcraft isn?t just about spells and magical, it?s also about the earth and how we can protect it.
Beltaine May 1st/May Day
Beltaine is the next most important celebration after Samhain. Bel is the title of the welsh sky God and Tan (means fire). Hence, this is known as the party of the fire in the sky.
Beltaine is a time for union between goddess and god, and many Wiccan couples will do the ritual of hand fasting on this day. Hand fasting is the marriage, as equals, of a female and male witch and is presided over by a Wiccan priestess – though the couple write their own vows and make their promises directly to one another. They have three options of length: a year and a day, a life time, or for all time – which means they’ll meet in the next life time and so forth. The couple?s hands are tied together with a small ribbon or rope, and at the end of the ceremony they leap over a broomstick or besom into their union. This is where the expression ? tying the knot? originates.
May is an excellent time for outdoor celebrations such as can pole dancing, so you might attempt to discover a local fair or carnival to visit, then invite your friends home, and sit under the stars surrounded by the people you love.
Litha 21st June/Summer Solstice
This is the longest day and the shortest night of the year and from this point, the days will get shorter and the dark hours more. The goddess is still in her robes of Mother but the ever changing God now takes his place as the Father Sun.
This is a period of reflection – so try to grow with the sun on this day and greet the dawn, spending a few moments in thought. Divide your parties for today the between light and dark hours. Take a walk in the park and look at the world before the night begins to draw in and spend some time watching the sun go down.
This is a good time of year to have your altar out for evening rituals, as the weather should still be warm in the evenings. On this day, have a picnic with your friends and try to help them in some way – whether it be going to see them more frequently or by doing a little magic with their consent.
Meditate on what your decisions will be for the next half of this year and on projects which you may be currently undertaking, acknowledge whether or not they are functioning and decide on appropriate action. This is very much a time of dark and light, and as all witches know, this doesn’t mean good or evil – it really represents day and night. So, when someone tells you a witch operates on the light or dark side maybe it?s just because she works more through the night or during the day!
Lammas 1st August/Lughnasadh
This is the festival commemorating the death and revival of the Celtic sun god Lugh and is pronounced [loo-nass-uh or loo-nass-ar]. The goddess – nevertheless the mother – is sad, as the Sun God?s power is now waning, though he lives inside of her as her child, thus keeping the cycle of life. In the past, some of the remains of the initial crop could be kept and made into small cakes, bread or biscuits in the shape of men, which is the origin of the ginger bread man. They were subsequently eaten in sacrifice to the property to repay it for what it had given.
Lammas is a time to count our blessings, and to return to the earth to cover what we have obtained. We can do that by giving our own ginger bread men to family and friends to celebrate our personal harvest. We have to make some sacrifices now for the forthcoming year, so decide one altruistic thing you want to do in the following year, and commit yourself to this. The lesson for Lammas is to be patient in the face of uncertain outcomes.
Mabon 21st September/Autumn Equinox (Harvest Festival)
Mabon is ma? -bon meaning ? Terrific sun? . By some it is called the ? Witches Thanksgiving? , the next harvest as the rest of the grain is stored for winter. Once again, a period of balance when days and nights are equal. As with another equinoxes and solstices, the date may move slightly from year to year.
Mabon is the feast of the bringer of justice and the release of offenders. In years gone by, most offenders would be returned to their families at this time of year as people are preparing for the winter months when food was scarce. They would know exactly how much food they had to last them for the winter and how many mouths they could feed. Any live stock that was infirm or old could be redeemed so as not to waste food.
Mabon is a good time then to let go of old arguments, pay debts before the snow comes and let go of any doubts – keeping then alive helps to nourish no-one. The Autumn Equinox is also a terrific time of healing, so put mistakes behind you and move forward.
Here is a little more information on the Witches Sabbats:
Samhain 31st October, Imbolic 2nd February, Beltaine 1st May and Lammas 1st August are all significant sabbats. Samhain is the most significant with Beltane the second. These are all parties of fire, and may be distinguished by building a fire out or from light candles indoors.
Yule 21st December and Litha 21st June are both solstices with the days being in their shortest and the nights at their longest. These are minor sabbats.
Ostara 21st March and Mabon 21st September are the equinoxes and at these times, the days and nights are equal. These are minor sabbats.
Since the solstice and equinox are never the same, we can celebrate anytime in the 20th to the 22nd of those months