Witchcraft vs. Wicca
The Elements
The Sabbats
Book of Shadows
The Sabbats
The Sabbats are a Witches holidays. There are eight Sabbats all together, the Sabbats are Samahian, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lughnasdh, and Mabon. The Sabbats recognise the Changing of the Seasons and the Harvests. The Sabbats are sometimes known of as "Days of Power" or "High Days". These are a time to gather and work rites, to remind yourself of the god, goddess, and nature. The Sabbats in the long run tell the story of the God and the Goddess. In festival form they show the seasonal and agricultural Wiccan legend. Much writing is taken from Scott Cunningham's The truth About Witchcraft Today
Samahian-October 31st
Many Witches/Wiccans begin their year with Samahian on October 31st. and end a year later on October 30th. This date in the U.S. is Halloween, or Hallowmass. This is a day for us to remember our friends and loved ones who have passed on to the other life. Because Wiccans believe in reincarnation it isen't a somber festival but a quiet recognition of the inevitable outcome of life. Many Wiccans/Witches also mark Samahian as the day when the Old God dies and the Crone Goddess goes into hibernation I guess you could call it as the days get shorter until Winter Solstice when the God is reborn asnd the Goddess is happy again. . It is linked with the comming of winter and ancient hunting rituals as well as the last Harvest of the year.
Yule-Circa December 21st
Yule, the Winter Solstice,  is the celebration of the Re-birth of the God through the agency of the Goddess. NOTE(Where Christianity got Jesus's birthday from). The Re-birth of the God is symbollacly seen as the Sun, and with the Re-Birth of the God and the Sun the Goddess rejoyces and that is the reasdon for the days to be getting longer. From this night on the days get longer until Midsummer.
Imbolc-February 1st
Imbolc is the time when the recovery of the Goddess giving birth to the New God is celebrated. It is a festival of purification and of reverence for the renewing fertility of the Earth. Often bonfires are lit.
Ostara-circa March 21st
The spring Solstice, marks the beginning of True Spring. It is a time of awakening of the Earth (Goddess in her terrestrial aspect), as the sun grows warmer and grows in power. Pagan rituals like coloring eggs have survived by being transferred to Easter Celebrations.
Beltane-April 30th
At this festival the God ventures into manhood. He and the Goddess (His mother/lover) join and produce the bounty of nature. And before anyone thinks-aha! The gods practice incest! Remember that this is a nature symbolism. (Oedipus complex-imagine I remembered something from English class) In the Wiccan/witch thought the God and Goddess are 2 halves of a whole, they are dual reflections of each other, dual reflections of the power of the universe that can never truly be seperated. May Day is still a time of flowers, maypoles (once an open sexual symbol), chains of clover, even among those not practicing Wicca or Witchcraft. It's heresy I tell you!!! ;)
Midsummer-circa June 21st
This is the point where the powers of nature, (created by the union of the Sun and the Earth) are at their peak. Wiccans gather to celebrate the sabbat and practice Magick. Huge bonfires may be lit in honor of the Sun. This night and its magick are honored in Shakespeares "A Midsummers Night Dream."
Lughnasdh-August 1st
The beginning of the Harvest, the God weakens as the 1st grains and fruits are cut. This is a ritual of Thanksgiving in a way. Indeed Thanksgiving is a mimic of early Pagan festivals on Lughnasdh. If the Pilgrams had planted their crops on time their Thanksgiving would have been closer to corresponding  with the date of Lughnasdh.
Mabon-circa September 21st
The Second Harvest, The God prepares to leave his life behindas the some of the last fruits are gathered to nourish the peoples of the Earth. The warmth is lessening day by day.
This is only a very bare outline of the Sabbats, each tradition has their own rich lore and  their own tales to tell about the God and the Goddess as well as their own customized rituals to how they celebrate their Sabbats.
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