The Wicces (Witches) served as healers, diviners and spiritual advisors before the
arrival of Christianity. As competitors to the Roman Catholic Church they were demonized
and persecuted in witch hunts. Thus, little is really known about the survival of
the practice of 'witchcraft' in Europe before modern times. In written records, people
deemed 'witches' (not necessarily practitioners) were primarily women who practiced
forms of herbal medicine, but became unpopular in their community for one reason
or another and were singled out for the attentions of the Inquisition and persecuted.
The spiritual side of Wicca is inspired by the old Pagan faiths, some Wiccans worship
two deities, the Goddess and the God sometimes known as the Horned God. Wiccans celebrate
eight main holidays: four cross-quarter days called Samhain, Beltane, Imbolc (or
Imbolg or Oimelc) and Lammas (or Lughnasadh), as well as the solstices, Litha and
Yule, and equinoxes, Ostara (or Eostar or Eostre) and Mabon (see Wheel of the Year).
They also hold Esbats, which are rituals held at the full and new moon.
Some Wiccans join groups called covens, though others work alone and are called "solitaries."
Some solitaries do, however, attend "gatherings" and other community events, but
reserve their spiritual practices (Sabbats, Esbats, spell-casting, worship, magical
work, etc.) for when they are alone. Some Wiccans work with a community without being
part of a coven.
The normal attire of a Wiccan is a pure cotton robe, to symbolise bodily purity,
and a cord, to symbolise interdependence and which is often used during rituals.
In usual rites the Wiccans assemble inside a magic circle, which is drawn out in
a ritual manner. Prayers to the God and Goddess are said, and spells are worked.
Traditionally the circle is followed by a meal. Before entering the circle, they
normally fast for the day, and have a thorough wash.
Many Wiccans use a special set of altar tools in their rituals; these can include
a broom (besom), cauldron, Chalice (goblet), wand, Book of Shadows, altar cloth,
athame (personal knife), altar knife, boline, candles, and/or incense. Most Wiccans
keep a 'Book of Shadows' as a journal or diary which contains thoughts, spells, ideas,
Sabbats and Festivals
Within Paganism and Wicca (or Witchcraft) there are many ‘holidays’ and Sabbats celebrated
for various means. Not all celebrate them in the same way or even for the same reasons.
That is just one of the reasons why Wicca is so versatile; it’s fluid and can adapt
to suit every individuals needs and lifestyle. The Wiccan year is represented by
the ‘Wheel’, the eight points which mark the important festivals or Sabbats. This
wheel also serves as a calendar, marking the seasons, lunar and tidal cycles and
represents the cycle of life.
The Sabbats fall into two categories of lunar and solar: Imbolg, Beltane, Lughnasadh
and Samhain being the lunar festivals; the winter solstice, spring equinox, summer
solstice and autumn equinox being the solar festivals. Where you begin your own
Wiccan year is entirely up to you. Many witches begin at Yule – or winter solstice
– as it marks the end of the darkest quarter of the year. This is a time of new
beginnings, when the sun will return. The Celts begin at Samhain; and for me the
year begins at Imbolg as this it the time when most of us feel ready to make ‘new
All Sabbats and Festivals are covered in depth and accessed through buttons at the
side of the web page.