I will start The Sabbats with the Sabbat of Samhain; This is when the Goddess is representing the form of her dark side, an aspect of the cycle of this Sabbat; Here she takes on the phase of Goddess’s Cerridwen or Hecate……. the Wise Crone. The beginning of the Witches year is at the Sabbat of Samhain…… 1st of May.
She descends to the mysteries of the underworld and becomes the Goddess of Wisdom, Old World Knowledge, and Longevity. As the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge, she knows the mysteries of the eternal changing and renewing of the forces & cycles of life. This is the time when the veils between the worlds are very thin and the two worlds……. the world of the living and the world of the dead……. can be permeated. This is when the departed Souls may communicate with us in the living world. The same applies to the living wishing to make contact with our dearly departed Souls. It is a time for Divination, Reflection and a time to step back from the everyday life and think about how precious and fleeting life is and the link between physical death and Eternal life. What-ever failures, losses and fears you are holding onto, need to be released at this time, and to look toward a renewed future, happier times and good fortune.
The Sabbat/Festival of Samhain is a time to honour the Souls who have passed over and made the transformation from this world to the Eternal Life of the next, and also the transformation to a renewed life thru Reincarnation.
If preparing for a ritual on Samhain, you should consider some of the following………. An apple cut through the centre to give you the sign of the Pentagram from the way the seeds are exposed. Remember, this is the dark time of the Sabbats…….. a time of retrospect, so use the representation of the Dark Moon and prepare to do your ritual on or around Midnight, when the veils between the two worlds are at their very thinnest. Use black, dark red, burgundy or purple candles, black crystals like Jet, Obsidian, or Hematite, and dark burgundy or red rose petals. Dress in dark or black clothing and place photo’s of loved one’s who have passed over upon your Alter.
As the Sabbat of Samhain peakes, the Goddess takes the form of the Wise Old Crone (Dark or Waning Moon) and descends to the Underworld to be joined with the God aspect and ruler of the Underworld, as the cold of winter closes in. The Goddess and God come together to conceive a child during their union, known as The Great Rite. The Goddess carries and nurtures a Son within her womb from the time of Samhain until the Yule Sabbat (Winter Solstice), at which time she gives birth to the Son on the Longest Night.
The Son is now the representation of the renewal of Nature, the warming of the Sun (son) and the land after the Winter. Everyday the Son grows and thus the land grows stronger as it warms and new life starts to spring up. The Sun (Son) grows stronger and stronger with every new day and the Festival/Sabbat of Imbolc arrives and the Goddess now re-appears as a renewed Virgin.
This is the awakening of the Virgin to the female mysteries of life and the time when she will go from the Virgin (time of the New Moon in the Lunar cycle) to the Mother (Full Moon). The Festival of the Spring Equinox or the Sabbat of Ostara, is now upon us and the Son is growing up and being introduced to the mysteries of man-hood and his ability to father his own child. Later in the cycle, he would look upon his life with grand reflection as he becomes the Old Man……
The land is awakening under the warmth of the New Season of Spring, it is also now the time to plant the seeds which will re-new the land. From now until the Sabbat of Beltane, the Virgin and the Son court one another, frolicking together and becoming aware of their passion!
As Beltane heralds so does the sacred unity and marraige of the Virgin and the Son, this is a time of great celebration and fertility. The marraige of the Virgin and the Son is now consummated in The Great Rite and thus the new seed is planted within the Virgin. This is our connection with our Goddess Mother Earth and the renewal of the Seasons as they constantly turn.
The Sabbat of Beltane is a big Festival celebrated by Witches with lots of dancing, eating, fun and merriment between new couples. A lot of Wiccan couples will perform their Handfastings (marriages) at this time. Between the Festival of Beltane and the new Sabbat of Litha (the Summer Solstice), the new child, a Son, grows in the womb of the Virgin who is now (once again) known as the Mother. This is the time when the crops are growing lush in the fields……. just as Nature intended.
The Virgin/Mother is now Queen of the land along with her consort/ mate, the Father and King of the land and Nature. The time of the Longest Day is now upon us and is known as the Sabbat of Litha; The Sun (son) is now at its peak and from this day on will decrease in intensity and warmth and thus move toward the inevitable season of Winter. The Winter is seen as the Dark Source who will go into battle with the Father/King to claim the child of the Mother as his own and thus to take over the land.
In this scenario the King is seen as the Light, and the Source (Winter) is seen as the Darkness, (or some will say the Dark Lord). The Darkness is slowly creeping up on the land between the Festivals of Litha and Lammas , the Dark Force is growing and the Light of the Father/King is now weakening. At this time the Mother/Queen births the new child that she conceived at the Sabbat of Beltane. Now is the time of the ripening of crops and the time to be thankful and rejoice in the bounty, but also a time to realize and acknowledge that the cycle of good growth has now come to an end……… Thus the cycle of Life, Death and Re-Birth. The Sabbat of Lammas thru to the Sabbat of Mabon (Autumn Equinox), is the time the Darkness takes a firm hold over the land and Nature……….. Thus by the time the Festival of Mabon is upon us…….. Day and Night are equal once more……….
The Son (Sun) that the Mother gave birth to at Lammas is growing, and as the Father watches on he realizes his own power is fading and that the day is nye when he will go into battle with the Son once again, summoning the fight between Light and Dark. On the Sabbat of Mabon the Father and Son come together and realize they are the same, a reflection of one another………. So in essence, coming together in battle will only result in them going into battle with themselves. Both fall and descend to the Darkness of the Underworld. At this time the land prepares for the changing Season, storing away the harvest before the Winter falls upon it.
With the coming together and the loss of the Father and the Son, the Mother becomes the Old Crone again between The Sabbats of Mabon and Samhain…….. realizing the mystery of the Wheel Of Life. Just as the Father and Son are one, so is the cycle of Life & Death. At Samhain she prepares to go to the Underworld to once again join with her consort, re-new herself, to again become the Goddess and join with the God in The Great Rite……. and thus new Life begins…….. So the cycle of Life goes on and on………. The Wheel Of Life Turns……… Birth, Death and Re-Birth.