Beltane 2019 Sabbat Box Theme Release • The Rune Box 0
• 2019 BELTANE • SABBAT BOX THEME • THE RUNE BOX •
Boxes ship: 4/19 ~ The Wheel of the Year turns towards Beltane, the sun is brighter and the days grow warmer. As we swiftly head toward the halfway point between spring and summer, ships set sail for richer shores!
During this particular time of the spring, many of our ancestors would begin planting season, if they hadn't done so already, and would have made offerings to the earth and various deities with the specific request of crops abundantly emerging with a bountiful harvest and good return. Like the Wheel of the Year, we turn (our attention) to the upcoming fire festival of Beltane on May the First, where bonfires, feasts, and communities coming together are in focus.
Within Wiccan lore, during Beltane, the Lord and Lady (The Goddess and The God) have reached the integral point in their perpetual dance to come together in sacred union—with their young adulthood being the result of growing fertility and the ascendancy of light and Sun. Their love and infinite ebb and flow of separation and togetherness is cyclical throughout the seasons and during the turning of the wheel, but during Beltane, they become a symbol of divine union. Within this lore, their coupling of the divine feminine and divine masculine is meant to be a representation of nature around them. Their instinctual coming together to continue the cycle of life that would lead to reproduction, (a fruitful harvest), ultimately provides a way forward for new life to be brought forth -- New life being the ultimate return on love and labor invested.
And while we have focused the past few year's Beltane Sabbat Boxes on the Gaelic/Celtic and modern Wiccan forms of Beltane celebrations, (which is one of the more commonly observed forms of this festival in observance within modern Paganism), we here at Sabbat Box thought we might offer a primer into another part of the world's practices held during this time of the year: those of the Nordic and Germanic pagans to the east, and the mystical beliefs and system of magick that stems from them: RUNES.
As one treads onto the path of Germanic and Old Norse systems of Pagan beliefs, you will quickly discover that similar to all spiritual beliefs of old, it is filled with deep history and folklore made up of stories, legends, mythology, poetry as well as shamanic and occult practices. It is with these stories and mythological texts from the Viking age known as the Poetic Edda and the Havamal that people have been able to lay the foundational landscape for what has been molded and adopted into that of modern day Norse Paganism. Modern Norse Paganism is blanket term that can encapsulate the adopted practice of various pre-Christian beliefs during the "Viking Age" of Northern Europe. Norse Paganism is mostly rooted in ritual practice and tradition known as forn sið ("old custom") or heiðinn sið ("heathen customs") that has emphasis on rituals, actions, and behaviors rather than a "religious doctrine" or a "textual belief system" itself.
One of the larger aspects of those ancient Nordic and Germanic practices that many modern Pagans study and have adopted are the system of runes. Runes are not just merely letters that helped to shape our modern alphabet, but they are considered to be a powerful and complex form of magick, conceived in the minds of ancients priests and magicians. Runes are a culmination of magick wisdom, mystic symbolism/correspondences, a form a divination, a form of talismanic magick, and a phonetic language, all of which are steeped in lore and historical significance. The commonly used Nordic or Scandinavian system of runes that is used (and we are focusing on for this box) is the Elder Futhark: a system of twenty-four characters used to communicate or mark words and ideas on everything from structures to swords. Today modern Pagans have reconstituted and adopted the runes into various Pagan practices, and regardless of the pantheon of belief, are still to this day considered to represent the ways and wisdom of our past.
It is in the spirit of this ancient time and ancient place that we focus our Beltane Sabbat Box procurement this year. We have collected a number of elements that provide insight into the age-old magick of runes, how they can still speak to us, while further learning what unique practices stem from Norse paganism and how they can help broaden our own spiritual beliefs. We hope that the upcoming summertime brings lots of light and life to you, and we hope that this Beltane Sabbat Box may enhance the bale-fires that we light inside us.
Ostara 2019 Sabbat Box Theme Release • Blooming Prosperity 0
• 2019 OSTARA • SABBAT BOX THEME • BLOOMING PROSPERITY •
Boxes ship: 3/8 ~ The great turn of The Wheel brings us back again to spring, the season when new life and new possibilities are in full flourish. Cold long nights and short days give way to the first warm days when fertile ground emerges new life. Many animals prepare to welcome their offspring, and the first buds of flowers break through, and with them an early hope of abundance and a healthy harvest that’s to come in the months ahead.
Ostara, also known as the spring equinox, is a celebration of that fertility and renewed opportunity and a reflection on how our ancestors lived or died on the return of growing crops and expectant livestock. Because of the anticipation of this fruitful ground and the success that we hope to experience around us, we at Sabbat Box are curating a box for 2019’s Ostara that honors and celebrates that early anticipation of new growth in a concrete way.
Ostara, historically, is the Sabbat commemorating the Spring Equinox. The word “East”—a cardinal direction most associated with the rising sun and the sign of air—comes from the German root word of Ostara. The day of the Spring Equinox brings alignment of the sun with due east, the day ending when the sun sets due west. This alignment of celestial balance shows us that even for just a moment, the microcosm and macrocosm are in perfect unison, and nature finds balance amongst the chaos of existence. Immediately after that balance, nature then offers her first indication that there will be a period of time when the days will now be longer than the night, allowing for increased sunshine and an abundance of light. This light will continue to grow and get longer until the summer solstice, and then start to wane again.
If we look upon this symbolic time of balance with a sympathetic magick perspective, this timeframe that leads to the growth of light during fertility season can easily parallel the concept of fruitfulness and prosperity, making this a perfect time to curate a box themed around prosperity magick. With nature reemerging and waking up, and the life bearing sun blessing us with warmer days, It is this specific concept that we drew from this year that inspired the theme behind the 2019 Ostara Sabbat Box, and also helped to inspire us to curate the items featured inside the "Blooming Prosperity" themed Sabbat Box. With a focus on that anticipation of success and abundance, we collected a group of items that will help look forward to your own fruitful prosperity and abundance, as well as tools and practices that will help assist in drawing prosperous results to your own magickal endeavors.
As we ship out your Sabbat Boxes for Ostara this year, we hope that all of the things you wish to have flourish and cultivate this spring come to fruition. May your Ostara be filled with much prosperity and golden blessings.
Imbolc 2019 Sabbat Box Theme Release • Spirit's Replenishment 0
• 2019 IMBOLC • SABBAT BOX THEME • SPIRIT'S REPLENISHMENT •
Boxes ship: 1/25 ~ A new calendar year is quite often a time when we take stock of where we have been and where we are going. After the traditional “holiday season” has passed, everyone is back to “business.”
The winter solstice can be a time of darkness, stagnation, and a sort of end-year malaise. When that Times Square ball drops at midnight on the new year, however, our consciousness tends to shift: we think about what we have done over the last year and what we may want out of the next. It is a time for taking stock, adding up the plusses and subtracting the minuses, with a front-facing position towards what is to come.
This sudden adjustment in thought at this time of year can mean that we strive for changes to our thoughts or actions in the areas of our lives that may need strengthening, improving, and replenishing. We think about gym memberships, dietary changes, work plans, relationship goals. We think about how we want to move forward on our spiritual path…what skills we want to learn, what goals we want to achieve, what obstructions we want to conquer. We think to cleanse ourselves of negativity and failure and mistakes while facing the new year with hope and optimism.
This is not a new philosophy or phenomenon surrounding this time. The calendar year and the Wheel of the Year share these ideas, and throughout history we have different groups and cultures that would look to clear out the old and ring in the new. In our earliest societies as humans, there was the hopeful belief in the return of new life and new growth, focusing on what needed to be done to have a bountiful spring planting season. The Romans later on celebrated Februa, where we get the word for the month of February. This was a festival on the 15th of the named month where purification and cleansing were celebrated and observed. The Celts, also turned their minds to clearing out the negative and what was used up and focused on improving their lives during this time of year as well. A number of early spring traditions were created at that time, including the concept of “spring cleaning” and the mundane preparations for fertility and growth translated into the spiritual clearing and purification necessary for success and a prosperous season ahead. As modern pagans, we have continued to carry forward many of these seasonal traditions, most specifically the Gaelic traditions, and call this time Imbolc, the first of the eight sabbats in our modern calendar year.
The modern spiritual observation of this shift from darkness to light, from old to new, is what Imbolc is all about. Many Pagans use this time to take stock and begin to lay a foundation to the growth and improvement they seek, and like the first step in any magickal working, creating a solid magickal foundation starts with purifying, cleansing, ridding and banishing all that needs it, in order to take the steps to ultimately replenish ourselves and our spirit.
In this spirit—and at this time in the Wheel of the Year—Sabbat Box has curated a collection of items that can help everyone prepare themselves (and their craft) for the return of spring and the time of preparation we celebrate with this Sabbat. What parts of your life, spiritual and mundane, are you looking grow from? Do you have or know of anything that needs clearing our purifying in your physical and spiritual space? What about yourself? Could you use some spiritual clarity and replenishment? By starting the year with a focus on purification and clearing of the old, we are able to lay the foundation and groundwork that we need in order to aid us in manifesting the future we desire, in a symbolic, physical and spiritual manner.
Samhain 2018 Sabbat Box Theme Release • Witches' Sight 0
• 2018 SAMHAIN - HALLOWEEN SABBAT BOX THEME • WITCHES' SIGHT •
Boxes ship: 10/22 ~ As darkness begins to cast itself upon the land and the leaves fade to brown, we wait in anticipation for Samhain. The third and final harvest festival of the cycle which began in August with Lughnasadh. Samhain marks the end of summer and the time to begin preparation for the start of the dark half of the year. We recover our coats, jackets, and heavier clothes from the hidden parts of our closets and dressers. We begin to crave pumpkin spice lattes, apple pies, eggnog, and other warm filling foods. As the digression of daily warmth and light -that peaked months before during Litha- succumbs to the creeping presence of frigid darkness, winter’s glare looks on from the distant horizon...
As pagans and witches, we know what changes, advantages, and adventures await! This year, Samhain occurs on Wednesday, October 31st which is the planetary day of Mercury. The moon (in Leo) will be waning and nearing its last quarter phase before becoming New on November 7th where it enters Scorpio. Happening on a Wednesday during a waning moon, Samhain establishes the perfect magickal environment to ensure that personal reflection and introspection become the ideal focus for any witches’ gathering on this particular night. As Mercury is directly related to communication, the ability to send and receive of messages will be heightened. With the added waning moon -being related to introspection and self-knowledge- make soul searching and discovering those much needed answers to life dwelling in the realms beyond an even more accessible reality.
Despite popular culture, we witches know that the name Samhain is pronounced ‘SOW-inn’ or ‘SOW-win’ and is a Gaelic word and festival that historically occurred from sunset on October 31st to the sunset of November 1st also making it known as November Eve in some circles. The name Samhain itself is popularly understood to mean summer’s end, as according to some individuals this understanding is derived from the spelling Samfuin, which can be broken down into sam ('summer') and fuin ('end'). It should be no surprise to anyone who is even slightly familiar with it, that Samhain is the ancient festival to which we owe for the modern existence of Halloween. As the commonly held beliefs and cultural practices associated with Halloween have been derived from Samhain’s own history and lore. It is, after all, a testament to Samhain’s enduring legacy and presence in the world.
Ancient Irish Mythology reveals Samhain as being one of the four primary seasonal festivals where feasting, celebration, and games were common. It was also thought that during this time the veil -which existed between the worlds of the living and the dead- became thin and thus permitting spiritual crossover to happen between them. A concern that sparked the tradition of carving turnips -and later pumpkins- into jack-o-lanterns as well as mumming and guising to be utilized by the living to serve as protective measures while the dead and otherworldly beings roamed the haunted landscape to terrorize and visit the living.
A centuries old holiday, Samhain was historically observed throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man with variations of this celebration being recognized in certain areas of what is now referred to as the United Kingdom. Similar festivities could also be found in other parts of Europe during the time. For example, the people of Salerno, Italy held a similar festival honoring the dead until the practice itself was banned by the church in the fifteenth century. Yet, despite the sentimentalities and policies of the church, the festival and the idea of honoring the dead during the waning months of the years continue to influence and be adapted by various cultures and regions of the world centuries later. Halloween, All Saints Day, and the variations of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) found throughout Mexico as well as in Central and South America are additional testaments to the significance of this time old tradition and its varied practices.
As modern witches we understand Samhain as functioning as one of the Greater Sabbats, being the contemporary collective name for the four primary seasonal festivals observed in Ancient Ireland. During this time of the year, the final harvest symbolizes the final death. The giving of life in anticipation of the cold and harsh winter months ahead. It is also, as the name indicates, a time of endings where we reap what we have sown and reflect upon those events that have brought us to this moment, and those efforts which will carry us through the coming months beyond the distant winter.
So, upon this night of Samhain, as the dead return to the land to be among the living, we honor them and their memory through offerings of food and good drink, reverence, stories of who they once were, and tales of where they have been since their passing. We also embark on efforts of engagement with them through direct conversation and other means of contact. Communicating with the dead improves during this time because of the veil being thin. Therefore acts of divination such as scrying into a mirror or the light of a candle, or via ceromancy (interpreting the candle drippings dripped onto water) can be employed to seek answers from the beyond. As our own ancestors come forth, we welcome their return to offer their insights and blessings as we gaze between the worlds as only witches can. Happy Samhain and Blessed Be!
Mabon 2018 Sabbat Box Theme Release • Moon Magick II 1
• 2018 MABON - FALL EQUINOX SABBAT BOX THEME • MOON MAGICK •
The weather cools, a chill settling in the air. The leaves begin to turn to fiery colors: Yellow. Red. Orange. The spectrum creates a rainbow over the landscape as they fall to the ground, filling the air with an earthy scent. The autumn equinox is near.
The equinox itself is a scientifically observable event when the tilt of the earth is so that the sun passes over the earth’s equator. Because of this, the sun rises exactly east and sets exactly west rather than at a slight tilt towards the poles and we experience a near-equal day and night. This event occurs twice a year: Once at spring and once in the fall. In 2018, the Autumn Equinox will take place on September 22nd at 4:02 PM EDT.
For pagans and witches, the fall equinox is also known as Mabon, one of three harvest festivals on the Wheel of the Year. We owe the name "Mabon" itself to Aidan Kelly in the 1970s, a reference to characters, or perhaps gods, from Welsh lore. That being said, though the name is relatively new, the concept of a celebration occurring around the fall equinox is not. Oschophoria was a festival in ancient Greece that honored the grape harvest and wine. Eighteenth century Bavarians celebrated Oktoberfest in the last week of September, a festival that continues today. Even the US holiday Thanksgiving originally occurred on October 3rd, just a week and a half after the equinox. It wasn’t until 1863 that it was moved to November and 1941 before it settled on the date it is today. As such, the modern Autumn Equinox as a pagan festival is one of thanksgiving and gratitude.
Much of this thanksgiving tradition with Mabon is owed to its timing around the fall harvest. Customs of the holiday include this, creating themes of completion and goal achievement. This is a great time to reflect upon the past to see if you have reaped what you’ve sown from seeds planted in the spring. What goals did you want to achieve at the beginning of the year? Have they come to fruition? What do you need to do to find completion? This might even mean cutting your losses to move forward, much as a farmer might do with a dud crop.
In addition to thanksgiving and harvest, the autumn equinox is a time of balance. The word equinox itself comes from the Latin word aequinoctium- aequus meaning equal and nox, of course, meaning night. During both the spring and fall equinox, day and night are nearly-equal. Enforcing this equilibrium is the fact that the sun enters Libra, a sign of balanced scales, on the morning of the autumn equinox. Celebrating balance means appreciating the light and dark within your life. What does the light bring you? Think of the sun, the day, the progress you make during that timeframe and what you draw to you. And what does the dark do for you? Think of letting go, of cleansing, of the night and, especially, of the moon. After all, we’re entering her jurisdiction as we travel to the darker half of the year.
Mabon has always had a close association with the moon. The full moon near the fall equinox, the Harvest Moon, is probably the most well-known. This particular full moon derives its name from the farmers working late into the night, the crops illuminated by its brilliant light. The Harvest Moon is sometimes called the Wine Moon as well because it rises in a beautiful orange-red splendor, akin to the fiery colors of the autumn leaves below. Moreover, for those that believe in the goddess, Mabon is when she officially enters her “waning” phase – another emphasis on the connection of this equinox with the moon.
But this isn’t all. As stated earlier, the equinox isn’t exactly a perfect balance of night and day – it is only nearly equal. That perfect equality, called equilux rather than equinox, occurs a few days before the actual equinox itself. We owe this offset on the day the sun passes over the equator’s plane to atmospheric diffusion and, of course, our beloved moon. Earth’s satellite causes the planet’s orbit to vary from a perfect ellipse. It’s also why we have the tilt, and thus the equinoxes, in the first place. Thus the moon has a profound effect on this sabbat in particular!
Because of the fall equinox’s especially close connection to the moon, Sabbat Box would like to announce its Mabon box theme: Moon Magick II. Our first Moon Magick themed Sabbat Box was presented on Ostara of last year. It seems only appropriate to present the second of this theme on the mirror holiday to the first. Moon Magick deals with the darkness and the ways we attempt to illuminate it, much like a candle in the night. It is spiritual, cleansing, divinatory and divine. It’s also natural, emphasizing harvested herbs akin to the harvest of the fall.
This box will assist subscribers on working with not just the Harvest Moon in its full status but every phase during this time – and throughout the year! The items you’ll discover will be educational, interactive and fully integrated with the moon herself, and will include more exclusive items just for our members. We can’t wait for our subscribers to open up this magickal box and begin harnessing the full power of the many phases of the moon this equinox!
Lammas 2018 Sabbat Box Theme Release • Shamanic Connection 1
• 2018 LAMMAS - LUGHNASADH SABBAT BOX THEME • SHAMANIC CONNECTION •
“Shamanism has been defined as the first religion. It existed prior to the earliest civilizations, before our ancestors took the first steps down the long journey to the present. Prior to this time, the shamans were the medicine people, the power wielders, male and female. They wrought magick and spoke to the spirits of nature” — Scott Cunningham, Chapter 1: Wicca and Shamanism, from the book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.
Rolling storms and blazing, humid days. The sweat dripping from your temple and the distorted waves of heat rising from the scorched pavement. In the spring, the seeds were planted. Through the summer, we toiled over the crops. As the fields of corn and wheat glisten in the searing August sun, their stalks ripe with grain, they await their final goal: The first harvest of August Eve.
Also known as Lughnasadh or Lammas, this holiday is ripe with history. Lughnasadh is a Gaelic festival and feast said to have been started by the god Lugh. A celebration of the funeral of his mother Tailtiu who died clearing the Irish fields for crops, athletic games were competed in her honor. The festival would also include trial marriages of a year and a day, and massive dinners of the first harvest’s grains and berries would be enjoyed by all. Also associated with August Eve is the English and Scottish holiday of Lammas. Known as the Gule of August in medieval times, Lammas Day was a festival marking the annual wheat and corn harvest. Loaves were blessed and broken into four parts to protect harvested grain in barns while fresh stalks of wheat were gifted to landlords and friends.
Contemporary August Eve celebrations rely heavily on wheat and corn, crops pinnacle to modern civilization. Loaves of bread grace our holiday feasts while corn dolls are made from the husks of the first harvest. As a harvest holiday, we reap what we sow: Goals set in the beginning of the year are coming to realization. We take inventory of our lives and find gratitude in the path we’ve traveled, paved by our ancestors before us. In fact, the ancestral land, the earth, is a quintessential part of Lammas. Without it, we would have no agriculture, no crops and no harvest. Life as we know it would not exist. We owe everything to the earth and those who came before us.
For this year’s Lammas Sabbat Box, we wanted to highlight this reliance on the earth by focusing on the original human-spirit connection method: shamanism. While the most familiar picture of shamanism for many refers to the indigenous peoples of North America, shamans have existed under different titles and names in every part of the globe from the beginning of human history. These early practitioners were the medicine people, the advisors, the knowing members of their group or tribe who were revered and honored highly in those cultures. Shamanism at the core of its meaning generally refers to practicing higher states of consciousness as a means of connecting to the Otherworld or Divine. Shamans would enter altered states of consciousness through many trance inducing methods, reaching a state referred to as ecstasy, which would in turn help to divine messages for the shaman which further helped to provide guidance for their people. Dancing, singing, drumming, storytelling, and ritual reenactments of important events were just some of what ancient (and modern) shamans throughout the world have done in their practice, both in celebration or reverence of the earth and divine, and to also promote higher states of consciousness.
Shamans were also the first spiritual practitioners who incorporated ritual tools and objects from the earth into their practice, the drum for example (made of animal hide and wood) being one of the original, or herbs, which were dried and then burnt as offering being another. We at Sabbat Box are committed to introducing and providing inspiration to modern-day practitioners while revering and seeking to honor the traditions of those who came before us with this year’s Lammas Sabbat Box theme: Shamanic Connection.
The inspiration behind this year’s Lammas box theme was to curate a box of products that are physically “of or from the earth.” In essence, gifts provided to us that we could use and implement into our own practices…the same way a “Shaman” or any of the original “earth based spiritual practitioners” would have. We did this in a symbolic effort to tie in the connection between the “gifts” of the harvest, and to also tie in the connection of our general ancestral roots as well.
Much like the gifts of sustenance the earth provides us during harvest season, the earth alone can lend us all that we need to allow us to further strengthen our bond with it, to further nourish our spirit, and bring us closer the divine.
*NOTE: The items that are found within this year's Lammas box are not intended to teach anyone how to be a "shaman," nor are they intended to teach any specific spiritual practice that coincides with Indigenous tribes or cultures. We wish to provide items that are inspired by the original spiritual practitioners who would use these gifts of the earth and to incorporate these gifts into your own spiritual practices. At this time of year, with our focus on the gifts of the earth and our place in it, we hope that this year’s Lammas Sabbat Box might bring you a little closer to the earliest roots of spiritual practice and the Earth on which we live.