The witch lives by the cycle not only of the Moon but also of the Sun. We acknowledge the Cosmos as these heavenly bodies are reborn, growing and dying each year.
Each month, witches celebrate the full Moon through gatherings known as full Moon esbats, although esbats can be held at other times depending on when a coven chooses to meet up.
Witches celebrate sabbats to mark the passing of the seasons. These include the Equinoxes and the Winter and Summer Solstices, as well as the days falling halfway between these, which are known as cross-quarter days. The sabbats are the high and holy days for the witch, when the atmosphere is charged like electricity for magick, manifestation and reflection. The eight sabbats form what’s known as the Wheel of the Year.
We celebrate the sabbats as a way to connect with the Earth and her changing seasons. We celebrate as our ancestors did thousands of years ago – to connect us to that ancient power that comes from living by the cycles of the Sun and Moon.
Each holiday is celebrated with a corresponding altar and ritual. Read through each holiday below a couple of times so you grow familiar with all of them. All of the suggestions can be adapted; get creative if you wish to celebrate with your loved ones or friends. The rituals should feel good to you.
The Wheel of the Year is different depending on which hemisphere you live in. The diagram shows the Wheel of the Year for the Northern hemisphere, when summer falls in June and winter in December.
'We celebrate the sabbats as a way to connect with the Earth and her changing seasons'
Ostara: the Spring Equinox
20 TO 23 MARCH
Ostara, or the Spring Equinox, marks the first official day of spring, when night and day are of equal length. The return of spring is celebrated all over the world – from the Christian Easter to Jewish Passover to the Iranian New Year, known as Nowruz. For witches, the Spring Equinox is known as Ostara, named after the Germanic lunar goddess, an embodiment of the great Goddess who gave birth to the Sun God at the Winter Solstice. As an Equinox, Ostara is a time of balance and equilibrium.
The Spring Equinox is a reminder that it’s time to celebrate and plant seeds, both metaphorically and physically, for what we want to bring to bloom in the upcoming season. It’s also a time when we honour all the things we’ve achieved since the Winter Solstice. It’s time to bloom, breathe, create, procreate and reap the sweetness of what we’ve manifested, as we’re brought even closer to the light.
How to decorate your altar: any flowers (especially warm colours); black and white candles; seeds, citrus, fruits, pomegranates, honey; citrine, clear quartz, aventurine; or an offering of milk or honey for the faeries. Tarot cards such as the High Priestess and Nine of Cups may also adorn your altar.
Non-ritual ways to celebrate: plant flowers or garden; take a walk in the Sun and talk to the trees; spring clean your home and donate old clothing to charity. Collect flowers and press them in a vintage frame; enjoy a picnic in a field; swim or lie outside naked with the Sun kissing your skin.
Suggested ritual: a plant meditation for growth and spiritual connection
You’ll need: a pot plant like a violet or ivy – something to which you feel connected and which can live in your sacred space.
1. Cleanse your space with palo santo, sage or cedar.
2. Ground and centre yourself.
3. Cast your circle.
4. Hold your plant in your hand, thinking of how she connects you to the Universe. May you tend to her as you tend to your inner world. May she remind you that there’s always balance in the chaos.
5. If you’re repotting your own plant, this is the time to do so.
6. Next, take a seat and place your plant in front of you. Imagine the energy of this plant sitting at your heart, her roots extending down through your legs into the Earth. Her vines and leaves are growing out through your arms and through the top of your head, connecting back to the Earth.
7. What does the energy of your plant feel like? What does she remind you of? Do you feel a connection to a faery? Record any thoughts, feelings or visions in your grimoire.
8. Close the circle.
9. Ground your energy.
10. Connect with this energy whenever you tend to the plant.
11. Tell your plant sweet and loving things. Ask it for guidance.
12. Build a relationship with the spirit of the plant and listen to it!
More about the book
Infuse a drop of magick into your everyday life.
Writer, fashion alchemist and modern witch, Gabriela Herstik, unlocks the ancient art of witchcraft so that you can find a brand of magick that works for you.
From working with crystals, tarot and astrology, to understanding sex magick, solstices and full moons; learn how to harness energy, unleash your inner psychic and connect with the natural world.
Full of spells and rituals for self-care, new opportunities and keeping away toxic energy, Craft is the essential lifestyle guide for the modern woman who wants to take control and reconnect with herself.
After all, empowered women run the world (and they’re probably witches).