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Most Wiccans celebrate eight holidays throughout the year, each marking a specific time in the season. Sabbats are ceremonies which are performed in order to honor a god/goddess/season. Often there is a feast and festivities at the Sabbat. In the wheel of the year, there are four major Sabbats and four lesser Sabbats. The major Sabbats include Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lammas. Yule, Ostara, Litha, and Mabon make up the four lesser Sabbats.


Samhain (pronounced Sow-een or Sow-in) is celebrated on October 31st ( May 1st in the Southern Hemisphere). This is the "Witches New Year" and the primary Sabbat from which all others flow. It is said that on this night, the veil between the two worlds is thinnest. Also it represents the time where the God dies and the "dark" age prevails. The Goddess awaits the return of the God (Yule) from here on out. It also represents the celebration of continued life. Traditionally, four Jack 'O Lanterns are carved and one placed at each elements' quarter. This is done to frighten unwelcome spirits away faces , but the glow from inside the pumpkin will let the welcomed spirits know where to go. The alter can be decorated with fall leaves, pumpkins, corn, gourds, and anything else related to the season. This is the third harvest festival.


Imbolc (pronounced em-bowl/g or em-vole-g) is celebrated on February 2nd (around August 2nd in the Southern Hemisphere). This day represents the first day of the wiccan spring and is sometimes called Candlemas or The Festival of Light. On this night, many candles are lit to represent the awakening of the Earth. To speed up the spring season, place a bowl of melted snow on the alter.


Beltane (pronounced beel-teen or bell-tawn) is celebrated April 30th or May 1st (on October 31st or November 1st in the Southern Hemisphere). This is the celebration of rebirth, life, and love. One familiar tradition of Beltane is the Maypole. The ribbons on the pole are white and red to represent the Goddess and the God. There is love between the God and the Goddess as well as in our hearts on this day. This is also the time for new beginnings and projects.


Lammas (pronounced Lam-mahs) is celebrated on August 1st (on February 1st in the Southern Hemisphere). This is a celebration to honor the Celtic Sun God, Lugh. It also gives thanks to Spirit for the abundance if the Earth because this is the first of the harvest festivals. Food is placed on the alter as an offering and the entire day is one for picnicking and games. Lammas is also known as the Wiccan Thanksgiving.


Yule is usually celebrated on December 21st or 22nd (on the 21st or 22nd of June in the Southern Hemisphere). On this day, wiccans celebrate the rebirth of the God and his gifts of warmth and fertility. Candles are traditionally lit and left burning all night on the alter and a Yule Tree (or sometimes called "wish tree") is decorated. On this night, it is said, that the Oak King (of the waxing or first half of the year) fights and suppresses the Holly King (of the waning or second half of the year). Wiccans see the Holly King as "Father Christmas", wearing a red robe and holly atop his head. He drives his sleigh of eight (the number of Sabbats) deer (a symbol of the horned God) through the night. Also, wreathes are hung to represent the wheel of the year.


Ostara (pronounced Oh-star-ah) is usually celebrated on March 21st or 22nd (on the 21st or 22nd of September in the Southern Hemisphere) It is sometimes called Lady Day, and it represents the return of fertility to the land. One well known tradition is coloring/dying and decorating eggs.


Litha is usually celebrated around June 21st or 22nd(on December 21st or 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere). This day represents the strength of the God for he has reached his peak. The Oak King and the Holly King come to fight again on this day, however, this battle is won by the Holly King. Herbs are also harvested and a bale fire is lit.


Mabon is usually celebrated on September 21st or 22nd (on March 21st or 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere). On this day the God is reabsorbed into the womb of the Goddess. Many wiccans find this time for making new wands or staves. The alter is decorated with pumpkins, corn, fall leaves, and fruits. This is the second fall harvest festival.

Solitary Sabbat Rituals


There are thirteen full moons in a year, each of which, the Goddess is at her highest peak. Esbats are rituals which are performed on the night of each of the four moon phases. The ritual consists of drawing down the moon and the consecration of cakes and ale. Also goals may be made or spells may be cast during this time (I'll get to this in a little bit). Some wiccans will hold Esbats in a group, but most will perform their ceremonies alone. During these rituals, amulets and tools are often charged/consecrated for the individuals own use. Below is a list of the moon phases and what kinds spells or goals are best cast or made at each one.

New Moon: (Maiden form of the Triple Goddess); performing magick that involves personal growth, healing or starting a new project of venture.

Full Moon: (Mother form of the Triple Goddess); protection, divination, planning, releasing magick.

Waning Moon: (Crone form of the Triple Goddess); banishing unwanted behaviors or negative influences in life, breaking bad habits, negative situations can be banned with much success.

Dark of the Moon: (the three days prior to a New Moon); meditation, retrospection and self-examination. Also a time of rest and rejuvenation.
NOTE: no magick is performed during this period of the moon's monthly cycle.