Updated: Jun 24, 2018
Once again, the wheel has turned full circle. … Be reborn this night, as the great wheel of life must ever turn.
The wheel represents a full cycle of the seasons. Each season is marked by a series of spiritual days called Sabbats to honor the qualities of each time of the year, life’s lessons as revealed through Nature, and our relationship with our deities. Samhain (pronounced /ˈsɑːwɪn/ SAH-win or /ˈsaʊ.ɪn/ SOW-in), also known as Halloween is considered the beginning of the Pagan year. The wheel of the year, as seen here is based off the Celtic calendar which is focused on the cyclical change of seasons. The original Celts would celebrate four fire festivals, which were spaced evenly throughout the year, which celebrated the transition of the sun throughout the seasons.
Below is detailed information about each Sabbat. I will be posting more in depth in, my blog for each Holiday along with rituals and photos.
SAMHAIN: (say Sow-een) or Halloween, the final harvest, this is our most sacred Sabbat. Samhain is commencing of the season of darkness, it is the festival of Death, it is also the celebration of the of the Eternal Cycle, for without death there can be no rebirth. This truly is the time that the new cycle begins. It is a starting point.
The spirit of the God has descended into the Underworld and the Sun Child is growing within the Goddess, waiting in the depths of the Earth to be reborn at Yule. It is the time when the Goddess is in Her aspect as Crone. She is Destroyer and Healer, Wise Woman and Midwife of Transformation. Samhain is the time of introspection, it is the time to assess and re-tune ourselves to the beliefs in the oneness of all spirits, and in our firm resolution, that physical death is not the final act of existence.
The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest and the consciousness which separates the land of the living from the land of the dead. We remember and honor our loved ones and ancestors who have passed; we release the spirits of those we have lost.
Other Names: Witch’s New Year, Summer’s End, All Hollow’s Even Date: October 31 (Greater Sabbat/Cross Quarter) Celebration of: The Lord dies and awaits his rebirth at Yule Related Holiday: Halloween Colors: Orange & Brown Symbols: Fall fruits, divination
YULE: The Winter Solstice, is the season of Midwinter festivities and the return of the sun and light. The God as Sun Child is reborn of the Goddess. We honor the birth of Life and the first light that signifies renewal. Participating in Yule teaches us to join in with the potential for rebirth and to be part of the cycle which is core to our existence. The evergreen tree is sacred to the Goddess who never dies, this represents the uniting of the underworld, our world, and the Gods. This time of joy and is a time of reflection on the gifts of the Goddess.
Other Names: Winter Solstice Date: December 21 (thereabouts) Celebration of: The Goddess gives birth to the God Related Holiday: Christmas Colors: Purple or Dark Green Symbols: Holly, mistletoe, pine branches, pine cones, wreath
IMBOLC (pronounced EM-BOLK, also known by Christians as Candlemas), a Celtic Fire Festival, this is a time of reawakening. The flame of a candle is a true testimony of transformation and the power of the spirit. It’s time of cleansing and purification. Now is the time when we sow the seeds of our life.
Other Names: Imbolq, Olmeic, Candlemas, Brigit’s Day, Bride Day Date: February 2 (Greater Sabbat/Cross Quarter) Celebration of: The God is a young child growing in size and strength Related Holiday: Valentine’s Day Colors: Pink or Pale Green Symbols: The Candle Wheel, Evergreens, Willows, Grain Dolly
OSTARA, (pronounced Os-Tah-Rah) This is the Spring Equinox, the name is from the Goddess Eostre. The Earth is now clearly awakened from her slumber. The day and night are equal but the light is gaining; life is gaining momentum. This is a time of feasting and celebration. Everything is born, rebirth.
Other Names: Spring Equinox, Eostre Date: March 21 (there about) A celebration of The God and Goddess begin their courtship. Fertility. Related Holiday: Easter Colors: Light Green Symbols: Spring flowers, new plants, rabbit, lamb, eggs or any universal archetypes of fertility or renewal.
BELTANE, (Pronounced Bell-Tane, or Beal-Tine) This is a Celtic Fire Festival that means “Bright Fire” it refers to ritual extinguishing and a rekindling of all fires. Which symbolizes warmth, life, transformation. The God comes to the Goddess signaling good fortune and change. This is is the first day of Summer and celebrates the half of the year that is dedicated to growth and fertility which is represented by the god and goddess. In this Sacred Marriage of the god and goddess, the earth is sprouting green and colorful blossoms, which are celebrating the fulfillment life and passion between the god and goddess. This is a celebration of life!
Other Names: Beltane, May Eve, May Day, Samradh Date: May 1 (Greater Sabbat/Cross Quarter) Celebration of: The Lord and Lady consummate their relationship Colors: White, Red and Pink Symbols: Spring flowers (especially the rose), bonfire, red candles, maypole and hawthorn
LITHA, (pronounced Lee-Thuh) This is the Summer Solstice, Litha represents the time of fulfillment. The God and Goddess are wrapped in the ecstasy of their union. Midsummer is truly one of the turning points in the year. The sun is the highest point. There is also a change on the horizon. Once the God has reached his peak the dark begins to grow stronger; the God starts to become more introspective and is starting to accept that his path leads to sacrifice and to death. The Goddess is about to prepare herself for Cronehood. This is a time of celebration of the earth fully, but it is also a time for realizing that change is inevitable and an anticipation of the harvest to come.
Other Names: Summer Solstice, Midsummer Date: June 21 (there about) Celebration of: The Goddess is pregnant with the God Related Holiday: Feast of John the Baptist Colors: White and Pale Yellow Symbols: Spear (God) and Cauldron (Goddess). Summer flowers, St. John’s Wort, birch, white Lilly’s
LUGHNASADH, (pronounced Loo-Nah-Suh, or Lah-Mass) This is the Festival of Sacrifice. This is the first of the three Celtic harvest festivals; the grain (or corn) harvest. As the union of the God and Goddess ultimately gave birth to the bounty of the earth. This is a time of joy, but no longer is the God the virile groom of Beltane also, the Goddess is no longer the young Bride. He is in the fall. or autumn of life and the Goddess uses Her power to bring forth a bountiful harvest. Now is the time that we reap the harvest our own seeds that were sown at Imbolc. The God personifies the Spirit of Nature that dies each autumn, the Goddess is the core meaning of eternal life. The God is now the spirit of the Grain he willingly cut down, he signifying is a sacrifice for the sake of the living. His spirit descends into the Earth, which is the womb of the Goddess, he is waiting to be reborn at Yule.
Other Names: Lammas, Lughnasad, Lugnassad, Lunasa Date: August 1 (Greater Sabbat/Cross Quarter) A celebration of: A Festival of not only life and bounty, but of harvest & death, complete cycle of life. Colors: Gold and Bright Yellow Symbols: Summer flowers, nuts and grains
MABON, (pronounced May-Bahn) This is the Autumn Equinox is the second of three harvests and this is a time of balance between light and dark. This is the time that heralds the need for storing and conserving. It’s a time to realize our blessings and to honor and thank the Goddess and the God. Mabon a traditional time for celebrations like thanksgiving and harvest festivals. The Goddess is the Harvest Queen though, the God’s presence is shadowy; he is deep in the Underworld. It’s time to make room for contemplation for the quest for balance.
Other Names: Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Pagan Thanksgiving Date: September 21 (there about) Celebration of: The God now sleeps within the womb of the Goddess Colors: Dark Brown and Red Symbols: Harvest Foods