The Wiccan Wheel of the Year contains, like spokes, eight sabbats. These sabbats are similar to festivals or holidays. Therefore, each marks an important point in the planting and harvesting cycle of the year. One complete turn of the Wheel represents the passage of a whole year. During this time, it will have passed through each of the eight sabbats, which fall roughly every six weeks.
If you’re interested in Wicca and would like to know more about the eight Wiccan sabbats and ways to celebrate them, then you’re in the right place! Below you’ll find the information you need to get started.
Imbolc, February 1st-2nd, 2023
Wiccans celebrate Imbolc as the first day of Spring. It’s also known as Candlemas, Saint Brigid’s Day, and Imbolg. This festival is all about marking the growing of the light. As Wiccans, we often mark it by lighting candles. The Goddess, who has been sleeping since she gave birth during the Yule sabbat, now awakens.
As she stirs, Wiccans understand this is a time of potential, love, and light. Therefore, now is a great moment to have a spring clean! Clear out old ways that no longer serve you, ready to make a fresh start.
White, pink, red, light greens, and yellows are the colors of Imbolc. Try wearing these shades or burning candles in these colors to celebrate this sabbat.
Ostara, March 20th, 2023
The Wiccan sabbat Ostara is named for the Saxon goddess Eostre (or Ostara). This festival is about balance, falling on the Spring Equinox when the days and nights are of equal length. Fertility, growth, and renewal are the themes of Ostara.
Carrying rose quartz, rhodonite, or pink tourmaline crystals is a lovely way to mark Ostara. Try sleeping with a crystal beneath your pillow during this Wiccan sabbat, or alternatively, place one in your bath water.
If you’d like some ideas for rituals to mark this festival, try planting seeds or decorating eggs. Give these pretty eggs in baskets as gifts to represent the womb. You could also set some powerful new intentions or cast a gentle spell to promote balance.
Beltane, May 1st, 2023
This Wiccan Beltane sabbat often coincides with May Day and is a celebration that marks the consummation of the Goddess and the God. It represents fertility and powerful sexual energy. Beltane is the beginning of the ancient planting cycle, too. It’s a time for placing seeds in the soil with hopes for a bountiful harvest.
Certain herbs strongly associate with Beltane, and you may wish to leave an offering of these plants on your altar. These herbs include linden, daisy, primrose, willow, honeysuckle, lilac, and rowan.
Litha, June 21st, 2023
Litha celebrates the Summer Solstice and marks the very first day of summer. It’s a time for Wiccans to pray for a bountiful harvest and enjoy the warmth and light.
One of my favorite rituals to perform during Litha is a simple thanksgiving for the many blessings I have received throughout the year. Stand barefoot on grass or stone, feeling the warmth on the soles of your feet and the sun on your skin. Now, express your gratitude for the wonderful things in your life as a beautiful way to celebrate Litha.
This festival is a time for merrymaking – so why not throw a Midsummer party to mark the arrival of Litha?
Lughnasadh, August 1st, 2023
Also known as Lammas, the festival of Lughnasadh marks the year’s first harvest. This is a time for both hope in the harvest and to face the fact that the summer will soon end. The harshness of winter will imminently begin. Many Wiccans use this point of the year to reflect, face their own inner fears, accept sacrifices that must be made, and move forward with love in their hearts.
Earth tones like brown, orange, and dark greens are the colors of Lughnasadh. You may wish to mark the festival by wearing clothes in these shades or draping cloth of this color over your altar. You could also burn candles in these colors.
If you’d like to try some powerful, nurturing rituals to mark this festival, drying herbs for use in dishes over the winter months is a great place to start. You could also leave an offering or bread or cider to the God or Goddess or meditate on your fears to find release from them.
Mabon, September 22nd, 2023
Mabon falls on the Autumn Equinox and, like Ostara, is a day of balance when the nights and days are of equal length. As the second festival of the harvest, this is a time for Wiccans to give thanks for the bounty and the beauty of the summer that’s now fading.
Celebrating the harvest by feasting with family and friends is a wonderful way to pay tribute to Mabon, as is honoring ancestors by decorating their graves. You may also wish to leave offerings of apples, dried corn, acorns, and gourds on your altar and reflect on the lessons you have learned throughout the year. Mabon is the perfect time to turn inwards for deep introspection.
Samhain, October 31st, 2023
Samhain is often considered to be the ‘Witches’ New Year.’ It usually falls on or around Halloween, All Hallow’s Day, and the Day of the Dead. Death and the spirit world are the focus of this festival, as well as mindfulness of the cyclical nature of life and the world. The God may be dying, but he will be reborn again at Yule.
The border between the spirit world and our own is thin, like a veil, at this time of the year more than any other. Therefore, now is a good time to reach out to loved ones who have passed for guidance, comfort, or closure.
There are plenty of rituals you could undertake to mark Samhain. For instance, you can honor your ancestors by creating an altar for them or setting a place at the dinner table for family members who have crossed. The crystals onyx and obsidian correspond with Samhain, so you may like to keep these stones close by.
Yule, December 21st, 2023
The Wiccan festival of Yule falls on or around the Winter Solstice. This is the point in the year when the days are the shortest and the nights the longest and darkest. Yule is the festival celebrating the birth of the Horned God to the Great Mother. As a result, light and life have come into the world once more. And now, the Goddess is tired and will sleep until Imbolc.
Yule is about warmth, joy, and new beginnings. Ivy, holly, rosemary, evergreen, juniper, pine, sage, fir, and chestnut are all associated with this sabbat, and Wiccans often decorate their altars with these herbs. One of the loveliest ways to mark this special time is to perform a simple candle ceremony to welcome back the sun. You could also cast spells to bring peace, meditate and set intentions related to personal growth. Use ancient herbs, too, like myrrh and frankincense, to fragrance your home.
Marking the Sabbats Through the Year
I hope that the above guide to the eight Wiccan sabbats will help you on your own spiritual journey. Marking each sabbat is a wonderful way to navigate the year. They provide space to reflect, celebrate, sweep away habits that no longer serve us, and consequently welcome brand-new ones.
Featured Image Credit: The Wednesday Island, after Brenton.eccles, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons