On this page I'm going to be getting into the Sabbats (holidays are the best definition for them, I suppose) of the year and what I do to celebrate them!
As of right now this page is definitely under construction. It will my new project for a few days!
Since the first sabbat I will be celebrating since starting this blog will be Imbolc, I will start there and add sabbat information as they come. Rather than dumping a ton of information on you in one sitting. Eventually, this will come full circle. Then I may rearrange the sabbats by starting with Samhain (the New Year for us Pagans) then again, I may just leave it the order I wrote it. We will see when the time comes!
Just looking at the word probably has most of you going 'huh?'. I know the first time I saw the wheel of the year there were a few holidays that I had NO CLUE how to pronounce. Imbolc is pronounced as "IM-bulk" or "EM-bowlk". Another name for this sabbat is Candlemas. This is the time of the blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural/gardening tools. Imbolc is the festival of the Maiden (if you read the Moon post it tells about the three aspects of the Goddess; the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone). Imbolc is celebrated on the sunset of February 1st till the sunrise of February 3rd. So most people just celebrate on the 2nd of February. Now is the time to prepare for growth and renewal.
Fun fact, this is also the where the Ground Hog's Day tradition came from. Since Brighid's snake is emerging from the earth to test the weather.
Traditionally, corn husk dolls are made to represent the Maiden and young girls carry the dolls, which are placed in baskets with white flowers (this is done to represent the Maiden as the Bride) while villagers place gifts in the baskets for Maiden. This is followed by a feast.
Brighid's Crosses, which are traditionally made from wheat stalks, are exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity for the coming year. I have a GREAT tutorial on how to make your own Brighid's Cross. http://www.earthwitchery.com/makeacross.html. My son and I will be doing one of these for every room in our house. (Yea, for new traditions in our new home!!)
Also, a besom (which is a type of broom) is placed by the front door to "sweep out the old and welcome the new" I also have a tutorial on how to make your own besom...I'm just not sure where I put the link. You will be able to find it in my "Tool/Supply" page (when I get around to typing it up!)
The rebirth of the sun is also celebrated by placing lit candles in each room.
Herbs of Imbolc include:
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.
Gems/Crystals/Stones of Imbolc include:
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, and Turquoise
The Deities of Imbolc include:
The Maiden Goddess, Brighid (of course), Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, Februa, the Gods of Love and Fertility
Colors of Imbolc include:
White, Pink, Red, Yellow, Green, and Brown
One of my favorite Sabbats!! Ostara is the celebration of the Vernal (Spring) Equinox (March 21-22). We are celebrating the hierogamy (sacred marriage) between the young Sun God and the young Maiden Goddess. She will become the Great Mother in nine months time. The Great Mother brings with her a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals!
Ostara is sacred to Eostre, the Saxon Lunar Goddess of fertility. She is where the word estrogen comes from. Also some of the most common symbols of the Christian holiday Easter also come from this celebration! The Colored Egg and Rabbit both are symbols of the Goddess Eostre.
Some ways to celebrate Ostara are planting seeds or starting your Magical Herb Garden. My favorite, however, is taking long nature walks and taking in the beauty and magic of nature, our Goddess, and her blessings on us.
Some of the items that grace my altar at this time are the gemstone Jasper, any floral incense (Rose is my favorite) and I try to keep fresh spring flowers; such as Daffodils, Violets, Peony, Iris's, and Narcissus's. One of these days I am going to have to post pictures of my altar!
Ostara is all about nature and the connection with Goddess. As all the Sabbats, I encourage you to celebrate it in a way that MEANS something to you.
(Also known to many as May Day)
Beltane is held on the eve of April 30th until the following evening of May1st. Beltane incorporates many of it's traditions from the Gaelic Bealtaine, for example the bonfires! Which just happens to be one of my favorite parts! But the sabbat is mostly reminiscent of the Germanic May Day festival, by focusing on the celebration of fertility and dancing around the May Poles.
We feast in honor of Bel or Belinos' (one of the names for the Sun God) coronation. We are celebrating the gift of life and the world around us waking from it's wintery slumber and bursting into color again.
Old celtic tradition used to allow marriages of a year and a day to take place. It was also a time for unabashed sexuality and promiscuity. These ancient traditions are rarely observed in modern times though. (Although SOME of us still enjoy our unabashed sexuality :) ) Young people used to spend the entire night in the woods "A-Maying," and then dance around the phallic Maypole the next morning. Married couples were allowed to remove their wedding rings (and the restrictions they imply) for this one night. May morning is a magical time for wild water (dew, flowing streams, and springs) which is collected and used to bathe in for beauty, or to drink for health.
Many old English rituals include going outdoors first thing May morning and gathering branches and flowers to decorate their homes with. Women and girls would usually braid flowers into their hair. Both sexes would decorate their bodies.
Celebrate Beltane as you would a wedding! It is the celebration of the union of the God and Goddess, after all. Choose an outdoor setting (if weather and location are permitting). Decorate your altar with flowers and bright colors that represent the coming spring/summer.
Litha is the sabbat opposite Yule. It is held on the longest day of the year; the Summer Solstice (which is usually around June 21st). This is the time of the year when the Sun God has reached his moment of greatest strength. This is where the Green Man faces come from. You can see the God's face in countless foliate masks.
The Christian religion changed this sabbat into the holiday of the Feast of St. John the Baptist. Usually portraying him in rustic attire or like the Greek Demi-God Pan, hooves, horns, and all!
This sabbat is also very important to those who follow the Faerie faith as well, seeing as Litha is also known as Midsummer Night's Eve.
Ways to celebrate Litha include:
Garden fresh fruits and vegetables are made into a variety dishes and eaten by Pagan's who choose to celebrate this day.
Herbs and Flowers:Mugwort, Vervain, Chamomile, Rose, Honeysuckle, Lily, Oak, Lavender, Ivy, Yarrow, Fern, Elder, Wild Thyme, Daisy, Carnation.
Incense:Lemon, Myrrh, Pine, Rose, Wisteria.
~Lammas or Lughnasadh~
Lammas is celebrated on July 31st to August 1st.
The summer's hot days are coming to an end and it is a time to celebrate the coming harvest! Seeds from withered plants will be dropping soon to ensure future crops. It is a time to thank the Godesses and Gods for the grains that are ready for harvest and the fruits that have rippened.
Lughnasadh has it's own meaning. It is the celebration of the funeral games hosted by Lugh, the Sun God (yes, there are more than one Sun God, it depends on which lore you follow) fo rhis foster mother Tailte.
Christians have adopted this sabbat as their holy day 'Loaf-mass'. It was the time when fresh baked loaves of bread were placed on their altars.
This is also the time when the Celtic Sun God enters the last stages of his life. But he has still not died yet. With the sun rising in the south farther and farther each day, he symbolically starts to lose his strength. The days are growing shorter, and the nights longer.
Apples, Grains, Breads and Berries
Herbs and Flowers:
All Grains, Grapes, Heather, Blackberries, Sloe, Crab Apples, Pears.
Aloes, Rose, Sandalwood.
The Autumn Equinox is known as Mabon and usually falls within a day or two of September 21st. Just like it's sister Sabbat Ostara, Mabon is the celebration of daylight and darkness being divided equally. Most pagans who celebrate Mabon take this time to be thankful for everything that has been provided for us and pay respect to the coming darkness. Honoring the Green Man was called Mea'n Fo'mhair by the Druids. The Druids celebrated by giving offerings to the trees. Some of the offerings included wine, cider, herbs, and fertilizer. Some pagans celebrate the impending death and rebirth of the God while celebrating the Goddess's passage from Mother to Crone.
This Sabbat is a time for preparing for Samhain, the end of the Celtic year. It's a time to wind up whatever unfinished business, be it a crop, garden, painting the house, or other things that need to be done before winter sets in.
Celebrate by dressing in your finest and have a feast in a lavish setting. Bring your family together around the table and just enjoy one another.
Herbs related to Mabon:
Acorn, benzoin, ferns, grains, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, myrrh, passionflower, rose, sage, solomon's seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables.
Deities of Mabon:
Goddesses-Modron, Morgan, Epona, Persephone, Pamona and the Muses. Gods-Mabon, Thoth, Thor, Hermes, and The Green Man
Foods to celebrate:
Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions.
Autumn Blend-benzoin, myrrh, and sage.
Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.
Stones related to Mabon:
Sapphire, lapis lazuli, and yellow agates.
Spellworkings during the Mabon season:
Protection, prosperity, security, and self-confidence. Also those of harmony and balance.