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Spring comes with flowers, Autumn with the moon,
Summer with the breeze, Winter with snow.
When idle concerns no longer fill your thoughts,
that is your best season.
Wu Men

Feast Days


Below you will find a description of each of the eight Sabbats or High Holidays of Wiccans/Pagans. Sabbats for us are not blended holidays regarding the goddess and god. They are solar gatherings. While Esbats are lunar gatherings. However, we are a family tradition that attaches itself to the environment where we live. I live in a desert. August 1st, in Nevada, is still deep summer so a harvest festival like Lughnassadh has little meaning to us. I am not posting a ritual for those high holidays we do not celebrate.

My family tradition never celebrated the Equinoxes nor did we celebrate Imbolg or Lughnassadh. We celebrated the Four Great Great Fire Festivals: Midwinter, Midsummer, Beltain and Samhain. I have incorporated Imbolg as a sacred Feast Day of my patroness goddess, Bridget (I pronounced it Breet. I celebrate all of the holidays in a non religious way, changing the colors of my altar cloth and changing the garlands that decorate my home.

Samhain - Coven Ritual
Samhain - Solitary Ritual
MidWinter Solitary Ritual
Imbolg Solitary Ritual
Beltaine Solitary Ritual
MidSummer Solitary Ritual

Sabbats - An Explanation

The changing seasons of the year are what mark the eight High Holidays of Pagans/Wiccans/Witches. Known as Sabbats, not all pagans celebrate all eight holidays and the names and practices of these holidays vary with each tradition. Some traditions celebrate all the holidays running from sunset to sunset. So you will hear varying dates, including those computed to the exact hour and minute of the quarters or cross quarters of the year.

If a ghost of a loved one shows up,
ask him to join the party.
Victor Anderson

Samhain - Sunset Oct 31st to Sunset Nov 1st ~ pronounced "sow-in" or "saah-vin" Also called Hallowmas, Halloween, All Hallows/All Souls Eve, Shadowfest (Strega), Martinmas or Old Hallowmas (Scottish/Celtic). Called Oiche Shamhna in Ireland -Celtic New Year . Celtic Winter quarter begins . A Mischief Night . The third and last of three Harvest Festivals (The animal harvest and final preparations for winter.) One of the Great Fire Festivals.
This is one of the most important of Sabbats, for we remember their beloved dead. Ritual traditions include a feast, with an extra plate of food is prepared for those who have passed on and another be left outside for wandering spirits. The pagan Irish who held horse races, and other competitions, my family tradition included some form competitive games, usually targeted games, like darts. We have included, bow and arrows, axe/knife throwing and even paint ball competitions during the festivities. We look back on the past year at our accomplishments and our failures, we set goals for the New Year and keep traditions. Some of us do divinations to peek into the coming year. At midnight, a solemn ritual to remember our dead.
The message of the season: This is the time of Dedication.

Associated Colors: Black, Red, White
Associated Oils: Myrrh, Almond
Associated Stones: Bloodstone, Hematite, Garnet
Associated Botanicals: Apple, Rosemary. Mugwort, Sage, Allspice, Catnip

Samhain - Solitary Ritual
Samhain - Coven Ritual

Offerings: Squash, apples, bread, cider, mead, coins

O Winter! ruler of the inverted year,
I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturb'd Retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted evening, know.
William Cowper

MidWinter - Sunset Dec 20th to Sunset Dec 21st ~ Also called Yule, Winter Solstice, Winterfest. The longest night of the year. A solar holiday honoring the Sun god at his weakest. It is a light festival to endure the longest night of the year. Sympathetic magick encourages us to sing, ring bells and light candles to lead the Sun child back to maturity. Wiccans light candles, sing carols and burn the Yule log to celebrate the sun’s re-birth. We celebrate the start of the new Wheel of the Year by decorating wreaths.
Winter covers the earth and it is a time of repose; a time for telling stories and sharing skills and knowledge. Wassailing is a time honored tradition of toasting apple trees and the Earth herself to a bountiful harvest in the year to come. Wassail comes from the Saxons meaning "in good health". Generally, a wassail is done with apple cider or mulled wine. You can toast one another in the circle, in turn, and then all toast the Earth and trees, pouring a bit to them. Bread soaked in the cider was also traditionally left for the trees and Faeries.
The message of the season: This is the time of Renewal.

Associated Colors: Light Blue, White, Silver Green, Purple, Red,
Associated Oils: Myrrh, Frankincense, Cinnamon, Bayberry, Pine, Cedar
Associated Stones:
Associated Botanicals: Cloves, Elder, Holly, Ivy, Oak, Mistletoe, Thistle, Evergreens, Poinsettias, Pine, Ginger

Offerings: Dried Fruit, Egg Nog, Mulled Wine, Wassail, gifts, Silver Bells

MidWinter Solitary Ritual

Listen, can you hear it? Spring's sweet cantata.
The strains of grass pushing through the snow.
The song of buds swelling on the vine.
The tender timpani of a baby robin's heart.
Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider,

Imbolg/Brigantia - Sunset Feb 1st to Sunset Feb 2nd ~ Also called Brighid’s Day or Oimelc, Imbolc, Candlemas (Catholic). Celtic Spring Quarter Begins. The first of three Flower (seed blessing) Festivals (The first blooms pushing through the snow).
The holy day of my patroness, Brighid, who is the Goddess of fire, healing, fertility and as the Goddess of Inspiration, a muse of the poets and bards. Where Samhain celebrates family members that have passed. Brighid's Day celebrates the living family. We celebrate life with poems and stories, music and art. St. Bridget crosses are made from straw with four equal-length arms.
We celebrate the promise of Spring, although winter is still upon us. In Nevada, we usually have a "false" spring the first two weeks of February. Then, the cold winds return and it can remain chilly for another 6 weeks. So it is light festival to coax the Sun's return. The Catholic church celebrates Candlemas by blessing their year's supply of candles. Wiccans bless their ritual tools, candles, seeds to be planted and build a bonfire to entice the sun’s return.
The message of the season: This is the time of Initiation.

Objects sacred to her: Flame (I see her flame as blue); the sun, the spear, the fiery arrow, the hammer and the shield. Water; Sacred wells & rivers, the Moon, lakes the moon-crown, the Milky Way and Two Crescents. The triskele, a green mantle, and Brighid's cross.

Associated Colors: Red, Deep Green, Dark blue and White
Associated Oils: Basil
Associated Stones: Quartz crystal, Nine White Stones, Garnets, Citrines, Rubies, Aquamarines
Associated Botanicals: Shamrocks. Grains & Hops.  Flowers: Dandelion, Blackberry, Snowdrops, Crocuses, Primrose, Red Clover, Rosemary, Dill, and Chamomile. Trees: The Oak, the Rowan, the Hazel, and the Willow.
Associated Animal:  The boar, the white cow, the grey hound, the fish, the sheep, the white snake (the symbol of Brighid that Patrick supposedly drove out of Ireland), the cockerel, the Linnet, the lark, the swan, the wolf, the bear, and the badger.

Offerings: Flowers, a perpetual flame, candles, bread, sugar, figs, milk, honey, coins, silk ribbons

Imbolg Solitary Ritual


So divinely is the world organized
that every one of us,
in our place and time,
is in balance with everything else.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Vernal Equinox - Sunset Mar 19th to Sunset Mar 20th ~ Also called Ostara by Wiccans, however, Ostara was historically the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. Also often misnamed Lady Day (which was actually Beltaine - May 1) The second of three Flower (fertility) Festivals. (A planting season)
Spring is coming. The first buds and blades poke their heads through the last snows. Birth is eminent. Celebrating fertility, the symbolism of bunnies and colored eggs are traditional. The Lord Sun begins his reign in the sky, while Lady Moon descends and becomes Mother Fertility on Earth. We celebrate the Vernal Equinox in the way we celebrate Easter.
The message of the season: This is the time of New Life.

Associated Objects: Picnics, flowers, egg dying and hunting, new clothes, candy, baskets, embracing the return of Spring.
Associated Colors: Pink, Pale blue, Yellow, Light green
Associated Oils: Jasmine, Rose
Associated Stones: Jasper, Bloodstone, Amethyst
Associated Botanicals: Daffodil, Crocus, Jasmine, Irish Moss

Offerings: Flowers, Eggs, Sweets, Strawberries, Trinkets

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.
Emily Dickinson

Beltane - Sunset Apr 30th to sunset May 1st ~ Also called May Eve, Walburgisnacht, or Walburgis Night, Lady Day (Catholic day of veneration for the Blessed Mother). Celtic Summer quarter begins . A Mischief Night . The third and last of three Flower (fertility) Festivals. (Flowers in full bloom.)
Beltane, like Samhain, is an important Sabbat, one of the Great Fire Festivals and one of the most joyous. Beltane celebrates Love with a Capital L. This is the time when companions that wish to make a commitment to each other hold a Handfasting (wedding). The word "Beltane" means "brilliant fire." Bonfires lit in honor of the Celtic god known as Bel, the god of light, fire and healing, another form of Cernunnos. In ancient Ireland, no one could light a Bel-fire until the Ard Ri, High King, had lit the first on Tara Hill. Cattle would be driven between these two fires to protect them from disease, ensuring a high milk yield. Jump over broomsticks, dancing around a May Pole took place along with games and competitive sports.
The message of the season: This is the time of Blossoming.

Associated Colors: White, Deep Green
Associated Oils: Lilac, Rose
Associated Stones: Bloodstone, Rubie
Associated Botanicals: Lilac, Rose, Primrose, Rosemary, Hawthorn, Birch

Offerings: Flowers, Fire, Wreaths, Amulets

Beltaine Solitary Ritual

In summer, the song sings itself.
William Carlos Williams

MidSummer - Sunset June 20th to sunset June 21st ~ Also called Litha, Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year.
A solar holiday honoring the zenith of the power of the Sun God as manifested by the flourishing crops and livestock. This is the longest day of the year. Everything has been planted, the days are warm and life is good. Father Sun commands the sky as Mother Earth prepares to give birth. It is a time for great magick, especially for love charms. Certain herbs were picked at midnight or dawn to bring protection against lightning, fire, witchcraft, disease and ill fortune.
The message of the season: This is the time of Magick.

Associated Colors: Gold, Green, Purple
Associated Oils: Rose, Lemon, Myrhh, Frankincense, Sandalwood
Associated Stones: Jade, Emerald, Citrine
Associated Botanicals: Oak, Mistletoe, Ivy, Heliotrope, Saffron, Laurel, Ylang-Ylang

Offerings: Fire, Tools, Golden Bells

MidSummer Solitary Ritual

Winter is an etching,
Spring a watercolor,
Summer an oil painting and
Autumn a mosaic of them all.
Stanley Horowitz

Lughnassadh - Sunset July 31st to sunset Aug 1st ~ In Ireland, mid-July to mid-August Also called Lammas, First Fruits. Celtic Autumn quarter begins . . The first of three harvest festivals. (Grain and grapes harvest) One of the Great Fire Festivals.
A great festival of games and dance, named in honor of the Irish Celtic Sun god Lugh. The word Lughnassadh is related to words meaning "to give in marriage" and once was associated with marriage contracts.
The harvest yields its first bounty and a huge feast is prepared. Homemade breads, summer fruits, and vegetables are plentiful. Wiccan corn dollies are often burnt in sacrifice as thanksgiving.
It was once believed that a spirit lived in the cornfield and died when the corn was cut. (Wheat is called corn in the UK.) Grain from the first sheaf would be made into a loaf of bread while the last sheaf (wheat, rye, barley or oat sheaf) was reserved for transforming into a "Corn" dolly. Farmers fashioned hollow shapes or plaited images of the corn dolly providing a resting place for the its spirit and ensuring a continued good harvest the following year. The corn spirit would then spend the winter in their homes until the "corn dolly" was ploughed into the first furrow of the new season. Some American witches use corn stalks because they are indigenous to this country.)
The message of the season: This is the time of Transformation.

Associated Colors: Light green, Red, Orange, Gold
Associated Oils: Rose, Sandalwood
Associated Stones: Citrine, Peridot, Aventurine
Associated Botanicals: Corn, Wheat, Rice, Rye

Offerings: Grains,

Autumn is a second spring
when every leaf's a flower.
Albert Camus

Autumnal Equinox - Sunset Sep 21st to Sunset Sep. 22nd ~ Also called Mabon, Fall equinox. The second of three harvest festivals. (Thanksgiving for the full harvest)
Lady Moon reigns supreme the sky, while the Lord of the Greenwood rules the earth. This Sabbat celebrates the harvest of grain. Winter is coming and we appreciate the last harvests of the year. Wine is also made, as grapes ripen in some areas during this time. Wands are harvested and blessed at this time.
The message of the season: This is the time of Thanksgiving.

Associated Colors: Brown, Green, Orange, Gold
Associated Oils: Apple Blossom, Sage, Patchouly,
Associated Stones: Lapis Lazuli Sapphire Yellow Jasper
Associated Botanicals: Ivy, Hazel, Cedar, Hops

Offerings: Wine, Books

© 2004-2012 Ardriana Cahill

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