Witchcraft Terms and Tools – Sabbat
Sabbats (or Witches’ Sabbaths) are the eight festivals celebrated by Wiccans andNeopagans, spaced at approximately even intervals throughout the annual cycle of the Earth’s seasons (the “Wheel of the Year”).
The word “sabbat” itself comes from the witches’ sabbaths attested to in Early Modern witch trials. Most of the names of the individual Sabbats derive from historical Celtic and Germanic Pagan festivals, although some non-traditional names Litha and Mabon, which have become popular in North American Wicca, were introduced by Aidan Kelly in the 1970s.
Four of the Sabbats fall on the solstices and equinoxes, and are also known as “quarter days” or “Lesser Sabbats”. The other four fall (approximately) midway between these and are commonly known as “cross-quarter days”, “fire festivals” or “Greater Sabbats”. The quarter days are also referred to as “Sun Sabbats” (as they are based on the astronomical position of the sun), and cross-quarter days are sometimes called “Moon Sabbats”, and may be observed on the full moon closest to the traditional festival date (or the second full moon after the preceding Sun Sabbat). The ritual observances of the full moon within Wicca and other Wiccan-influenced forms of Neopaganism are known as Esbats. Traditionally, the Sabbats are times of celebration, while “magical work” is done at the Esbats.
The Sabbats are as follows:
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