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The Sabbats

Approx. Reading time: About 5 Minutes


The Sabbats celebrate the eternal circle of life – birth, death, and rebirth. These seasonal holidays have been followed for many thousands of years by ancient cultures such as Nordic, Celtic, and Greek. The Sabbats are attuned to the natural rhythms and cycles of nature and the passing seasons. Sabbat is a French word taken from the Hebrew Sabbath, meaning “to rest.” The Sabbats take place eight times in the year, they have spiritual significance. Most witches celebrate the Sabbats.­

Current/Upcoming Sabbat



Samhain is one of the Greater Sabbats, it is the witch’s biggest holiday and usually referred to as Halloween. It is New Year’s Day as it marks the death of the Lord. Samhain, is the death festival, and is the time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead at its finest.

Sabbats in Brief

The Major Sabbats include the four major agricultural festivals, Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh. The minor Sabbats include the solar festivals of the equinoxes and solstices, Yule, Ostara, Litha, and Mabon.

The midpoint of the four seasons is when the major Sabbats occur. The beginning of each season is when the minor Sabbats occur.

Each spring the day, when the hours between sunrise and sunset are exactly equal to the hours between sunset and sunrise, is called “vernal equinox. “There is also a day each fall when the hours of darkness and the hours of daylight are exactly in harmony, this is the “autumnal equinox.”

Halfway between each equinox, there are two points on the earth’s path which mark the Solstices. Daylight hours are at their longest during the Summer Solstice, the hours of darkness are at their shortest. During the Winter Solstice, we have the shortest day and longest night.

All Sabbat ceremonies begin at sundown on the eve of the dates given and continue to sundown. Each Sabbat is spaced at approximately even intervals throughout the year.

By celebrating the festivals, you attune yourself to the cycles of nature creating an inner calm and oneness with all things.

The Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is of Pagan heritage and is the calendar for the cycle of the seasons. The year is viewed as a wheel that keeps turning, and once it has completed a rotation, the wheel keeps going and turns again and again. Each of the spokes on this wheel represents one of the eight Sabbats.

The Wheel of the Year begins at Samhain, which is better known as Hallowe’en or All Hallows Eve, which is the Celtic New Year, this is when the veil between the worlds of life and death are the finest.

The Four Seasons are known as Solar Festivals because they mark a seasonal change caused by the Sun. The cross-quarter days are marked by Fire Festivals and are usually celebrated as significant agricultural festivals. The Solar Festivals and the Fire Festivals make up the Wheel Of The Year.

Wiccans look at the year as the continuing and repeating story of the life, death, and rebirth of the God and the fertility of the Goddess.

Wheel of the Year Cycle

  • At Yule, which occurs at the time of the winter solstice in December, the Lady gives birth to the Lord and then rests.
  • At Imbolc, in February, the Lord is seen as a young boy, and the Lady recovers from giving birth.
  • Ostara marks the first day of spring and the awakening of the Earth. The Lord is seen as a growing youth at this time.
  • At Beltane, the Lord has grown to manhood and he falls in love with the Lady, the two unite, producing the bounty of Nature. The Lady becomes pregnant by the Lord.
  • The Summer Solstice is the point in midsummer when everything in Nature is at its peak, there is abundance. During this time the Lord and the Lady are at the height of their powers.
  • Lughnasadh is the day in August of the first harvest. The first grains are cut, and the Lord begins to weaken.
  • At Mabon, the second harvest, the Lord is dying. The days grow shorter, and Earth readies for the slumber of winter.
  • At Samhain, in October, the Lord dies only to be reborn of the Lady again at Yule.

All The Sabbats



Imbolc is the time to sort out any pressing matters, such as making peace with those you’re in conflict with, returning borrowed items, and reconnecting with family and friends.


Ostara is a Lesser Sabbat and marks the Spring Equinox when day and night balance. Called Ostara after the Saxon Goddess Eostre, this is a time of renewal, regeneration, and resurrection.


Beltain (fire in the sky), celebrates the spring holiday and is a significant fire and fertility festival that begins at sunset on 30th April. Halfway around the year from Samhain, when we honour the dead, Beltain is the festival that honours all of the living.


Litha (the Summer Solstice) marks the longest day of the year. During the summer solstice, it is the time of the first harvest and the celebration of this bounty. In times gone by this Sabbat was celebrated with large bonfires, they were burned to promote purification, fertility, and love.
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Samhain is one of the Greater Sabbats, it is the witch’s biggest holiday and usually referred to as Halloween. It is New Year’s Day as it marks the death of the Lord. Samhain, is the death festival, and is the time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead at its finest. This is a perfect night for communicating with the dead, and a powerful night of the year for divination and scrying.

In ancient times it was believed that this was the time that our ancestors would return to visit us, offering help and advice. Celtic countries would also leave food offerings on altars and doorsteps, for the “wandering dead”. Often candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones return home.

The darkness increases during Samhain and the Goddess reigns in her powerful aspect of the Crone. The God passes into the underworld to become reborn of the Goddess again at Yule.

Samhain is a time of transformation and inner work, it is also a time of remembrance, when those who have died are thought about and honoured.

During this time Wiccans say farewell to the Pagan Lord, lore states that the Pagan god dies, and he travels through the veils into the otherworld, to be reborn at Yule.

Samhain was traditionally a time of sacrifice; livestock were slaughtered to ensure food throughout the winter.

This holiday marks the end of the old year and the beginning of the new.

Samhain Activities

  • Decorate your altar with photographs of dead loved ones, pumpkin lanterns, oak leaves, apples, nuts, and sage.
  • Drink warm apple cider mixed with cinnamon to honour the dead.
  • Bury an apple in the garden as food for the spirits of those who have passed away.
  • Carve a Jack-o-Lantern.
  • Make candles for the coming year, add colour and scent depending on its purpose.
  • Enjoy a night of trick or treating.
  • Bob for Apples
  • Make resolutions as you do when it is New Year, write your resolutions on a small piece of parchment and burn in a candle flame.
  • Samhain it is a good time for divination, Tarot cards, scrying, and crystal ball reading.
  • Private Meditation
  • Enjoy sweets.
  • Create a new magic wand or witch’s broom.
  • Hold a private ritual and focus on the traditional themes for Samhain, such as Life, Death, and Rebirth.
  • Host a Halloween party
  • At dinner, set a place for your loved ones that have passed this year.

Deity’s Portfolio

  • Division: Major Sabbat
  • Other Names: Witch’s New Year, Summer’s End, All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Festival of Spirits, Third Harvest, Celtic New Year, Festival of Pamona, Vigil of Saman.
  • Southern Hemisphere Date: April 30/May 1
  • Northern Hemisphere Date: October 31
  • Associated Holiday: Halloween
  • Associated Deities: Badb, Banba, Cailleach, Durga, Hecate, Hel, Inanna, Ishtar, Kali, Morrigan, Rhiannon, Persephone, Arawn, Belenus, Dagda, Hades, Loki, Odin, Pluto
  • Associated Herbs: Bay Leaf, lavender, mugwort, nutmeg, sage
  • Associated Stones: All Black Stones, Obsidian, black onyx, bloodstone, amethyst, opal
  • Symbols of Samhain: Gourds, Apples, Black Cats, Jack-O-Lanterns, Besoms, Balefire, Masks, The Cauldron, Waning Moon.
  • Foods of Samhain: Turnips, Apples, Gourds, Nuts, Mulled Wines, Beef, Pork, Poultry.
  • Drinks of Samhain: Ale, Cider, Wine, and Herbal Teas.
  • Incense of Samhain: Heliotrope, Mint, Nutmeg.
  • Ritual Oils: Frankincense, Basil, Yarrow, Lilac, Ylang-Ylang, Camphor, Clove
  • Colors of Samhain: Black, Orange, White, Silver, Gold.
  • Taboos: Travel After Dark, Eating Grapes or Berries
  • Plants: Mugwort, Gourds, Sage, Allspice, Catnip, Apple.
  • Element: Water
  • Activities: Divination, Past-Life Recall, Spirit Contact, Meditation, Drying Winter Herbs
  • Animals: All Creatures that feed on Carrion, the Raven especially, Bat, Boar, Cat, Cow, Dog
  • Mythical Creatures: Phooka, Goblin, Medusa, Beansidhe, Harpies, Fylgiar, Peryton, Erlkonig.
  • Celebration of: The Lord dies and awaits his rebirth at Yule.