Wiccans, and some other Neopagan groups, observe eight festivals which they
call "sabbats". Four of these fall
on the solstices
and are known as "quarter
days" or "Lesser Sabbats". The other four fall (approximately) midway
between these and are commonly known as "cross-quarter days," "fire festivals," or
"Greater Sabbats". The "quarter days" are loosely based on or named after the Germanic festivals,
and the "cross-quarter days" are similarly inspired by the Gaelic fire
festivals. However, modern interpretations vary widely, so Pagan groups may
celebrate and conceptualize these festivals in very different ways, often having
little in common with the cultural festivals outside of the adopted name.
The full system of eight yearly festivals held on these dates is unknown in
older pagan calendars, and originated in the modern Wiccan religion.
The eight major festivals (or "sabbats") are distinct from the Wiccan "esbats", which are additional meetings,
usually smaller celebrations or coven meetings, held on full or new
|Samhain, All Hallow's Eve,
Last/Blood Harvest, Ancestor Night, Feast of the Dead, Nos Galan Gaeaf (Welsh)
||31 Oct – 2 Nov (alt 5–10 Nov)
||1 May (alt 4–10 May)
||≈ 15° Scorpio
||≈ 15° Taurus|
Yule, Cuidle, Alban Arthan, Winter Rite, Mothers Night, Gŵyl
Galan Gaeaf (Welsh)
||19–23 Dec (winter solstice)
||19–23 June (winter solstice)
Imbolc, Oimelc, Brigit, Brigid's Day,
Bride's Day, Brigantia, Gŵyl y Canhwyllau (Welsh)
||1–2 Feb (alt 2–7 Feb)
||1–2 Aug (alt 3–10 Aug)
||≈ 15° Aquarius
||≈ 15° Leo|
|Vernal Equinox, Ostara, Lady Day, Earrach, Alban Eilir, Festival of Trees,
Gŵyl Ganol y Gwanwyn (Welsh)
||19–23 Mar (spring equinox)
||19–23 Sept (spring equinox)
|Beltane, Beltaine, May Day, Gŵyl Galan Mai (Welsh)
||1 May (alt 4–10 May)
||31 Oct – 2 Nov (alt 5–10 Nov)
||≈ 15° Taurus
||≈ 15° Scorpio|
|Midsummer, Litha, Samradh, Alban Hefin,
Aerra Litha, Gŵyl Ganol yr Haf (Welsh)
||19–23 June (summer solstice)
||19–23 Dec (summer solstice)
|Lammas, Lughnasadh (English
pronunciation: /ˈluːnəsə/), 1st Harvest,
Bread Harvest, Festival of First Fruits, Gŵyl Galan Awst (Welsh)
||1–2 Aug (alt 3–10 Aug)
||1–2 Feb (alt 2–7 Feb)
||≈ 15° Leo
||≈ 15° Aquarius|
|Autumnal Equinox, Mabon, Foghar, Alban Elfed,
Harvest Home, 2nd Harvest, Fruit Harvest, Wine Harvest, Gŵyl Ganol yr Hydref (Welsh)
||19–23 Sept (autumn equinox)
||20–23 Mar (autumn equinox)
Samhain (pronounced Sow-ain) is considered by most Wiccans to be the most
important of the four 'greater Sabbats'. It is generally observed on October 31
in the Northern Hemisphere, starting at sundown. Samhain is considered by some
Wiccans as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it
often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith,
friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of
the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of
darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring
festival of Beltane, which Wiccans
celebrate as a festival of light and fertility.
The Wiccan Samhain doesn't attempt to reconstruct a historical Celtic
festival, in actuality it was also widely believed that on october 31st, the
guard between this world and the afterlife is at it's thinnest point of the
whole year, at which parents would only allow their children to walk at night
alone if they were disguised as demons.
It is because of that belief, children in most countries in the common era
wear "outfits" to "scare" parents into giving them candy, this had originated by
the celebratory donation of sweet foods to the main wiccan god and goddess as
well as the demons that would try to break into their world. Also as mentioned
before; it is a time of rememberance: some food would also be given to the dead
as a sign of great respect (and often honour).
Alternate Names and Spellings: Samuin, Hallowe’en, All
Hallows’ Eve, Nutcrack Night, Dia de los Muertos, Mischief Night, Martinmas,
History: "Samhain" means "end of summer," dividing the year
into a light half and a dark half. All crops had to be harvested by Samhain. At
this time the Celts would slaughter most of their livestock and bring the rest
inside for the winter. Masked "soulers" representing the Ancestors would go from
door to door demanding tribute and threatening pranks if no tribute was
forthcoming. While some cultures tried to bribe or frighten away the spirits of
the dead, others invited them in for a "Dumb Feast" or shared meal. The hearth
fires would be extinguished and then relit from a communal bonfire. Samhain is
the Witches’ New Year.
Mythology: The Veil thins, allowing the dead to return. Herne
leads the Wild Hunt, and the Faery Folk also ride forth. In Celtic and Norse
tales, many kings and heroes meet their death on Samhain, often by burning or
drowning. In Wiccan lore, the King of the Waning Year reaches the shore of the
Shining Isle, where He becomes the Lord of Death and also the seed of His own
rebirth, so that the Sun Child is conceived in the womb of the Goddess. In
Egypt, people mourn the death of Osiris as the Nile’s water level drops. Chaos
reigns, normal order steps aside, and all manner of strange things. All lore
agrees that this is no time to wander alone, especially through the wilderness
and/or after dark.
Ritual Activities: Divination is popular; singles seek clues
about their future spouse, and anyone may scry about the coming year. People
light bonfires for protection, purification, offerings, and celebration. In
contemporary rituals, Pagans may meditate on death and the afterlife, burn
symbols of something they wish to give up, explore their past lives, practice
divination, dress in costumes meaningful to them, give children candy to sweeten
the future, perform services for elders to make peace with the past, honor those
who have recently passed into the next world, or send messages to their beloved
Deities: Herne, Osiris, Cailleach, Moingfhinne, Carridwen,
Colors: Orange, black, purple.
Incenses and Herbs: Copal, myrrh, mugwort, rosemary,
Traditional Motifs: Black cats, broomsticks, pumpkins, dead
leaves, nuts, candy, bones, apples, pomegranates, costumes, tricks, ghosts,
celtic ~ Summer’s End, pronounced “sow”
(rhymes with now) “en” (Ireland), sow-een (Wales) – “mh” in the middle is a “w”
sound – Greater Sabbat(High Holiday) – Fire Festival Oct 31-Nov 1(North
Hemisphere) – Apr 30-May 1 – The Great Sabbat, Samhiunn, Samana, Samhuin,
Sam-fuin, Samonios, Halloween, Hallomas, All Hallows Eve, All Saints/All Souls
Day(Catholic), Day of the Dead (Mexican), Witches New Year, Trinoux Samonia,
Celtic/ Druid New Year, Shadowfest (Strega), Martinmas or Old Hallowmas
(Scotttish/Celtic) Lá Samhna (Modern Irish), Festival of the Dead, Feile
Moingfinne (Snow Goddess), Hallowtide (Scottish Gaelis Dictionary), Feast of All
Souls, Nos Galen-gae-of Night of the Winter Calends (Welsh), La Houney or
Hollantide Day, Sauin or Souney ( Manx), oidhche na h-aimiléise-the night of
mischief or confusion(Ireland), Oidhche Shamna (Scotland)
End of summer, honoring of the dead,scrying,
divination, last harvest, meat harvest
Copal, sandalwood, mastic resin, benzoin,
sweetgrass, wormwood, mugwort, sage, myrrh or patchouli
Besom, cauldron, tarot, obsidian ball, pendulum,
runes, oghams, Ouija boards, black cauldron or bowl filled with black ink or
water, or magick mirror
Black obsidian, jasper, carnelian, onyx,
smoky quartz, jet, bloodstone
Black, orange, red
Symbols & Decorations:
Apples, autumn flowers,
acorns, bat, black cat, bones, corn stalks, colored leaves, crows, death/dying,
divination and the tools associated with it, ghosts, gourds, Indian corn,
jack-o-lantern, nuts , oak leaves, pomegranates, pumpkins, scarecrows, scythes,
Apples, apple dishes, cider, meat (traditionally
this is the meat harvest) especially pork, mulled cider with spices,
nuts-representing resurrection and rebirth, nuts, pomegranates, potatoes,
pumpkins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted pumpkin
The Crone, Hecate(Greek),
Cerridwen(Welsh-Scottish), Arianrhod(Welsh), Caillech (Irish-Scottish), Baba
Yaga (Russian), Al-Ilat(persian), Bast (Egyptian), Persephone (Greek),
Hel(Norse), Kali(Hindu), all Death & Otherworld Goddesses
Horned Hunter(European), Cernnunos(Greco-Celtic),
Osiris(Egyptian), Hades (Greek), Gwynn ap Nudd (British), Anubis(Egyptian),
Coyote Brother (Native American), Loki (Norse), Dis (Roman), Arawn (Welsh),
Gods, Death and Otherworld Gods
Herbs and Flowers:
Almond, apple leaf , autumn joy sedum,
bay leaf, calendula, Cinnamon, Cloves cosmos, garlic, ginger , hazelnut, hemlock
cones, mandrake root, marigold, mums, mugwort (to aid in divination), mullein
seeds, nettle, passionflower, pine needles, pumpkin seeds, rosemary (for
remembrance of our ancestors), rue, sage, sunflower petals and seeds, tarragon,
wild ginseng, wormwood
Stag, cat, bat, owl, jackal, elephant, ram,
scorpion, heron, crow, robin
Pooka, goblin,medusa, beansidhe,
Magick, plenty; knowledge, the night, death
& rebirth, success, protection; rest, new beginning; ancestors; lifting of
the veil, mundane laws in abeyance, return, change
Death & transformation, Wiccan new
year,wisdom of the Crone, end of summer, honoring, thinning of the veil between
worlds, death of the year, time outside of time, night of the Wild Hunt, begin
new projects, end old projects
Sex magick, release of bad habits, banishing, fairy
magick, divination of any kind, candle magick, astral projection, past life
work, dark moon mysteries, mirror spells (reflection), casting protection ,
inner work, propitiation, clearing obstacles, uncrossing, inspiration, workings
of transition or culmination, manifesting transformation,creative visualization,
contacting those who have departed this plane
Honoring the dead, especially departed
ancestors, knowing we will not be forgotten; clear knowledge of our path;
guidance, protection, celebrating reincarnation
Foreseeing future, honoring/consulting
ancestors, releasing the old, power, understanding death and rebirth, entering
the underworld, divination, dance of the dead, fire calling, past life
Ancestor altar, costumes, divination, carving
jack-o-lanterns, spirit plate, the Feast of the Dead, feasting, paying debts,
fairs, drying winter herbs, masks, bonfires, apple games, tricks, washing
Further information: Yule
In most Wiccan traditions, Yule is
celebrated as the rebirth of the Great God, who is viewed as the
newborn solstice sun. The method of gathering for this sabbat varies by group or
individual practitioner. Some have private ceremonies at home, while others hold coven celebrations.
Also it has recently been discovered (and perheps known by someone for quite
a while) that the celebration "Christmas" actually came from the pagan holiday:
Yule. It was marked that the judeo-christian god "Jesus Christ" to be born under
three kings; it was also marked (and rarely known) that (assuming he was born
unto Earth) he was infact born in the summer time (infact around the summer
solstice) and not the winter time. this can be proven by the fact that in the
northern hemisphere there are three stars that line-up nearly perfectly, these
stars are known as the three kings, and a fourth star to make a triangle shape,
when "Christmas" approaches "The star will lead the three kings to the
birthplace of the SUN of god" in ancient religions outdating chrsitianity, the
sun Earth revolves around was greatly worshipped, and it is widely known that
said sun will descend through the middle star, and the adjacent star. "And
there, the SUN will rise after three days" both in mythology and science the sun
does 'rise' after three days.
Noting that Bethleham (the apparent birthplace of the son of god) is in the
SOUTHERN hemisphere, which means "The sun/son will die then after three days
will rise again" in the summer. therefore the year should either way start on
june 1st, not january 1st.
Alternate Names and Spellings: Jul, Yule, Yuletide, Midwinter,
Feill Fionnain, Alban Arthan.
History: "Yule" comes from the Old Norse "iul" meaning "wheel"
and it marks the Norse New Year. People burned a sacred Yule Log all night long,
saving a piece to light the next year’s fire and scattering the ashes over the
fields. Druids gathered the sacred mistletoe. In Britain, the "Horn Dance"
drives out winter. Another custom, ranging as far as Britain to Greece, involves
the hunting and killing of the wren, symbol of winter. In China the emperor
performed sacrifices; in Swaziland the king withdrew for several days before
emerging to celebrate the sun’s return. Early Christians adapted Winter Solstice
motifs to create Christmas, in which the birth of Christ resonates with other
Sun/Son Gods born at this time. Also the figure Nik, another guise of Woden,
became the gift-distributing St. Nicholas … and then modern Santa Claus.
Mythology: Numerous cultures feature a Goddess giving birth to
a Sun God: Isis and Horus in Egypt, Leto and Apollo in Greece, etc. The Hopi
kachinas emerge from their underground home to join the tribe. In Italy, the
good witch Befana flies down chimneys to bring presents. In England and Germany,
this is also the time of the Wild Hunt, led by Herne or Woden respectively. In
Japan, the Sun Goddess Amaterasu emerges from Her cave. In Wicca, the Great
Mother brings forth the Sun Child. Alternatively the Oak King, God of the Waxing
Year, vanquishes the Holly King, God of the Waning Year. The Goddess shows Her
aspect of Life-in-Death.
Ritual Activities: Folk customs ensure the sun’s return. The
Yule Log burns. "Wassailing" and "caroling" remain popular. Contemporary Pagan
rituals most often take the form of a sacred play, enacting the battle of the
Holly King and the Oak King, or celebrating the birth of the Sun Child. They may
also exchange gifts, meditate on themes of rebirth and restoration, decorate an
evergreen tree, or hold festive dances like the traditional "Horn Dance." Some
stay up all through this longest night to greet the sunrise with much
Deities: Lucina, Frey, Nerthus, Woden, Herne, Oak King, Holly
King, Atthar, Sunna, Sul, Amaterasu, Isis, Osiris, Apollo.
Colors: Red, green, silver, gold, white, and icy blues.
Incense: Pine, cedar, frankincense & myrrh, cinnamon,
Traditional Motifs: Evergreens, mistletoe, ivy, icicles,
snowflakes, Yule Log (both the fireplace kind and the cake kind), gifts,
reindeer, cookies, bells, solar disks, candles, wren, goose, wassail, eggnog.
Lesser Sabbat – Winter Solstice, circa Dec 21
Jul (“wheel”, Old Norse), Saturnalia(Rome ~December 17
& 18), Yuletide(Teutonic), Midwinter, Fionn’s Day, Alban huan, Christmas
(Christian~December 25), Xmas, Festival of Sol, Solar/Secular/Pagan New Year
yule goat (nordic), reindeer stag,
squirrels, yule cat, Sacred White Buffalo, Kallikantzaroi-ugly chaos
monsters(greek), trolls, phoenix, yule elf, jule gnome, squirrels,
cat’s eye, ruby, diamond, garnet, bloodstone
bayberry, cedar, ginger, cinnamon, pine, rosemary,
frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, wintergreen, saffron
gold, silver, red, green, white
Tools,Symbols, & Decorations:
bayberry candles, evergreens,
holly, mistletoe, poinsettia,mistletoe, lights, gifts, Yule log, Yule tree.
spinning wheels, wreaths, bells, mother & child images
Great Mother, Befana (strega), Holda (teutonic),
Isis(egyptian), Triple Goddess, Mary(christian), Tonazin(mexican),
Lucina(roman), St. Lucy (swedish),Bona Dea (roman), Mother Earth, Eve(Hebrew),
Ops(roman Holy Mother), the Snow Queen, Hertha (German), Frey (Norse)
Sun Child, Saturn(rome), Cronos (Greek), Horus/Ra(egyptian),
Jesus(christian-gnostic), Mithras(persian), Balder(Norse), Santa
Claus/Odin(teutonic), Holly King, Sol Invicta, Janus(God of Beginnings), Marduk
(Babylonian)Old Man Winter
honor, rebirth, transformation, light out of darkness,
creative inspiration, the mysteries, new life, regeneration, inner renewal,
death of the Holly (winter) King; reign of the
Oak (summer) King), begin the ordeal of the Green Man, death & rebirth of
the Sun God; night of greatest lunar imbalance; sun’s rebirth; shortest day of
honor the Triple Goddess, welcome the Sun Child
personal renewal, world peace, honoring family
& friends, Festival of light, meditation
lights, gift-exchanging, singing, feasting, resolutions,
new fires kindled, strengthening family & friend bonds, generosity, yule
log, hanging mistletoe, apple wassailing, burning candles, Yule tree decorating;
kissing under mistletoe; needfire at dawn vigil; bell ringing/sleigh-bells;
nuts, apple, pear, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pork,
orange, hibiscus or ginger tea, roasted turkey, nuts, fruitcake, dried fruit,
cookies, eggnog, mulled wine
blessed thistle, evergreen, moss, oak, sage, bay, bayberry,
cedar, pine, frankincense, ginger, holly, ivy, juniper, mistletoe, myrrh,
pinecones, rosemary, chamomile, cinnamon, valarion, yarrow
Wiccans celebrate Imbolc (or Candlemas) as one
of four "fire festivals" of the Wheel of the Year. Among Dianic Wiccans, Imbolc is the traditional time for
Among Reclaiming-style Wiccans, Imbolc is
considered a traditional time for rededication and pledges for the coming
Alternate Names and Spellings: Oimelc, Brigantia, Brigide’en,
Bride’s Day, Lupercus, Candlemas, Candelaria.
History: "Imbolc" means "ewe’s milk" and refers to the start of
lambing season. Countryfolk looked for the first signs of spring: swelling buds
on trees, animals stirring from hibernation. Germany’s "Badger Day" became
America’s "Groundhog Day," an example of weather divination, popular in many
cultures. In Rome the Luperci, or priests of Pan, ran through the streets
carrying goatskin thongs, with which to flog women to make them fertile; some
women ran naked to give the priests a better target!
Mythology: The goddess Brigid has three spheres of influence –
inspiration, healing, and smithcraft – which She shares with Her followers on
this holiday. A footprint in the hearth signifies that the God has come to
Bride’s bed, promising a fertile year. Demeter searches through the darkness for
Her lost daughter, the journey lit only by a single candle; Persephone sees the
light and they reunite. In Wicca, the Child Sun begins to grow strong and show
His promise. The Oak King unites with the Goddess, increasing His power as the
days lengthen; the Holly King retreats to the Underworld where He rests until
the Summer Solstice. Yule decorations such as evergreen boughs must be taken
down and burnt, and the house should be cleaned, to make way for the new
Ritual Activities: Folk rituals customarily feature the making
of crosses or other shapes from straw or rushes, with last year’s crosses being
burned. They may also involve dressing a corn dolly to represent the goddess
Bride, who is then placed in a special bed along with a phallic wand. A young
girl may wear a crown of lights to stand for the Maiden Goddess. Contemporary
Pagan rituals may focus on blessing a cauldron of seeds, composing or reciting
poetry, prayers for healing, lighting candles to symbolize wishes or plans for
the coming year, scrying, or spring cleaning. Initiations are traditionally held
on this holiday.
Deities: Brigid, Persephone, Demeter, Hagia Sophia, Juno
Colors: Red, white, pink, silver.
Incense: Red sandalwood, frankincense, lemon, lavender, birch,
Traditional Motifs: Candles, bread, alfalfa sprouts, Bride
dollies, earliest spring flowers like snowbells, inspiration, quickening,
prophecy and purification, seeds, poetry.
Other Names: Imbolg (im-molc)(em-bowl’g) (Celtic), Candlemas
(Christian), Brigantia (Caledonii), Oimelc, Festival of Light, Brigid’s (Brid,
Bride) Day, La Fheill, An Fheille Bride, Candelaria (Mexico), Chinese New Year,
Disting-tid (Feb 14th, Teutonic), DisaBlot, Anagantios, Lupercalia/Lupercus
(Strega), Groundhog Day, Valentines Day.
Animals & Mythical Beings: Firebird, dragon, groundhog,
deer, burrowing animals, ewes, robin, sheep, lamb, other creatures waking from
Gemstones: Amethyst, garnet, onyx,
Incense/Oil: Jasmine, rosemary, frankincense,
cinnamon, neroli, musk, olive, sweet pea, basil, myrrh, and wisteria, apricot,
Colors/Candles: Brown, pink, red, orange, white,
lavender, pale yellow, silver.
Decorations: White flowers, marigolds, plum blossoms, daffodils, Brigid
wheel, Brigid’s cross, candles, grain/seed for blessing, red candle in a
cauldron full of earth, doll, Bride’s Bed; the Bride, broom, milk, birchwood,
snowflakes, snow in a crystal container,evergreens, homemade besom of dried
broom, orange candle annointed in oil (see above)can be used to sybolize the
renewing energy of the Sun’s rebirth.
Goddess, Venus, Diana, Februa, Maiden, Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna,
Vesta, Gaia, Brigid, Selene(Greek),
Gods: Young Sun Gods, Pan,
Conception, initiation, insight, inspiration, creativity, mirth, renewal,
dedication, breath of life, life-path, wise counsel, plan,
Meaning: First stirring of Mother Earth, lambing,
growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter.
Honoring the Virgin Goddess, festival of the Maiden/Light.
& Magicks: Cleansing; purification, renewal, creative inspiration,
purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming
Brigid, feast of milk & bread.
candles, seeking omens of Spring, storytelling, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor
planting, stone collecting, candle kept burning dusk till dawn; hearth
Foods: Dairy, spicy foods, raisins, pumpkin,
sesame & sunflower seeds, poppyseed bread/cake, honey cake, pancakes,
waffles, herbal tea.
Herbs: Angelica, basil, bay, benzoin,
celandine, clover, heather, myrrh, all yellow flowers,
The vernal equinox, sometimes called Ostara, is
celebrated in the Northern hemisphere around March 21 and in the Southern
hemisphere around September 23, depending upon the specific timing of the
equinox. Among the Wiccan sabbats, it is preceded by Candlemas and followed by Beltane.
The name Ostara is from ôstarâ, the Old High German for "Easter". It has been connected to the putative
Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre by Jacob Grimm in his Deutsche
In terms of Wiccan ditheism, this festival is
characterized by the rejoining of the Mother Goddess and her
lover-consort-son, who spent the winter months in death. Other variations include the young God regaining strength in his youth after
being born at Yule, and the Goddess
returning to her Maiden aspect.
Alternate Names and Spellings: Vernal Equinox, Eostre, Ostara,
Alban Eiler, Lady Day.
History: "Eostre" comes from the same root word as "east."
Northern farmers began to hire help for spring planting at this time, while
Mediterranean farmers celebrated the sprouting. In Germany, villagers lit
bonfires with a spark obtained from a priest. In Persia, people exchanged red
eggs for luck; in Greece, people tapped eggs together, with the uncracked egg
bringing the luck. Faberge eggs, invented in 1880, bring decoration to its
pinnacle of beauty.
Mythology: A "Cosmic Egg" appears in tales around the world,
including India, Indonesia, Africa, Greece, South and Central America, Estonia,
Finland, and Polynesia. The Germanic/Saxon goddess Eostre counts among Her
symbols the hare, the egg, and the color red. Persephone returns from Hades to
Earth, and paints the spring flowers. In the Stations of the Goddess, the Spring
Equinox represents initiation. In Wicca, the Prince of the Sun courts the Maiden
Goddess. The Oak King flourishes; the forest puts forth new leaves. Light and
dark stand in balance, with light ascending.
Ritual Activities: People everywhere enjoy decorating, hunting,
or balancing eggs. Some fill baskets with eggs, candy, and flowers. Contemporary
Pagan rituals may incorporate such elements as breaking free of past hindrances,
celebrating the new season, planting, fertility, and courting. Pagans often
meditate on balance at this time of year, and seek to overcome their "shadow"
side. They make charms for prosperity, protection, health, etc. This is a
traditional time for replacing a worn broom or staff.
Deities: Cybele, Attis, Mithras, Tammuz, Adonis, Eostre,
Mielikki, Tapio, Ishtar, Venus, Koroleva, Persephone.
Colors: Spring green, pink, pale yellow, turquoise, lavender,
Incense: Violet, narcissus, honeysuckle, lemongrass, spearmint,
Traditional Motifs: Rabbits, chicks and ducklings, lambs, eggs
(especially decorated), ribbons, baskets, spring flowers like tulips, solar
fire-wheel, chocolate, treasure hunts.
(Oh-star-ah) – Lesser Sabbat – Spring/Vernal Equinox, March 20-21st – when
the Sun enters Ares
Other Names: Ostre, Oestre, Eostre, Rites of Spring,
Eostra’s Day, Lady Day, First Day of Spring, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Alban
Eiler, Bacchanalia, Mean Earraigh, Pasch, Caisg, Pess
Date: Spring Equinox (March 20-22 in Northern Hemisphere) or
when the Sun is 1 degree Aries.
Symbolism: The beginning of spring, new life and rebirth,
the God and Goddess in Their youth, balance, fertility
Goddesses: all love, virgin, and fertility Goddesses; Anna
Perenna (Roman), Aphrodite (Greek), Astarte (Canaanite, Persia, GrecoRoman),
Athena (Greek), Cybele (Greco-Roman), Blodeuwedd, Eostre (Saxon Goddess of
Fertility), Flidais (Irish), Gaia (Greek), Hera, Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian),
Isis (Egyptian), Libera (Roman), Minerva (Roman), The Muses (Greek), Persephone
(Greek), Renpet (Egyptian), Venus (Roman), Ostara (the German Goddess of
Fertility), Kore, Maiden, Isis, Youthful Goddesses. Faerie Queen, Lady of the
Lake(Welsh-Cornish), the Green Goddess
Gods: all love, song & dance, and fertility Gods; Adonis
(Greek), Attis (Greco-Roman), Cernunnos (Celtic), The Great Horned God
(European), Liber (Roman), Mars (Roman), Mithras (Persian), Odin (Norse), Osiris
(Egyptian), Thoth, Pan (Greek), the Green Man, Hare, Youthful Gods, Warrior
Gods, Taliesin, Lord of the Greenwood (English), Dagda(Irish),Adonis (Greek)
Symbols: Eggs, rabbits, similar to easter symbols.
Purpose: Plant and animal fertility, sowing
Meaning: The God comes of age, sexual union of the Lord
& Lady, sprouting, greening, balance of light and dark
Essence: Strength, birthing, completion, power, love,
sexuality, embodiment of spirit, fertility, opening, beginning
Customs: Wearing green, new clothes, celtic bird festival,
egg baskets coloring eggs, collecting birds eggs, bird watching, egg hunts,
starting new projects, spring planting
Foods: Hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, fresh seasonal fruits,
milk punch, leafy green vegetables, dairy foods, apples, nuts, flower dishes,
sprouts, fish, maple sugar candies, hot cross buns, sweet breads, milk, punch,
Plants & Herbs: Acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus,
daffodil, dogwood, Easter lily, Irish Moss, ginger, hyssop, linden, strawberry,
gorse, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, jonquils, narcissus, olive, peony, rose,
tansy, violets, woodruff and all spring flowers
Incense and oils: African violet, jasmine, rose, strawberry,
lotus, magnolia, ginger, sage lavender, narcissus, broom
Colors: Light green, lemon yellow, pale pink, pastels, gold,
grass green, robin’s egg blue, lemon yellow.
Stones: Amethyst, aquamarine, rose quartz, moonstone,
bloodstone, red jasper
Animals and Mythical Beasts: Rabbits/Easter bunny, snakes,
pegasus, unicorns, chicks, swallows, merpeople
Decorations: Daffodils, tulips, violet, iris, narcissus, any
spring flowers, eggs, butterflies, cocoons
Spell/Ritual Work: Garden/plant blessings, seed blessing,
spellcrafting, balance, growth, communication, invention, new growth, new
Planetary Ruler: Mars
Beltane is one of the four "fire festivals" or "greater sabbats". Although
the holiday may use features of the Gaelic Bealtaine, such as the bonfire, it bears more relation to the
Germanic May Day festival, both in
its significance (focusing on fertility) and its rituals (such as maypole dancing). Some Wiccans celebrate
'High Beltaine' by enacting a ritual union of the May Lord and Lady.
Alternate Names and Spellings: Bealtaine, Walpurgisnacht,
Walburga, Rudemas, Floralia, Mayday, May Eve.
History: "Beltane" means "Bel’s fire" and ties the holiday to
the Celtic god of light. These sacred fires were kindled by drilling into an oak
plank. Ancient Celts drove their cattle between the balefires to ensure
protection and fertility, at this time they also moved their herds to the summer
pastures. The Harvest Bride, the last sheaf of grain from last year’s harvest,
was ritually burned. Many cultures observed the Great Rite, making love in the
fields to encourage the crops to grow. Villagers would decorate their doors with
May flowers, carry flower crowns, and wear outlandish costumes in festive
Mythology: Jack-in-the-Green appears at folk festivals,
representing the Forest God in His prime; another popular figure is the "Oss" or
"Hobby Horse." The Goddess transforms from Maiden to Mother and Queen. In the
love-chase, the God pursues the Goddess as She flees playfully. Many stories
describe a woman "neither clothed nor unclothed, neither walking nor riding"
amidst many other riddles, an allusion to the coquettish Beltane aspect. In
Wicca, the God and Goddess marry. The Faery Folk ride on May Eve, as does the
Wild Hunt, so travelers – and young people abroad on the season’s business –
should take care. However, this is also the one time when it is safe to cut
hawthorn, the "Flowering May."
Ritual Activities: Young women spend the night in the woods,
weaving flower crowns, and in the morning they wash their faces in the fresh dew
for beauty. Young men make the May Pole and decorate it with ribbons. People
draw lots to elect a May Queen and King. Then everyone dances around the May
Pole, weaving the ribbons together. Couples may jump over a broomstick or the
bonfire’s coals. Contemporary Pagans usually observe the Great Rite
symbolically, with a chalice and athame, but sometimes couples use the
old-fashioned method in private. In ritual, Pagans may meditate on desire, cast
spells to attract a suitable partner, light fires, burn symbols of things they
wish to abandon, make flower art, or play whimsical games.
Deities: Flora, Walpurga, Maia, Demeter, Danu, Bel, Balor, Pan,
Colors: Gold, green, purple, red, white.
Incense: Musk, vanilla, rose, patchouli, woodruff, galangal,
Traditional Motifs: Ribbons, early summer flowers like
hawthorn, May Pole, dancing, courting, baskets, round breads, figs, apples,
nuts, May Wine, cattle, goats, bonfires, the Tree of Life.
Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival
of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain
(opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian
term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala
(Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast
of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)
Date: May 1
Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard
Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the
artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and
all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.Tools:
May Pole, cauldron
Stones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian,
sapphire, rose quartz
Colors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown
Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom,
cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense,
honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold,
meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells,
daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s
wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.
Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.
Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or
flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs,
cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs
Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries,
strawberries, wine, green salads.
Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost
existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making
garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting
Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the
Goddess and God
It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.
Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine.
Midsummer / Summer Solstice
Midsummer is one of the four solar holidays, and is considered the turning
point at which summer reaches its height and the sun shines longest. Among the
Wiccan sabbats, Midsummer is preceded by Beltane, and followed by Lammas or Lughnasadh.
Some traditions call the festival "Litha", a name occurring in Bede's
"Reckoning of Time" (De Temporum Ratione, 7th century), which preserves a
list of the (then-obsolete) Anglo-Saxon names for the twelve months. Ærra
Liða ('first' or 'preceding' Liða) roughly corresponds to June in our
calendar, and Æfterra Liða ('following' Liða) to July. Bede writes
that "Litha means 'gentle' or 'navigable', because in both these months the calm
breezes are gentle and they were wont to sail upon the smooth sea."
Deities: Apollo, Balder, Oak King, Holly King, Sul, Isis,
Al-llat, Hestia, Carridwen.
Colors: Sea green, red, gold, brown.
Incense: Frangipani, violet, tangerine, cedar, St. John’s wort,
Traditional Motifs: Oak leaves, acorns, antlers, straw wheels,
sows and boars, bees, honey, mead, destiny cakes, floating candles, cauldrons,
marigolds, sunflowers, ivy.
Rededication to the Lord and Lady, beginning of
the harvest, honoring the Sun God, honoring the pregnant Godddess
Crowning of the Sun God, death of the
Oak King, assumption of the Holly King, end the ordeal of the Green Man
Tools, Symbols & Decorations
The sun, oak, birch
& fir branches, sun flowers, lilies, red/maize/yellow or gold flower, love
amulets, seashells, summer fruits & flowers, feather/flower door wreath, sun
wheel, fire, circles of stone, sun dials and swords/blades, bird feathers,
Blue, green, gold, yellow and red.
Bonfires, processions, all night vigil, singing,
feasting, celebrating with others, cutting
divining rods, dowsing rods &
wands, herb gathering, handfastings, weddings, Druidic
gathering of mistletoe
in oak groves, needfires, leaping between two fires, mistletoe
berries, use as a protection amulet), women walking naked through gardens
ensure continued fertility, enjoying the seasonal fruits & vegetables, honor
Mother’s fullness, richness and abundance, put garlands of St. John’s
over doors/ windows & a sprig in the car for protection.
Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Venus, Aphrodite,
Yemaya, Astarte, Freya, Hathor,
Ishtar, all Goddesses of love, passion,
beauty and the Sea, and Pregnant,
lusty Goddesses, Green Forest Mother; Great
One of the Stars, Goddess of the Wells
Father Sun/Sky, Oak King, Holly King, hur, Gods at
peak power and strength.
Wren, robin, horses, cattle,
satyrs, faeries, firebird, dragon, thunderbird
Lapis lazuli, diamond, tiger’s eye, all green
gemstones, especially emerald and jade
Anise, mugwort, chamomile, rose, wild rose, oak
blossoms, lily, cinquefoil, lavender,
fennel, elder, mistletoe, hemp, thyme,
larkspur, nettle, wisteria, vervain ( verbena),
St. John’s wort, heartsease,
rue, fern, wormwood, pine,heather, yarrow,
oak & holly trees
Heliotrope, saffron, orange, frankincense
& myrrh, wisteria, cinnamon, mint, rose, lemon, lavender, sandalwood,
Nature spirit/fey communion, planet
healing, divination, love & protection magicks.
The battle between Oak
King, God of the waxing year & Holly King, God of the waning
year (can be
a ritual play), or act out scenes from the Bard’s (an incarnation of
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, rededication of faith, rites of
Honey, fresh vegetables, lemons, oranges, summer
fruits, summer squash,
pumpernickel bread, ale, carrot drinks, mead.
Lammas or Lughnasadh (pronounced luna-sta) is the first of the three autumn
harvest festivals, the other two being
the Autumn equinox (or Mabon) and Samhain. Some Wiccans mark the holiday by baking a
figure of the god in bread, and then symbolically sacrificing and eating it.
These celebrations are not based on Celtic culture, despite common use of a
Celtic name Lughnasadh. This name
seems to have been a late adoption among Wiccans, since in early versions of
Wiccan literature the festival is merely referred to as "August Eve".
The name Lammas implies it is an
agrarian-based festival and feast of thanksgiving for grain and bread, which
symbolizes the first fruits of the harvest. Wiccan and other eclectic Neopagan
rituals may incorporate elements from either festival.
Alternate Names and Spellings: Lughnasadh, Cornucopia, Thingtide.
History: The word "Lammas" means "loaf mass" and refers to the
primary focus of this holiday. Traditional cultures marked their first harvests
at this time, celebrating grains and grain products like bread and beer, and
they began to preserve foods for winter use. Bread represented prosperity,
hospitality, and survival itself. In Europe, the last sheaf harvested became the
"Harvest Bride" and was honored in dances, processions, and other celebrations.
The Celts held tribal gatherings at this time, an opportunity for young people
to mingle. This is also a traditional time of sacrifice, as with the bulls that
represented the Sacred King.
Mythology: In many stories, a god or godlike figure meets his
death now; often a younger god wresting power from an older god, or a god
brought down by female power. The overall motif is sacrifice. Betrayed by his
wife, Lugh dies at the hand of her lover. Several Native American tribes welcome
a Corn Goddess at this time. In Wicca, the Mother Goddess becomes the Reaper and
slays the Corn God. The Oak King journeys to the Underworld where He will rest
until the Winter Solstice; the Holly King strengthens His power over the season
as the days grow ever shorter.
Ritual Activities: These usually revolve around the harvest and
sacrifice. Folk rituals involve reaping the grain and binding the last sheaf
into the Harvest Bride, with attendant festivities. Contemporary Pagan rituals
usually enact the death of the Corn God at the hands of the Goddess; some
celebrate the ripeness of fields and projects instead. Pagans may mediate on
such things as sacrifice, the way death feeds life, ripening, bountiful
harvests, reaping what they have sown, and so forth. They bake bread into
God-shaped loaves and share it during the ceremony.
Deities: Apollo, Balder, Oak King, Holly King, Sul, Isis,
Al-llat, Hestia, Carridwen.
Colors: Sea green, red, gold, brown.
Incense: Frangipani, violet, tangerine, cedar, St. John’s wort,
Traditional Motifs: Oak leaves, acorns, antlers, straw wheels,
sows and boars, bees, honey, mead, destiny cakes, floating candles, cauldrons,
marigolds, sunflowers, ivy.
The holiday of Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, the
Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed (in
traditions), is a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a
recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and
God during the winter months. The name Mabon was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a
reference to Mabon ap
Modron, a character from Welsh mythology. In the northern hemisphere this equinox occurs anywhere from September 21 to 24.
In the southern hemisphere, the autumn equinox occurs anywhere from March 18–22.
Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three harvest festivals, preceded by
Lammas/Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain.
Alternate Names and Spellings: Mabon, Modron, Michaelmas, Alban
Elfed, Winter Finding, Harvest Home.
History: "Mabon" means "son." In some agricultural communities,
this festival marked the end of harvest, and the start of winter preparations.
The second harvest was the fruit harvest, bringing in such things as apples that
would keep all winter. Farmers would settle accounts, paying rents and other
fees to landowners; they also gathered seed for next year’s crops. A feast
celebrated healers and justice bringers. People reaped what they had sown
earlier. In the sky, light and dark hang in balance, but dark is ascending. The
Greeks observed the Eleusinian Rites at this time.
Mythology: Mabon is an ancient Celtic god; Modron is his
mother, an aspect of the Great Goddess. In the Welsh tale "Culhwch and Olwen,"
Mabon appears as the Great Prisoner, stolen in infancy from his mother. Some
sources suggest this holiday celebrates his release and return to her. In India,
the harvest maiden is represented by an unmarried girl and a bunch of balsam
plants; she stands for the seeds that promise next year’s crop. In the
Mediterranean, Persephone descends into the Underworld. In the Stations of the
Goddess, the Fall Equinox represents repose. In Wicca, the Sun King has become
the Lord of the Shadows, sailing west to the Shining Isle.
Ritual Activities: The overall theme is of rebalancing and
setting things aright. Summer decorations come down, autumn decorations go up.
Folk rituals typically give thanks for a successful harvest. Contemporary Pagans
may enact myths like the reunion of Mabon and Modron, celebrate the autumn
storms, seek reconciliation, meditate on how their projects have matured, salute
the retreating sun, and honor the Elders who have "gone to seed" and are ready
to share their wisdom. One widespread custom is the offering of grain in
baskets; a modern version is gathering donations for a local food
Deities: Modron, Mabon, Maponus, Herne, Cernunnos, Mannanan Mac
Ler, Lord of Shadows, Ishtar, Isis, Demeter, Persephone, Grain Mother,
Colors: Orange, red, yellow, russet, gold, chocolate.
Incense: Clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, myrrh, sage, juniper, pine,
Traditional Motifs: Cornucopia, autumn leaves, pine cones,
gourds, corncobs, mushrooms, grapes, apples, geese, chrysanthemums.
MAY-bon, MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon or MAH-bawn, – Lesser Sabbat –
Fall/Autumn Equinox, September 21-23
Michaelmas (September 25th, Christian),
Second Harvest Festival, Witches’ Thanksgiving, Harvest Home (Anglo-Celtic),
Feast of Avalon, Wine Harvest, Festival of Dionysus, Cornucopia, Equinozio di
Autunno (Strega), Chung Chiu (China), Night of the Hunter, Alban Elfed “The
Light of the Water”(Caledonii/ Druidic-celebrates Lord of the Mysteries), Winter
Finding (Teutonic, from Equinox ’til Winter Night or Nordic New Year, Oct
Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging
Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop
and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from
toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just
coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life. May your Mabon be memorable, and
your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing!
Second harvest festival, new wine
pressing/making preparation for winter and Samhain, rest after labor, Pagan day
of Thanksgiving, honoring the spirit world, celebration of wine.
death of the God, assumption of the
Crone, balance of light and dark; increase of darkness, grape harvest,
completion of the harvest.
Beauty, joy; fullness of life, harvest of the
year’s desires, strength; laughter; power; prosperity, equality, balance,
appreciation, harvest, protection, wealth,
Symbolism of Mabon:
Second Harvest, the Mysteries,
Equality and Balance.
Symbols of Mabon:
wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns,
grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of
Tools, Symbols & Decorations:
Indian corn, red
fruits, autumn flowers, red poppies, hazelnuts, garlands, grains especially
wheat stalks, and colorful, fallen leaves, acorns, pine & cypress cones, oak
sprigs, pomegranate, statue/or figure to represent the Mother Goddess, mabon
wreath, vine, grapes, gourd, cornucopia/horns of plenty, burial cairns, apples,
marigolds, harvested crops, burial cairns, rattles, the Mysteries, sun wheel,
all harvest symbols.
Herbs & Plants of Maybon:
Acorn, aster, benzoin,
cedar, ferns, grains, hazel, honeysuckle, hops, ivy, marigold, milkweed, mums,
myrrh, oak leaf, passionflower, pine, rose, sage, solomon’s seal, tobacco,
thistle, and vegetables.
Foods of Mabon:
Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates,
cornbread, wheat products, grains, berries, grapes, acorns, seeds, dried fruits,
corn, beans, squash, roots (ie onions, carrots, potatoes, etc), hops,
sasssafras, roast goose or mutton, wine, ale, & cider.
Incense & Oils of Mabon:
Pine, sweetgrass, apple
blossom, benzoin, myrrh, frankincense, jasmine, sage wood aloes, black pepper,
patchouly, cinnamon, clove, oak moss, & sage.
Colors/Candles of Mabon:
Red, orange, russet, maroon,
brown, gold, deep gold, green, orange, scarlet, all autumn colors, purple, blue,
violet, & indigo.
Stones of Mabon:
Sapphire, lapis lazuli, yellow agates,
carnelian, yellow topaz, & amethyst.
Offerings to land, preparing for cold weather,
bringing in harvest, cutting willow wands (Druidic), eating seasonal fruit,
leaving apples upon burial cairns & graves as a token of honor, walk wild
places & forests, gather seed pods & dried plants, fermenting grapes to
make wine,picking ripe produce, stalk bundling; fishing,. on the closest full
moon (Harvest Moon) harvesting corps by moonlight.
Activities of Mabon:
Making wine, gathering dried herbs,
plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in
harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with
leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.
Spellworkings and Rituals of Mabon:
and self-confidence. Also those of harmony and balance. Celtic Festival of the
Vine, prosperity rituals, introspection, rituals which enact the elderly aspects
of both Goddess & God, past life recall.
Dogs, wolves, stag, blackbird,
owl, eagle, birds of prey, salmon & goat, Gnomes, Sphinx, Minotaur, Cyclops,
Andamans and Gulons.
Modron (Welsh), Bona Dea, Land Mother, Aging
& Harvest Dieties: the Triple Goddess-Mother aspect, Persephone,
Demeter/Ceres, Morgan (Welsh- Cornish), Snake Woman (aboriginal), Epona
(Celtic-Gaulish), Pamona (roman), the Muses (greek)
Mabon ap Modron (Welsh), Sky Father, The Green Man,
Wine Gods, Aging Gods, John Barley Corn , the Wicker-Man, the Corn Man, Thoth
(Egyptian), Hermes, Hotei (Japanese), Thor, Dionysus (Roman), Bacchus (Greek)
& all wine Deities
waning Moon supports culling, releasing, and letting go. We all face
loss: a pet dies, a relationship changes, a job ends, or a cherished friend
is gone. We also experience sadness as the seasons shift. Summer’s gone,
and with it the expansive, fertile energy of the Mother goddess. In autumn,
the energy of the Crone is upon us—goddess of decay, death, and rebirth.
Acknowledging death and decay opens you to the powerful energy of rebirth. Get
a leaf that has fallen to the ground. Say:
I knew you maiden, young and shining,
Saw you ripen, mother of all,
Now you age and return to the earth,
Nourishes as you compost,
Matter of rebirth.
As the leaf falls from your hand to the ground, know it will compost,
producing matter to nourish and sustain spring’s new life. Be at peace with the
ancient cycle: Birth, life, death, rebirth.
by Dallas Jennifer Cobb
Dates for the festivals vary widely. There are many forms of Wicca and
Neopaganism, all of which may have somewhat different traditions associated with
the festivals. Therefore there is no definitive or universal tradition observed
by all the groups. Most Pagans are somewhat flexible about dates, tending to
celebrate at the nearest weekend for convenience.
As the Wheel originates in the Northern Hemisphere, in the Southern Hemisphere many
Neopagans advance these dates six months so as to coincide with the natural
seasons as they occur in their local climates, which oppose and complement those
of the Northern Hemisphere. For instance, a Wiccan from southern Australia may celebrate Beltane on the 1st of November, when a Canadian Wiccan is celebrating Samhain. The appropriate set of festivals
for an Equatorial Wiccan is
While the cross-quarter days traditionally fall on the Kalends of the month, some Neopagans
consider them to fall on the midpoint of the two surrounding quarter days. These
modern calculations tend to result in celebrations held a few days after the
traditional dates (see above table).
Sun Sabbats and Moon
"Sun sabbats" refer to the quarter days, which are based on the astronomical
position of the sun. The remaining four, Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain are
sometimes called "moon sabbats", and observed on full moons or - especially Samhain - on a dark moon. Typically the full moon closest to the
traditional festival date or the 2nd full moon after the preceding sun sabbat is
chosen. This would place the moon sabbat anywhere from 29–59 days after the
preceding solstice or equinox.
Kołomir - the Slavic example of Wheel of the Year
indicating seasons of the year.
Most of the holidays of the Wheel of the Year are named after Pre-Christian
Celtic and Pre-Christian Germanic religious festivals,
but depart largely in form and meaning from the traditional observances of those
festivals. Historian Ronald Hutton ascribes this to the influence of turn of the
century romanticism as well as the eclectic elements introduced by Wicca. The
similarities between these holidays generally end at the shared names, as Wicca
makes no effort to reconstruct the ancient practices. Hutton has
described the merging of culturally diverse festivals into a unified set of
eight as a form of universalism not corroborated by any historical
There appears to be no surviving evidence that the eight festivals described
in this article were formally observed as a 'set', and the complete eightfold
Wheel of the Year was unknown under that name prior to modern Wicca, as far as we know.In early
forms of Wicca only the cross-quarter days were observed. However, in 1958 the
members of Bricket Wood Coven added the solstices and
equinoxes to their original calendar, as they desired more frequent
celebrations. Their High Priest, Gerald Gardner, was away visiting the Isle of Man at the time, but he
did not object when he returned, since they were now more in line with the Neo-druidism of Ross Nichols, a friend of
Gardner's and founder of the Order of Bards, Ovates and