In honour of changing spiritual seasons in life, witches and pagans celebrate eight annual sabbats. These sabbats mark the eight annual passages of both spiritual and earthly energy. The wheel of the year is comprised of the eight sabbats. Each celebration comes under either greater or lesser sabbats.
The lesser sabbats mark the journey of the sun through the year. Each season begins when the sun enters one of the cardinal astronomical constellations. They are the celebration of solstices and equinoxes. As the earth’s orbit around the sun is nor a perfect 360° circle the dates vary each year. Therefore, the Winter Solstice, Yule, begins when the sun enters Capricorn, the Vernal Equinox, Ostara, when the sun enters Aries, Summer Solstice, Litha, is marked by the sun entering Cancer, and the Autumnal Equinox, Mabon, when the sun enters Libra
The remaining sabbats are the greater sabbats of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh. They are ancient and are celebrated on fixed calendar dates. The ancient ancestors coincided the dates with agricultural cycles of planting, growing, and harvesting. The lesser sabbats are rooted in the rhythm of the earth as they align with the earth’s cycle.
The sabbats in order are:
Samhain, 31 October, greater sabbat, feminine.
Winter Solstice, Yule, 19-23 December, lesser sabbat, masculine
Imbolc, 2 February, greater sabbat, feminine
Vernal Equinox, Ostara, 19-23 March, lesser sabbat, masculine
Beltane, 1 May, greater sabbat, feminine
Summer Solstice, Litha, 19-23 June, lesser sabbat, masculine
Lughnasadh, 1 August, greater sabbat. Feminine
Autumn Equinox, Mabon, 19-23 September, lesser sabbat, masculine