The Full Moons & Festivals
in Traditional Witchcraft
Introduction to The Full Moons & Festivals
in The Traditional Craft of Britain
When it comes to the issue of how to learn witchcraft, there is the unexpected problem of terminology. Wicca and Traditional Witchcraft (The Traditional Craft) use different terms for the Full Moon and the Festivals.
The Full Moons were historically called the sabbats before the 1950's. But along came Wiccans and they adopted the use of the term sabbat to refer to the festivals, and esbat to refer to the Full Moons. Neo-Pagans refer to the festivals as High Days. Since those in Wicca and Neo-Paganism are the majority, the use of their terms have become commonly known and accepted.
To avoid confusion, we now use the term Full Moon to refer to each of the thirteen Full Moons and Festivals to refer to the festivals. We do not normally use the commonly accepted Wiccan or Neo-Pagan terms except to be clear when speaking to Wiccans or Neo-Pagans. Most Wiccans are unaware they use historically incorrect terminology.
The Full Moon
The most important of all observances in Traditional Witchcraft are the Full Moons. The moon itself is a sacred symbol of several goddesses including Diana. The moon itself is the celestial body that dominates the night. In its splendid magnificence it manifests wonder and mystery among those captivated by the goddess.
The Full Moon is a time of magic and are very special because environmental energies are enhanced during this period, making this the most favorable time for many forms of spellwork. It is a time of festivity and meeting friends. It is a special time that may include celebration and possibly some ritual. But mostly, it is about making the Full Moon a special time.
Festivals are joyous celebrations. Trads vary in the festivals they recognize. Some celebrate many festivals, others celebrate few. Some festivals celebrate the cycle of the seasons, and thus, the glory of nature, which is symbolic of the gods. While other festivals are celebrated specifically in honour of the gods.
Festivals are not as important as the Full Moons because festivals are culturally associated rather than being directly related to the Traditional Craft or with magic workings. We celebrate the festivals to honour our pagan past; however, they should not be considered "witchcraft holy days."
The festivals that are celebrated do vary between Trads. Some Trads celebrate the solstices and equinoxes of the moon because they are closely associated with the seasons, with sacred nature of the world. Other Trads observe only the Celtic or Germanic festivals because they are more historically based on actual old celebrations that have come down through tradition. Those that honour the Roman pantheon may celebrate some of the old Roman holidays, such as Saturnalia, which is popular. Of course, it is all a matter of personal preference and to a certain extent, convenience.
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