So. You’ve vaguely heard about the wheel of the year, but never actually spent the time to try to decipher it. It looks pretty nifty, but maybe a bit complicated and the names can be hard to pronounce. You need a decoder ring to even begin.
Ladies, gentleman, and non-binary folks….. you don’t need a decoder ring. You just need to keep reading, for I am here to help… a little bit.
The wheel of the year, also sometimes referred to as the wheel of the Sabbats, has roots in several pagan cultures including Germanic, Celtic, heck, even the Romans had their hands on this bad boy. The reason being, the wheel is first and foremost a calendar of the seasons. It marks the solstices and times of harvest, aka the times when ancient homeboys were most likely to get their festival on.
It’s often closely associated with Pagan culture because, well… I mean, all the people who used it and contributed to it were pagans at the time. Nothing super strange or mystical about it, when you get down to the nitty gritty.
Holidays with Celtic Origins include Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh (aka Lammas), and Samhain.
Holidays with Germanic Origins include Yule, Ostara, Litha, and Mabon.
The Sabbats are also categorized as Major Sabbats and Lesser Sabbats. The Major Sabbats include Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh (aka Lammas), and Samhain. The Lesser Sabbats include Yule, Ostara, Litha, and Mabon.
THE SABBATS EXPLAINED
Lughnasadh (aka Lammas) – August 1st
We’re going to start with Lammas because it’s happening RIGHT NOW. Lammas takes place on August 1st and marks the first wheat harvest, an occasion that was a way bigger deal back in the day. Nowadays, I can’t even remember the last time I had a good old fashioned wheat harvest. Crackin open a cold one with the boys, harvestin some wheat, worshippin the old gods. Just livin my best life.
Witchy Life Tip: Lammas is dope for rituals of giving thanks or abundance. The Earth has given a gift, perhaps now would be a good time to make an offering in return.
Mabon – September 21st – September 23rd
Mabon marks the Fall equinox. It is a celebration of the changing of the seasons and, you guessed it, another harvest. People were really big into celebrating harvests, it would seem. Now is the time when day and night are of equal length, creating balance.
Witchy Life Tip: Mabon is nifty for rituals to restore balance.
Samhain – October 31st – November 1st
Samhain marks the new year on the calendar wheel! We did it! Not only is it New Years for pagans and Halloween Spooktacular, it also celebrates the third and final harvest! SO MANY HARVESTS, YOU GUYS. In a totally non creepy fashion, Samhain celebrates death. But not in an excited “Woohoo death” way, more like an “it’s a part of life” way. It is a time to honor ancestors and to practice remembrance.
Witchy Life Tip: Now is a cool time to do spirit work or work involving ancestors. It’s also a great time to carve pumpkins and go trick or treating. Take your pick.
Yule – December 21st – January 1st
Yule is the Winter Solstice. It is when final preparations for the coming winter are done, and marks the rebirth of the sun. It denotes the longest night and shortest day and is a time of introspection as well as celebration.
Witchy Life Tip: Yule might be a good time to perform cleansing and blessing rituals, as well as rituals to welcome back and celebrate the sun.
Imbolc – February 1st
Imbolc is a celebration of the pending return of Spring. The days get a little longer and the earth starts to thaw, bringing a renewed sense of life.
Witchy Life Tip: Imbolc is dope for renewal and growth rituals.
Ostara – March 20th
Ostara is the Spring Equinox, y’all! We made it through Winter! We didn’t freeze or starve to death! NICE! It celebrates the return of Spring as well as abundance and fertility. It’s a symbol of new life and rebirth and is the time of planting.
Witchy Life Tip: A rad time for abundance, growth, and fertility rituals. Also a cool time for rituals honoring the life of the earth.
Beltane – April 30th – May 1st
Beltane marks the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. It celebrates the budding spring and a time of abundance and warmth.
Witchy Life Tip: Beltane might be a cool time to do personal rituals focusing on cultivating abundance in relationships.
Litha – June 21st or 22nd
Litha is the celebration of the Summer Solstice. It literally translates to “Longest Day”. It is when the herbs and plants of the earth (for the most part) are in their prime. The world is a kaleidoscope of color, and a living, breathing thing.
Witchy Life Tip: Litha is rad for manifestation rituals or rituals that honor the sun.
So there you have it, folks! It’s not quite as complicated as you were led to believe! Honestly, the hardest part is remembering all the dates.
Have ideas for rituals or fun activities to do for the Sabbats? Leave a comment and share!