Wiccan Rituals – Is Everyone Naked?
I’m asked all the time to explain what Wiccans do in their rituals, and I’m pretty sure that most of them are waiting for me to describe some sort of devil worshipping orgy. But there is no talking to demons, no sacrifices, and personally I’ve never seen an orgy when Wiccan’s get together, and no one is naked…usually. It’s pretty disappointing to hear for those that were expecting the Hollywood version, but the truth is that most Wiccan rituals are very spiritual as well as quite personal.
Wiccan rituals are numerous and not all of them are ones that can be planned for on the calendar. Celebrating births, deaths, graduations, marriage, and divorce, Wiccan rituals honour all phases of life as well as more constant occurrences such as the Moon’s phases and the Earth’s seasons. Some celebrations are large while some are entirely private, but there are plenty of them, guaranteeing that a practicing Wiccan can always find a way to keep busy.
There are three main types of Wiccan rituals; Esbats, Sabbats, and Rites of Passage. These special days are times to pay respect to the God and Goddess, but each one is not a necessary part of Wiccan life. In fact you’d be extremely busy if you were to fill your calendar with every possible ritual; there are a total of 21 Esbats and Sabbats combined plus an infinite number of possible Rites of Passages depending on how dramatic your life is.
Don’t let your imagine run away with you when I tell you that an Esbat celebrates the full moon. It may bring to mind images of naked witches chanting at the moon, but rest assured going sky clad isn’t the norm, though we’ve known some that will use any excuse to shed their clothes.
To Wiccans the full moon represents the Goddess at the full height of her power and it’s believed that her magick is stronger on days with a full moon than any other day of the month. There are 13 full moons each year and that means a potential 13 Esbat rituals.
For those not familiar with the Wiccan religion the most well known Sabbat is Samhain and this is the closest you’ll get to the Hollywood version of witches gathered in a circle calling to demons. It occurs on October 31st and the shared date with Halloween is no coincidence; Samhain marks the end of summer and is a special time when the veil between worlds is lifted. Rituals performed at this time generally center around communicating with departed loved ones and ancestors as well as studying the dark mysteries.
Samhain is just one of eight special Sabbat days, often marked by a solstice, equinox, or end of season. The rituals at a Sabbat center on blessings and giving thanks, to celebrate new beginnings, family, and friends and are often celebrated in large groups.
Rites of Passage
Got a new job, fired, dumped, graduated, completed rehab, retiring? If you’re a Wiccan then those might be a great excuse to perform a Rite of Passage ceremony. This personal ceremony is often a solitary ritual though it can be done within a group, and usually implores the God and Goddess for guidance and is a time to count your blessings.