Edain McCoy - The Sabbats: A Witch's Approach to Living the Old Ways

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Celebrate the Sabbats - Wiccan and Pagan Seasonal Holidays, Solitary and Group Rituals

Feb 28, 2001 (Updated Nov 6, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:lots of great information and activities to celebrate the seasons

Cons:dry at times, while usable by solitaries, geared mainly to family or group use

The Bottom Line: A great way to expose yourself to the rich folklore and symbolism associated with the seasonal changes of the year.

I have been a follower of the Wiccan religion for 13 years. Wicca honors the Divine as God and Goddess, and celebrates the cycles of nature, seen in the changing seasons and the phases of the moon.

Pick up any book on Wicca and you find information on the seasonal holidays, known as Sabbats. However, this information is usually limited to one chapter, at best.

Edain McCoy has changed that with this book. Here you can find over 300 pages devoted solely to these seasonal celebrations.

The book is divided into 3 sections:

The Sabbats Themselves

First we learn about how seasonal celebrations as common occurrences worldwide. Then she discusses the basic tools of ritual, and how rituals plays an important role in our lives.

Edain then takes us through the wheel of the year:

October 31 - known as Samhain
The Winter Solstice - known as Yule
February 2 - known as Imbolc
The Spring Equinox - known as Ostara
May 1 - known as Beltane
The Summer Solstice - known as Litha
August 1 - known as Lughnasadh
The Fall Equinox - known as Mabon

For each Sabbat we exposed to:

- tidbits of history
- recipes
- folklore connected to the day
- activities
- crafts

Examples of what you may learn:

- Victorian flower symbolism
- color associations for dying Easter eggs
- recipes for mead and blackberry wine


In this section we are given 2 sets of rituals for use with a group, or when celebrating alone.

The group rituals are beautiful, often eloquent, but simple to follow along with. Everything is fully explained as you go along, so if this is the first book on ritual you’ve read, you will still be able to understand what’s going on. A nice touch is that each ritual includes a song to be sung, giving full lyrics and sheet music.

The solitary rites are more simplistic, but no less lovely or moving.


In this section we find appendices to help us find information quickly, without having the thumb through the entire text.

- steps for ritual construction
- glossary of potentially unfamiliar terms
- merchants guide to help you find occult items or Pagan periodicals
- instructions for making “advent-style” Sabbat calendars
- folkloric association chart for all of the Sabbats
- even a cross-stitch guide

The review

This is not a book to read straight through, as it tends to get dry in places. But taken a chapter, a Sabbat, at a time it is an enjoyable and informative read.

As a reference guide to keep on your bookshelf it is invaluable to both the novice and experienced Witch.

Overall, I have to say that it is well worth the purchase price, and I would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone in the Pagan community wanting to know more about the holidays they celebrate.

Recommend this product? Yes

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