The Eight Sabbats of the Old Religion

The Old Religion, Wicca, divides the year into eight main high days or
Sabbats. Four of these are associated directly with the two equinoxes
and the two solstices. The other four fall at dates in between these

In the Celtic Tradition,  the year begins at SAMHAIN, or as it is
called now, Halloween. This is the night that the veil between the
world of men and spirits is considered to be the thinnest,  so it is
of little wonder that people should think of it as a night that all
sorts of things roam about. It is New Year to the Celtics and a time
to try and peek a little into the time ahead or to see if it is
possible to view the future with Divination. Divination is done in
many forms but all seek to establish a look ahead, whether the answer
appears good or bad. SAMHAIN is also considered to start the reign of
the GOD or the dark time of the Year when the Sun goes lower each day
and begins to weaken.

December 21 is called YULE. It is the time of the Winter
Solstice,  the shortest day of the year.

From this day forward the sun again begins to grow in strength and
rise to new heights each day. It is a time of celebration and gift
giving. At each of the Sabbats a number of Covens will meet and those
that practice solitary may come to celebrate in the festivities.
Families come together traditionally to these festivals. At Yule the
celebration is in honor of the Sun being reborn and its start to warm
the Earth and drive the Winter from the land. In the early days the
LORD of the HUNT,  or the HORNED GOD of  the HUNT,  was most important
for survival in Winter since hunting was the means of survival
practiced. The Horned God is in no way to be confused with the DEVIL.
Wicca does not consider the Devil to be an entity but believes that
all good and evil are contained in each individual and it is up to
that individual to be as good or as bad as they deem.MAN is man, both
good and bad.

 February 2nd is celebrated as Candlemas. This
is a festival of lights. This date is approximately half way between
YULE and SPRING. BRIGID was the Celtic Goddess of
Fire, Smithcraft, Healing and Wells and this was her day. Candlemas is
considered in some traditions as the marker point where the Mother
Goddess,  the Great Earth Mother marks the path for the Sun God to
find her in the dark times. It is a time when the first rush of
Spring may be felt in the air and the warmth of the Sun grows

March 21 is the festival of Spring and the return to
the land of life after the dead of Winter. It is a celebration of the
return of growth and green things to the land. This festival is
usually considered to be a sharing of
love between the GOD and GODDESS,  a period of equality,  a balance
between the forces of nature and man and woman. If possible this
festival is done outdoors so the feeling of being close to nature is
attained. All around the feeling of Spring may prevail from the new
grass beneath the feet to the sweet clean smell of the air. The
joining of mankind with nature at this festival is easily
accomplished with the land renewed all around us.

April 30th is the celebration of Beltane. This is one of the
old fire festival at which BALEFIRES would be started across the
country with a new fire that had been started by the Priests and
hearths would be rekindled with the fresh flame. In some quarters
stock would be driven between two fires , one to each side to purify
the animals(not to mention get rid of pests they might be carrying).
It is also considered as the coming together of the God and Goddess
in fruitful union to add new life to the crops and hasten their

June 21st is the longest day of the year and marks
the high point reached by the Sun on its yearly journey. It is the
height of Summer and the fields are green with the new crops. Life
abounds all around us and in every living thing is the feeling of
oneness with nature. It is easy to stand in a woods or a field and
feel the Earth around you while the Sun shines on your face. To hear
the birds in song or to watch the animals teaching their spring born
young what they must learn to survive winter is a beautiful feeling
of oneness with all beings.

 August 2nd is the festival of Lammas which is the first
harvest. The early crops are being brought in and stored for winter
while the abundance of nature is all around. The corn stands high in
the fields and the days are warm and luxurious. Lammas is the time of
sharing the first harvest and breads that are made from the early
grains. It is a festival where sharing between all present of the
harvest and its bounty forms a closeness or bond. It is a time of
thankfulness to the God and Goddess for their help in the creation of
a full harvest for the winter that lies ahead.

September 21st is the exact opposite of March 21st. Both
of these are times of equal night and equal day. Fall Equinox is a
reminder that the Sun will now start to grow shorter each day from
this point on until again at YULE the longest time of darkness will
come again. This is again a time of equalness between the God and
Goddess,  the God represented by the Sun,  the Goddess by the Moon.
Each representing half of one whole that is fulfilled by their
joining as one. Fruitfulness of the land being the end result of
their mutualness,  the bounty of the harvest will be brought in and
stored against winter,  and the dArk times. From here the next
festival is again SAMHAIN and the start of a NEW YEAR.



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