How To Celebrate an Esbat
Whether you’re a new witchling or just looking for some reference, you’ll find some great ways to celebrate your Esbat here!
Esbats are the Wiccan/Neopagan word for the celebration when that glorious night light in the sky, the moon, is at its fullest. The history of celebrating the moon goes back to pre-organized religion, pre-most things really. Our ancestors used the sun and the moon as the clocks of the days, weeks, and years. For emotion, harvest, planting and animal slaughter.
Typically there are 12 Esbats in the year, or one full moon each month. Sometimes we have an extra full moon in the same calendar month, giving us what we call a “blue” moon. (In 2018 were incredibly lucky. We ended up with 13 full moons, consisting of 2 blue moons (Jan & Mar,) and no full moon at all in February.)
When the Esbat rolls around, it’s a time to celebrate your feminine side and/or feminine power. While a large percentage of the witches I’ve met have been female, you can absolutely practice as a male witch. We are beings of balance and every person has a masculine and feminine side. We see it in all and in our divinity. The Sun is our divine masculine power and the Moon is our divine feminine power.
Each Esbat each month signifies different aspects coinciding to that specific month, below you’ll find a list of the commonly used names in Wiccan/Neopagan practice;
January – Wolf Moon
February – Ice Moon
March – Storm Moon
April – Growing Moon
May – Hare Moon
June – Mead Moon
July – Hay Moon
August – Corn Moon
September – Harvest Moon
October – Blood Moon
November – Snow Moon
December – Cold Moon
The themes of each monthly full moon are the same year in and year out. The differences between the years will depend on things like;
•which zodiac the Esbat is falling into that year
•is there a lunar eclipse
•is it a blue moon
•the day of the week
•retrograde of the other planets (usually mercury)
There are lots of apps to help you with tracking the moon cycles, my personal favorite is one called “Deluxe Moon.” The app tells you an eclipses coming, the zodiac sign, what the day is good for in terms or personal, business, love, and also moon planting. I also recommend the book Moon Magick by D.J. Conway, as it goes through all the correspondences, histories, and origins of each lunar cycle for that month. Including all pathways, not just Wicca or Neopaganism.
Now for things to do during your Esbat ritual.
Drawing Down The Moon
Full moons are incredibly full of positive energy and light. Witches and pagans have been known to take part in an activity called “drawing down the moon,” which essentially is just that. You stand under the full moon (or inside in the fulmoonlightht depending on weather) and spread your arms wide like a T. You would then call to the/your Goddess. Below is a sample text but you can change it to suit your mood or need or path.
I surrender myself to you
My mind, my body, my soul
I accept your light and love unto me
Fill me up with your energy,
Your power, your positivity.
Let it rain down on me like the drops of a fresh spring afternoon.
Some have said they feel little tingles or pins and needles during their activity of drawing down the moon.
Moon water is incredibly simple. If you can collect rainwater it is best because it is from the earth and incredibly natural, but tap water works just as well. Where it came from isn’t as important as what you’re doing with it!
You can create moon water for later spells and rituals, and if you choose to want to drink it at any point, I would definitely start with either tap/bottled water, or make sure you boil and then filter through a cheese cloth before consuming it.
You are asking the Goddess to bless the water with her full moon light in a similar poem to the drawing down the moon, and then leaving the water somewhere the full moon light can illuminate it over night. A lot of witches will also place stones in the bottom of whatever jar you choose to store this in, (usually a mason jar.)
Cleansing your tools in the full moon light is incredibly easy, as it usually just takes them to sit on a window sill in the moons like to cleanse AND charge simultaneously. But if you’re looking to consecrate your tools for the first time, you’re going to want to do a full cleanse before hand.
This will differ path-to-path and preference-to-preference, but for me I always do it in the same way; with the elements. While performing the below actions, I am envisioning and thinking of any negative or last energies melting or floating off my new tool, and connecting with me through a flow of energy, like a Celtic knot.
•Pass the tool through the flame of a white candle(fire)
•Pass the tool through the smoke of an incense stick(air)
•Stir it in your bowl of salt(Earth)
•Stir it in your bowl of water (moon water or your own “holy water.”)
After the tools have been cleansed for the first time, you are ready to consecrate.
(I should note, if you ever wish to do a deep cleanse you can re-do any of the elemental steps, as well as use sound waves (like a singing bowl) or the rays of the sun.
Consecrating tools during astrological instances; (full moon, Sabbat suns, eclipse, meteor shower,) adds an extra kick to any magic you do with those tools from here on out.
When you’re consecrating, you’re making a statement that this tool will be used for *this purpose* and only *this purpose*.
Some tools that are usually used the same way by most witches;
•Bolline-a sharp, usually double edge knife, for cutting herbs
•Athame-a more dull knife, used for carving runes and intentions into candles. (Sometimes used dually as a witches wand.)
•Wand-for pin-pointing your intention, usually used to aid in the visualness of drawing and taking down your circle pre and post ritual.
•Besom-(or broom) for sweeping out the negative energies from your ritual space, or really any space in your house you feel you need to cleanse.
•Certain candles can be consecrated for certain moon phases, spells, and Sabbats, just make sure you have a way to remember all that later on!
Charging is definitely the easiest of the 3, as it kind of encompasses both of the two previous C’s. Charging is when you are using the full moon rays and the rays of the sun (Sabbat sun or other sun,) to up its Magick last properties. As well as it cleanses it from the energies it has absorbed in the last day/week/month/year. For the Esbat, the tools/crystals/tarot cards are placed in the full moons beam and left for the duration of the moon after you perform any ritual, if you choose to do so.
Ritual & Ritual Bath
It’s common to take a pre-ritual bath before you perform any magic, whether is Esbat or Sabbat specific, or just because you need to get something done.
Some good herbs to tie in a cheesecloth and throw in your bath as a pre-ritual cleanse are;
•sage(do not include if pregnant or breastfeeding)
•any herb that is specific to that Esbat or possibly the intentions you wish to attract.
Your ritual will be extremely personal, some witches will pay homage to their Goddess(es), thank them and offer libation (usually cakes and ale/juice.)
If you’re looking for spell ideas the common themes for Esbats are;
•increasing an aspect (self confidence/love/communication.)
But really the full moon is an increase in power so you can use the Esbat to perform any spell, provided it is not impinging on anyone’s free will, lest you suffer the karmatic consequences. Of course, each Esbat has its own correspondences for the time of the year, and that may help you in decided when you will perform certain spells or ask for certain help. Doing spells for slow growth are best done close Imbolc (late Jan/early Feb), spells for shedding dark aspects of yourself are best done near Yule (December.)
Merry Part & Blessed Be