What is an Esbat?

You’re probably aware of sabbats, eight days throughout the year that witches and pagans celebrate that mark the turn of the seasons. Well, today we’re going to introduce you to their mystical partner, the esbats.

An esbat is a sacred gathering or ritual to honour the phases of the moon – mostly new or full. Witches use this time to connect with the lunar energies, honour the moon and her ever-changing phases, and do some witchcraft. The term “esbat” is derived from the Old French word “s’esbattre,” meaning “to frolic” or “revel.” To understand esbats, let’s briefly delve into the significance of the moon’s phases in witchcraft. The moon cycles through eight main phases:

New Moon: The moon is barely visible, representing new beginnings and setting intentions.

Waxing Crescent: The moon begins to grow, symbolizing growth and development.

First Quarter (Waxing Half-Moon): Half of the moon is illuminated, signifying challenges and decisions.

Waxing Gibbous: Most of the moon is visible, indicating refinement and perseverance.

Full Moon: The entire moon is illuminated, embodying abundance, power, and the peak of energy.

Waning Gibbous: Similar to the Waxing Gibbous (just reversed!), this phase represents release and gratitude.

Third Quarter (Waning Half-Moon): Half of the moon is visible, encouraging forgiveness and introspection.

Waning Crescent: A small sliver of the moon is visible, representing rest and preparation for a new cycle.

While it’s more common to hear about new moon or full moon rituals when speaking of esbats, all can be celebrated for their unique cosmic energies.

So what happens during an esbat? 

Esbats, in groups or as solitary practitioners, are usually spent invoking the energies of the moon and involve some music, feasting, or dancing. You can connect with the lunar energies for consecrations, divination, meditation and much more! As always do what feels right for your esbat, but make it a sacred event.

For witches, the moon serves as a potent source of inspiration, guidance, and power. During esbats, witches embrace the lunar energy to align themselves with the natural rhythms of the universe. By doing so, they tap into the moon’s transformative energy and strengthen their magical workings.

Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or new to witchcraft, participating in an esbat can deepen your connection to nature, the cosmos, and your own spirituality.

Jade is a shadow worker and lunar witch, an experienced witchcraft facilitator, and hosts the 8-week High Priestess course: Dedicant.