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How To Hold an Esbat Rite - Celebrate the Full Moon

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How To Hold an Esbat Rite - Celebrate the Full Moon

Many modern Wiccans and Pagans celebrate the full moon with an Esbat ritual.

Image (c) 2007 Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

In addition to the eight Sabbats observed every year, most modern Wiccans and Pagans celebrate a regular Esbat, in which magic is performed and the gods and goddesses of the tradition are honored. Most covens and groups meet at least once a month, and time this ceremony so it coincides with the full moon. The word Esbat is of French origin, from s'esbattre, which loosely translates to "frolic joyfully." In addition to frolicking, this is a time to commune with the gods of your tradition. In some groups, the Esbat rite is followed by a Cakes and Ale ceremony. You may also wish to tie this in to Drawing Down the Moon.

First, if your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so at this time. If you don't normally cast a circle, at least take the time to ritually purify the area by smudging or asperging. This will establish the space as sacred. You'll need a bowl of water and a moon candle for the altar. This is traditionally a white unscented pillar-style candle. You can decorate the moon candle with sigils or inscriptions etched with a hot knife. Adorn your altar with lunar symbols -- mirrors, silver ribbons, white crystals. Feel free to substitute the names and attributes of the deities of your path in this incantation.

Turn to the altar, and hold your arms open wide. Tilt your head so that your face is skyward -- after all, this is a celebration honoring the full moon. Say:

Goddess of the moon, queen of the night,
keeper of women's mysteries, mistress of the tides,
you who are ever changing and yet always constant,
I ask that you guide me with your wisdom,
help me grow with your knowledge,
and hold me in your arms.


At this time, light the moon candle, and take a moment to reflect upon the gifts you have in your life.

Hold the bowl of water to the sky. Say:

The moon is the symbol of the mother,
and she watches over us day and night.
She brings the changing tide, the shifting night,
the flow that changes women's bodies,
and the passion of lovers to their beloved.
Her wisdom is great and all-knowing,
and we honor her tonight.
Keep your watchful eyes upon us, great mother,
until the cycle returns once more,
and bring us to the next full moon,
in your love and light.

Take a few moments to think about the things in your life which have changed in the past moon cycle. Are there people who have come into your world that you're thankful for? Have you ended a toxic relationship? Have you experienced good fortune at work? Meditate on all the things you have to be thankful for, as well as the things you would like to see change for you by the next full moon. When you are ready, close the circle and end the ritual. If you choose, you can move into healing rites or magical workings, or a Cakes & Ale ceremony.

Tips:

Use the moon water over the next month for watering plants, making offerings, or doing spellwork.

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