The Sabbats

Traditional Wheel of the Year

Traditional Wheel of the Year

Okay, so the Thursday talking point this week is to discuss my favourite Sabbat. The truth of the matter is that I don’t have a favourite.

If you have a favourite Sabbat, I want to hear from you though. So talk to me about which, if any, is your fave and how you celebrate it.

My thoughts on the Sabbats

To start, I don’t tend to see any of the Sabbats as fixed points on the calendar. Some very obviously move – the Solstices and Equinoxes vary each year and are based not upon a specific date but on the movement of the Earth round the Sun. This movement can be predicted, and is the reason why the first days of each new season come on different days each year.

The other 4 Sabbats are based not so much on where the Earth sits in its orbit around the Sun but on what the local weather patterns have been up to. For instance, the first stirrings of Earth’s awakening after winter generally show early in February, but this year I didn’t start seeing these signs until the end of February.  The Sabbat calendar says to celebrate Imbolc at the beginning of February, but following the actual cycles of the Earth for this area where I live means I didn’t actually do anything to mark the end of Winter’s rule until closer to March.

The entire season thus far this year has been about a month behind “schedule”. Beltane marks the time when the May tree is in bloom. Around these parts, the hawthorns bloom around the 2nd week of May. Other parts of Britain they bloom sooner, or later. This year, they didn’t really go into full bloom until end of May where I live. While the rest of the Northern Hemisphere may have been celebrating Beltane on May 1, I didn’t do anything to mark the passage of time until last week.

Lammas comes when the fields of grain are ready for harvesting. Samhain after the first frost when the root vegetables are ready to be pulled – because a lot of root vegetables, such as parsnip really don’t get their full flavour until after they have been subjected to a good frost.

I think that sometimes, we can get too caught up in the date on a calendar, forgetting that such is a man-made construct. Mother

The clematis is in bloom outside my back door.

The clematis is in bloom outside my back door.

Nature doesn’t look at the calendar when She sends forth the first crocuses. The trees don’t check the date before sending forth the first tiny leaf buds. Corn doesn’t ripen because it’s Lammas. It’s Lammas because the corn has ripened.

At this point, where I live we are in clematis season. No, that isn’t an official name. But right now, all of the clematis and wisteria flowers are out. Last week the lilacs were at the height of their power. Last month, the magnolia trees were in full bloom. The vernal equinox may occur around March 20 – 22, but in my mind it isn’t truly spring until the Magnolia tree near where I live has bloomed.

As far as I am concerned the best way to celebrate the cycles in the wheel of the year is by honouring each season as it comes. I may or may not hold any sort of formal ritual, but I do at the very least take a moment just to notice the wheel has turned.





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