Hold an Esbat Rite - Celebrate the Full Moon

Silhouette of woman on rocky coastline, arms raised in celebration of full moon

YouraPechkin/Vetta/Getty Images

What Is an Esbat?

An Esbat is a Wiccan meeting held each month at the time of the full moon. This is usually the time for initiation ceremonies or healing magic to be done, as opposed to a Sabbat (holiday) celebration.

So, what's special about an Esbat? Well, it's a good way to mark the thirteen lunar months that make up a calendar year. Author Edain McCoy says, over at Llewellyn, "The full moon esbat tends to be a ribald, frenetic celebration—suitable for the “lunatics” who were once believed to display their insanity under the light of the full moon. Magick for all manner of needs is enacted during esbat rituals, both in group settings and by solitary practitioners. Spells for increase or gain are usually done during the waxing phases, and spells for decrease or loss are performed during the waning period. The full moon is used for spells for wholeness, children and mothers, families, psychic enhancement, and some love spells."

Celebrating the Esbat With Ritual

In addition to the eight Sabbats observed every year, many Pagans celebrate a regular Esbat, in which magic is performed and the gods and goddesses of the tradition are honored. 

Most covens and groups meet at least once a month and time this ceremony so it coincides with the full moon. The word Esbat is of French origin, from s'esbattre, which loosely translates to "frolic joyfully." In addition to joyful frolicking, this is a time to commune with the gods of your tradition. In some groups, the Esbat rite is followed by a Cakes and Ale ceremony. You may also wish to tie this in to Drawing Down the Moon.

First, if your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so at this time. If you don't normally cast a circle, at least take the time to ritually purify the area by smudging or asperging. This will establish the space as sacred. You'll need a bowl of water and a moon candle for the altar. This is traditionally a white, unscented pillar-style candle. You can decorate the moon candle with sigils or inscriptions etched with a hot knife. Adorn your altar with lunar symbols—mirrors, silver ribbons, white crystals. Feel free to substitute the names and attributes of the deities of your path in this incantation.

Turn to the altar, and hold your arms open wide. Tilt your head so that your face is skyward—after all, this is a celebration honoring the full moon. Say:

Goddess of the moon, queen of the night,
keeper of women's mysteries, mistress of the tides,
you who are ever changing and yet always constant,
I ask that you guide me with your wisdom,
help me grow with your knowledge,
and hold me in your arms.

At this time, light the moon candle, and take a moment to reflect upon the gifts you have in your life.

Hold the bowl of water to the sky. Say:

The moon is the symbol of the mother,
and she watches over us day and night.
She brings the changing tide, the shifting night,
the flow that changes women's bodies,
and the passion of lovers to their beloved.
Her wisdom is great and all-knowing,
and we honor her tonight.
Keep your watchful eyes upon us, great mother,
until the cycle returns once more,
and bring us to the next full moon,
in your love and light.

Take a few moments to think about the things in your life which have changed in the past moon cycle. Are there people who have come into your world that you're thankful for? Have you ended a toxic relationship? Have you experienced good fortune at work? Meditate on all the things you have to be thankful for, as well as the things you would like to see change for you by the next full moon. When you are ready, close the circle and end the ritual. If you choose, you can move into healing rites or magical workings, or a Cakes & Ale ceremony.

Tip: Use the moon water over the next month for watering plants, making offerings, or doing spellwork.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Wigington, Patti. "Hold an Esbat Rite - Celebrate the Full Moon." Learn Religions, Apr. 5, 2023, learnreligions.com/esbat-rite-celebrate-the-full-moon-2562864. Wigington, Patti. (2023, April 5). Hold an Esbat Rite - Celebrate the Full Moon. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/esbat-rite-celebrate-the-full-moon-2562864 Wigington, Patti. "Hold an Esbat Rite - Celebrate the Full Moon." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/esbat-rite-celebrate-the-full-moon-2562864 (accessed May 29, 2023).