A Beginner’s Guide To Seasonal Manifesting With The Wheel Of The Year (The 8 Sabbats Of Witches)
Are you a manifestation enthusiast who’s curious if there are any aspects of the witchcraft path that could benefit you?
Or are you a beginner witch wondering where to begin your magickal journey?
Or perhaps you’ve been dabbling in the Craft a little (or a lot!) and you’re looking to bridge the gap between your spiritual practice and the goals you have for your real life?
I’ve been in all three of those places in my now 7+ years of exploring the magickal path, and in this blog post, I’m going to be sharing my most groundbreaking tips on how to plant, tend and harvest your desires!
Curious how you can simplify your manifestation practice and make this next year your most magickal year yet?
Lets dive right in!
1. The Wheel Of The Year Explained…
So first things first, what even is the Witch’s Calendar?
In it’s most basic form, the Wheel Of The Year is simply the solstices and equinoxes. There are two of each.
The Solstices And Equinoxes:
The Winter Solstice – The shortest day and longest night of the year, taking place around December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, and June 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Spring Equinox – Halfway between the Winter and Summer solstices, when the hours of daylight and the hours of darkness are equal. Here, the days begin to grow longer than the nights. It takes place around March 21 in the Northern Hemisphere and September 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Summer Solstice – The longest day and shortest night of the year, taking place around June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere and December 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Autumn Equinox – Another time of equal day and night hours, when the nights begin to grow longer than the days. It takes place around September 21 in the Northern Hemisphere and March 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.
When you put those onto a circular calendar diagram, you get this:
Pretty much every ancient culture around the world has incorporated the recognition of these seasonal checkpoints into their spirituality and culture in some way.
This is because in the ancient world, people didn’t have modern heating and cooling systems, or freezers for their food. So their survival was entirely dependent on planning to plant, tend, harvest and preserve their resources each year.
Naturally, this directly influenced their spiritual beliefs and practices, because at the end of the day, all spirituality originates from our human need to feel supported by our environment.
If you’re curious to discover if your spiritual practice resonates with the seasons, try exploring the traditions associated with the solstices and equinoxes in the area where you live.
I’ve lived in New York my whole life, so I resonate with the Northern Hemisphere dates very strongly.
2. So Why Are There Now 8 Sabbats Of The Witches?
You may have noticed that modern witches tend to celebrate eight times of the year rather than just the four explained above.
This is because the Celtic Neo-Pagan religion of Wicca has influenced a lot of the customs of modern day witchcraft. It’s Celtic Neo-Paganism that brought the “cross-quarter” celebrations into the mix.
Cross-quarters are simply the halfway marks between a solstice and an equinox.
It’s believed that the ancient Celts celebrated these in-between times because they represented the high point of each season, whereas the solstices and equinoxes marked the beginning of each season.
The Celtic Cross-Quarters:
Imbolc – the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, celebrated around February 1.
Beltane – the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, celebrated around May 1.
Lughnasadh – the halfway point between the Summer Solstice, and the Autumn Equinox celebrated around August 1.
Samhain – the halfway point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, celebrated around November 1.
It’s a common misconception that “witch” and “Wiccan” mean the same thing, but this is far from the truth.
A “witch” is simply a person who works with their intuition and the forces of nature to create intentional changes in their life. Even though they’re not all traditionally called “witches,” these kinds of people have existed in every time, place and culture.
Bonus Tip: Another common misconception is that Wicca is an ancient religion. In fact, Wicca was invented in the 20th century by Gerald Gardener, who gathered ideas about ancient Celtic culture and mushed them together into a re-imagined version of what he believed his ancestors may have done. People like Gardener fought to have witchcraft legalized by having Wicca recognized as a legitimate religion that could be protected by law via “freedom of religion.”
3. Why Do Some Witches Celebrate The Celtic Pagan Sabbats Even If They’re Not Wiccan?
Well, there are a lot of different reasons why a witch might choose to celebrate the cross-quarters…
In the Western-Influenced world, many people who’s ancestral customs were taken away through cultural conditioning have rediscovered witchcraft through being introduced to Wicca in the 20th century.
And likewise, people who do consider themselves Wiccan also borrow aspects of other culture’s magick, making the religion attractive to colonized peoples who’s ancestral cultures have been incorporated into Wicca.
So what we have now are Wiccans who practice witchcraft traditions from all over the world, as well as witches who are not part of the Wicca religion who have adopted Wiccan traditions into their practice.
I am not Wiccan, but I do incorporate all 8 seasons, because to me it’s just such a darn good idea!
By remembering to turn to Wheel Of The Year for wisdom eight times a year, rather than just four, it’s helpful in staying closer tuned into the energies of nature. And since my path is often about using seasonal checkpoints as opportunities to plan out the “planting, tending and harvesting” of my goals and manifestations, why not check in as often as possible?
Another reason so many witches today use all eight seasons is that in modern society, it happens to be some of the cross-quarter festivals that survived through the years of Christian suppression of the “old ways.” Therefore, many of us already are accustomed to attuning to the themes of those holidays like Halloween, which is a Christianized (and later secularized) version of Samhain.
Wondering if it makes sense for you to celebrate the cross-quarters?
Admittedly, when I first started my Wheel Of The Year journey, I wasn’t sure how to connect to the cross-quarters, because I’m mostly African American, and felt a bit odd celebrating in the traditional Celtic Neo-Pagan ways.
A lot of it didn’t seem relateable or necessarily appropriate… But parts of it rang very true for me, so I decided to further explore those parts in my own natural way, and to respectfully honor and leave behind the rest.
Interestingly enough, a DNA ancestry test years later showed that my family is actually 36% European, and possibly from Celtic origins. So maybe on an energetic level, that’s part of the reason I felt so deeply drawn to the Wheel Of The Year…
… But that’s neither here nor there!
It’s my honest belief that all Earthlings, regardless of where your traceable DNA came from, are naturally attuned to the cycles of the seasons. It’s a Universal Law that applies to everyone in some way, shape or form.
It’s for these reasons that I personally choose to use more open-ended names for the cross-quarters rather than the Celtic names:
Imbolc – “February’s Eve”
Beltane – “May’s Eve”
Lughnasadh – “August’s Eve”
Samhain – “November’s Eve”
Witches and pagans from all walks of life celebrate various combinations of the “sabbats,” and you can feel into what works for you on your unique, authentic path.
4. How Can Observing The Witches Calendar Benefit You?
So, you might be thinking, “that’s all super fascinating… but what do I DO with that information?”
Well, I’m so glad you asked!
This is where my passion and expertise as a witch really comes into play!
Once upon a time, I was a wandering spiritual seeker with a strong intuition but no real sense of direction in life. I had been dabbling in things like meditation for inner peace, tarot cards to read the energy of a situation, the law of attraction to manifest a more fulfilling life, and even moon phases to track my energy and manifestations…
But for some reason, none of that really felt “complete,” on its own. I found the moon phases hard to keep up with in my busy life, and I didn’t know why I was still experiencing mood swings and inconsistency in my manifestation efforts.
I was feeling like I was generally headed in the right direction, but was still having a really hard time feeling centered, grounded and empowered…
Until one busy summer day when I noticed a changing leaf on the tree outside my office window, and it occurred to me that I’d been so busy trying to learn and manifest “all the things” that I’d barely been honoring the passing of the seasons, which had always made me feel intuitively connected, even as a child.
I looked at the calendar and saw the small print “Autumn Equinox.” And almost as if recalling a piece of deep truth that had always been there hiding in the background, I remembered that the concept of solstices and equinoxes had always inspired me for some reason. I decided to search online “what is the spiritual significance of the Autumn Equinox.”
And that led to articles about the Wheel Of The Year, which became my obsession instantly! I began reading, watching and listening to everything I could find on the subject, and I discovered that some witches based their entire spiritual practice around the seasonal checkpoints.
Even though I was out of my element with some of the Celtic religious beliefs I was reading about, I felt so at home with the concept of seasonal living and connecting to nature in a cyclical way.
There weren’t many resources on it at the time (or even today, that I’ve found) but the aspect of the Wheel Of The Year that spoke to my soul the most was the idea of the “plant, tend, harvest, compost” cycle as it pertains to our manifestation journey.
Having entered the witchy space at a time in my life when I was carving out new paths for myself in everything from spirituality to relationships to career options, I needed a sense of structure that I could count on and plan my life around. The Wheel provided that for me, and I began to feel more stable and grounded, and noticed that I was manifesting my goals with a lot more consistency.
Use Your Phone’s Calendar App!
If you’re looking for a tangible way to connect with the energies of the seasons in your manifestation journey, start by marking the dates of the seasonal checkpoints in your calendar with an alarm or reminder. You can begin your seasonal practice by simply checking in with your thoughts, feelings and observations of your life. These “sabbats” can also be the perfect times to celebrate what you’ve manifested thus far, and set new intentions for the seasons ahead.
5. How To Celebrate The Witchy Holidays
These days, there are a lot more online resources sharing about how a “solitary practitioner” (or a witch without a group/coven to celebrate with) can connect with the Wheel Of The Year alone.
But back in the day, I had to use just my own intuition and a few borrowed ideas here and there to discover how the observation of these checkpoints really fit into my life and spiritual practice.
Even today, it’s easy to find YouTube videos and TikToks about what colors to decorate with, what foods to cook, and what gods and goddesses to represent on your altar… but it’s still often unclear how any of those fun little practices can actually help you to improve your everyday life and achieve your greater goals.
The fact is, a witch (or spiritual person in general) doesn’t have to even believe in gods and goddesses or have an altar to harness the healing and creative powers of the seasonal energies. You don’t even have to know the history or traditions that are typically associated with ancient paganism to harmonize your life with the cycles of nature.
To me, a “witch” is someone who listens to their intuition about how to connect with the natural cycles of the Universe as they create their desired reality with the elements that are available to them in this life. I believe that “magick” is having the power to write your own story, and it’s for this reason that I’ve created a fun and practical system for manifesting my ideal lifestyle through seasonal living.
Seek Answers From Within
Wondering how to celebrate each season? Start by asking yourself what each season means to you now. What memories, feelings and ideas come up when you think about each time of the year? Chances are, you already have subtle “rituals” or “traditions” that you naturally gravitate to.
Like, when I was a child, I would always look for the first Autumn leaf, and collect leaves to press in my journals. Or in the early Winter I’d anxiously wait for the first snowflake to fall, and would celebrate by cutting out paper snowflakes to decorate my room with to mark the beginning of the season.
These kinds of little “rituals” as well as our dominant memories and feelings about seasons can tell us a lot about who we are, what we desire and how to honor our evolving journey.
6. How To Start A Grimoire Or Book Of Shadows Based On The Witch’s Calendar
This is where it gets real!
When I first started my “year and a day journey,” I began by taking notes in a journal about interesting things I was learning online about the seasonal energies. And the second year, I used those notes to find three main themes of each season, and turned those into journal prompts that I could use to discover more about myself as I continued to release old toxic patterns in my life and began replacing them with healthier, more fulfilling ones.
And when I looked at these seasonal themes all together, I realized they perfectly illustrated this “plant, tend, harvest, and compost” cycle over the span of each year:
Winter Solstice: Pausing to process the events of the past year, and taking a rest to receive the blessings you’ve manifested and give yourself a clean slate for the new year.
February’s Eve: Getting into a self care routine or establishing a daily ritual that consistently connects you with your desires, values and intentions for the year.
Spring Equinox: Getting more clear on what you desire to create, making any announcements or declarations about them, and beginning to make more tangible plans.
May’s Eve: Time to start taking more tangible action on your goals and intentions, and beginning to make it a bigger, more “real” part of your lifestyle.
Summer Solstice: Celebrating your courage for the lifestyle shifts you’ve made thus far, and giving yourself a big pat on the back!
August’s Eve: Time to check in on where you’re at with your goals, and asking what needs to shift as the second half of the year is well underway. Possibly re-routing to be more aligned with your intentions.
Autumn Equinox: A time to acknowledge and be grateful for what results you’ve created thus far, and to start deciding how these manifestations can be set up to continue supporting you even better going forward.
November’s Eve: Time to do a sort of “final” round-up of how the year went, and most importantly, to release yourself from any unaligned commitments, toxic coping patterns or stale belief systems you may have picked up along the way.
Grab Your Printable 2021 – 2022 Sabbats Planner!
I’ve created a modern witch’s calendar grimoire for you! Because journaling through the year has helped me achieve so many of my goals for my career, finances, emotional healing and relationships, I’ve decided to turn my journal prompts into gorgeous pages that you can download and print out to use for yourself!
If you’re witchy or witchy-curious, chances are you’ve asked, what is a book of shadows or grimoire?, or tried to figure out how to create one for yourself. It can actually be quite daunting, even for the craftiest of us!
When I first started my path, I felt like I “should” have a witchy journal since journaling is such a natural part of my lifestyle, but I had no idea where to start or what to put in the book that would actually be relevant to my real life. And I was anxious about the possibility of drawing out a lovely page layout and then messing it up!
That’s why I eventually discovered that I could design printable layouts and use them to record my authentic thoughts, feelings, and experiences as I explored the magickal path… And I could ball it up and print a new one if I ever needed to!
And now, I’m inviting you to create a fun journal of your own using my prompts and layouts!
Want to try this set out for free? Just drop your email address at this link and I’ll send a “Manifesting With the Wheel Of The Year Cheat Sheet” to you right away! Or you can purchase the full printable journaling kit here.
So lets recap what we explored together:
1. The “Wheel Of The Year” is the calendar witches use to connect with the energies of the seasons.
2. The popular use of the 8-sabbat calendar by modern witches is a combination of the solstices, the equinoxes and the Celtic-inspired cross-quarter celebrations, which are the high points of the four seasons.
3. You don’t have to be Wiccan or of Celtic ancestry to benefit from living a seasonal lifestyle. It’s a natural law that applies to all creatures.
4. The themes of the seasons can be used to help you plant, tend, and harvest your intentions, and “compost” or recycle any stale vibes for a fresh start the next year.
5. You don’t have to celebrate the sabbats in any prescribed way. The seasonal energies can be most empowering to work with when you use them to better understand who you already are and whom you wish to become.
So, what inspired you most about the ideas we talked about?
Are you a new witch or witchy-curious getting ready to embark on your seasonal journey?
Or are you a seasoned witch about to supercharge your year with these simplified manifesting tips?
I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments! And I’d love to know what you think of these free journal pages I created for you!