S is for… Sabbats

Sabbat, as you may well know, is the Wiccan word for the eight solar festivals of the year: Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Lammas, and Mabon. (They have lots of names, of course; over the years, I’ve settled on these as my favourites.) This is one of the aspects of Paganism which seems to me to be common sense: the year is turning, in Britain we see changes regularly, at around these times, in ways which relate to the movement of the planet Earth and the needs and life cycles of plants and animals who dwell upon Her.

I make no claims to their universality, but I don’t think they need them. It’s enough that I, living here now, recognise what is actually happening around me, and I hope that others elsewhere are able to do that too.

It’s Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, tomorrow, as it happens. I have noticed some changes: a chill in the air, damper weather, shorter days. There are the students, too – for a British university, Mabon is the time of new terms and new courses. It’s always felt like a magical, enjoyable time to me, not least because I always enjoy starting a new study project. It’s the compensation I get for the cold and dark of winter!

The leaves aren’t quite turning yet, but between now and Samhain they will come down – only eight weeks. Roll on, the turning wheel!


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