These articles are intended only as a very basic guide to the Sabbats, from a Neo-Pagan perspective. They include some activities for celebrating or marking the passage of the Wheel of the Year. It's not intended to be definitive, and it's strictly from an Wicca-flavoured eclectic neo-pagan perspective (referred to as ENP herein). I will be using soft-poly terms for Deity, as is common in ENP, but this does not reflect an advocation of soft polytheistic viewpoint.
The Wheel of the Year is not ancient. Itís about the same age as Wicca - not coincidentally because it was created as a ritual calendar for Wicca.
The 8 Sabbats are a combination of festivals and holidays from several different cultures, as are relevant to Britain. It tracks the cycles of fertility, and the agricultural year, of Britain.
Other forms of neo-paganism certainly use it, but because theyíre not Wicca it will have a different context to them. A lot of times the fertility/agricultural focus is replaced with a nature worship/seasonal focus. Itís really not the same. And sometimes people really stretch to make it work, and it justÖdoesnít.
You may find the Wheel of the Year to be a poor fit for your religious practices if:
You are not a member of the Wica. If your weather and seasonal patterns differ dramatically from Britainís. Your deities/pantheon/path draws largely from a culture that isnít British. Your religion is not fertility-focused, or based on agricultural cycles. Your faith does not draw heavily on male-female polarity.
As always, deconstruct this for your own path, as appropriate.
Sabbats are about the journey of the Sun, through the year's passing. Since the Sun is often associated with male Deity in ENP, thus the Sabbats are the journey of the God, from his birth to his death, and rebirth. For the journey of the Goddess, one must look to the Esbats, or lunar observations.
This does not mean that Sabbats are restricted to only Gods, or Esbats to only Goddesses. Both have a role to play in each others' journeys, and ENPs frequently mimic the dyad structure of Wicca in which the Lord and Lady are consorts. But the focus of the Sabbats are solar events, as the focus of the Esbats are lunar events.
I will not be discussing Deities specifically in my posts. I think providing lists of deities as if they were hot-swappable devices to plug in and out is disrespectful, and since I am not actually discussing ritual or other forms of worship here it's unnecessary.
I have included a list of herbs and oils for making magic or crafting, with each Sabbat; these are for magical purposes only. I am not a doctor or a certified herbalist, and I make no recommendations of a medical nature. Do not apply essential oils directly to the skin; use a carrier oil to dilute them before hand. Some oils can cause contact dermatitis, or photosensitivity. Do not ingest essential oils!
The entire Guide to Sabbat activities is available as a Word document download (153 KB):