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  Esbats are celebrations of the Goddess. There are eight Sabbats. The Sabbats mark the Equinoxes - the two days a year when daytime and night time are of equal duration. The Sabbats also include the longest day of the year and the longest night of the year- known as solstices- and the mid points between these occurrences.


(October 31)
Samhain (pronounced sow-inn), is also known as Halloween. This is our time of endings and beginnings, so the New Year is celebrated at Samhain. This is a quieter time, a time when the veil between worlds is thin and the spirits may pass more easily. At Mabon, the God Lugh died in order for us to live through His abundance. During the intervening time, He has gathered the spirits of those that have died over the year and waits for this night so that they may pass through the gate to the other side. This is the time to revere our ancestors and to say farewell to those that have passed this last year. It is also a time of divination. This begins a time of darkness. From now until Yule, the days grow darker and colder.  We light bonfires are ignited and rituals performed  to honor our deceased loved ones. Many Halloween traditions stem from Samhain. The wearing of scary costumes was originally used to scare away those souls that may mean harm.  The jack-o-lantern was another means of scaring away hostile spirits, the candle within a beckoning light to those that you wish to welcome.

The Winter Solstice (
Dec. 21-22)

Yule is a time of mixed emotions for Pagans who are surrounded by Christmas celebrations which are not a part of their traditions, though Christmas practices are rooted in ancient pagan practices.

When the Wheel of the year brings us to Yule, the God who died at Samhain  is reborn of the virgin Goddess. The God is represented by the Sun which returns after the darkest night of the year to again bring warmth and fertility to the land. The profusion of lights on houses and trees at Christmas is a modern version of the pagan custom of lighting candles and fires as acts of sympathetic magick to lure back the waning sun.

Yule has been the most widely celebrated of all the Sabbats because its customs and lore have so deeply invaded popular cultures and the mainstream religions, and virtually every culture in the northern hemisphere in some way once acknowledged the return of the Sun at its weakest point. Some anthropologists believe Yule was celebrated as a religious festival as early as12,000 years ago, and some claim it is many millennia earlier.

Yules importance was obvious to early human civilizations. As the nights grew darker and longer, and the days colder and shorter, it was imperative that the sun be lured back to the Earth. Though most cultures understood astronomy long before we give them credit, and knew the sun was where it always had been, they still felt moved to celebrate the old rites which were symbolic rather than factual to them. The festival was important because it kept them in tune with the cycle of the seasons, marked the New Year, allowed them a time to gather with friends and family, and to worship their deitys in joy and thanksgiving.


(Febuary 2)
Imbolg was originally a special day set aside to honor the Goddess who was slowly turning the wheel of the year back to spring. Winter was a harsh season for our pagan ancestors, one during which many died of disease and mal-nutrition. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of the customs surrounding this Sabbat are designed as acts of sympathetic magick to lure back to the sun, and speed up the coming of the balmy warmth of spring.
Two other names commonly used for this Sabbat are Embolic and Timely, both meaning ewes milk. This was the time when pregnant ewes begin lactating, and the event was celebrated as another sign that winter was ending. In Cornwall they honored this event by making a ritual drink from cider, mashed apples, honey, and the milk from pregnant ewes. 
The Romans dedicated the Sabbat to Venus, the goddess of love. The first flower of spring, the crocus, was sacred to her, and the flowers were picked and used to lavishly adorn homes, alters, and people especially young women who represented the virgin goddesses at the Sabbat rituals.
Though the Roman version of the Imbolg Sabbat was dedicated to Venus, the month of February was dedicated to the Goddess Februa is the Goddess of fresh starts, and her month was often euphemistically referred to as the cleansing time.The Romans also had a board game whch featured a crone and a dragon at one end, and a maiden and a lamb at the other. The object was to have the lamb conquer the dragon, making the crone goddess into the virgin goddess once again and there by turning the wheel of the year to spring. 


Vernal or Spring Equinox (March 20-21)
Many of the symbols of Ostara (oh- STAR-ah) are also common to Easter. Eggs have been a symbol of renewed life and fertility since the time of ancient Egyptians and Persians. In fact, in both cultures people dyed eggs and ate them in honor of the returning of spring. The Egyptians also saw hares or rabbits, which were associated with the Moon, as a symbols of fertility and rebirth.
In the Wiccan tradition, the Lord and Lady are seen as young and innocent at this time of the year. The day and night are of equal duration at the spring or vernal equinox. In the days that follow, the hours of light grow longer, spring blooms in the air and the Lord and Lady, as do all creatures of Nature, begin to wonder about one another.

A Wiccan celebration of Ostara might include boiling and decorated eggs. Some Wiccans even do egg hunts and eat chocolate bunnies. If you can celebrate at the exact moment of the vernal equinox, you can even balance a raw egg on one end because of the change of the Earths tilt. In ritual, witches might bless seeds for future planting. This is also a good time of year to buy a new ritual broom for sweeping out negative energy's.


May 1st
Now cometh the first day of summer and the first full moon of Taurus, which is Beltaine . And we have called forth praises for the lord of Animals and to the Fair lady of the Flowers who bring great blessings to our lives.

From now until Samhain is the time of the Greater Sun, and shall it shine forth within our souls, for in truth Bealtaine means bright fire.

And we have raised up a mighty May-pole, true and fair, like a tree which riseth up into the sky, and we have lain upon it ribbons, flowers and bright coloured garlands. And all have gathered here about and danced a merry dance around the pole and sung their songs of joy long into the night.

SO too have we lain bright flowers and garlands upon the cattle grazing in the fields and we have tied rowan berries on the posts beside our doorways, and taken time into our hearts to think upon the nature of our strength and the truth of our desires. For at this time hath mighty Lugh, Lord Light and King of the Sky, come forth to make his conquests in the world.


The Summer Solstice, June 20 or 21

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year. It is a time to celebrate vitality, creativity, vigor, health and abundance. All over the world, people gather to honor and acknowledge this time of Light and Energy and to connect with this Solar tide of abundance, health and the beginnings of the fruits of their labors.

One of the customs associated with the Summer Solstice is the blessing of animals: pets, familiars, work animals and animals which will be slaughtered in the Fall for Winter food. The blessing focuses on the animals health, growth, vitality and fertility. You may want to bless and charge with energy your pets or familiar to strengthen your bond with them at the Summer Solstice.

Now is also the time when the herbs, both wild and cultivated, are reaching their greatest potency. You will want to gather them before they begin to seed, so that you may dry them to use in your rituals and in the medicines that you begin to make in late summer and early Fall. Collect herbs for which you will use flowers and leaves as the Moon waxes (gets larger); roots are gathered during the Waning Moon. As you gather them, thank each one and cut it cleanly a few inches above the ground for the herbs with which you will use the flowers and leaves. For the roots that you gather, pull gently from the earth, collecting only about a third of the plants so that they will grow abundantly again next spring.

Roses are particularly associated with the Summer Solstice and Midsummers Eve is especially potent for love magicks. You may want to make a rose petal infusion to add to wine, or strew your bed with rose petals before retiring to help you dream of your soul-mate.

Standing stones and stone circles are also symbolic of the Summer Solstice. The dolmen, or standing stone, reminds us of the virility of male energy and of the Sun which in magick and psychology is representative of the male. Stone circles symbolize the ever rolling Wheel of the Year and cycles of the Sun, the natural laws of the universe and the womb of the Earth. If you can find one naturally occurring, perform your Solstice celebrations within it, or leave food and herb offerings within it for our wild-land sisters and brothers. You can also create your own stone circle by placing 8 larger stones at each of the spokes of the Wheel of the Year, equidistance apart, and filling in the spaces between with smaller stones for a circle you can use year round.

Another custom at the Summer Solstice is the practice of tossing wishes and offerings into wells and springs. For a wish or offering of thanks, hold a special stone, feather or sprig of herb in your hands as you focus and meditate on your desire. Pour the desire or gratitude into the stone, feather or sprig and when you have filled it, toss it with power and intention into the well or spring.

The Summer Solstice is the time of the marriage of the Sun and the Moon, which is one of the reasons that the month of June has become the traditional month of marriage and union. One of the symbols for the power of the Sun is fire; for the Moon is water. To enact their union you may choose to create a SunWheel out of weavings of thin, dried branches or braided, dried herbs. You may then (CAREFULLY) ignite your SunWheel and roll it a short distance into running water or drop it carefully into a pool of water to unite the energies.

(August 1 or 2)

Lughasadh (Loo-nahs-ah) is the first of the three harvest Sabbats. In Old Irish the word Lunasa means August. It honors the Celtic sun God Lugh (Loo), but it is principally a grain festival sometimes called the Sabbat of first fruits. Corn, wheat, and barley are ready to be picked in August, as are many other Northern Hemisphere grains. Native Americans celebrate early August as a grain festival in honor or the Corn Grandmother and called it the festival of Green Corn. The ancient Romans also honored their grain Goddess, Ceres, at their annual August Ceresalia. The birth of the Egyptian Goddess, Isis, was celebrated in North Africa near the time of this Sabbat, as was a Roman festival in honor of Vulcan, god of the forge and guardian of fire. In ancient Phoenicia this Sabbat honored the grain god Dagon, and a substantial portion of the harvest was sacrificed to him.
Other names for this Sabbat are First Harvest, August Eve, and Lammas.
Lughnasadh has always been a Sabbat where only grains and vegetables were sacrificed, as animal sacrifices were reserved for the autumn holidays.

The Autumn Equinox(Sept 21)...
Mabon (MAY-bon), one of the lesser Sabbats, is the second harvest festival and is held on the Autumn Equinox to celebrate the last fruits of the year. Some people call this holiday Harvest Home. Night and day are of equal duration on this date, and you can feel the approach of winter and darkness. The Lord is preparing for his death at Samhain, and the Lady is beginning to mourn his loss. 
Rituals to honor this Sabbat might include late season vegetables such as squash, nuts, and sheaves of late wheat and corn. A cornucopia, a symbol of prosperity and plenty, is a nice addition to you altar at this time of year. Some witches like to hold feasts or do food magick on this holiday.Blessed be this season of Mabon, time of the second harvest, the harvest of fruit and wine. Tonight all things are in balance: Goddess and God, Life and Death, Light and Dark. Tonight the darkness will conquer the light, leading us ever deeper into the waning year.