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Celebrating Sabbats - What do you do?


Guest Cerridwen
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Just wondered how people celebrate Sabbats?

 

Obviously different things are done depending on which Sabbat it is but, I was just wondering...

 

I tend to light a colour specific candle to the Sabbat and meditate but, I wonder if this is enough?

 

Would be interested to hear other's experiences.

 

:o

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Over the years, it has varied. At times, I've got out all the regalia, for every sabbat and every full moon. That in addition to going to an open ritual if I could, and one with a small group I was with for a time.

 

Now, it's more a case of go outside, think "it's that time again", and if I have the time & energy do a bit more than that, but not much.

 

IMHO, being aware of the sabbats etc in the year is more important than the details of how you observe them.

 

Going by some of your other posts, your style is fairly pared down, and so what you do for the sabbats is also pared down.

Edited by Effra
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I think "enough" is whatever feels right for you - as long as you make an acknowledgement in some way.

 

I do a full ritual thing at Samhain - the works - extra place at the table, special meal, decorate the house, full ritual circle etc the whole kit and caboodle. But for Midsummer, I'll just sit outside with some wine and watch the sunset and (if I can stay awake!) sunrise. No frills or anything like that. Just depends on how I am and how circumstances present themselves.

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Yes, no rules, enough is whatever feels right for you at the time.

 

For Beltane and Samhain I usually join a group of sacred dancers for the day and we dance our hearts out and have rituals too. This Samhain I will be dancing at the Chalice Well in Glastonbury for two days. Lammas for the last two years has been spent at the Glastonbury Goddess Conference.

 

Imbolc, my partner and I always celebrate at home as we have a particular love of Brighid. We try to incorporate as many of the folk customs surrounding the festival as possible and usually have a few friends around. Though this year we also joined friends at the Goddess Temple in Glastonbury.

 

Whether at home or away we will always make a little offering of incense, wine and food in our garden and give thanks.

 

We also do the little offering at the Equinoxes. At the solstices we try to be at the edge of the British Isles at a sacred site. Last Summer Solstice we were at the Callanish stones on Lewis.

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Well I try and celebrate all 8 of the wiccan year (though I'm not wiccan - I just like to play with candles :angry: ) and sometimes I even manage to do it on the right day!!

 

I started out trying to follow the full circle and altar set up that you read about in 'those' books, but to be honest the more paraphanalia I get up the less succesful the ritual.

 

Nowadays its a simple altar (replacing my laptop on its trolley) with icons of my god and goddess, a single tea light and various things that seem appropriate. normally there is an old key and some money, often some leaves or crystals too.

 

I don't cast a circle, though I do invite my lord and lady, the spirits of the hearth and home, any ancesters hanging around and the spirits of the elements to attend.- sometimes my bedroom can seem very crowded.

 

I always include a ceremonial 'meal' in the cakes and ale tradition, though its rare that any cakes or ale are included.

 

For Yule this year I let the tea light burn out then lit a new one, while this year I plan on snuffing it out and relighting after a time in the dark.

 

For Imbolc I always use milk as the toast.

 

For Ostara its spring water (unfortunatly from a bottle)

 

At Midsummer orange juice (I always feel its like drinking sunshine, though thats more due to the ad men than any truth I suspect)

 

For Lammas - its wholemeal bread and a red drink, cranberry juice normally but red wine this year.

 

For Samhain its apple juice or cider.

And I remember all my ancestors and past friends plus any who have passed on in the last year.

 

If any one has any suggestions for the undecided drinks I'd be grateful.

 

kev

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it depends on the sabat and on my mood how i celebrate them.

 

usually i cast a circle and just speak to my lord and lady for a while, maybe light some candles, i tend to do divination at samhain.

 

but as others have said its more about how you feel comfortable celebrating, and if that just involves acknowledging the passing of the seasons then thats just fine.

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Like Pomona I do the whole kit and kaboodle for Samhain - somehow that festival speaks the loudest to me and of course at Yule we amalgamate pagan tradition with mainstream family stuff :lol:

For the rest of the year I tend to be aware that its that time as someone else has said and either meditate, plant something or write some poetry depending on what moves me - I used to get full on for all festivals but these days I seem to have mellowed and rely on a more intuitive style :o_wave:

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I don't do any rituals, I just think about the significance of the day and how the year is moving on etc. For example, I try(!) to get up to see the sun rise at midsummer and for samhain I sit and think about people that have passed, the year gone by and new year beginning etc and then I go and boogy!

I think about the Goddess and God but just don't really feel comfortable doing rituals. Don't know if that's a bit of a cop out or if I will in the future, but for now just thinking about them seems to be enough for me.

Since I started following the wheel of the year though, I do kind of feel more connected to the earth in a wierd way I can't really describe. Anyone know what I'm on about?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I find that i do differents things depending on my time and energy. Sometimes i sit outside and just think about what it means and maybe say hi. On Beltane my Bf (Non pagan) and i lit a bonfire and some candles and sat outside watching it burn with a glass of wine.

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Coz, how about blackberry wine or juice for the autumn equinox? And mulled wine works well at Yule, though for outside rituals it's generally cold by that time!

 

because I now work with a group, there is a formal ritual for each sabbat, which I find makes me a lot more focussed than what I did before, which was quite simply to go outside, light a candle and meditate on the season.That was fine for getting me "attuned" if you like, and great for keeping connected, but as I go on I'm finding myself more and more drawn to formal ritual. My spellwork is still very informal though!

 

blessings WoodSong

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I believe that as my spiritual life is part and parcel of my mundane life the way and extent to which I mark the sabbats (and moon phases) depends on what else is going on in my life at the time. These things fit around everything else rather than being separate from them. My personal mood and feelings alter alongside the seasons so while at some sabbats I go all out, others appear to have hardly batted an eyelid - there are some sabbats for which I have never done 'proper' rituals, while others always get one.

 

I have recently purchased Yasmine Galenorn's Magical Meditations which provides specific meditations for each of the sabbats alongside some suggestions for physical activities to do in connection with the season at hand. This would certainly seem to imply that 'just' doing a meditation at the sabbats would be 'enough'. Certainly, for those people whose living arrangements are not conducive to all out rituals and noise, these would be a viable option.

 

At the end of the day you can only do what you are able and willing to do - doing a ritual because you feel you have to, just doesn't work :)

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Coz, how about blackberry wine or juice for the autumn equinox? And mulled wine works well at Yule, though for  outside rituals it's generally cold by that time!

 

Hey woodsong, thats a great idea - thanks

 

Kev :)

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I prefer to gather in a group for sabbats. Firstly because I feel I have much to learn from others and the group I join has many members who are much more knowledgable than I am. I don't try to promote this to anyone, its just my way of feeling comfortable and joyful. I do believe that being joyful for the sabbats is important and this was one reason I followed wicca as the joyfulness of the spirit in wiccan practice was prized.

 

One year I did follow a lone meditation at summer solstice and had a very deep and sad experience. This sadness provided me with personal insight that was a growing lesson for me. It also provided me with a rock I found in the shape of a black heart. I used that rock to expel my negativity. I felt that that solitary part of my worship was fulfilled and hope to continue as I am now.

 

Merry Meet

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  • 1 year later...

I'm having a blonde moment - how does one know when it's Ostera? Midsummer is easy, ditto samhain and yule, but I can't remember Ostera - is it just on the equinox - the 21st March?

<trying to get organised>

x

M

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I generally speaking, don't do a great deal for the sabbats - although I am rather fond of Beltane, Samhain and Yule.

 

But you see, I have one problem with the set dates for the Wheel of Year - to me, the festivals celebrate turning points in the year and turning points are very much determined by nature/and or the sun/moon - not by a calendar. Saying that I do recognise that living in the 21st century and working I do have to be a bit practical - however, to me Beltane is here when the Hawthorn begins to flower and not May 1st as its now celebrated. But of course May 1st is a bank holiday so its convenient time to celebrate - I still liked, when I had a hawthorn bush in my garden to keep an eye on when it flowered and mark that too. Similarly Imbolc really isn't upon us until the crocuses and snowdrops are peeping through - which only happned where I live a couple of weeks ago.

 

For me it feels more meaningful to actually look around me and see whats happening in nature, yes like I said practicality means if I choose to acknowledge a particular festival with a ritual or something similar then its generally done on the fixed date but if I'm able I'll do something too when I see what I consider to be the true signs of Imbolc, Betane etc emerging within nature.

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I suppose that I regard the festivals as a convenient time to think about the concepts which they represent, a time to celebrate, reflect, give thanks, etc. I also use them as a time to go "So, where am I in life now?" and set goals and try to get rid of things or change, or set targets. All in all very useful!

 

I'm so used to the idea of the festivals now that I find it very hard to believe that this time last year they were meaningless to me! This Ostara/Equinox I shall be celebrating one year as a pagan - probably with chocolate eggs :D

 

If I had a garden or had been doing this for longer then I would probably be more fluid about it, but it's like anything - you need to do something seriously before you know which bits you can discard sensibly (in a way harking back to the eclectic thread which I'm still a bit sensitive about - sometimes I feel that I can't win - if I do things too rigorously I'm not listening to my intuition, if I'm too relaxed then I'm too eclectic in the bad sense...).

 

However, the festivals are only there as a guide. Unless you are following a path which explicitly follows them, then there is no onus on you to celebrate them. Personally, I love doing so, but as I said earlier it makes very good psychological sense to me and makes my year richer. There are also other festivals that I will celebrate, and I'm sure I will come across others in the future that are right to incorporate into my path, and replace existing ones as focus of attention.

 

I do like the idea of having enough time to be able to celebrate all the Roman ones - the Romans definitely knew how to make the year turn with a will!

 

:P

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Never really used to pay that much attention to teh sabbats, being relatively new to my path. I think that the last 8 months or so I've been marking the events with a lil nod to ritual.

 

I think that Very makes a very valid point about the listening to the seasons themselves rather than sticking rigidly to calendar dates. However as Applestar says that are convenient.

 

Sometimes I'll mark the event with a simple ritual, at other times I'lll just mediate in what the change in seasons means to me. Loook at where I'm going and reflect on where I've been.

 

Some times I just drink a lot of 'fruit soup' with Very and talk very very late into the night.

 

Q

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I think I am closer to what Very says.

When I first started on this path I had no contact with other Pagans, it was before regular internet connection and I did not seek out 101 Wicca type books. But I did know about the classic divisions of the year and had a keen insight into the changes of the world as nature turned throught the seasons. So I developed a series of markers, things like the apearance of snowdrops, the first frog spawn, the bloom of bluebells, bud burst of various trees and flowers, first frost, harvests of various crops from my garden, apples being one of the most significant and so on and used them as points to celibrate. I still do this, but have now blended that with the more formal 8 wheel festivals.

 

I tend not to do anything massivly formal. Simple things, a lit candle, watching sunrise and / or set, time meditating in the garden or walks in woodland, simple offerings in the cakes and ale tradition... libations to the Gods / earth. I usually will cook some kind of special meal incorperating things of the season and although they very rarely twig that there is anything more to it, I open my house to family and friends to share said meal. But sometimes it is as simple as something romantic... husband and wife.

It fits with the way my path seems to work... subtle and nearly silent.

 

Be bright, be bold

Fillionous

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It depends how I feel and how I can fit things in....at the least I will burn a candle or two...at the most a simple ceremony.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm still very new to this...but I have started off as I mean to go on, by recognising the sabbats.

 

I change my altar for each sabbat - I choose colour appropriate cloths and candles, and seasonal things to place on my altar. I also perform a small ritual at my altar for each sabbat, for me thats enough at the moment.

 

I feel that Samhain will be my biggest and most favourite sabbat as I have always loved Halloween and before I recognised that I was Pagan, I used to decorate the house with various Halloween decorations - jack o lantern, halloween candle holders etc. I always bought sweets in for the kids that knock on the door too. This year I will go bigger and better and hope by that time, to have found a group of other Pagans whom I can join in on a social event to mark it.

 

It also helps me, that I have gone through my diary marking all the sabbats down so I don't forget them and have enough time to prepare.

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I have little time for the sabbats now that my path has moved on so much. What is important to me is the Winter Solstice & the Summer Solstice. The only other festival I acknowledge is Samhain. Yet all i do for Yule & Midsummer is light a fire. The Gods need and require nothing else, nor are the festivals for them either on my path. At Samhain I light the fire & remember those who have passed on.

 

For me when I celebrated the sabbats the way the books told me to, it felt faked, false, untrue to my path. When I learnt that for me simple, uncomplicated and often spontaneous was the way to go, then my path moved on so fast it was amazing :lol:

 

A reminder to all, not all the Sabbats are on fixed dates :o_cat2:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I follow the basic Celtic feasts plus the Solstices. Samhain is a major holiday in my house (we are all very ancestor-minded and have a very detailed family tree). Ostara is another major holiday, as we live out in the country and witness the new Spring season unfolding before us. Personally I spend a great deal of my time outdoors during these special times and communicate with the Goddess Gaia, the elements, directions and with the specific creatures that happen to be present at the time. I don't follow a specific precept or ritual; I just do what comes to mind wherever I happen to be outdoors, but especially make every effort to try to be in an atmosphere full of trees or near the sea or ocean.

 

Johanna

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Well this is just a suggestion, but what about a story telling or reinactment of something that reflects not only the meaning of the Sabbat but also what is happening in nature?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have always been more of an Esbat person, I did a full Wiccan Beltane ritual sometime back with others on a Wiccan class I attended and it just wasn't for me. On the Summer Solstice I now tend to light a fire and sit on my patio until the sun goes down with a glass (or 2) of wine, some candles and incense following a wonderful faery meditation I have involving all the elements. Samhain I now just light many candles around the place and sit and just think of all those who have passed. My thoughts are always with the Sabatt but now I mostly use the time for reflection and thought. Although Im not a winter person the Winter Solstice is my favourite as Im longing for the lighter days by that time and I find my energy starts to grow.

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  • 5 years later...

Just wondered how people celebrate Sabbats?

 

Obviously different things are done depending on which Sabbat it is but, I was just wondering...

 

I tend to light a colour specific candle to the Sabbat and meditate but, I wonder if this is enough?

 

Would be interested to hear other's experiences.

 

smile.gif

 

For me the celebrations were everything I ever did for my pagan interest. It kept a balance in my life, a stability that I had nowhere else. I could be occupied with other things and not celebrate all sabbats but for example I never missed the autumn equinox, Samhain and Yule (last one is kind of hard to miss though :o_youpi: ) and I used it as a reminder to stay still and not to rush through life.

 

Burning a candle, meditate or talking a walk, I kept it simple. Apart from Yule, when the family and whole world is involved. Sometimes I wish there would be as much as knick-knack going on at other celebrations for example summer solstice. I really like festive days. But then again it would be very fast too much, I guess.

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  • 2 months later...

Samhain has always been a BIG celebration in my mothers household and as such I hold it very dear to me as well. It's a time for the children to play, get overdosed on sugar and run a muck. "What better way to honour the ancestors than to celebrate the life of the next generation while remembering where they have come from". Not my mothers exact words, but the meaning I've taken from them. Decorations in black, orange and white, spiders and ghouls, cats, bats and witches everywhere. And ton of food and drink, most of which the kids run into the carpet ^_^ There was never a ritual as such as she said the kids happiness was always enough to bring the spirits in.

 

This year will be different as it's being held in my house instead of my mothers, which means I have to get involved a lot more with the planning and organising of the "party", where before I'd just help put the decorations up and took the kids out trick or treating. And, unlike previous years, there will be a more formal ritual when children have gone to bed, or at least stopped running around as much ^_^ Which means I'm doing a lot of research into Samhain rituals, having never partaken in one before.

 

Yule is another big celebration in my mothers house, though that is always more adult than Samhain. Lots of people. Lots of drinking. Lots of food. Looking back it feels like people were huddled together, laughing and joking, hiding away from the cold of outside, wishing the dark would end and warmer weather would start. Again, never a ritual as such, but good times were had.

 

Any other Sabbat or holiday... It's always hit and miss. Sometimes a ritual would be held where friends and family would gather and take part (or watch, in some cases), sometimes there wouldn't be anything. If nothing was happening then I'd try to remember to do something myself at home. An altar, candles, meditation or reflection, but more often than not I would forget, remembering what day had passed a few days after and feeling bad for not at least lighting a candle.

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