The Eight Wiccan Sabbats
The Eight Wiccan Sabbats
Sabbats celebrate the turning of the Wheel of the Year. They are based around the sun and the timing for agricultural plantings and harvestings. There are eight sabbats, one about every six weeks. The sabbats are celebratory times, and most wiccans do not perform magick on these days. Sabbats can be celebrated individually or by covens. Some prefer to celebrate alone and experience a deeper connection with earth.
The cycle of the year is the main focus of the sabbats. A story to go along with this cycle has been told to give a more poetic feel. It is about the God and Goddess and the interaction between them. In their many forms, they each go through changes as each sabbat. The core of the story is birth, death, and rebirth. In spring, things are born and come to life; in summer, everything is at its peak in full bloom; in autumn, things start to wither away and return to the earth; in winter, the earth is frozen and barren; and back to spring when everything comes back to life.
There are some different views on when the cycle begins. It seems that most favor to celebrate the new year on Samhain or Halloween, so that it where the description of each will begin. Also listed are the colors that represent each sabbat.
Samhain - Oct. 31 This is a time to remember loved one, both alive and those that have passed. It provides a good opportunity for divination and reflection. A place setting is often set at the dinner table for some of the loved ones who have passed and offer bits of food. Of course, this day is widely accepted as Halloween and has been transformed into the night of trick-or-treating and mischief, but the roots are Pagan. Colors are black, orange, and gold.
Yule - Dec. 20-21. Yuletide lasts for twelve nights, thus the "twelve nights of Christmas" tradition was born. Yule occurs on the longest night of the year, at the winter solstice, so it provides a good time to meditate about the darker aspects of your life and changes that can be made. Colors are red, white, and green.
Imbolc - Feb. 1-2 Imbolc is a time to welcome spring. Fertility and growth are celebrated. Think about the plants and grass hiding just under the snow, ready to bloom. Spring cleaning of the home is begun now. Colors are lavender and white.
Ostara - Mid March Ostara falls on the Spring Equinox. Nights and days are equal in length. Balance is celebrated and seeds are blessed for planting. Eggs are colored and placed in colorful baskets. The Easter Bunny is of pagan roots. Colors are lime green, lemon yellow, and pink.
Beltane - May 5 People, plants and animals prepare for warmer days. Love is celebrated. Mayday is a more common name and is celebrated the same way, along with the May Pole. Colors are blue, lavender, pink, and white.
Midsummer - June 20-23 This sabbat falls on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It is a celebration of success. In the story, the Sun King is at his highest point. Everything is in full bloom with the warmest days. Colors are gold and red.
Lammas - Aug. 2 This is one of the few harvest celebrations. Baking bread and canning are common activities as well as harvesting herbs for magickal use. Preparing the home for fall also takes place. Everything is preparing for the cold days ahead. Colors are red and gold.
Mabon - Autumn Equinox. Another harvesting celebration associated with corn and other foods. The final gathering of herbs and plants is done now, before the frost hits. Colors are brown, orange, gold, and red.
The cycle then repeats and it is Samhain time again. You can see how some Christian holidays seem based off of these celebrations. Even just decorating your home with the associated colors can give you a connection to where the cycle is turning.