Sunday, August 18, 2013

Thinking about the Sabbats

I've been re-reading some of my Wiccan books lately and part of the chapter on Sabbats in one of them says you should think beyond the traditional Sabbats and think about what that time of the year means to you and adjust them accordingly, even skipping those that don't have meaning to you or substitute other celebrations.

This is one of those things I haven't really thought about but I've had problems resonating with some of the traditional Wiccan sabbats as most books portray them. Part of that is my desire to work with the Egyptian Pantheon and part of it is living in Florida with less dramatic seasonal changes than in other parts of the country.

So today I am thinking about the Sabbats, pardon the rambling. I'll probably expand more on each when the wheel comes to it.

Harvest or Mabon is the Sabbat coming up soon, September 20-23, so I'll start here. I think of this one as The Harvest, which it traditionally celebrates and think I will call it that instead of Mabon (the Celtic terms just never have resonated with me as my path is Egyptian). It is the Autumnal Equinox. In Florida, we have growing seasons year round, including when others are blanketed by snow and ice, but The Harvest is the start of fall, when temperatures get more comfortable - around the 70s. For many areas of the country, leaves start changing color. Few trees in Florida do this (we do have a few, but not many), so it's always green. But it is Florida's rainy season - it rains just about every afternoon for an hour or two. So perhaps I should think of it more of a time for cooling the Earth after the long, extended heat of summer. Letting the Earth breath, gather nourishment from the rain, unite with the element of water and prepare for the slower winter season. This seems right to me.

Samhain is around October 31 and is the basis of Halloween. For Wiccan's, it's more of a time of connecting with our ancestors, honoring those who have crossed. I've always connected well with this Sabbat, perhaps because it is so close to the traditions of Halloween I've always celebrated. Some traditions consider it the start of the Wiccan Year, but to me, Imbolc feels more that way to me - the start of new things, whereas Samhain celebrates death and the ancestors of old.

Midwinter or Yule is the Winter Solstice, and I prefer to consider it Midwinter, around December 21. Christmas. A time of balance when dark and light are equal and we are hunkered in for the worst of winter - snow and ice for many, but in Florida, it's just the time of jackets, weather in the 50s and 60s primarily (we do get a few colder days - not many). It's a time to me to celebrate friends and family, share good times and good food and reconnect with each other.

Imbolc is around February 3, when Winter lifts and spring is approaching. It celebrates new beginnings and the launching of plans for the coming year.  It welcomes the sun back after it's long winters nap, though in Florida, again there isn't that drastic of a change. It's a time of initiation for many covens and is a great time to shake things out, clean, get rid of old ideas, beliefs, and problems ready to move onward and upward. Not sure what I consider this one yet.

Spring Solstice or Ostara is around March 19-22,  the Spring Solstice. Easter. The Vernal Equinox. Night is the shortest it will be all year and Day starts overcoming it more and more throughout summer. It's a time to celebrate the First Harvest when early crops are harvested and enjoyed. To get outside and enjoy the great weather (in Florida, this is my favorite season when we have 60 degree weather that is just perfect to me). My birthday is March 14, so the favorite way for me to enjoy this time of year is to spend a day in nature (my favorite park is Blue Springs State Park where the manatees winter) and I tend tot think of it more as the Solstice. I see it as a time to celebrate creativity as so many art festivals are held in Florida this time of year and I go to as many as I can. I also like to use it as a time to redecorate and explore something new and fun.

Beltane is the first day of Summer, around May 1. May Day. Celebrates the sun and fertility. I haven't decided yet how I really see this day. I tend to actually forget it.

Litha is Midsummer which is the term I prefer really, around August June 19-21. The Summer Solstice when day and night is equal and the day starts shortening. It is always very, very hot in Florida this time of year so I tend to stay indoors or in the pool.

Lammas is around August 1 and is celebrated as a harvest festival for many. This is very close to my late mother's birthday (August 5), so I honestly tend to forget it and not really celebrate it. Not certain yet how I see the day.

I want to try to celebrate each of the Sabbats this year to see how new traditions feel to me, so more to come on this subject.