Wheel of the Year: Guide to the Sabbat's

Everything in life revolves around cycles and the most observed and relatable of them is the cycles of Earth. The seasons enable us to allow time for all aspects of our lives if we choose to live with their energies. Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn; each season has its reason, it’s purpose.

‘Sabbat’ derives from the word ‘Sabbath’ means to rest.

The Sabbats are a series of festivals throughout the year that embodies each stage of Earth’s cycle around the Sun. Often referred to as the Wheel of the Year, there are eight sabbat’s throughout the year which honours a different aspect of the solar cycle. Sabbat’s commemorate the changing of the seasons, allowing for a time to honour, reflect and celebrate different points of the year. Below is a brief synopsis of each Sabbat and what energies they honour throughout the solar cycle.

Yule 

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More commonly known as the Winter Solstice, where the sun is at it’s lowest point in the sky creating the shortest day of the year.  Celebrated usually at the sunrise, people all over the world gather to watch the sunrise on a new dawn, a new solar cycle. Yule is a time for gratitude, spending time with loved ones and taking time to rest after all the effort that has been exerted during the year. It’s a time to take stock and feast upon the rewards of our work over the last year. It’s also a time to come out of hibernation, to celebrate all that life gives us individually and as a collective. This is a time to bring all that we have learned, the wisdom we have gained during a period of darkness ready to give birth to our intentions and name our wishes for the coming year. The Winter Solstice marks the start of the journey to longer days and a warmer climate.

Imbolc

At Imbolc, the seed’s break free and so do our dreams. At this time we will be anticipating new beginnings and awakening from the slumber of hibernation. The land is fertile and so are we. We have our wishes planted in the soil and now we begin to activate those intentions set on Yule.  A time of re-emergence after the cold and dark months, sparking a new fire in our souls. Imbolc is the perfect time for divination and journey work as the connection within the realms of our psyche are potent with magic. The energy of Imbolc can bring the guidance you need receive to make your move forward.

Ostara

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Ostara marks the Spring Equinox, a day of equal light and equal dark, of polar opposites and of balance. During Ostara, we can find a state of balance between our intuitive side and our rational mind, a sense of equilibrium needed to bring our plans into the physical realm. Themes of new life and fertility play out during Ostara as the hopes and dreams, planted at Yule which was then activated at Imbolc, start to show signs of springing into motion. It is also a time to celebrate the coming of the summer sun, warmer days and equal light and equal darkness as the darker days are now behind us.

Beltane

The time of Beltane is all about fertility and potency of the force of manifestation. The veil between the physical realm and the spirit realm is at it’s thinnest making it easier to communicate with the world of the unseen. The energy of Spring is at its peak and we started to recognise that whatever we choose to put our energy into, whatever it is you want, it is within your reach. Everything is possible now. Beltane is the beginning of summer, a season of high energy and of our hopes and dreams coming to fruition. All our energies are moving outward now as we strive to make our wishes come true.

Litha

Litha, more commonly known as the Summer Solstice. The building energies of fertility and growth have reached its peak now. It’s a time to celebrate your achievements, all that you are manifesting and who you are as a person. At this time we are more expressive and our souls radiate expansion. Litha brings a sense of abundance with it, and with it comes an urge to celebrate. The Summer Solstice is celebrated by staying up all night and watching the sunrise; honouring the sun for shining down on us and giving us nurturing light that has helped us grow. Now we can honour all that has manifest and begin the journey to the darker months of the year.

Lammas

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The first of three harvest celebrations, traditionally Lammas would signify the harvesting of the grain which in modern day can mean that we see the first of our harvest that will last through the winter. At Lammas, the peak of Summer, we have exhausted all our energies in an outward and expansive manner. We give ourselves the opportunity to give thanks for all we have received in the most expressive state of our nature during the yearly cycle. As the energy begins to wane we start to take our journey within so we can refuel our energy reserves, reflect on what has come to be and deepen our knowledge of our being during the darkness that will come to be over the following months.

Mabon

Mabon is the second harvest, and at this sacred time, the earth is in balance. In equal light and equal dark. Mabon is a celebration of the labour of harvest. All that has been sewn earlier in the year has come to be, and now is a time to reap what has been sewn. To feel the rewards of our efforts. Now is the time for reflection, gaining wisdom from the lessons we’ve learned from and the knowledge we’ve acquires on our journey on planet earth. It’s a great time to look back at what was hoped for, intentions and wishes made at Ostara earlier in the year. Take time to reflect on how they have manifested. Make time to relax, to bask in the glory of what you’ve achieved.

Samhain

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Samhain is this is the Witches New Year, which is also known as the festival of the dead, all hallows eve and more commonly known as Halloween. As with Beltane, the veil between this physical realm and the spiritual realm is at its thinnest making it easier to connect with spirits on the other side. This sabbath honours the beings of the unseen as well as those that have passed on. Samhain is also the third, and last harvest of the year. This is the most reflective of times of year as we process the annual cycle and all that has come to be. As we reflect in the stillness we learn what we would do again and what we wouldn’t so that we can move forward with a fresh perspective.  This is where we rest after the efforts of our years work in the many senses. Samhain is the sabbat of Death, and with Death of the old, we are able to release what no longer serves us. With death comes rebirth. We will have many ideas about what we want to create in our next annual cycle at this point but this time of year is about stillness. Stillness to reconnect with our inner worlds. This is essential to know what our true hearts desire so we can manifest our next years’ wishes and intentions.