Week 3 – Altar, Sabbats & Esbats

May 26, 2010 at 3:24 am (Uncategorized)

Altar
Should be made of something natural such as wood or marble. If you use a dresser, use a cloth that separates the area from the rest of the dresser. The altar should have its back to the North (traditional) or East (Celtic).
Four sacred tools that must be on the altar:

  1. Chalice – a vessel used only for the altar, made out of anything
  2. Athame – double edged knife (traditionally was black handled)
  3. Wand – preference for willow, must be made of wood
  4. Patent (Pentacle) – can be metal or glass

Other pieces

  1. Offering dish – can be anything, for offering libations to Goddess/God, anywhere on the altar
  2. Small dishes (2) – water (left side to the top of the pentacle), salt (right side to the top of the pentacle
  3. Candles – a Goddess candle (silver or yellow) and a God candle (gold or green)
  4. Center Candle – Spirit candle (white), in the center back
  5. Censor – incense burner

Cool side – left side

  • Aligns with Goddess (chalice, water dish) (Goddess figure goes in the back)

Warm side – right side

  • Aligns with God (athame, wand, salt dish) (God figure goes in the back)

Pentacle (center-front)

Sabbats
Lesser sabbats occur on an equinox or solstice. Grand Sabbats do not fall on a equinox or solstice.
Dark Holidays

  • Samhain (Nov 1 at midnight, pronounced “sow wen”) – New Year’s (Grand Sabbat – Goddess) Beginning of the ancient liturgical year (Celtic calendar). Honor the spirit world, spirits of ancestors, deceased, loved ones, and spirit guides. We reflect on our own mortality and also on the never-ending cycle of life and death and the transformation between the two. It is also celebrated as the final harvest focusing on the roots. It is a lunar or grand sabbat meaning that we honor the Goddess. Celebration includes work with spirit and a “dumb supper” because it is silent. “Dumb Supper” is a potluck supper. Must wear the black cloak made of natural fiber. All clothing must be natural fiber underneath.
  • Yule (Dec 20-22) – Midwinter or Winter Solstice. On or around Dec 21, celebrates the rebirth of the God. (Lesser Sabbat – God) Comes from “Lul” and celebrates winter. Solar sabbat that honors the rebirth of the Sun or the birth of the God by lighting a yule log (oak log burned the year before, but not burned completely, add a new log.) Oak King battles with beats the Holly King (the Oak and Holly Kings are the two faces of the Green Man). The Holly King became the Christian version of Santa Claus. The Holly King is the lord of death. The Oak king beats the Holly King and ushers in new life.
  • Imbolc (Feb 1) – (Grand Sabbat – Goddess) Festival of the beginning of Spring. It represents new life on Earth and the growing strength of the sun. It is the festival of lights and the festival of the dawn. We encourage the growth of the Sun or the youthful God. Place them in every window to encourage the God to grow. This is the time of Groundhog Day. This was connected to when the ancients who relied on observations of nature to see how the animals came out. If they burrowed again, then it was not yet time to plant. In ancient days, it wasn’t focused on the groundhog. They watched all of the animals to see what they were doing. This is a Lunar Grand Sabbat. It is sacred to dawn and fire paying homage to Brigid, maiden goddess of fire and inspiration. Also called Oimelc (pronounced “e milk”) for the lactation of the ewes. Imbolc means “in the belly.”
  • Ostara (March 20-22) – Spring Equinox (Lesser Sabbat – God) Like Samhain is a very powerful time of the year. It is when day and night is equal and when the veil between the worlds is very thin. It is a celebration of the dawn and life. Comes from Ost or East. Goddess Ostre had the totems rabbit and chicken. Eggs mean rebirth. Celebrates renewed life. Eggs are painted in various colors and used in sacred rituals before they are eaten. Baby animals represents renewal. Solar sabbat paying homage to the young god who is the custodian of the young plants and animals and growing sunlight. He is the “Green Man” of the young god. Aka “Jack in the Green,” “Green George,” etc. Represented in the tree. Maypoles set in the ground and represents the phallus of the young god. Maiden goddess is the lady of the dawn.

Light Holidays

  • Bealteinne or Beltane (May 1) – (Grand Sabbat – Goddess) Begins light half of the year, and summer in the traditional sense. Polar opposite to Samhain. Festival of life. Gaelic (pronounced “law bal tuh nuh”). Refers to sacred bale fires, bonfires lit in ancient times for the goddess Bel or Belenos. Holiday for the union between the Goddess and God. Great joy! Flowers used to symbolize the union as well as the maypole. Decorate the maypole to celebrate the union between Goddess and God. This creates pregnancy for when she gives birth at the yule. Maypole is decorated with flowers and ribbons. It is a magickal dance that unites the Goddess and God and binds them in love.
  • Midsummer (June 20-22) – Summer Solstice or Litha (Lesser Sabbat – God). The longest day of the year or the high point of summer. Celebrates the height of the power of sun and all life. Acknowledges that after this day the sun weakens and grows short. Many names – God of Life in the physical world, principle archetype of the God.
  • Lughnassadh (pronounced “Luna suh”) (August 1) – (Grand Sabbat – Goddess) Marriage of Lugh who is the Celtic god of the sun and the Goddess. God of vegetation and cultivated fields. The first harvest of grains. Beginning of Autumn by traditional reckoning. Festival of the first fruits. Celebrates the death of Lugh. Lunar or Grand Sabbat, sacred to the Mother Goddess who provides the bounty of the earth. He is symbolically slain because of the harvest. His marriage is to the Earth. In this form, the lady of life is portrayed in the Venus of Willendorf who is one of the first goddess symbols recovered from ancient times (all over Asia and Europe). Celtic Lammas meaning first fruits.
  • Mabon (Sept 20-22) – Autumnal Equinox – (Lesser or Solar Sabbat – God) When day and night are again equal, a good time for divination because the veil is thinner. Middle or second harvest of the year focusing on fruits of the vine and trees. Marks the end of the fall season. Sun’s slow slide into Winter. Marks the sun’s ebbing force, also the fruit-bearing plants die. Celtic god Mabon or Maponos who died every year to be reborn in Spring. God sacrifices himself to keep the Wheel of Life continuing and will be reborn at Yule. Solar Sabbat. Sacred to the Father God, as King and Judge. He is the lord of the tribe and an elder of the community. In Celtic times, an elder man would symbolically give up his life. Grape harvest. Mabon honors the god of ecstasy and spiritual vision.

Esbats

  • Small ceremonies, honor deity on a personal level
  • Full Moon – 13 in one year (traditionally) because of the lunar calendar which had 28 day months.
  • New Moon – beginning of the new moon cycle, begins growth of power to the full moon. Traditionally held on the new (first “sliver” of light after the dark moon) and full moon.

Moon

  • The moon represents the goddess
  • Regulates the oceans (womb of the goddess), women’s cycles, constantly pulling and pushing everything in the universe (psychic tide)
  • Waxing Moon – New moon to full moon. Used to attract things magickally. This is the time that we want to bring to our lives.
  • Waning Moon – After the full moon, before dark moon. Use magick to banish things from our lives.

Relaxation Exercise
Take three deep breaths each inspiration, pause, expiration, and pause taking 3 seconds long. Tense each group of muscle enough to feel the muscle. Try to get to a point where you can tense up each muscle without moving the body part. The order of muscles: toes, feet, calves, thighs, buttocks, abdomen, fingers, forearms, upper arms, shoulders, neck, and scalp. Tense the right muscle group followed by the left one. Don’t release the muscle group before going onto the next. Keep the muscle group tense and add the next group. All muscles should be tense. Count for 3-5 seconds while all muscles are tense, then release. Get into a deep relaxation. That feeling of relaxation is the goal. That feeling is needed for when you do spell work, devotions, calling in the spirits, etc.

Homework: Relaxation exercise every morning just after waking up.

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