The Eight Sabbats
Sabbats are the times of year that we celebrate the eternal life cycles of the God and Goddess. From birth to life to death and back to birth, the cycle continues. Also known as the Turning of the Wheel.
Yule - ( Dec. 21st. )
The virgin Goddess gives birth to the Sun God. This is the longest night and shortest day of the year.
This Sabbat represents the rebirth of light. Yule is a time of awakening to new goals and leaving old regrets behind. This is a time of spiritual rebirth.
The choice of December 25 as the date for Christmas was made by the Christian Pope Julius I in the fourth century AD (circa 336) because this coincided with the pagan rituals of Winter Solstice.
In Old Norse, the word "Yule" means "wheel".
In ancient Egypt, the Winter Solstice is the return of the Sun God "Ra".
The wreath represents the Wheel of the Year. Plants for this sabbat are Evergreen, Holly, Ivy, and Mistletoe, all representing fertility, and everlasting life.
The Yule log is used to wish upon. The ashes from the Yule log are kept as amulets of protection and fertility.
This is the time when the Oak King (ruler of the waxing year) defeats the Holly King (ruler of the waning year). According to ancient Celtic history, this is a time when the Robin (waxing time) slew the Wren (waning time).
Wassail in Anglo-Saxon means "be whole or hale".
Imbolc - ( Feb. 2nd.)
The God is a young boy. The Goddess is in her virgin aspect.
Followers of the Celtic tradition celebrate Imbolc on the first Full Moon in Aquarius.
Imbolc is considered a time of purification.
This is the Feasts of Torches. This day is also the Festival of Lights.
It is also known as Brighid's day. Brighid is known as the Celtic Goddess of, Poetry, Healing, Smith craft, as well as Midwifery. She is a Triple aspect Goddess.
Newest addition of the eight Sabbats (originally only seven Sabbats were observed). This is a Fire Festival.
Imbolc stands for "in the womb". Oimelc stands for "ewe's milk".
This is also the Greek festival of Diana, Goddess of Love. It is a time for bonding and love. This is a Cross-quarter day.
Ostara - ( Mar. 20th. - 23rd. dependant on actual astronomical event )
Spring Equinox, Vernal Equinox, Lady Day
On this Sabbat the Goddess blankets the earth with fertility. This Sabbat was named after the Germanic Virgin Goddess of spring (Ostara). This day is also known as Lady Day.
This is a holiday, especially sacred to the Goddess. Ostara is a fertility festival celebrating the birth of spring and the reawakening of life from the Earth.
Day and night are equal. This is the first day of spring.
The Teutonic name for the Spring Goddess is "Eostre".
A rabbit was said to have laid sacred eggs and having decorated them, presented them to the Goddess Eostre. In a show of pleasure, she bid the rabbit to distribute the eggs throughout the world. The eggs represent the gifts of life.
This is a time, to celebrate the victory of life over death.
This is a Four Quarter day.
The equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator and enters the House of Aries.
Beltaine - ( May 1st. )
In Scotland it is known as "Bhealltainn".
The young God grows to manhood. The God and Goddess unite and the Goddess becomes pregnant. Some traditions require that the Beltane fires be lit by two flints being struck together as a symbol of the sexual union of the Goddess and God.
The month of May is named in honor of the Goddess Maia, who originally was a Greek nymph.
Maia is one of the "Seven Sisters", (Pleiades). She is the mother of the God "Hermes". And her parents are Atlas and Pleiades, (a sea nymph).
The word Beltane is thought to mean "balefire". Another possibility for the origin of the name is from a little-known Celtic fire god from Wales named Belanos or Belios, or from the Phoenician vegetation god Baal.
This is a time of the Great rite (a celebration of the union between the God and Goddess). This is the beginning of the Celtic Summer. This is a fertility sabbat and the 2nd. most important day of the Sabbats.
In ancient Rome, it was known as the Festival of Floralia, "Flora Goddess of Flowers ".
This is a great time, for feasting, and joy.
In 1644 the Puritans made it illegal to erect a maypole, because of its phallic symbolism. The first Irish settler, "Partholan" arrived in Ireland on this day.
On this day the Tuatha De Danann were conquered by the Milesians.
The astrological date for this day is when the sun sets at 15 degrees Taurus.
Litha - ( June 20th. - 23rd. dependant on actual astrological event )
The powers of nature are at their highest. This is a time for the Feast of Epona, the Celtic Horse goddess. This Is a Solar festival.
Faeries are at the height of their power. This is the best time of year to encounter faeries, devas and so forth.
Dancing around the mulberry bush is considered protection against faeries.
Just like Samhain, this is an ideal time for divinations and healing rituals.
It is believed that the veils between the worlds, just like at Samhain, are thinnest and the spirits of the dead pass through freely.
Herbs gathered on this day are considered very powerful.
The astrological date is when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer. The first battle between the Tuatha De Danann and the Fir Bolgs occurred on this day. The Spear (male icon) and the Cauldron (female icon) is representative of this day
Lughnasadh - ( Aug. 1st. )
Lammas, August eve, First Harvest, Grain festival
The God is dying. This is the first Harvest. This Sabbat is named after the Celtic Sun God Lugh. Lugh means "He of the shining arm or Shining One".
Lammas stands for "loaf mass". This is a grain festival.
This is one of the most important Sabbats of the year.
Lugh is one of the leaders of the Tuatha De Danann. He is associated with the Raven. And he is well known for his mastery of magick. His wife is the Goddess, "Danu". The name of Lugh is derived from the old Celtic word "lugio", meaning "an oath".
To the Irish-Gaelic, Lughnasadh is a feast to commemorate the funeral games of the Irish Sun God Lugh. This is in commemoration of the death of His foster mother, "Taillte". After the defeat of her people by the Tuatha De Danann, she was obliged by them to clear a vast forest for the purpose of planting grain. She died of exhaustion in the attempt. The legend states that she was buried beneath a great mound named for her, at the spot where the first feast of Lughnasadh was held in Ireland, the hill of Tailte. A Taillte wedding lasted for one day and a year.
Mabon - ( Sept. 20th. - 23rd. dependant on actual astrological event )
Autumn Equinox, Lessor Sabbat, Harvest Home, Four Quarter day, Witches Thanksgiving,
Weavers festival, Second Harvest
This Sabbat is named for the Welsh God of Fertility, "Mabon". The Welsh name Mabon means "great son" and refers to the Son of the Great Mother. Mabon is known as the Celtic "divine child".
This day is also known as Harvest Home. Day and night are once again equal. It is the time of the year when night conquers day. This is a time in which to think of balance in our lives, a time to look inward. This is the Second Harvest.
This Sabbat is also known as the Witches Thanksgiving. Traditional Thanksgiving was moved from this date to the November date, by President Lincoln at the behest of the puritans.
The astrological date is when the sun enters the sign of Libra. This is a Four-quarter day.
This is an excellent time for making corn dollies.
Samhain - (Nov. 1st. ) ( Sow-hin )
Third Harvest, Feast of the Dead, Halloween's eve, All Hallows, Cross Quarter day
The God has died. The Goddess mourns though she knows He will be reborn at Yule. A time when the veil between the worlds is at it's thinnest. This is an excellent time for divination.
This Sabbat is known as the Witches New Year. It is also the start of the Celtic New Year.
In Irish Gaelic the word "Samhraidhreadh" means "summers end".
Halloween is a contracted word for "Hallowed evening ".
This is the day of the Festival of the Roman Apple Goddess "Pamona". This is the Third and final Harvest. This Sabbat is also known as the Feast of the Dead.
This is a Cross Quarter day. Samhain is reckoned when the sun has reach 15 degrees Scorpio.
" As the Wheel of life turns, so shall our journey continue "