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Esbat -- Moon Rituals for the Solitary Practitioner


Pagan Moon Celebration

The phases of the moon have played an important role in our lives dating back to antiquity. Moon phases guided ancient farmers in planting and some farmers today still sow their seed according to the cycles of the moon. As part of the cycle of fertility, the phases of the moon play an important role in Wiccan practice.

Wiccans celebrate these moon cycles by observing Esbat. Esbats are composed of many elements -- ritual, spell casting, divination, healing and dedication to name a few. Honoring Goddess holds a primary place in the rituals of Esbat.

Celebrating Esbat brings Wiccans closer to Goddess and provides power to rituals. Covens generally meet during an Esbat but a solitary witch can hold her own rituals to honor the moon's cycles.

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Full Moon Clothing

Wearing clothing is optional during many Pagan ceremonies, but local laws and the weather dictate that most of us should dress for Esbat. Robes or cloaks are more than appropriate. Practitioners choose robe colors according to the type of magic that they intend to practice during the ritual.



Esbat and the Moon

Each phase of the moon offers an opportunity to hold an Esbat. Some witches choose to observe Esbat weekly, on a day corresponding with one of the phases of the moon. Others Wiccans only celebrate once a month -- most commonly during the full moon. Since monthly observance is most common, this lens will focus on full moon Esbats.

The moon draws its power in WIcca from Goddess. Her cycle of life and fertility mirror the lunar cycles: New Moon = Child, Waxing Moon = Maiden, Full Moon = Mother and Waning Moon = Crone. The close association between Goddess and the moon makes Esbat a sacred rite for Wiccans.

Full moons contain the most power in the lunar cycle, one reason many Wiccans choose to observe Esbat during this lunar phase. Witches use this additional power to boost the efficacy of their spells. Tap the power of the full moon for two days before and two days after the actual moon phase.

Spells involving healing, love and protection are especially effective during the full moon. The full moon also helps with divination. Many Wiccans choose to dedicate themselves to the Goddess at this phase of the moon.

New moons (also called "dark moons") are ideal for magic involving new projects or endeavors. Waxing moons boost spells involving money or prosperity. Banishment or bind spells should be cast during the time of the waning moon.

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Altars are the focal point of any Wiccan working. Use white and silver, color correspondence for the Goddess and the moon, in your altar elements for Esbat.

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  • Pentagram
  • Candles -- one red candle to represent the element of Fire plus white or silver candles to represent Goddess
  • Salt -- to represent the element of Earth
  • Water -- to represent the element of Water
  • Incense -- to represent the element of Air. Choose an incense type to compliment whatever spell you are working.
  • Athame -- to draw your circle
  • Cauldron -- symbolizes Goddess and is used in spell work
  • Spell materials
  • Wand (optional)

Items for Your Esbat Altar - Greet the full moon with these Wiccan tools

Every Wiccan should possess some basic tools of the Craft. The altar cloth and pentagram are an integral part of ritual.

This section will be expanded as I update the lens. Stay tuned for expanded information.

Photo by: Monika Weise

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  1. Light candles and incense.
  2. Cleanse your ritual space.
  3. Cast your circle.
  4. Invite the Four Quarters.
  5. Bless the water and salt. Also bless the wine and cakes if you use them. Finally, bless any tools that need blessing.
  6. Invoke the Goddess.
  7. Cast spells.
  8. Perform the wine and cakes ritual.
  9. Release the Four Quarters.
  10. Express appreciation.
  11. Close the circle.

More Esbat Items for Your Altar

Learn More About Esbat - Shine some light on the full moon rituals

How do you celebrate the full moon?

Rose Jones on October 16, 2013:

Back to appreciate this lovely lens - and to let you know I featured it on my own lens:

Rose Jones on June 30, 2013:

@Gypzeerose: So nice to see you make the Best 200 lenses board - you are an excellent writer!

mcstacy on June 28, 2013:

I don't celebrate the moon, just appreciate its beauty.

Rose Jones on June 01, 2013:

So wonderful to gaze upon this beautiful lens, and to see your wise and lovely face. Pinned to my wiccan board.

moonlitta on April 23, 2013:

Well by my username:) Moon has its charm in all its phases...Interesting reading, and the poem was also nice!

grannysage on April 23, 2013:

We don't do formal rituals anymore but I still have all my altar supplies. I have a purple cloak like the one shown too. I always speak to the goddess when she appears in her full moon garb though.

irminia on August 31, 2012:

I just like to give the Moon a good look from time to time. It is simply nice with its silvery kind of light.

Barbara Walton from France on March 10, 2012:

I don't celebrate, but I love to see the moon in all its phases, but especially the full moon and the crescent moon.

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on March 09, 2012:

I seem to always be a tad on edge during a full moon. No formal celebration, just typical crazy.

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on March 09, 2012:

I think my "celebration" includes going a little berserk...LOL! great lens!

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