Did you know that the observance of the 'New Year' was once dictated by the outbreak of Spring which 'seemingly' happened to coincide with the moment the Sun crossed the celestial equator from south to north? For many cultures, the Spring Equinox is the start of a new year; a fresh start; a new beginning.
The advent of two new members joining our small congregation allowed us to experience the newness of a sabbat again. The nervousness, the ceaseless smiles, the frenzied excitation... it hearkened us back to our own first times with this new group. Sometimes the emotional tension is not displayed so readily, which is why we love being able to read the journal experiences our members are required to write after every sabbat.
The newness of the season, the new students, the sightings of new gorgeous growth and the abundance of fauna in our desert gladdened our many hearts. Our ring was set up quickly and deftly and the members were able to relax and commune before the ritual began. Many explored the sights, nooks, and crannies of our sabbat site. Some napped, some were swept up with family and friend fellowships, and others enjoyed the quietness of the escape from the Las Vegas urban landscape.
As the sun set, the announcement of the approach of our High Priestess Lady Joyanna and High Priest Lord Tanys rang through the air starting the ceremony. Lady Ravenfeather swept the ring and Lady Nashoba and Lord Tanys took their places as the leaders of the ritual. Everyone gave their blessings for the potted seeds and a new, fresh poem from Lady Sistterwolf debuted. After the magical ring was taken down, we crowned Lady Ravenfeather as the Spring Queen and were delighted with all the attending males giving her the five-fold kiss to honor her. We ate the decorated eggs and drank the wondrous mead in celebration. After ring festivities graced us with a haunting song, a fire dance, poetry, stories, and jokes lending to another exceptional sabbat celebrated.
A note about sacrifice...
The High Priestess for our sabbat spent a few weeks creating a wheel of the year for her sabbat altar. It was remarkable and everyone took their time in admiring it.
At sabbat's end, Lady Nashoba placed the piece into the holy fire and gave it to the Gods. There was a bit of shock from some of our younger (and older) members.
The concept of sacrifice is something we cover during our sabbat chapters for there are many. The Bridhe's Bed at Imbolg, the Maypole and flower crown at Bealtaine, the best (first) fruits at harvest, etc.
On a personal note, this kind of offering is my favorite: a hand wrought gift with the deities in mind as they are being made.
The Inner Circle Sanctuary is a school for traditional style Wicca and holds eight sabbat festivals every year.