When I was a baby witch, it was really difficult for me to understand the Sabbats and the wheel of the year. To help all my baby witches, I made a short summary to make it easier.
🎄 Yule (Date: on the winter solstice, dec. 20-23) 🎄
This is the Sabbat for celebrating rebirth. Many people celebrate it similarly to Christmas, with gift giving, feasting, and wreath making. People will often kiss a consenting partner under a sprig of mistletoe for good luck.
🐏 Imbolc (Date: feb. 2) 🐏
This Sabbat celebrates the return of spring. People make corn dollies and set them in a basket next to a symbol of masculinity. Many Witches will clean out their homes during Imbolc.
🐣 Ostara (Date: on the vernal equinox, Mar. 20-23) 🐣
This Sabbat celebrates the coming time of fertility. Egg decorating is common during this time.
🔥 Beltane (Date: May 1) 🔥
This Sabbat focuses on fertility. Many Pagans choose to conceive children at this time (or just to enjoy themselves sexually with a partner). Beltane festivals are often high energy, with plenty of dancing and bonfires.
☀️ Litha (Date: on the summer solstice, Jun 20-23) ☀️
A Sabbat for celebrating the longest day of the year, as well as for mourning the shortening days after. Some Witches burn bonfires or light candles to represent the Sun.
🌾 Lughnasadh (Date: Aug 1 -> 1 day before my birthday!) 🌾
I love this Sabbat but I’m not able to pronounce this name :). This is the first of the three harvesting Sabbats. There are festivals of grain and bread. People make gingerbread men during this time.
🍁 Mabon (Date: on the autumnal equinox, sep. 20-23) 🍁
This is the second of the three harvesting Sabbats. Witches give thanks to the Earth and the harvest. Celebraters will make and drink wine at this time.
⛄️ Samhain (Date: nov. 1) ⛄️
This is the last of the three harvesting Sabbats. It is also the festival of the dead. The veil is at its thinnest at this time. Witches will sometimes hold a big feast during Samhain.
Feel free to contact me if you have more questions!
Imbolc is celebrated roughly when winter begins to turn to spring. Traditionally it also marked the successful survival of the harsh winter months and the beginning of the agricultural season. The returning sun is welcomed and the Celtic goddess Brigid is honored.
Traditional Lore/Activities 🕯️
Each candle within a household should be lit, if only for a moment, to honor the sun’s return.
If there is still snow on the ground one should draw an image of the sun in it.
Foods Associated with Imbolc 🥐
Sour cream and other dairy dishes.
Foods containing peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, and chives.
Sabbat Altar and Celebration Ideas for the Solitary Witch
YULE Altar ideas: Put mistletoe and pine on your altar; put a candle up there to represent the Sun; keep your Yule log on your altar; use symbols of the Sun; decorate with red, green, white, blue, and yellow (red and green for holly, white and blue for snow and wintery colors, yellow for the Sun). Celebration ideas: Kiss a consenting person under the mistletoe for luck; give gifts; have a feast; make magickal wreaths with herbs corresponding to the spell intent (you might use lilac, lavender, and camomile for a wreath that brings peace into your home).
IMBOLC Altar ideas: Use candles to represent the return of spring; make a cute little corn dolly; put a Brigid’s cross on there to honor her; decorate with yellow and green to represent the Sun and return of spring. Celebration ideas: Clean your house; have a self-dedication ritual (to a particular path, deity, philosophy, standard of life, etc.); clean off your working altar and redo it; cleanse and charge any tools or crystals you need to.
OSTARA Altar ideas: Use fake eggs, rabbits, and other symbols of fertility or spring; put some potted plants on the altar; place some packets of seeds you might be planning on growing; decorate with purple, yellow, green, white, and other spring, pastel colors. Celebration ideas: Paint and blow eggs (take proper precautions when handling raw eggs, obviously, especially if you’re putting your mouth on them); if you have a greenhouse, want a potted plant, or it’s warm enough where you live to plant outside, plant some seeds; buy a potted plant; organize your herb shelf.
BELTAINE Altar ideas: Make a mini Maypole for your centerpiece; smack some candles up in there, especially beeswax, if that’s in your budget; put some faery symbols, like little statues or bells or something like that; a jar of honey or some beeswax is always dope; if you’re comfortable with it, some people like to put representations of genatalia on their altar. Celebration ideas: Light an awesome bonfire (also be very cautious with this because fire can quickly turn dangerous); leave offerings to the faeries; have a dance outside; this is a good time to plan to have a handfasting ceremony or wedding; cast any love workings you’ve been meaning to do; if you’re an adult and have a person/people who consent to it, you could choose to have sex during this time (but do be safe!); many people try to conceive children during Beltaine.
LITHA Altar ideas: Symbols of the Sun and the Moon, feminine and masculine symbols if that’s a thing in your tradition; decorate with black and white to symbolize the night and day. Celebration ideas: Get up before the Sun rises and go to sleep after it sets, so you can experience the day and night; have a bonfire (again, safety is important); have a picnic; just spend a lot of time outside.
LUGHNASADH Altar ideas: Put bread and grain on the altar; maybe some apples and other autumn fruits; pinecones and leaves are fall symbols; decorate with red, orange, yellow, brown, and other colors of the season. Celebration ideas: Bake (especially make the cute little bread men); give an offering to the Earth; go to an apple orchard and pick some apples; share a feast with the family or your friends.
MABON Altar ideas: Wine, or grape juice if alcohol is unavailable for any reason; leaves and pinecones; apples; a money jar (see first celebration suggestion below). Celebration ideas: For a week or two before Mabon, put money you can afford to give up in a jar, and donate it to charity or a cause you support on Mabon; have another apple harvest; have another feast; do a ritual to honor the Earth.
SAMHAIN Altar ideas: Pop a few gourds in there, more apples if you want; pictures of the deceased; tools for divination and spirit contact; decorate with black, white, and orange. Celebration ideas: Divination, spirit communication (obviously only if you know what you’re doing); hold a seance or a dumb supper if that’s more comfortable for you; light a candle in the window for spirits (use a fake one if you want it lit all night); leave some milk and honey for the Fair Folk; give offerings to the dead; put up wards and shields if you’re one of the people who would prefer to avoid spirit activity.
Imbolc/Candlemas (February 2nd in the Northern Hemisphere) is a Gaelic festival to celebrate the first signs of spring. This sabbat is the perfect time for introspection and setting goals as we prepare for the upcoming season. Here is a tarot spread to incorporate into your Imbolc celebration! Enjoy~
1. Seed - What seeds do I need to plant this season?
2. Purification - What needs to be cleared away in order to grow this seed?
3. Spark - What can I do to nurture this seed?
4. Flame - What is the ultimate outcome of the seeds I’ve planted?
Imbolc is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring and celebrating the Celtic goddess Brigid. Most commonly it is held on February 1st, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
For all of the witches who struggle with Sabbats sneaking up on them, here is a guide to help whip up an easy celebration so you never have to miss out on Sabbats again!
A Sabbat is a seasonal festival mostly celebrated by Pagans and Witches. Sabbats are like any other holiday, except these are normally celebrations of the changing of the seasons, or the “turning of the wheel.” Each person will celebrate each Sabbat differently, as each season is completely personal to you.
The First Step
The first step I recommend to planning a Sabbat celebration is to figure out exactly what the Sabbat is to you. Figure out how you feel about the sabbat and what you naturally associate each one with. This can take some time to work through, especially if you are new to sabbats or if you tend to avoid nature at all costs.
What to ask yourself:
- What does this Sabbat mean to you? - What is the Earth doing right now? What does it look like outside your window? - What is in season (this includes foods, herbs, flowers and decor)? - How do you feel this time of year? How does this particular Sabbat make you feel? Is this normal? - What sort of things make you feel “witchy” or connected to this Sabbat? - Why is this day special to you?
Things to Do:
- Perform a ritual. Rituals can be as elaborate or as simple as you want them to be. Sometimes all you have to work with is a tealight candle and a week old pack of cookies.
- Cook. Some of us feel connected to the world around us when there is food involved. After all, it’s not a party unless there is food. Try out a new recipe with in-season foods, or make your favorite comfort food dish.
- Go outside. The easiest way to celebrate the changing of the seasons is to go outside and experience them. Even if it’s a short walk (because not many people want to go for long strolls in the dead of winter), take a moment to step outside and experience nature and observe what it’s currently doing. If you are able, plan a day trip to somewhere special or new to explore.
- Decorate. Nothing gets me in the holiday (or Sabbat) spirit like decorating. As a child decorating for Christmas was the best because that was the only time we put up decorations. Now, as an adult, I use whatever I have handy to decorate for every Sabbat I can to make me feel more festive.
- Offerings. If you work with spirits of deities, you may wish to put together some sort of offering for them when you celebrate. This can be food, special rocks or flowers from outside, or something you’ve made yourself.
- Spells. Sabbats are prime times to do spells for me. The spells I cast are reflections of the coming season and what I want from them.
- Crafts. There are a ton of different little projects for Sabbats floating around on the internet. Get creative and make something! If you are on a budget, make something with what you have, or modify a craft to include what you have. I like to make something new each year for the Sabbats (it’s an easy way to get “decorations” too!)
- Divination. Nothing says celebration like a good old fashion look into the future. Choose any form of divination that you’d like and do a reading for yourself.
- Journaling. Sometimes the easiest way to celebrate and connect is to get into your own head. Let the Earth inspire you. Stare out a window (or sit outside if you can) and just watch what happens around you. Let it inspire you to create. Journal about your own feelings, write a freestyle poem or sketch and paint what you see.
Creating a Ritual
Not all rituals have to be long and elaborate. Some of my favorite rituals are just sitting around in sweatpants with a hot cup of cocoa and my journal, reflecting on the season and my life. Ask yourself these questions to help piece together how a ritual would be best done for you.
- What am I celebrating? How can I celebrate this? - Who am I worshiping? - How much space do I have? - How much time do I have? - Why am I celebrating this Sabbat? - What do I/can I buy for my celebrations?
The important thing for Sabbats isn’t how grand your ritual is, it’s all about gaining something from it, whether that be a nice warm fuzzy feeling or a great insight into your life.
Reflection and Meditation
After each Sabbat day, I find it helpful if I reflect upon what I did that day and how my celebration went. This is when I do most of my journaling, but you don’t have to write anything. You can simply sit and rest and meditate on the day if you wish. Use this time to unwind.
- What did I do today? How do I feel about it? - What ideas do I have for next year? - What did this year’s Sabbat teach me? - What was my favorite part of today’s celebration? - What was my least favorite?