Kate West

Witches  just like other Pagans celebrate the seasonal festivals 


These are the eight Sabbats or festivals which together, form the Wheel of the Year.  Many of these have their counterparts, such as Christmas, Candlemas, and Harvest Festival in Christianity and other celebrations in other religions.  The Wheel of the Year is also echoed in our day to day lives.  At any time we may go through stages of new beginnings, of reaping the harvest of our efforts, or of putting away the outworn.  Celebrating the Sabbats is in part a celebration of the agricultural cycle, in part a celebration of the lives of the Gods and Goddesses, but most of all it is a celebration of being us, of the joy of living and learning and growing.

Samhain (31 Oct.)
Known in the common tongue as Halloween, and for the Christians as All Hallows or All Souls. For us this is the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year.  For us the cycle of life, death and re-birth is typified in this festival when the Mother Goddess takes on the robes of winter, of resting and reward, when the land lies dormant, waiting, like the people, for the first signs of spring and new birth.  A time when tales are told, legends revived and we remember our ancestors.

 

Yule (21 Dec.)
The Winter Solstice, the date of the re-birth of the Sun, long before any son was ever thought of.  In the midst of winter we see the first spark of light, the first of the lengthening days, which promise the renewal of the year.  We may not yet see the summer, but now we know that light and warmth will surely follow.

 

Imbolg (2 Feb.)
"In the belly".  Now the Wise face of the Goddess sheds her robes of Crone and puts on her robes of Maiden, the harbinger of all that is new, youthful, and enthusiastic.  The first trees are in bud, the first flowers push through the frozen soil, the first birds choose their mates, and the first ewes are in lamb.  Spring has not arrived, but her promise is close.

 

Oestara (21 March)
The festival of the ancient Goddess Eostar, or Astarte, whose symbols were the egg and the hare, who gave rise to the term oestrus, and who is one of the oldest Goddesses of women and fertility, being traced back over 4,000 years. Oestara is the first of the spring.  The Goddess is maturing, not yet pregnant, but ready, prepared, willing to take her place beside the God, as ruler of fertility for mankind and the earth they inhabit.

 

Beltane (1 May)
The marriage of the Goddess and the God.  She has let him chase her until she, in her bounty is ready to be caught.  He has pursued her, because he knows that only thus is the fruitfulness of the land to be guaranteed.  This is their happy fate and the way they show their love for us.  Without the Lord and Lady together, we would be and have nothing.  Yet even without our devotion they will try to work the magic which makes the land fertile and the Wheel dance.

 

Litha (21 June)
The summer Solstice.  Again day and night are changing.  Even as the days have lengthened, the nights grow long again.  Our sowing is complete, let us now tend our crop, our children, land, and friendships, and look forward to what we will reap in the months to come.

 


 

Lammas (1 Aug.)
The feast of the Sacrificial King, where a leader will lay down a part or all of their life for the common good.  The Mother knows that she must sacrifice her lover king to the Wheel of time and to the common good.  This is the time for the release of prisoners, when we let go of those things we have held too close that are now holding us back.

 

Madron (21 Sept.)
Day and night are equal once more. Put your life into the scales of balance and judge yourself have you done well or should you strive harder in the next turn of the Wheel