Lammas 2019 Sabbat Box Theme Release • Hearth Witchery 23
• 2019 LAMMAS • SABBAT BOX THEME • HEARTH WITCHERY •
Boxes ship: 7/19 ~ We have arrived at the point of the year where the longest day is past us, and the slow waning of the day begins to give way to the longer nights. But summer is still very much in full swing and power and growth from the Sun is still in full effect. As we leave the summer solstice behind, we move toward the next stop on the Wheel of the Year—that halfway point between the solstice and the autumnal equinox known by many on the Path as Lammas or Lughnasadh. This festival historically is about abundance and the first harvest of crops, but in modern times we take this time to look spiritually at the return on the work put in at the beginning of the year and the harvest we hope to gain from it.
Lammas, or “Loaf-Mass” is a celebration of the reaping of crops and the first summer harvest. While we may not all be farmers or work literal fields, we all have our own work and sowing our intentions and patiently waiting for growth and a return on our efforts regardless of the time of year. So on the first day of August, we take the time to acknowledge our actions and choices and celebrate those that have brought us prosperity or security as well as examine those actions and choices that have not.
The other name for this sabbat, Lughnasadh (pronounced LOO-NA-SAH), has a more specific purpose, as it is believed that the first festival was held by the god Lugh as a funeral feast for his deceased mother Tailtiu and an athletic competition. This time also became a time of sacrifice as well, as it was important to offer the first crop cuttings to the gods in gratitude for the harvest itself. Here in parts of North America at this time there are literal “first fruits” such as the beginning of the blueberry harvest season.
While the harvest fields are an important location in celebration of this sabbat, there is also where the harvest ends up: the home and hearth. No matter where our lives take us, we all want a place to call home where we can refuel, recharge, and revitalize ourselves when our work or life stresses take from us. While hearth is generally referring to a fireplace or kitchen space, the term itself brings up images of warmth, security, and peace. It’s no coincidence the term hearth is close to heart, because what makes any structure where we reside a home is the heart and soul that we bring to it. It is where we gather with family and friends to share in our successes, lament our failures, and strengthen our connections with our fellow loved ones.
It is this idea—the hearth or soul of where we live—that we considered when curating items for this year’s Lammas Sabbat Box. We wanted to provide a collection of things and information on how we can better walk our paths when it comes to our homes and hearth, and we hope that you will enjoy what we have put together. This year, as the harvest begins, make sure you remember what all that planting and harvesting is for: to make your own little piece of the world the most prosperous and happiest it can be, to make your residence the very example of hearth, home, and soul.
Midsummer 2019 Sabbat Box Theme Release • Solar Embrace 0
• 2019 MIDSUMMER • SABBAT BOX THEME • SOLAR EMBRACE •
Boxes ship: 6/7 ~ The year is almost half over…where has it gone? The Wheel of the Year, however, is also moving swiftly toward Midsummer. As we approach the longest day of our calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, our hearts and minds turn to the light and energy of the season and the opportunity for growth and increase. Could a successful harvest of all of our work be around the corner? Are the seeds we planted in our lives going to bear out to a bountiful return? If the bright long days are an indicator of success, then we are on the right path!!
Midsummer (June 21st this year for us in the northern hemisphere) is the celebration of the summer solstice; the time when the daylight is longest, and nights the shortest. More technically speaking, the summer solstice occurs when one of the earth's poles is tilted closest to the sun. As the summer solstice occurs in one hemisphere, the winter solstice will occur simultaneously in the opposite hemisphere. As the year waxes forward after the winter solstice occurs, so does the light of the sun, and since the earliest of times, these celestial events played extremely important roles within many cultures around the world and helped to shape a diverse range of legend, lore and spiritual practices, some of which may be lost to time, others still present to modern day.
If you look back far enough throughout the history of religion and spirituality as practiced by us sentient beings, you will eventually find that many of the world's spiritual practices and worship had similar origins...many started out as a religion of the Sun and Moon. When one thinks about it, it makes total sense. From our most primitive times as a species, when day to day survival was of the utmost importance, the presence of day and night had a major impact in our efforts to survive, so we started to track the journey of the sun and moon -- literally for the sake of our lives. The sun and moon is where the essence of life and death resided. With each morning's rise of the sun, all that was asleep the night before was awaken and sprung back to life, shedding a light on the unseen dangers that lurked within the veil of darkness. With each rise of the sun during the waxing part of the year also came with it warmth, growth, and the renewal of life. This fiery, life giving energy ended up transforming itself into a myriad of symbolic archetypes that paved way to the foundation of belief systems where deities of the sun were recognized, and were also given that same power to bare life and deliver death as well.
These archetypes grew greater in influence over time, and soon we as a people were building places of worship for these symbolic figures, many of which were constructed to coincide with the very movements of the sun, lining up in perfect precision on special celestial events such as the solstices and equinoxes. The very fact that these feats were able to be achieved during more primitive times for humanity is astonishing in and of itself, and further goes to show how significant it was for our ancestors to connect with the all mighty, life giving sun.
This year’s Midsummer Sabbat Box is all about tapping into the fiery solar energy of the sun, in the same way our ancestors would attempt to draw in and connect with the power of the life giver itself on the summer solstice. We have worked hard to curate a collection of items that will help inspire one to work with that vibrant solar energy of the solstice. The items inside will also aid in assisting one to focus on drawing in the light of the divine and embracing it within our practices and within our lives. By embracing this light we pave a way to help balance the unbalanced and move forward from the stagnant, and give birth to desires we have deep within. The path work done during this time is open and can be “seen” like no other time of the Wheel. It is a time to recognize the importance of this intense solar energy while also having faith that what we have started will bring about a successful finish, and that the natural cycles of light and dark will continue.
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!