Sabbat Celebrations

Turning the Wheel

As the Church grows over time, and our gatherings become larger, we may wish to incorporate dramatizations or Shakespearean plays into our Sabbatical activities. But for a small Coven or Church, I do not feel the need to perform an hour long ritual or a two hour performance. I feel that the activities we partake in are the rituals themselves.

Our Sabbats are in honor of Gods or Goddesses, and they deserve recognition. So, why can we not just tell stories about them while acting out these ancient customs? Since our religion began as an oral tradition, story telling is certainly appropriate during the Sabbats.

I do not feel the necessity to have a set ritual for everything. It is enough that we have a ritual for every major stage of our lives, to include degree initiations. Also, organizing and preparing for Sabbatical activities and meals is stressful enough. Why must we place undue pressure on ourselves?

I believe that Wicca should be an organized religion. However, when a religion becomes too structured, people lose interest. The Sabbats should be a time to relax, have fun, and enjoy life and its seasons. Thus, the Sabbats should include story telling, cultural activities, and a feast or at least a light snack.

Also, we should not become too set in our ways in our activities. Doing the same thing every year can become boring. These Sabbats are celebrated by many different Anglo-European cultures in different ways and at different times. We should learn about these cultures and incorporate that knowledge into our celebrations. And just because we are Wiccan, does not mean that we have to practice the Sabbats any differently than our Christian counterparts. They derived their practices from the same sources as we derive ours.

There is no mention of Santa Claus or hunting Easter eggs in the Bible. Then, why do Christians engage in such Pagan practices? It is simple; they are just as Pagan as we are. When Pagans accepted Christianity during the time of the Roman Empire, they refused to let their beliefs and practices die with their new found Messiah.

Likewise, Roman rulers allowed these beliefs and practices to continue in order to further enslave the people they had conquered. The Church gave these Pagan practices a new definition and Christianity was born. Catholics today adhere to virtually the same practices as did their Pagan ancestors. Since Witches and Catholics or Christians in general have the same Pagan ancestors, I see no reason why we should set ourselves apart from our cousins.

Christians today honor these Pagan customs subconsciously because it feels natural to them, and rightly it should. We are still a Neolithic society because we rely on agriculture to feed us, and on domesticated brethren to keep us company. As long as humans remain on this Earth, we will have a subconscious urge to eat farm-fresh vegetables, share our lives with animal friends, and honor seasonal changes.

I do know Christians who do not participate in the Sabbats because they know that the Sabbats are of Pagan origin. I can not call them hypocrites because they adhere to their chosen religion. I would like to point out here that I have had negative observations of Christians who do not honor the Sabbats. I once knew a Southern Baptist woman who became withdrawn, angry, verbally abusive, and sometimes physically violent during Halloween, Easter, or Christmas because she knew they were Pagan holidays and she refused to recognize them.

I also subjected myself to this kind of torture. For three years, I refused to celebrate Christmas because, at the time, I was convinced that it was a Christian holiday. I was verbally abusive to my parents. I would not allow a Christmas tree in the house, nor would I give or accept gifts. When I finally celebrated Yule, after I had learned of its true origin, I breathed a great sigh of relief. I suddenly felt whole again.

Due to this experience, I came to the conclusion that we should not deny ourselves our primitive urges, so long as no one is harmed by them. I see no problem with celebrating the Sabbats the same way as our Christian cousins do. Christians and Witches are not as different as we might think. There are similarities to be found in all religions and cultures if we allow ourselves to recognize them. The Golden Rule, Universal Law, and the Sabbats are what bind us all together into one great Pagan family.

Sabbat Preparations

Yule

Activities: Roast nuts over fire, caroling, hay ride, sledding, sing carols, open presents, make candy, play the Crystal Wish game, dance the Witch’s Rune to ‘Bring Back the Light’ by Gypsy.

Altar/Room: Yule tree, Yule log candelabra, mistletoe, holly, wreath, presents, candles in the shape of Santa or tree.

Candles/Colors: Green, Gold, Red, Silver, White.

Food: Candy, cranberries, eggnog, fruitcake, ham, nuts, popcorn, wassail.

Herbs: Bay, Bayberry, Cedar, Chamomile, Evergreen, Frankincense, Holly, Juniper, Mistletoe, Moss, Oak, Pine Cones, Rosemary, Sage.

Items: Yule Incense, Yule Oil, Malachite, Garnet, Yule log from the previous year, and one for the coming year.

Robes: Red or White. Men may wear crowns of Holly and Oak leaves to represent the Holly and Oak Kings. Women may wear white gowns and/or crowns to represent the Snow Queen.

Solar New Year

Activities: Make plans for the coming year. Disassemble Yule decorations. Socialize with with friends and family to bring in the New Year. Make wishes or resolutions for New Year.

Altar/Room: Confetti, streamers, party whistles, lights.

Candles/Colors: Any bright colors, numbered candles denoting passing and incoming years.

Food: Finger food and mixed drinks, green tea.

Herbs: Cinquefoil, Dill Weed, Dandelion Root, Lucky Hand Root, Red Dogwood Bark, Rosemary, Spearmint, Tonka Bean.

Items: Violet Incense, Patchouli Oil, Amazonite, Azurite, Parchment.

Robes: Any bright colors, or evening wear for women.

Imbolc

Activities: Make Brighid’s Crosses, burn light or candle on a window sill, bless seeds for planting, watch a prairie dog for its shadow, ritually sweep house or sacred space with a Besom to remove old energy.

Altar/Room: Brighid’s Bed and Brighid’s Doll.

Candles/Colors: Red and White.

Food: Any dairy product. Strawberries, honey, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, poppy seed, sesame seed, trail mix.

Herbs: Angelica, Basil, Bay, Benzoin, Celandine, Heather, Myrrh, Dragon’s Blood.

Items: Packets of seeds, bulbs, or tree saplings, written spells, Crown of Lights, Imbolc Incense, Imbolc Oil, Garnet, red or white candle.

Robes: Red or White. Women may wear Crown of Lights.

Bird's Mating Season

a.k.a. Valentine’s Day

Activities: Make bird feeders, houses, and bird baths. Send Valentine cards, attract a mate.

Altar/Room: Birds, hearts, cupids, heart-shaped candles.

Candles/Colors: Pink, Purple, Red, White.

Food: Seeds, as with Imbolc.

Herbs: Black Cohosh, Cinnamon, Damiana, Dittany, Dragon’s Blood, Life Everlasting, Lovage Root, Mandrake Root, Mullein, Orange Peel, Passionflower, Rose, Tonka Bean.

Items: Divination tools, materials for making bird feeders, houses, and baths, Valentine cards, Rose Incense, Rose Oil, Garnet, Red, Pink, Purple, or White candle.

Robes: Red, Pink, Purple, White, or Skyclad.

Eire’s Day

a.k.a. St. Pat’s Day

Activities: Invoke Leprechauns and Faeries, contact family members and research genealogy. Made a family tree, share family stories, study history and other facts about Ireland.

Altar/Room: Shamrocks, Leprechauns, Faeries, candles shaped as such.

Candles/Colors: Green, Orange, White.

Food: Green eggs and ham, Irish coffee, and any other Irish food or beverage.

Herbs: Hawthorn, Heather, Irish Moss, Lavender, Oak Moss, Pansy.

Items: Blarney Stone, Connemara Marble, Harp, Irish Music, Claddagh, Innisfree Incense, Innisfree Oil.

Robes: Kilt and sword shirt or green, orange, or white robe with/out clan tartan.

Ostara

Activities: Color and hunt eggs, plant seedlings or trees blessed during Imbolc, spring cleaning.

Altar/Room: Hard boiled eggs, colored and/or painted eggs with symbols, stone or ceramic eggs, pastel colored jelly beans, M&Ms, candles shaped like eggs or bunnies.

Candles/Colors: Bright green and all pastels.

Food: Deviled eggs, eggnog, first fruits of the season, salad, fruit juice or punch, yogurt, edible flowers.

Herbs: Celandine, Cinquefoil, Crocus, Daffodil, Dogwood, Easter Lily, Honeysuckle, Iris, Jasmine, Lavender, Rose, Tansy, Violet, Wisteria.

Items: Eggs, flowers, Ostara Incense, Ostara Oil, Amethyst.

Robes: White and all pastel colors.

Beltane

Activities: Maypole Dance, Great Rite, jump Bel-fire, release cattle and sheep to pastures.

Altar/Room: Wildflowers, fertility symbols, candles shaped like male and female genitalia.

Candles/Colors: Green, Red, and all dark colors, except black.

Food: All red fruits, berries, salad, fruit juice or punch.

Herbs: Angelica, Ash, Bluebell, Cinquefoil, Daisy, Frankincense, Hawthorn, Ivy, Lilac, Marigold, Meadowsweet, Primrose, Rose, Woodruff, Yellow Cowslips.

Items: Maypole, Bel-fire, garland of flowers, Beltane Incense, Beltane Oil, Rose Quartz, Crystal.

Robes: White, all pastel colors, and bright primary colors, or Skyclad.

Litha

Activities: Camp near water, swim, play water sports, have a Luau, slaughter spring pigs, fish, erect a Faery Altar.

Altar/Room: Summer flowers, fruits, sea shells, geodes, love or fertility amulets, candles shaped like fish, sea shells, or mermaids.

Candles/Colors: Light or Dark Blue, Light or Dark Purple, Sea Green.

Food: Fish, crustacean, pork, mixed drinks.

Herbs: Bladderwrack, Chamomile, Cinquefoil, Cottonwood, Fennel, Fern, Kelp, Larkspur, Lavender, Moss, Mugwort, Rose, Seaweed, Thyme, Wisteria, Verbena, Lobelia.

Items: Sea Shells, Pearls, Mermaids, Fish, Litha Incense, Litha Oil, Aquamarine, Amethyst, Green Aventurine, Moss Agate, Sea Salt, Sand.

Robes: Light or Dark Blue, Light or Dark Purple, Green, Swim Suits, Lingerie, or Skyclad.

Lughnasadh

Activities: Make corn husk dolls, harvest grain, and last fruits, grind grain into flour or meal and dry or preserve fruit.

Altar/Room: Corn Dolls, grains, dried corn cobs, gourds, sunflowers, grain-shaped candles.

Candles/Colors: Brown, Gold, Yellow.

Food: Cereal, oatmeal, grits, bread, fruit.

Herbs: Acacia flowers, Aloe, Corn silk, Fenugreek, Frankincense, Heather, Hollyhock, Myrtle, Oak, Sunflower, Wheat.

Items: Corn husks, Corn cobs, Lughnasadh Incense, Lughnasadh Oil, Citrine, Piece of Gold.

Robes: Black, Brown, Yellow.

Mabon

Activities: Recycle any aluminum, plastic, paper, etc saves throughout the year, made shrunken heads out of apples, make culinary oils, vinegars, or potpourri, harvest and can vegetables, make besoms.

Altar/Room: Acorns, pinecones, autumn leaves, gourds, pumpkins, grains, apples, candles shaped like pumpkins.

Candles/Colors: Black, Brown, Dark Red, Golden Yellow, Orange.

Food: Vegetables, bread, noodles, fruit, pumpkin, sweet potatoes.

Herbs: Acorns, Asters, Benzoin, Honeysuckle, Marigold, Mums, Myrrh, Oak Leaves, Pine, Sage, Thistle.

Items: Wooden staffs, Birch twigs, Broomcorn, Willow binding, Mabon Incense, Mabon Oil, Amber.

Robes: Black, Brown, Golden, Yellow, Orange, Red.

Samhain

Activities: Bob for apples, hold a Séance, read Tarot cards, any type of divination, honor the dead, dress in costumes and visit friends and neighbors bearing treats, perform the Great Rite, make Celtic knot work, wands, and candles, place Jack O’ Lanterns and food for the dead, slaughter cattle, sheep, and fall pigs for winter, preserve meat, sausage.

Altar/Room: Pumpkins, pomegranates, yew branch, crow feather, tools of divination, grape- vine, photographs of the deceased, candles shaped like Witches, ghosts, black cats, skulls.

Candles/Colors: Black, Orange.

Food: Apples, Cider, pumpkin pie, hazelnuts, pomegranates, and any red meat such as roast beef or lamb.

Herbs: Any plant of the Nightshade family, Acorns, Blood Root, Broomcorn, Dittany, Heather, Mandrake Root, Mullein, Mugwort, Oak Leaves, Sage.

Items: Cords and patterns for knot work, materials for wands and candle making, Samhain Incense, Samhain Oil, Onyx.

Robes: Black.

Nut, Foul, and Wild Game Harvest

Activities: Gather, hull, and roast nuts until Yule. Hunt Prairie Chicken, Duck, Pheasant, Quail, Turkey, Deer, Elk, etc. This is the final harvest of the year and should be about the same as Thanks- giving. All activities not completed during Lughnasadh, Mabon, or Samhain should be completed during this last season before Yule, to include winterizing the home.

Altar/Room: Same as for Lughnasadh and Mabon.

Candles/Colors: Same as for Lughnasadh and Mabon, except black.

Food: Roast turkey, duck, or any other foul or wild game, and/or ham, sweet potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, stuffing, rolls, pumpkin and pecan pie, apple cider. A typical Thanksgiving feast.

Herbs: Same as for Lughnasadh and Mabon, as well as, Allspice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Mulling spice.

Items: Whatever is needed to complete the activities of the year.

Robes: Same as for Lughnasadh and Mabon, except black.

Rituals

Yule Ritual

Conduct Opening Ritual and consecrate candle.

“This candle will send the God’s light to the world and bring balance, harmony, and peace. It will also bring the light of the Moon to the Sacred Space.”
(Celebrate the Earth, 55)

Light candle.

“Mother Goddess, we light this fire in Your honor. You have created life from death; warmth from cold. The Sun lives once again; the time of light is waxing. Welcome, ever-returning God of the Sun. Hail Mother of All.”
(Wicca, 127)

Crown the Snow Queen.

“Queen of the Moon and the Sun; Queen of the Heavens and Stars; Queen of the Waters and Queen of the Earth, bring to us the Child of Promise.”
(The Witche’s Bible Compleat: Eight Sabbats, 148)

Crown the Holly King.

“King of Holly and thorn, You are death personified. But, through death there is life. Thus, shall You be reborn as the Oak King. Our Lord of Life is risen from His peaceful slumber; He is born again.”

Perform the Witche’s Rune.

“As the Wheel turns, the power burns.”
(Wicca, 128)

Consecrate the Yule Log.

“Great God of the Sun, we welcome Your return. May You shine brightly upon the Earth, scattering seeds and fertilizing the land. All blessings upon You, reborn One of the Sun.”
(Wicca, 128)

Burn the Yule Log.

Pass around Wassail and Apple Mead.

Exchange gifts.

Play Crystal Wish Game.

Conduct Closing Ritual.

Imbolc Ritual

Conduct Opening Ritual and consecrate candle.

“The Goddess has returned from the Holy Land. She is Maiden once more. We charge these candles with the power of Brighid to draw into the magic place all knowledge that is needed for our sovereignty.”
(Celebrate the Earth, 90)

Light candles.

“This is the time of torches, when every lamp blazes and shines to welcome the rebirth of the God. We celebrate the Goddess. We celebrate the God. All the Earth celebrates beneath its mantle of sleep.”
(Wicca, 130)

Consecrate seeds.

“We charge these seeds with the power of Brighid to grow and replenish the Earth.”
(Celebrate the Earth, 92)

Consecrate Brighid’s Crosses.

“May the blessing of Brighid be on these crosses, on the place when they hang, and on all who see them throughout the year.”

Stand before the Altar.

“All the land is wrapped in winter. The air is chilled and frost envelopes the Earth. But Lord of the Sun, Horned One of animals and wild places, unseen You have been reborn of the gracious Mother Goddess, Lady of fertility. Hail Great God. Hail and welcome.”
(Wicca, 130)

Hand out seeds.

Pass around Cream Puffs and Faery Wine.

Make Brighid’s Crosses.

Conduct Closing Ritual.

Ostara Ritual

Conduct Opening Ritual and consecrate candle.

“We draw to this Sacred Space and land the power of the Goddess Ostara. Bring to us the delights of Spring, the power of fertility, and the joy of beauty.”
(Celebrate the Earth, 120)

Light candle.

“Great Goddess of the Earth, You have freed Yourself from the icy prison of winter. Now is the greening, when the fragrance of flowers drifts on the breeze. This is the beginning. Life renews itself by Your magic. The God stretches and rises, eager in His youth, and bursting with the promise of summer.”
(Wicca, 132)

Stand before the Altar holding flowers or plant.

“We walk the Earth in friendship, not in dominance. Mother Goddess and Father God, instill within us, through this plant, a warmth for all living things. Teach us to revere the Earth and all its treasure. May we never forget.”
(Wicca, 132)

Pass around Salad and Stuffed Eggs and Posset.

Plant seeds.

Hunt eggs.

Conduct Closing Ritual.

Beltane Ritual

Conduct Opening Ritual and place wreath upon Maypole.

“Mother Goddess, Queen of the night and the Earth; Father God, King of the day and the Sun, we celebrate Your union as nature rejoices in a riotous blaze of color and life. Accept our gift in honor of Your union.”
(Wicca, 134)

Crown the May Queen.

“How may we hasten the arrival of Spring? How may we initiate the magic of life’s return and encourage our Mother to blanket the Earth with greenery and the warmth of love? How may we mark this Holy day? Thus we crown the Queen of May.”
(Celebrate the Earth, 147)

Crown the Oak King.

“Belanos, up from the South, we call thee. Sun God, who courses the heavens with chariot and steeds of fire. How may we herald the coming of Spring? Thus we crown the Oak King.”
(Celebrate the Earth, 147)

Perform the symbolic Great Rite.

“As Chalice is to Blade, as Lance is to Grail, as Man is to Woman, let their union bring blessedness. So mote it be.”

Light the Bel-fire.

“We light the Bel-fire and call our Goddess forth. We bid the Great goddess to return to the lusty embrace of the Mighty God.”
(Celebrate the Earth, 147)

Jump the Bel-fire.

“Here we come a piping, in the Springtime and in May. Green fruit ripening and Winter flood away. The Queen sits upon the strand, seven billows upon the sea. Horses riding fast and free, with bells upon the sand.”
(Celebrate the Earth, 148)

Perform the Maypole Dance.

“May the balance be restored between the Lady and the Lord. Earth below and sky above, share the blessings of their love.”
(Celebrate the Earth, 148)

Pass around Lemon Grilled Chicken and May Wine.

Made wreaths and Celtic Knot work.

Conduct Closing Ritual

Litha Ritual

Conduct Opening Ritual and consecrate candle.

“We celebrate the noon of Summer with mystic rites. Great goddess and God, all nature vibrates with Your energies and the Earth is bathed with warmth and life.”
(Wicca, 136)

Stand before the Altar.

“Now is the time of forgetting past cares and wrongs. Now is the time for purification.”
(Wicca, 136)

Light candle.

“O fiery Sun, burn away the unuseful, the hurtful, the wrongful.”
(Wicca, 136)

Consecrate water.

“Mermaids, come to this Sacred Space and bring with you a storm of protection. Come to our shores and protect our waters from pollution.”

Pass around the candle and water.

“O Gracious Goddess and God on this night of Midsummer magic, we pray that You charge our lives with wonder and joy. Help us in attuning with the energies adrift on the enchanted night air.”
(Wicca, 137)

Pass around Grilled bass, Fruit Pizza, and Midsummer Mead.

Make wine or preserves.

Have a Luau.

Erect a Faery Altar.

Conduct Closing Ritual.

Lughnasadh Ritual

Conduct Opening Ritual and consecrate candle.

“Lugh, Great God of the Golden Sickle, guardian of the harvest, bring Your light ot share with us. Cast Your golden light upon the Sacred Tara.”
(Celebrate the Earth, 208)

Light candle.

“Now is the time of the First Harvest, when the bounties of nature give of themselves so that we may survive. O God of the ripening fields, Lord of the Grain, grant us the understanding of sacrifice as You prepare to deliver Yourself under the Sickle of the Goddess of the Dark Moon. Teach us the secrets of rebirth as the Sun loses its strength and the nights grow cold.”
(Wicca, 138)

Pass around bread and stand before the Altar.

“We partake of the First Harvest, mixing its energies with ours that we may continue our quest for the starry wisdom of perfection. O Lady of the Moon and Lord of the Sun, gracious ones before Whom the stars halt their courses, we offer our thanks for the continuing fertility of the Earth. May the nodding grain loose its seeds to be buried in the Mother’s breast, ensuring rebirth in the warmth of the coming Spring.”
(Wicca, 138-9)

Pass around Bread and Soft Mead.

Make Corn Dolls.

Conduct Closing Ritual

Mabon Ritual

Conduct Opening Ritual. and consecrate candle.

“Blessings upon You, O Fallen God, as You journey into the lands of Winter and into the Goddess’ loving arms.”
(Wicca, 140)

Light candle.

“In this seeming extinction of nature’s power, we know that life continues. Spring is impossible without the Second Harvest, as surely as life is impossible without death.”
(Wicca, 140)

Stand before the Altar.

“Gracious Goddess of all fertility, we have sown and reaped the fruits of our actions, good and bad. Grant us the courage of plant seeds of joy and love in the coming year, banishing misery and hate. Teach us the secrets of wise existence upon this planet.”
(Wicca, 140)

Pass around Pumpkin Pie and Mabon Moon Wine.

Make Mabon Apple Dolls.

Can or pickle vegetables.

Conduct Closing Ritual

Samhain Ritual

Conduct Opening Ritual and consecrate candle.

“Lord of the Sun, on this night of Samhain, we mark Your passing through the sunset into the Land of the Young. We mark also the passing of all who have gone before, and all who will go after.”
(Wicca, 142)

Light candle.

“Eternal Mother Goddess, You who gives birth to the fallen, teach us to know that in the time of the greatest darkness, there is the greatest light.”
(Wicca, 142)

Burn petition.

“Wise One of the Waning Moon, Goddess of the starry night, we create this fire within Your cauldron to transform that which is plaguing us. May the energies be reversed. From darkness, light. From bad, good. From death, rebirth.”
(Wicca, 143)

Stand before Altar.

“Tonight, we celebrate the Final Harvest. As we prepare for the long, cold nights of Winter, we give thanks to all those who have sacrificed themselves so that we may live. On this night, the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Thus, we honor our Ancestors and loved ones. For it is they who gave the greatest sacrifice of all--by loving us.”
(Wicca, 143)

Place out Food for the Dead.

Pass around Roast Beef and Mulled Cider.

Read Tarot.

Visit friends with treats.

Bob for apples.

Conduct Closing Ritual

P8

 

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