Beltaine In The Park, 1999
Balboa Park, San Diego, California
The following are the eight sabbats of the year. Here they are in
their Celtic names, but in the descriptions I have included some other
common names for them.Imbolic, February 1st or 2nd
Ostara, March 21st or 22nd
Beltaine, April 30th or May 1st
Midsummer, June 21st or 22nd
Lughnassadh, August 1st or 2nd
Mabon, September 21st or 22nd
Samhain, October 31st
Yule, December 21st or 22nd
Celebrated on either February 1st or 2nd this is the first of the
Three Spring Fertility Festivals. It is a time to welcome a change
from the old to the new as we banish the cold winter season. A
fertility sabbat, we celebrate things that have not yet been
Lavender and white candles are often associated with this holiday.
Also, you can take three ears of corn (best if different colors to
represent the different aspects of the Triple Goddess) which you
could have collected around Samhain and hang them outside your door
at Imbolic for wealth and protection. Keep them there until the day
Mabon (Autumn Equinox) and then bury them in the garden.
Ostara/Spring (Vernal) Equinox/Alban
This Sabbat is celebrated on either March 21st or
22nd (first day of spring). As the Second of the Three Spring
Fertility Festivals it is a time for Balance and Fertility. This
holiday was named after the goddess Ostara whose symbols are the
rabbit and the egg. In the Caledonii Tradition the warrior aspect of
the God is honored.
Traditionally eggs are colored and placed on the altar as magickal
talismans. You can also decorate the altar with lots of spring
flowers as well as colors of light green, lemon yellow, and pale
pink. This is also a good time to bless seeds for future plantings so
they grow well. Twisted bread and cakes are prepared to be served at
dusk. I've also heard another tradition where one can eat breakfast
at sunrise with the family.
This holiday is celebrated on May 1st or
May 5th depending on what trad you practice. This is the last of the
Three Spring Festivals and the divine union of the Mother Goddess and
the Father God is honored. This time they mate and from their love
all living things are created. This is traditionally symbolized with
the Maypole. A long pole (a phallic symbol) stretches from the sky
(God) into the earth (Goddess). Men and women dance around it in
opposite directions creating a woven design with colorful ribbons. A
wreath (cervix symbol) is thrown over the top and slides down. It is
said that if a pregnant woman is part of the ceremony, then she may
bring fertility to the other women in the circle.
The Druids believe that a child born on Beltaine is blessed from the
gods. It is also believed the same of a child who is conceived on
this holy day. Also, a lot of people choose Beltaine as a day to
either have a handfasting (marriage) or a wiccaning (blessing/naming
ceremony). This is also a time to prepare oneself for the warm months
Ribbons of bright blue, lavender, warm pink, lemon yellow, and white
are excellent for decorations. Traditionally though red and white are
used. They represent the blood (red) that flows from a woman when she
is deflowered (purity, white). Floating candles and flowers are also
excellent decorations. Hang flowers that are freshly picked on the
front door and use them to adorn the altar and circle. Later, place
them around the perimeter of the house for protection. Also, you may
find a tree that is your favorite and decorate it with ribbons and
Solstice/Midsummer Night's Celebration/Alban Hefin
sabbat is celebrated on either June 21st or 22nd (depending on which
one the solstice falls on). This is a time to honor the Sun God and
is a holiday of Passion and Success. Money spells are perfect for
this time of year. Some people also use this time to commune with
forest spirits and faeries.
It's a good idea to use altar candles of gold and red (representing
the fire of the sun). Also, Sunflowers and any flower of red, gold,
or yellow are good decorations for the altar and home.
celebrated on August 1st some traditions will celebrate it on the
7th. This is the first of the Three Harvest Festivals and has been
referred to as The Pagan Thanksgiving and is a Sabbat that honors the
Decorate the altar with the first rewards of your garden. Bake
bread, and prepare for the fall months. This is also a good time to
harvest herbs for magickal use before the cold winter months
Elfed/Winter Finding (spans from the equinox till October
This holiday is celebrated on either September 21st or 22nd and
is the second of the Three Harvest Festivals. Use brown, orange,
gold, and red candles on your altar. Altar cloths can be made of
autumn designs. You can also paraffin autumn leaves and place them
around the home. This is a time to harvest corn and other foodstuffs.
Corn bread and cider are excellent for use in the celebrations.
Samhain/Halloween/Shadofest/Martinmas/Witches' New Year
This famous sabbat is
celebrated on October 31st and is the last of the
Three Harvest Festivals. At this time the veil between the worlds is
thinnest and the dead are honored in the celebrations. One can
commune with their ancestors or friends and family who have died.
Traditionally, a place is set at the dinner table for those who you
know how have gone. This is also a great time for divination.
Decorate the altar and home with pumpkins and golden yellow flowers
like mums. You can even place a jack-o lantern outside your door to
"scare away the evil spirits". Black candles are also burned to ward
off negativity. Another color associated with Samhain is orange.
Samhain was also a time that was considered the "Day Between The
Years" with the Celtic calendar ending on October 30th and beginning
on November 1st.
This fire festival is celebrated on
December 21st or 22nd (depending on what day the solstice is). This
is a time when the Waxing Sun overcomes the Waning Sun. Thus, the Sun
God is honored at this solar festival. He is seen as the Holly King
(representing the death aspect of the God) who is overcome by the Oak
King (who represents the rebirth of the God and is sometimes referred
to as the Divine Child).
At this time use bayberry candles throughout the home for wealth and
happiness. Holly (a plant sacred to the Druids) can be placed all
over in wreaths and as decoration on the altar. The reindeer stag is
also a representation of the Horned God at this time.
Teutonic tradition celebrates Yuletide from December 20th through
December 31st, which is where the "Twelve Days of Christmas" comes
from. In most Traditions, a Yule Tree is decorated and then lit when
the Yule log is burned. The Yule log is wished upon in the ritual.
Carvings are sometimes made into it as one makes a wish. After the
circle the log is added to the Yule fire. As it burns the wishes are
sent out towards their goal. The next year, a piece of this log will
be used to light that Yule Fire. This piece is kept in the home all
year until then and will protect it. Also, gifts are traditionally
given to one another at this time.