We celebrate Her turns of the wheel as Sabbats and Esbats.
The Wheel of the Year marks the Sun's journey across the sky, the solstices, equinoxes and the Earth's changing seasons. Each spoke of the wheel marks an important moment of progression and change in the Earth.
The Sabbats are Holiday feastdays, celebrated starting the day before until the day after the Sabbat date. These are Solar rituals, marking the points of the Sun's yearly cycle and are considered half of the Ritual Year. The Eight Sabbats represent seasonal birth, death, and rebirth.
The Esbats are the Full Moon celebrations, which are religious Rites. Most of these Rites are held at night. There are 12 or 13 Full Moons Yearly, or one every 28 1/4 days. The same as a womans cycle. The Moon is a symbol of the Goddess, and her feminine power, as well as a source of energy. Thus, after the religious aspects of the Esbats, we often practice magick, tapping into the larger amounts of energy which are thought to exist at these times.
at the Winter Solstice
(The Holiday is from December 21st through December 31st.) beginning on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the Year and the longest night. NOTE: beginning the day before and ending the day after, makes the Traditional Twelve Days of Christmas.
The Goddess gives birth to a Son, the God. The festival of the Sun's rebirth, and a time to honor the God. Love, family, togetherness and accomplishments of the past Year are also celebrated. It is celebrated by fire and the use of the Yule log. The Yule log is burned to give life and power to the Sun. A portion of the Yule log is saved to be used in lighting next Year's log. (Oak is preferable.) This piece is kept throughout the year to protect the home. Holly and Mistletoe are plants revered for magick and are hung over doorways, or made into wreaths, (for circle of the Year) decorating the Yule tree and exchange of gifts. Bayberry candles are also burned to ensure wealth and happiness throughout the following Year. The reindeer stag is also a reminder of the horned God.
Yules Sacred Gemstones are: cat's eye and ruby
Candles: gold, red, green and white
Incense used: is bayberry, cedar, pine and rosemary
Traditional Pagan foods: are Vegetables and Fruits of the Fall Harvest, pomegranates, grains & nuts, along with Roast Turkey or Stag, Goose or Game Birds, eggnog, cranberry juice, and fruit or heated mulled wine.
Brigantia or Imbolic
(February 2nd.) Celebrated as Candlemas. The time to bid the coming of Spring.
The recovery of the Goddess after giving birth to the God. A festival of light and of fertility. Represents new beginnings and spiritual growth, and the "sweeping out of the old." A good time for initiations, and performing or renewing self-dedication rituals.
Gemstones: amethyst, garnet, onyx and turquoise.
Candles: brown, pink and red
Incense: basil, myrrh and wisteria
Foods: are the seeds, herbs and sprouts of spring: sunflower seeds, poppyseed breads and cakes and Herbal Teas, and root vegetables from the previous harvest dried or and smoked meats and fish.
Vernal (Spring) Equinox
(March 21st) Marks the 1st day of true Spring.
The Goddess blankets the Earth with fertility, bursting forth from Her sleep, as the God stretches and grows to maturity. He walks the greening fields and delights in the abundance of Nature. This is a time of beginnings, of action, of planting, spells for future gains, and of tending ritual gardens.
Celebrated with a candle mass Rite, with colored eggs (symbol of rebirh) placed on the altar as magickal talismans. Baskets of Spring Flowers, are traditional for this holiday. Baby birds, and small animals, like the Easter Bunny, are celebrated as the springing forth of new young life.
Gemstones: amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone and red jasper.
Candles: pastel pink, gold, green, yellow
Incense: african violet, jasmine, rose, sage and strawberry
Foods: are the First Fruits of Spring, jellies made from hips and blossems, young greens, Hard Boiled Eggs. For a Feastday, roast lamb or veal is the traditional meat.
(May 1st) Celebrated as a rite of Summer with a bonfire and a fertility festival with dancing and revelry.
Celebrates the union of the Goddess and God. Also celebrates the returning Sun
(or Sun God).The traditional colors for Mayday are red and white. Flower petals can be strewn about the circle; and later swept into a pole and distributed around the perimeter of the house for protection. Leaving of flower baskets, and the Dance around the May Pole are Mayday Pagan Traditions.
Gemstones: emerald, orange carnelian, sapphire and rose quartz.
Candles: Red Yellow and green
Incense: Gardenia, lavender, lilac and rose.
Foods: Especially red fruits, of the vine and tree, tomatoes of all kinds, herbal salads, cheezes, light breads and cakes; red or pink wine punch, lemonaid, spring made Wine..
at the Summer Solstice
(June 21st.) Celebrated as Midsummer. Marks the longest day of the Year. Celebrated by outdoor festivals, Fireworks, tourneys, and games; celebration of passion and success. Midsummer is also classic time for magick of all kinds. It is believed that whatever dreams that come on this night, will come true for the dreamer.
Gemstones: all green stones; adventurine,emerald and jade.
Candles: blue, green, gold and red
Incense: frankincense, lemon, myrrh, pine, rose and wisteria
Foods: fresh vegetables, summer fruits, pumpernickel bread, Ale, Ocean Seafood, and Roast Pork or Beef.
(August 2nd.) The time of the first harvest. Celebrated with fall festivals, enjoyment of the Earth's bounty. Making of ciders, wine, sorgum, Decorations of corn, goards and dried and fresh fall flowers, Roasting of the fated calf; and fishes of the stream, are traditionl meats.
The God losses His strength, as the Sun rises farther in the South each day and the nights grow longer. The God is dying, and yet lives on inside the Goddess as Her child. We are reminded of the cycle of the Universe.
Gemstones: jaspers, citrine, peridot, sardonyx
Candles: orange, yellow, gold, brown
Incense: aloes, rose, sandlewood
Foods: homemade breads; wheat, oat and corn bread, nuts, wild berries, apples, rice, pies, elderberry wine, ale and meadowsweet tea, round oatmeal or barley cakes Salmon and Trout; and Beef roasts.
(September 21st.) Marks the completion of the harvest. Day and Night are equal.
celebrated as a "Thanksgiving Day".
God prepares to leave His physical body toward renewal and rebirth of the Goddess. A time for thanksgiving and meditation. River and stream stones gathered over the summer can be empowered for various purposes.
Foods: corn bread cakes, wheat products, breads, nuts, vegetables, apples, cider, carrots, onions, potatoes and pomegranates. Roast Birds, and wild game are traditional meat, lake and pond fish.
Gemstones: carnelian, lapis lazuli, sapphire, yellow agate
Candle: brown, green, orange, yellow
Incense: benzoin, myrrh and sage
"pron soween", (October 31st.) Celebrated as "All Souls or Hallows Eve" and Halloween. This holiday is considered the Witches' New Year; representing one full turn of the seasonal Year. A time of reflection, of looking back over the last Year. Remembering our ancestors and all those who have gone before.
The Wicca say farewell to the God. A temporary farewell. He isn't wrapped in eternal darkness; but readies to be reborn of the Goddess at Yule. It is said to be the time when the veil between the Worlds is very thin, when souls that are leaving this physical plane can pass out and souls that are reincarnating can pass in. Jack-o-lanterns are placed outside with faces cut, this was traditionally done; so that the spirits of decapitated witches, who wandered blind to the world, could see through their eyes. (Remembe;r the spirit of the headless horseman had a jack-o-lantern for his head.)
Celebration, are with bonfires, outdoor rituals, masquerade. Wolfbane, garlic, and other bulbous plants are used to ward off evils on this night. Black candles are used to ward off negativity. Necromancy is practiced to have visitations with the departed. Wiccan traditions rune-casting, asking aid from the spirits in this world.
Foods: apples, pumpkin pie, hazelnuts, corn, cranberry muffins and breads,pies, smoked fish and meats, roasted meats and sausages; ale, cider and herbal teas.
Gemstones: all black stones; jet, onyx, squaw tears, obsidian,
Candles: black, orange
Incense: apple, heliotrope, mint, nutmeg and sage.
on and on.