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.
Meaning of the word "Esbat"
The word "esbat" derives from a Greek word, "estrus", meaning "of the month."
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.
Black is the total absence of color. Use black robes when performing rituals of banishment.
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.
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.
- 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.
Pentagrams are the essential symbol of Wicca. Place one in the center of your altar. I have this tile on my own altar. It's a nice size -- big enough to be seen but small enough to leave room for other elements of the altar.
Your altar should be covered by an altar cloth. Buy or make one that uses natural fabric.
This section will be expanded as I update the lens. Stay tuned for expanded information.
Photo by: Monika Weise
- Light candles and incense.
- Cleanse your ritual space.
- Cast your circle.
- Invite the Four Quarters.
- Bless the water and salt. Also bless the wine and cakes if you use them. Finally, bless any tools that need blessing.
- Invoke the Goddess.
- Cast spells.
- Perform the wine and cakes ritual.
- Release the Four Quarters.
- Express appreciation.
- Close the circle.
More Esbat Items for Your Altar
Use your chalice for the wine and cakes ceremony. I use water instead of wine -- use whatever drink you wish.
Cast your ritual circle with your athame. You will also use this ceremonial knife to bless items on your altar.
An Invocation for Esbat
Goddess within and Goddess without,
White lady of the night,
Bless your servant in her work,
And lead us into light.
Bless the candles, bless the bell,
Bless the cauldron and bless this spell.
Teach us now
What love can do.
And lead us down the Path to You.
Â© 2013 by Monika Weise
Learn More About Esbat - Shine some light on the full moon rituals
I rely on this book to guide my rituals. Scott Cunningham is a wonderful writer. Both the beginner and the experienced practitioner will benefit from this book.
Novices will find outlines to rituals in this book. Use it as a jumping off point to craft your own rituals.