The Sabbats (solar cycle)

The Pagan “Wheel of the Year” is a sort of map of changes that the Sun has been observed to invoke in the Earth every year. The “map” is circular, because it is always the same pattern over and over. It is called a “wheel” because that implies travel and movement. Each time we travel the circle of a year we “come full circle” but arrive in a different place. We have changed. The world and those in it are a bit (or a lot), different and our thoughts, views and understandings have changed.

Though it has not always been so, today the Wheel of the Year is broadly known in Wicca as having eight sacred celebrations called Sabbaths. Four of these fall on the solstices and equinoxes and are frequently referred to as “quarter days” or “lesser Sabbaths”. They are inspired by Germanic traditions. The other four are approximately midway between the others and are often referred to as “cross quarter days”, “greater Sabbaths” or “fire festivals”. They are inspired by ancient Gaelic fire festivals. In times of old, pagan cultures did not celebrate all of them, just ones traditional to their region. However, in modern Wicca all are frequently observed.

Click on the images below for a more detailed description of each Sabbat.