Like the sabbats, the esbats remind us of the infinite cycle of life. But whereas the sabbats are an outward connection aligned with the sun, the esbats are more intimately focused on the cycle of the moon, with the power of Nature brought inward.
The dark esbat, held at the time of the new moon, marks the start of a lunar cycle. In the pure darkness of the night, we are more introspective while transitioning from what was to what will be. We must use the power within ourselves to sustain the moon through the darkness so it may continue to light our path through Nature.
The light esbats are held under full moons when the light of Sky shines from sun to moon and reflects down upon Orb. Through this transference, we can draw the power of Nature into us. With the moon at the zenith of its brightness, we share in its light, using it to charge our lives and our magickal works.
The times between the new and full moons are attuned to constructive or destructive magick, depending on the phase.
Cold Moon - First of winter
Air; Black, silver, white
The cold of winter is upon us as we try to stay warm during the long nights of darkness. Our minds and bodies move a bit slowly, but we stay focused on seeking protection from the cold, both physically and spiritually. We can use this time of hibernation to become more in tune with ourselves, honing our thoughts and emotions.
Restless Moon - Second of winter
Fire; Blue, purple
The days are still cold, and cabin fever may be setting in as we grow tired of being cooped up indoors. There's a part of us that's eager for just a bit of warmth to arrive. We need only hold on for a few more weeks though. While we wait, we can begin planning for the coming seasons, figuring out what to build upon from last year and what we want to accomplish this year.
Waking Moon - Last of winter
Water; Green, yellow
Nature is beginning to thaw a bit, and new life is on the verge of seeding beneath the ground. This is the season of awakening, when the hibernation will end, and we will soon be able to venture out and about again. As Nature starts preparing for the new growing season, we get to enjoy the freshness all around.
Storm Moon - First of spring
Earth; Blue, green
The storms are arriving to bring nourishment to the ground and support the rapid growth of Nature. We can smell the blossoms in the air as the buds and blooms are about to pop open. Just as the birds are building their new nests, we're finally able to set our plans for the year in motion, to make all of our dreams come true.
Flower Moon - Second of spring
Air; Green, pink, red
The sun has been warming the ground, and with Nature's flowers in bloom, it's time to get our hands dirty! The land is nourished and ready for us to plant our gardens. While tending to the sprouting of our crops, we can also focus on all of the things that we want to grow in our lives. In addition, there is passion in the air, and we get to enjoy more time with the people we care about most.
Sun Moon - Last of spring
Fire; Gold, red, yellow
The light has taken over as the long days will reach their peak, a far cry from the darkness of winter. We're happily spending more time outdoors, playing under the sun, reinforcing bonds with family and friends, and forging new connections. Our plans for the year are firmly in motion; now we must tend to them, but also remain vigilant to the maintenance and enjoyment of what we already have.
Heat Moon - First of summer
Water; Blue, red, silver
As the heat intensifies, we occasionally seek comfort from the blazing sun in the cooler shade. Nature is following its due course, and we must let it go as it may. While we wait, we seek out a last bit of summer fun knowing that hard work lies ahead.
Harvest Moon - Second of summer
Earth; Blue, orange, yellow
The playtime of summer starts to wane as the harvest season begins. Keeping our strength up becomes important, both physically and spiritually, so that we can perform the work to be done. Our plans are coming to fruition, so we must decide what we can give away to make room. Sometimes present sacrifices can bring about future benefit.
Mature Moon - Last of summer
Air; Brown, orange
The harvest has been in full swing and soon we will be gathering the final crops. The warmth of the sun is starting to subside as the ground grows tired and moves toward dormancy. The first cool nights remind us to clear the land and clean our homes, physically and emotionally, preparing for the coming cold.
Blood Moon - First of autumn
Fire; Black, brown, purple
The sunlight is fading, and the night is starting to take over once again, making the moon more noticeable. The energy shift is palpable as Nature is retreating and the growth that once was around us is now in decay. However, there is no sadness, only gratitude. Through divination, we can seek a final communion with those who are leaving or moving on.
Quiet Moon - Second of autumn
Water; Blue, gray, orange
Nature has fallen asleep, and we know it is time to prepare for our own rest. This is not a time of grief, but rather an opportunity for remembrance of what has passed and to give gratitude for what we still have. By grounding and centering our minds and bodies, we can release whatever we don't need or want, bringing comfort and peace.
Night Moon - Last of autumn
Earth; Black, pink, white
The darkness is taking charge, culminating into the longest night of the year. This allows us an opportunity to rest and recuperate, and we're filled with many dreams. The year is ending, but we don't fear it, since we know a new year is coming. Instead, we celebrate what we have received, sharing our good fortune with others, especially family and friends.
In general, each season will have three moons. However, because the solar and lunar calendars do not perfectly align, there will be times when a season sees four moons. When this happens, the third moon is referred to as a Blue Moon.
This moon causes a shift, as esbats leading up to the Blue Moon fall earlier in the season and subsequent esbats then occur later in the season, making this potentially a time of transition or transformation. It also provides an opportunity to celebrate special occasions or events that may not ordinarily be observed.
Magick done at the time of a Blue Moon should be chosen carefully, as the effects can possibly last until the next Blue Moon.