Imbolc 2018 Sabbat Box Theme Release • At Winter's End 0
• IMBOLC SABBAT BOX - AT WINTER'S END •
The new calendar year is here, and with it brings the promise of new life and new beginnings. We watch as the earth begins to awaken, her fertile soil ready to welcome the rise of her Sun Lord. We eagerly await the newness of life to come forth as the winter cold starts to wane. The earth comes awake: the air begins to sweeten, the earliest flower buds start to appear, even through the snow. The sun gives new life and new energy to all living things. The ice and snow begins to melt, water flowing through the forest, a promise of new life ready to emerge.
Across the globe, different cultures honor this time with festivals that celebrate the new life that awakens where they live. In many ancient European cultures, Imbolc was the celebration of the goddess Brigid, who many consider the original goddess figure. Brigid later became a Catholic saint, the original pagan aspects folded into Christianity. She is considered by some as the goddess of fire and light, as well as reproduction and fertility...Imbolc is said to be translated as “in the womb”.
In Ireland, feasts are held, pulling out some of the last winter stores as an offering to the earth’s promise of new seeds to be sown and future crops to be harvested. Many cultures in the past also considered this “lambing season”, when breeding of livestock and pregnant ewes and other animals would reproduce to add to the flock. This is also a time of weather divination, where people would look for the appearance of snakes or badgers from their dens to gauge how much longer the winter would be (and where the modern custom of Groundhog’s Day may have evolved).
Not only is Imbolc and its time of the year a time to reawaken the life of the earth, it is also a time of purification and cleaning out old, cooped-up things in our homes and lives that we are ready to let go and improve. This time of clearing away later became to be known as the annual tradition of “spring cleaning”.
Here at Sabbat Box we recognize and celebrate all of these different aspects of Imbolc. We are curating items to honor our connection to these traditions and rites and who they provide focus to of our magickal practice and Path. Much like early spring fruits and vegetables, we are collecting a group of items that will serve to help awaken all of your senses and help you to honor this amazing point in the Wheel of the Year.
Yule 2017 Sabbat Box Theme Release • Midwinter Musings 0
• THE YULE BOX - MIDWINTER MUSINGS •
As The Wheel of the Year turns to its darkest point -- the winter solstice -- our Pagan ancestors would anticipate a moment of light in the midst of that darkness, which came in the observance and celebration of Yule. It is during this Sabbat that we take time to reflect on the cyclical nature of life and death, beginning and end. This was a difficult time for our ancestors, and Yule marked a time of the year where the light of the sun would slowly reign dominance again over the darkness of winter, and life would soon re-emerge from the darkness once again.
From this particularly harsh time of the year sprung lore and archetypical stories explaining the season, such as that of the Holly King and the Oak King. "The death and rebirth of the "Lord" and the diminishment of the Oak King and his temporary reign as the Holly King until spring" perfectly represents the cycles and transitions of the season from dark to light, and is just one of many stories that.
During Yule, our ancestors would gather together as a community to celebrate the support given to one another in this time of lack, to remind themselves that the dark isn’t forever, and that the lighter days will soon return.
Outside activity is limited for many of us at this time of the year, and it can sometimes be difficult to connect with our environment as the cold and snow limit our natural actions. But this limitation also can be a positive: while we bunker down in our warm homes and huddle near the hearth, we have time to reflect on what is to come, as well as what we want to achieve and accomplish for the year ahead. Even our secular calendars show the turn of time, and we ruminate on New Year’s resolutions and the successes and failures we’ve experienced over the last twelve months.
It is this spirit of reflection and rumination that we have focused on for this Yule’s Sabbat Box. We have collected a selection of items that can be utilized while we examine the past and look towards the future. Our midwinter musings can be a time to focus power and intent toward what we want out of our lives and which paths to take. We hope you can find some comfort in this year’s offerings and take advantage of the time spent keeping warm. We hope you have a warm and joyful winter with your loved ones, but we also hope you may have the time to look inward and connect with your inner will and power, for it is the key to bringing forth the positive changes we all desire each new year.
As we come to the end of another year of curating these special boxes, we just wanted to say that we have been very grateful for the outpouring of support for what we do, and we thank all of you for being members (or potential members!) and wish you the brightest blessings, prosperity, and love in the midst of midwinter.
• DISCOVER THE 2017 YULE SABBAT BOX - CLICK IMAGE BELOW •
Samhain 2017 Sabbat Box Theme Release • The Samhain Box - For Cunning Folk Alike 0
• THE SAMHAIN BOX - FOR CUNNING FOLK ALIKE •
Dusk envelops the oranges and reds of decaying leaves; bony trunks and branches blacken against a purpling sky. There are sounds on the forest floor...echoes of unseen things that instill uncertainty, maybe fear. The path becomes hazy, the course forward misted in damp and shadow. The veil of night soon takes us all, and we may sometimes struggle to find our way. As the Wheel turns to the end of one year and the beginning of the next, as the plunge into winter lies just over the horizon and darkness begins to reign, the way forward many not be so clear. Though the coming season make be dark, the light within us will always shine to lead the way.
For this year’s Samhain Sabbat Box, we have turned our focus on curating a variety of items that may shine a light on the season's darkening path--light not from the sky, but from ourselves. Since the magick and celebration of Samhain is versatile, and its significance often greater for most, we wanted to make sure that the items found within our flagship box were equally versatile in their use. On top of versatility, we have also curated items that go specifically hand in hand with this sabbat in particular, tools to aid with parting the veil, divination work, working with spirit guides, our higher selves, and more.
It is during "summer's end"...on All Hallow's Eve, and the witches' new year, that we start to embrace the coming darkness. As the veil between the living and the dead fades, we call upon our ancestors and those who came before us, to guide us in the coming months, while honoring them during our rites. We honor the Earth for the final fruit that she bears, and reflect upon the sacrifices we had to make to get to where we are, while prepping for the future. Though the future for certain may be unknown, and questions may arise, we as cunning folk use this time to work divination in effort to seek what may be coming our way.
When we as practitioners are presented with questions, or head into the unknown, we put our magick to the test, attempting to find the answers we need with divination, and we proceed to manifest the outcomes we desire with our own magickal pursuits. Divination is a practice that helps us to see our way forward as well as see where we have been. We use divinatory tools to intuit our place and get our bearings of where we are on our path; it is a means to understand the conditions that surround us, to help us make choices that will bring light and life our way, despite the darkness or negativity that can sometimes surround us.
We hope the items we have curated this year for Samhain bring you light to shine in dark places, to scare away the shadows of uncertainty and bring to focus your own still voice (or the voices of the guides within you) as a way forward through the winter season. We are hopeful that the new "witches' year" will be ever brighter and kinder and that your steps will be sure-footed and sound. Samhain, the witches' new year, is when the veil is thinnest, and we could think of no better way to take advantage of this time than to get in touch with the unspoken, the unaware, the unknown. Whether you look toward your ancestors, your gods, or just yourself, we at Sabbat Box hope this collection of items may help you best connect with the sabbat, while illuminating your magickal path.
• DISCOVER OUR PREVIOUS SAMHAIN SABBAT BOXES - CLICK IMAGE BELOW •
Mabon 2017 Sabbat Box Theme Release • The Second Harvest 1
• THE SECOND HARVEST •
The Wheel of the Year is turning toward the autumnal equinox here in the northern hemisphere. Day and night will once again be equally divided on September 22nd of this year, and from there, the night will overtake the day into the winter.
While the time of the first fruits of the harvest--celebrated at Lammas--has passed, and the earlier fruits and grains are in, the second harvest is the grand gathering of food for storage to get through the long, dark winter ahead. Apples! Pumpkins! Squash! All of the fruits and vegetables we associate with autumn are highlighted and revered at this time.
Throughout history, this time has been marked with a festival of the abundance and bounty of these crops, bringing friends, neighbors, and family together to support one another as the "lean" times approach. Though nowadays, in most areas around the world, we have grocery stores to get us through the "lean" times, but in earlier days, if tragedy or lack struck, a neighbor’s hospitality made the difference between surviving the winter or not. This coming together to share a feast was a way to bond the community and a reminder to look out for one another, while showing gratitude for what we have (a roof over our heads, food to eat, and our health).
It is the spirit of these Second Harvest traditions and rituals that we focus our attention for this year’s Mabon Sabbat Box. We have curated a selection of items that will help you connect, celebrate, and honor this point in the Wheel of the Year and provide ways to offer thankfulness and gratitude for full storehouses and abundance. The themes of Mabon--protection, gratitude, and prosperity, and the importance of home and hearth--are what we focused on when deciding what to curate and include in our Mabon collection this year.
What will you do to celebrate and revere this time of harvest? What rituals or practices do you celebrate to fend off the darkness of winter? We at Sabbat Box hope that you and your community come together to recognize the bounty that ensures survival during the darker days ahead.
• DISCOVER THE 2017 MABON SABBAT BOX - CLICK IMAGE BELOW •
Lammas/Lughnasadh 2017 Sabbat Box Theme Release • Kitchen Witchery 2
• KITCHEN WITCHERY •
“Food is magic…” -- Scott Cunningham, Wicca in the Kitchen
As the Wheel of the Year makes its turn, we leave behind the longest days of Litha and find ourselves looking at the coming of Lughnasadh, or Lammas. It is the time of year when the first crops of the harvest are ready to be harvested and the bountiful results of hard work sown literally come to fruition.
Lammas, also called Lughnasadh--celebrated usually on August 1st in the Northern Hemisphere (and February 1st in the Southern)--is the first of the three harvest festivals of the year, followed by Mabon and Samhain. It is one of the four cross-quarter Sabbats, standing between the fullness of summer solstice and the coming autumnal equinox. Historically the festival of Lammas is marked in the British growing season by of the beginning of the wheat harvest; the day itself stands a celebration for the ready crops that would help ancient people survive the cold, dark winter. In the Celtic tradition, this was also the time to honor and revere Lugh, the Celtic Sun King and God of Light. It is also the first mindful reflection that the light has already begun to wane and shorter days lie ahead. One of the most common traditions around Lammas is the baking of bread, which honors the gods with their fruits and feeds loved ones.
Since Lammas is all about the grains and first fruits of harvest, we are reminded of the most used form of spell craft: cooking and preparation of food. While many people don’t consider, for example, making dinner a spell, but the truth is cooking and baking are some of the fundamental daily rituals of Pagans. The work put into the kitchen, like the seeds sown in the field, can reap a harvest of sustenance, family bonding, celebration, and joy. What is a spell, anyway, but the carrying out of a recipe? In the deliberate intention we exercise over our stove, we are linked to ancient practitioners who worked over their own cauldrons, preparing not only the basic human requirement of sustenance, but also offering a sacrifice of love and toil to satisfy and appreciate their loved ones. There has been a long-held belief that feeding someone what you prepare instills your intent and will into them.
It brings to mind a story my grandmother told me about when she first met my grandfather. Being the young German girl who was smitten with the young American soldier, she knew the way to get his attention: she would bake a apfeltorte—or “apple cake”—for him. He loved it, and, in turn, eventually fell in love with her. The spell had been cast!
She performed all the components of what we as Pagans would identify as spell work: she had in mind her intent (she wanted my grandfather to notice her) powered by her will (she worked hard to make the best apple cake she’d ever made), which led to her will and intent manifested (her cake made my grandfather realize how much my grandmother cared for him, which led to love and marriage). All the elements of magickal working in its most basic, mundane terms.
This Sabbat Box we wanted to offer some items that will help the work we do as Pagans in the kitchen. From the earliest times, our kitchen or hearth has often been the center of what we consider “home.” We want to provide some things that can help you connect to that part of your magickal practice and maybe even bring love and togetherness to your hearth. In the modern age we may have mostly replaced cauldrons with Crock Pots, and wands with spoons, but whether you may simmer some arcane herbs on the stove for a protection spell, or make chocolate chip cookies for your coworkers to celebrate a birthday, the work we do in our kitchens can bring love and peace and light to our lives. And whatever form that may take. We can create smiles and laughter and joy from what we prepare in our kitchens...and if that isn’t magic, what is?
Litha/Midsummer 2017 Sabbat Box Theme Release • Herbal Witchery 0
• HERBAL WITCHERY •
“Plants bring us the love, the nourishing power of the sun, which is the same energy of all the stars of all light” – The Yoga of Herbs
As we travel past Beltane and the wheel of the year turns once more, you may notice that the days have grown longer, the sun’s rays shining warmer, and the fields, trees and flowers that blanketed the earth with a spectacle of color during the spring; are now happily basking in the golden hues of the midsummer sun.
Midsummer, also known as the summer solstice or Litha, is a sabbat that marks the longest day of the year, with the shortest night. It is a celebration of the sun, growth, increase, empowerment, fertility and the abundance of the Earth that comes with the season. After the summer solstice occurs, days will start to grow shorter and shorter, until we reach the Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year). The summer solstice tends to occur on or around June 21, and may vary from year to year.
With the summer solstice upon us, we look to the sky to honor the sun and all that it bestows us like our ancestors did. It is this very sun, our own special star, that provides for us as a people (as well as every living thing on this planet), the ability to survive and flourish. Our ancestors knew this, and a vast majority of them would take note of the celestial patterns of the cosmos, marking days like the solstices as holy days, and making them a time to honor the fiery body that brings with it warmth and the ability for life itself to carry on.
For this year’s Midsummer sabbat box, we have turned to plant kingdom for inspiration in order to curate your boxes…For everything that grows is something to be celebrated on Midsummer.
Though it is not one of the three harvest sabbats like the sabbats that follow it, Midsummer has long been associated with being a time when the abundance of the earth starts to become more prevalent, especially within the plant kingdom. Thanks to the longer days and the warmth of the sun, many types of plants will begin to mature around this time of year, and when harvested, the solar energy that helped each plant to grow, remains within them and will be transferred to us when we use them – in essence making a direct connection between what grows from the ground and the sun.
Whether being used to eat, to heal, to adorn, for spiritual purposes or to be made into something else, since the dawn of time, we as a people have turned to the flowers and herbs of the plant kingdom for our every need. And within the practice of modern Paganism and witchcraft today, plants and herbs play one of the most integral roles in our spiritual practice. Many of our spiritual tools are made from them (incense, oils, candles), and we incorporate them into sacred rites and ceremony for the correspondences they hold. They even adorn our sacred space -- just as they were originally used throughout time.
As shamans in tribes of old, we would seek to commune with the spirit of different plants, in effort to obtain their healing wisdom. As cunning-folk living out of sight, amongst the wood, if townspeople fell ill, they would petition us to concoct an herbal remedy for the ailment they faced. And as modern day mystics and followers of the magickal arts, we implement the use of herbs in our spiritual practice to aid in our pursuits of setting forth our intention and manifesting the changes we desire.
The history, legend, and lore of herbalism runs deep within the various practices of Witchcraft and modern Paganism. For this year’s Midsummer Sabbat Box, we wanted to offer an array of products that reflected some of the different ways one is able to implement herbs and herbalism into your spiritual practice, while also learning more about herbal witchery as a whole. With this box, we also hope that you will discover the versatility and magick of herbs and herbal witchery, while implementing new herbal tools into your practice that you may not have thought to use before.
• INTERESTED IN HERBALISM? TAKE A CLASS AT THE HERBAL ACADEMY •
Have you always wanted to learn more about herbs and herbalism, or even become an herbalist? Have you wanted to become more acquainted with herbs to better assist your spiritual practice? Visit The Herbal Academy by clicking the banner below and find a course that suits you best!