Intro to the
July 14th, 2001
What is a sabbat?
You hear the term thrown around quite a bit in the pagan community,
but has anyone ever actually defined it for you?
As far as this lesson is concerned here is the definition:
Sabbat – Any of
the eight solar festivals or observances of the pagan year.
The word is derived from the Greek word “sabatu”, meaning,
Now the eight
Sabbats (Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lammas, Mabon, Samhain, &
Yule) were not derived from the practices of one tradition, nor part of
the traditions that later adopted them (Norse, Celtic, Teutonic to name a
few). All of them were not
even evident in the Greek and Roman yearly celebrations.
However, I think it’s the diversity of the origins of these
occasions that has added to our richness as a culture and way of life.
Since the base
definition of Sabbat (as I have mentioned earlier) is to rest, then it has
become customary for pagans not to perform magick on those days unless
there is a serious need. Magick is, as we know a lot of hard work, physically,
mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Some people perform their acts of magick just prior to the Sabbat
to take advantage of the waxing energy caused by the anticipation of the
pagan community, but according to some, this is a time for enjoying your
friends, family, paying homage to your chosen deities and connecting with
your self, and the world around you.
Before you break
out in a sweat over worrying about what is and is not “correct” to do,
please keep this in mind. Again, the Sabbats were a time when our ancestors left their
daily work schedule behind and got together to offer up their thanks and
honor to their Gods and Goddesses, to play games, share news, make plans
for the coming year, etc. Sounds
a lot like a family get together doesn’t it?
Well this is the type of culture that they lived in. They understood that everyone played an integral part in the
functioning of the community and the Sabbat was a time when they could
come together and give ritual observance to that fact. Society today does not function in quite the same way – we
still depend on one another for things in our lived to function
semi-smoothly, but it tends to be more impersonal.
For example, I don’t go to the neighboring dairy farm for my milk
and cheese, and in turn trade off some of my vegetables – I go to the
supermarket and buy the items I need with paper that has been assigned
So does this mean
we are not honoring our tradition correctly? Certainly not!
Worry more about what feels correct to YOU and let others opinions
be just that – opinions to consider.
In this Lesson we
are going to deal with the first four Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year –
Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer. So
without further ado, here we go.