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    The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats

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    The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats

    Post by STAR on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:29 pm

    The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats are ancient festivals that modern Witches and Pagans celebrate to this day with feasting, ritual, magic and good company. The dates may vary a little each year, so be sure to check the exact date each time.

    Each festival offers a powerful opportunity for the Wiccan magic spells and Pagan rituals best suited to the season. Many Wiccans and Pagans choose to begin the celebration of these festivals at sundown the day before the dates given below.
    Wiccan and Pagan Sabbats and the Seasons

    Each of these key points on the Wheel of the year has its own special atmosphere thanks to the intimate link between Wicca and Paganism with the natural world and her seasons. The dates of the sabbats are reversed in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres to reflect this close association between the Wiccan faith and the seasons. Some Wiccans and Pagans slightly alter the dates of some sabbats, notably the Sabbat of Imbolc which marks the return of Spring, to reflect local seasonal variations.


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    Re: The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats

    Post by STAR on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:29 pm

    The Sabbat of Imbolc

    Imbolc is celebrated 2 February 2010 in the Northern Hemisphere and 1 August 2010 in the Southern Hemisphere. Imbolc is a time of renewal and celebration for the Wiccan and Pagan community. Celebrate the return of spring with these Imbolc Spells and Rituals.
    Celebrating Imbolc

    Imbolc is the holiday that honors the Goddess slowly turning the Wheel of the Year back to spring. It marks the Sun's growing strength. The days grow longer and in many places we begin to see the first signs of spring. In fact, Imbolc is a Celtic term for spring. In the Irish language, it means "in the belly" (i mbolg), referring to the pregnancy of ewes. Another name is Oimelc, meaning "ewe's milk."

    Like many Celtic festivals, Imbolc celebrations centered on the lighting of fires. Fire was perhaps more important for this festival than others as it was also the holy day of Brigid ("the exalted one"), the Celtic goddess of the fires of inspiration, the hearth, and the forge. She is celebrated at Imbolc because it is she who brought spring to the land and the lighting of fires celebrated the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months. Imbolc is a Sabbat of fertility, inspiration, healing, and purification.

    Winter was a harsh time for our pagan ancestors, often marked with disease and malnutrition. For them the success of the new farming season was of great importance. Imbolc rituals were performed to harness divine energy that would ensure a steady supply of food until the harvest six months later. It's no wonder then that Imbolc customs are designed as acts of sympathetic magic to lure back the Sun and speed up the coming of the warm spring. With this in mind, here are some ideas to help you celebrate Imbolc with your family.

    Create an altar
    Imbolc is a festival of light, reflecting the lengthening of the day and the hope of spring. White, the color of light and milk, appears predominantly. Use a white altar cloth, add white and yellow flowers and candles. Make candles using an easy candle making kit from your local craft store. Use votives or tea lights in glass jars that the kids can decorate. Be sure to use extra caution with candles if you have little ones. You may even choose to abstain from lighting them altogether and just keep them on the altar unlit for symbolic reasons. If candles are absolutely out of the question, use strings of holiday lights or make candles out construction paper.

    Have a bardic night
    Remember that Brigid is the goddess of the fires of inspiration and patroness of poets. Plan an evening of family fun full of storytelling, music, and dance. Play drums and other musical instruments. Let your children read you their favorite poems. Share your favorites with them. Take the opportunity to teach your kids about Brigid.
    Purify
    Many feel that human actions are best when they reflect those of nature, so as the world slowly springs back into action it is time for the small tasks that are neglected through the busy year. The concept of spring-cleaning comes from Imbolc. This is the time of year to go through the closets, attics, basements, and so forth. Give away clothes and toys that have been outgrown. Cleanse and consecrate the house from top to bottom. Get the kids involved by encouraging them to donate, letting them ritually sweep with child-size brooms, and sprinkle areas with salt or herbal whaven'tf you haven't already, it's a great time to teach the kids about charity.

    Turn on the lights
    Turn on every single light in your home, from the bright kitchen lights to the closet lights and the smallest nightlights. Make it a game for the kids. Challenge them to find all the lights.

    Wake up the land
    Lead the family on a parade around the outside of your home, banging on pots and pans or playing musical instruments to awaken the spirits of the land.

    Get cooking
    Have a special meal featuring traditional foods or ingredients like milk and grains. Try lamb stew, honey cakes, poppy seed bread, scones, muffins, and custard. Decorate your table with white flowers and candles. Remember, it doesn't have to be dinner. Have a special breakfast or brunch.

    Imbolc is the cross-quarter festival that heralds the start of the spring quarter of the year and the end of the winter quarter. May Brigid inspire you as you herald the potential of spring together with your children.


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    Re: The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats

    Post by STAR on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:30 pm

    The Sabbat of Ostara at the Spring Equinox


    Ostara, sometimes known as the Wiccan Easter, takes place 20 March 2010 in the Northern Hemisphere, and 23 September 2010 in the South. Ostara is a time of growth symbolized by the Spring Hare.
    Celebrating Ostara


    Ostara is one of the four solar holidays in the Pagan Wheel of the Year. Its name comes from Eostre, the Germanic goddess associated with various aspects related to the renewal of life. Ostara is celebrated on the vernal equinox marking the beginning of spring. It is a joyous holiday centered on fertility, rebirth, and growth. Symbolically, the Goddess is reawakening with the warming ground and the young God is merry and playful.

    At this time, Christians are observing what is arguably their most important holiday, Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. However, Pagan parents don't have to be apprehensive about teaching Ostara or celebrating it with their children. Everywhere we look, we see the pagan cultural remnants of Eostre's springtime festival--the symbolism of rabbits, notable for their fecundity, and the eggs, colored like rays of the returning sun. Due to the secularization of Easter, the most challenging part of celebrating Ostara may be celebrating it within a consciously Pagan context. Here are some ideas. Be sure to purchase a lot of eggs; you're going to need them.

    Create an altar
    The spring altar includes images of rabbits, birds, eggs, nests, and flowers. Colors associated with Ostara include pastel greens, pinks, blues, and yellows. If you have a nice yard or garden, you might consider creating an outdoor altar.

    Have an egg hunt
    Easter traditions are pagan, but the significance of the practices and traditions are often lost in the secularization of the holiday. Be sure to talk to your children about the symbolism of the eggs. Try to create a small ritual around your egg hunt. You can cast a simple circle together and give children seeds to scatter as offerings at the quarters. If you create an outdoor altar, hide an extra special stash of eggs there. Tell the children they've happened upon Eostre's special lair and they must leave a small offering of thanks before taking the eggs. You can use real eggs or plastic eggs filled with treats. Even if you use plastic eggs, they can be painted with Pagan symbols. After the hunt, have the children thank the Goddess and God for Their abundance.

    Color eggs
    Coloring eggs is one of the greatest childhood pleasures. You can use hard-boiled eggs or you can dye uncooked eggs and then blow out the insides. If you hollow them out and rinse them, you can keep them for show (although they'll be breakable and unsuitable for hunts). You can also use natural dyes for a more environmentally friendly approach. When painting eggs, try to keep in mind the Pagan symbolism of the occasion. Paint eggs bright yellow to symbolize the sun. A green egg with a serpent symbolizes rebirth and renewal. Use Pagan symbols--spirals, pentacles, triple moons, solar discs--and take the opportunity to reinforce your child's understanding of their meanings.

    Create egg decorations
    Create an egg mobile. Hang eggs in your trees, over windows, and children's beds. Create vases by breaking the tops off and lining them up in a decorated egg carton. Add water and fresh flowers. Use the bottom half of eggshells to hold mini tapers. Drop hot wax into the shell and press the candle into it. You can also create eggshell candles by actually pouring wax into a hollowed, clean egg then insert a wick. Set them in sand, salt, or an eggshell carton.

    Make egg rattles
    You can create egg rattles with plastic eggs by filling them with a few beans, beads, or small coins. You can also create rattles using real eggs. If you use birdseeds, your spirited child can then delight in smashing them against trees and leaving something for the birds to feast on.

    Plant new seeds
    New life is beginning to burst forth at Ostara. This is a great time to plant new seeds. You don't have to have a big, green yard. Start a small herb garden, give your child a small pot and seeds, or even a clear, plastic cup with some beans. You can also buy some flowering bulbs or a special (easy to care for) potted plant and present them to your child.

    Go outside
    Go out and look for the signs of spring. Teach your kids about trees, plants, and flowers native to your area. Visit a botanical garden. Have a picnic in the park. Notice too the natural wildlife of you area. Has winter been quiet? Are birds returning? Get a simple field guide from your bookstore or library. Learn about native species and go birding with your kids. Try to catch a sunrise.

    Have a special meal
    As we've seen, eggs feature predominantly in this Sabbat. The possibilities for egg meals are endless--omelets, scrambled, poached, hard-boiled, deviled. You can also make eggnog. Quiche is also a modern Ostara favorite. Hot cross buns are a great way to represent the Sun Wheel. Egg-shaped cookies, chocolate rabbits, and egg custards make terrific desserts.

    With other modern religious celebrations and the commercialism of Ostara, Pagans often forget that this season and its symbols are theirs too. Color some eggs, have a party, and go outside to welcome the spring, letting the Wheel of the Year carry you and your family forward.


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    Re: The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats

    Post by STAR on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:30 pm

    The Sabbat of Beltane

    On May 2010 in the Northern Hemisphere and 1 November Southern Hemisphere, Beltane is a festival of fertility symbolized by the union of th God and Goddess. Fires, socializing and being in nature are all fitting celebrations at this time.



    Go Maying. One traditional way to celebrate Beltane was called Maying, which meant to stay out late or all night gathering flowers in the woods and fields. Young people often met in the woods at this time and would bring back the flowers they found.

    Make May baskets. If you have fresh flowers, fill some baskets for festive decorations or to leave on the doorsteps of friends and neighbors.


    Build a May pole. While May pole dances can get quite complicated, the basic idea is to set up a tall pole (traditionally a tree trunk) with many long streamers attached near the top. Dancers hold these streamers and dance in both directions around the pole, interweaving with the dancers going the other way. This causes the streamers to get woven around the pole until they get quite short and the dance ends.

    Dress up like a May queen (or king). Get into the spirit of the season by wearing something luxurious and adding a few wild flowers to your ensemble.


    Celebrate Beltane by feasting on fresh fruit, wine, chocolate, edible flowers, honey, spring greens and other indulgent foods. This is possibly the most appropriate day of the entire year to do so.


    Spend time with someone you love. Beltane is a traditional celebration of love and fertility, so it's a great day to make some time with that special someone, maybe for a walk or picnic in the park.


    Have a bonfire. In some areas, Beltane fires traditionally burn all night. There are also traditions of jumping over the fire, especially while holding the hand of a loved one, in order to ensure luck in the coming year


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    Re: The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats

    Post by STAR on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:31 pm

    The Sabbat of Litha at the Summer Solstice

    Litha, or the Summer Solstice falls on 21 June 2010 in the North and 21 December in the Southern Hemisphere. The Pagan and Wiccan Festival of Litha is an important point in the Wheel of the Year, a time for celebration of the abundance of summer, as well as being a time to prepare for the darkening to come.


    Decorate your home with the colors, green, white, blue and yellow. In addition, use fresh herbs, flowers and greenery for your home's décor as well as wearing some in your hair.

    Making floral wreaths to wear on your head.

    If it's permitted in your area, make a small outside fire and jump over it to bring good health and good luck for the rest of the year. Be VERY careful while doing this.

    Go on a picnic with family and friends. Spicy food as well as fresh fruit and vegetables are particularly fitting for this celebration.


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    Re: The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats

    Post by STAR on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:31 pm

    The Sabbat of Lughnasadh or Lammas
    Litha, Summer Solstice or Midsummer is the celebration of the first day of summer and of the sun. It is celebrated on June 21st or 22nd, the longest day of the year
    Lughnasadh or Lammas falls on 1 August 2010 Northern Hemisphere, and 2 February in the Southern Hemisphere. The Celtic Festival of Lughnasadh or Lammas celebrates the fertility of the harvest while offering Wiccan and Pagans the opportunity to initiate change in their lives.
    Decorate your home with the colors, green, white, blue and yellow. In addition, use fresh herbs, flowers and greenery for your home's décor as well as wearing some in your hair.

    Making floral wreaths to wear on your head.

    If it's permitted in your area, make a small outside fire and jump over it to bring good health and good luck for the rest of the year. Be VERY careful while doing this.

    Go on a picnic with family and friends. Spicy food as well as fresh fruit and vegetables are particularly fitting for this celebration.


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    Re: The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats

    Post by STAR on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:31 pm

    The Sabbat of Mabon at the Fall Equinox
    Mabon, The Autumn Equinox, is celebrated on September 20th or 21st. It is a harvest festival that is known as the Witches' Thanksgiving. It's also a time to thank our ancestors for making us who we are.
    The Autumn Equinox festival of Mabon is 23 September (Northern Hemisphere) and 20 March (Southern Hemisphere). The Sabbat of Mabon is time of harmony marking the beginning of the turning within for inner spiritual work over the winter.



    Decorate your home and/or alter with the colors burgundy, orange, brown and purple. Use bunches of dried herbs, sunflowers, autumn leaves, acorns potatoes and Indian corn in your décor.

    Invite friends and family over for a feast.

    Honor family ancestors by recalling stories of those who have gone before us and looking at old photographs.

    This is a time to celebrate wine making. Take a tour of a local winery or make your own.

    Since this is a harvest festival, collect food to donate to a food bank so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of a "harvest". Thanksgiving isn't just about saying "thank you", it's also important to give back for all you've received in life.


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    Re: The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats

    Post by STAR on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:32 pm

    The Sabbat of Samhain
    Samhain (pronounced sow'-en) is held on Oct. 31st and is more commonly known as Halloween. It is a very important date as it represents a time to honor our ancestors, the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the Witches New Year. It is believed that on this day, the veil separating this world from spirit world is at its thinnest. It is on this day that we pay tribute to our dead, tie up all loose ends and reap a wonderful harvest. There are many ways you can celebrate Samhain. Chances are you already participate in Samhain rituals as many of them have become popular Halloween traditions.

    The day of Samhain is 1 November 2010 Northern Hemisphere, 1 May Southern Hemisphere, however the Wiccan celebrations of Samhain often begin a sundown on the day before these dates. Samhain is a wonderful time for magic and ritual alongside the more familiar celebrations of Halloween.

    Decorate your home and/or alter with the colors black and orange. Black represents the death of the Sun God and orange represents the Sun God's rebirth. Also use seasonal fruits and vegetables such as pumpkins, squash, apples and pomegranates. Another decorating idea is the use of decorative skulls and gravestone rubbings (putting a piece of paper up against a grave marker and gently rubbing coal, pencil or crayon across the paper until an impression of the stone is left on the paper).

    Place cider, fruit and cookies outside for your ancestors to enjoy while on their ghostly travels.

    Place candles in the window to help guide the spirit travelers.

    Have a harvest feast and give thanks for the plentiful crops. Giving thanks will ensure that next year's crops will be just as plentiful.

    Make a "Straw Man" or "Wicker Man" by bundling straw or twigs into the shape of a person (it doesn't have to be very big).

    Because this is a time of endings or starting over, take a piece of paper and write down a character trait or bad habit that you would like to change. Light the paper on fire and place it in a fireproof bowl.

    Since this is a harvest festival, collect food to donate to a food bank so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of a "harvest".


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    Re: The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats

    Post by STAR on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:32 pm

    The Sabbat of Yule at the Winter Solstice

    21 December 2010 Northern Hemisphere, 21 June Southern Hemisphere. Wiccans choose what to take with them into the New Year, and what to leave behind at the evocative and magical festival of Yule, the Winter Solstice Wicca and Pagan Festival.

    Decorate your dwelling with colors and herbs with ancient ancestries. Array plants of the season, pine cones, holly and pine tree boughs will do. Sacred colors are the same as for those who celebrate the season as Christians, red and green, with white. Mistletoe above the entrance brings luck in the coming year to all who enter.

    Invite and be invited by family and friends. With roots in the ancient Roman, Saturnalia, Yule or Winter Solstice, is marked by visits to and from loved ones in atmospheres that sparkle and sing.

    Share holiday food and exchange thoughtful gifts with loved ones. Gather around the wassail bowl. Winter Solstice is a celebration of generosity and goodwill. Laughter rings out in the warm glow of candlelight and hearth fires.

    Light the Yule Log in the hearth, let the flickering glow of candles and lights of the season adorn your home and dance on laughing faces.

    Decorate your home with images of the Goddess who is renewed from Crone to Maiden. Native Mexican corn mother, Roman Bona Dea and Egyptian Isis who preceded, Christianity's Mary are some goddess forms appropriate to the season. "Blessed be, and blessed are, The Mother, Maiden, Crone."

    Contribute to the global community. Serve the poor in whatever ways you can. Visualize world peace and a healing planet.

    Pagan and Wiccans intuitively feel the significance of each of these sabbats. At each festival they enjoy the link with nature celebrated by maintaining traditions and rites that date from the dawn of humanity.


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