The Sabbaths

The Sabbaths 
(From the Book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft") 

Do you love holidays or loathe them? We think you’ll probably like the Wiccan holidays. In this chapter, we’ll tell you about eight of them. The good news? They don’t involve long exhausting trips to the mall. Wiccan holidays do involve Nature and the cycles of the Earth in her seasons. Most of the things that you’ll need (besides your magickal tools) can be found in your backyard or in a local park. And if you want to exchange any gifts, they, too, can be crafted from Nature’s gifts. The Wiccan holidays are truly a time when you tune in to the Earth and the changes she undergoes with the turning of the seasons.

All About the Sun

The Sun represents the God, the male spirit of the All. Like the Sun’s, his energy is bright, vibrant, powerful, and protecting. He allows the plants to grow, warms the Earth, and provides the Earth and all her creatures with light and nutrients that are crucial to the flourishing of life.

As we’ve all noticed, there are many more hours of daylight during the summer than there are in the winter. Summer days are longer because the Earth’s axis, the imaginary pole on which the Earth spins, tilts a little in relation to the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The fact that the Earth is tipped in this manner actually causes the seasons and causes there to be a longest day of the year and a shortest day. Because Wicca is a Nature-based religion, each of these changes, the heralds of the shifts of the season, is honored.
What Are the Sabbats?

The Sabbats are holidays on which Wiccans celebrate the male energy of the All, which is represented by the
God and the Sun. These are days of celebration of the God just the way the Esbats (as discussed in the previous chapter) are celebrations of the Goddess. There are eight Sabbats. Unlike human-made holidays, the Sabbats are naturally occurring events. They mark the equinoxes—the two days a year when daytime and
nighttime are of equal duration. The Sabbats also include the longest day of the year, the longest night of
the year—known as the solstices—and the midpoints between these occurrences.

As the Lord and Lady Travel the Wheel of the Year

In Wicca, the year is seen as a wheel that keeps turning. Once it has completed a rotation, it keeps going and turns around again and again. The Lord and the Lady, as manifestations of the All, play a major part in this continuous cycle. Many Wiccans look at the year as the continuing and repeating story of the Lord and the Lady.

Although Samhain is the Wiccan New Year, let’s start with Yule. Here’s a quick tour of the Wheel of the Year:

➤ At Yule, which occurs at the time of the winter solstice in December, the Lady gives birth to the Lord and rests from her labor.

➤ At Imbolc, in February, the Lord is seen as a small boy, and the Lady recovers from giving birth.

Ostara marks the first day of spring and the awakening of the Earth. At this time, the Lord is seen as a growing youth.

➤ At Beltane, the Lord has grown to manhood. He falls in love with the Lady, and they unite, producing the bounty of Nature. The Lady becomes pregnant by the Lord.

➤ The Summer Solstice is the point in midsummer when everything in Nature is at its peak, growing and lush. The Lord and the Lady are both at the height of their powers.

Lughnassad is the day in August of the first harvest. The first grains are cut, and the Lord begins to weaken.

➤ At Mabon, the second harvest, the Lord is coming to his end. The days grow shorter, and Earth readies for the slumber of winter.

➤ At Samhain, in October, the Lord dies only to be reborn of the Lady again at Yule.

When the Lord is born at Yule, he is the incarnation of the God of Light. From Yule onward, the daylight hours will be longer and longer until the Summer Solstice, when the balance tips the other way. After the Summer Solstice, as the days begin to grow shorter, he becomes the Dark God. At that point, the shortening of the days herald his coming death.


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