What are Wiccan Sabbats?

Image from Lunar and Lux

Have you heard of Wiccan Sabbats, but weren’t sure what that means? Ever heard of Samhain (pronounced sow-en) or Ostara? Whether you’re just getting started in your spiritual journey or you’re becoming more grounded in your practice, it’s always good to know when to align your calendar with your pagan spirituality. Part of the Wiccan philosophy is this idea of a perpetual cycle of life. The Wheel of the Year is the Wiccan calendar that showcases this ever-moving cycle.

The Wheel of the Year begins on the Sabbat (aka holy day) of Yule. During Yule (on December 21st and also known as Winter Equinox), we celebrate when the Goddess gives birth to the Sun (Sun God). It is no surprise Christianity aligned Jesus’ birth during this time as you’ll find most pagan and Christian holy days line up. Incorporating Christian holidays with the pagan made it easier to convert folks!

“The God grows strong through Spring and Summer. Then, in Fall, the God and Goddess unite. She becomes pregnant with the new God and the old God dies on Samhain to be reborn at Yule. This cycle is acted out symbolically during certain rituals.”

After Yule, we celebrate Imbolc on February 2nd. Imbolc is the time when we first plant our seeds for our spring crops. It’s a time of cleansing and renewing promises or vows made.

By March, we welcome in Ostara, the Spring Equinox. This Sabbat symbolizes a new beginning. We welcome in longer days and shorter nights and it highlights the union of the God and Goddess. This is why we associate springtime with fertility.

Beltane arrives on May 1st and marks the end of the planting season and a time where we start to harvest. Similar to Ostara, it represents fertility.

The Summer Solstice, Litha, is celebrated in June. This Sabbat highlights the height of God’s strength. It’s a great time for big bonfires to ward off negativity.

Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh, is celebrated on August 1st and is a time when the Goddess hands over control to the God. “Lughnasadh, which is Gaelic for the modern Irish word “Lunasa,” meaning August–where in ancient times the Sun God Lugh was honored. Lammas is the English harvest festival which occurs on the same day. The word is Anglo-Saxon for “loaf mass” and was celebrated by Pagans and Christians alike.” It’s a good time for feasts and to support local farmers.

The Autumn Equinox, or Mabon, comes next in September. Mabon showcases the world’s balance between light and dark (as it is the time when nights start to become longer than days). It is the Pagan day for Thanksgiving. Apples are usually present somewhere in the celebration.

Image from WaterOfWhimsy

The year winds down with Samhain in October, the third and final harvest festival of the year. “The word ‘Samhain’ comes from the old Irish and is thought by many to translate as ‘Summer’s end.’” It is officially the end of summer and winter is creeping in. The dead are said to be able to better communicate with the living in order to celebrate with their loved ones. The God now withdraws back into the dark (symbolically passing away before being reborn again at Yule).

If you’re looking to start honoring these holy days, we suggest exploring more information on how to do so on sites like Pinterest. You can also give our social media sites a follow. We’ll post a lot of information there as the Year rolls on.

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