Part of the Wiccan philosophy is the eternal cycle of life. The Wheel of the Year is essentially the Wiccan calendar, and it shows the never-ending cycle.
The Wiccan year begins on the sabbat (holy day) of Yule, when the Goddess gives birth to the God. The God grows strong through spring and summer, and then in fall, the God and Goddess unite. At this time, the Goddess becomes pregnant with the new God. The old God dies on Samhain (Halloween) to be reborn at Yule. This cycle is acted out symbolically during certain rituals and is known as the Great Rite (see previous section).
There are eight sabbat rituals throughout the year:
- Yule: Celebrated at the Winter Solstice, Yule is the celebration of the Goddess giving birth to the God.
- Imbolc: Celebrated on February 2, it is the time when the first plantings of spring crops occur. It is also considered to be a time of spiritual cleansing and renewal of vows.
- Ostara: Celebrated at the Spring Equinox in March, this sabbat represents a new beginning partly because it marks the beginning of longer days and shorter nights. It also marks the union of the God and Goddess and therefore symbolizes fertility.
- Beltane: Celebrated on May 1, it represents the end of the planting season and the beginning of harvesting. It also represents fertility, as the celebration often involves loosened rules for fidelity.
- Litha: Celebrated at the Summer Solstice, this sabbat represents the peak of the God's strength. It may involve lighting large bonfires to ward off evil spirits.
- Lughnasadh: Celebrated on August 1, this is a time when the Goddess turns over control to the God. It is a time of feasts and craft festivals.
- Mabon: Celebrated at the Autumn Equinox, Mabon represents the balance between light and dark, as it is the day that nights start becoming longer than days. It is officially the Pagan day of Thanksgiving.
- Samhain: Celebrated on Halloween, Samhain means the end of summer and the beginning of winter. On this night, the dead are said to be able to communicate with the living in order to be with and celebrate with their families.
So now you've had a small peek into the world of modern Wiccan witches. For more information on witchcraft, paganism and related topics, check out the links below.
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More Great Links
- The Witches' Voice
- SalemWeb: The Salem Witch Trials of 1692
- Covenant of the Goddess
- Witches' League for Public Awareness
- Definition of Witchcraft
- Documents of the Witchcraze
- New Advent.org: Results and Consequences of the Reformation
- "The Salem Witch Trials," edited by Laura Marvel, Greenhaven Press, 2003
- "Spellcasters: Witches and Witchcraft in History, Folklore, and Popular Culture," by Pauline Bartel, Taylor Trade Publishing, Dallas TX, 2000
- "Spellworks for Covens: Magick for two or more" by Edain McCoy, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, 2002
- "To Stir a Magick Cauldron: A Witch's Guide to Casting and Conjuring," by Silver RavenWolf, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, 2001
- "Wiccan Beliefs & Practices," by Gary Cantrell, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, 2001