You might have heard of the Sabbat Fairies…but just in case you haven’t, or maybe because you have forgotten…I’ll tell you about them again. There are eight fairies that help us celebrate the turning of The Wheel of the Year.
Do you remember what The Wheel of the Year is? No?
Well, the Wheel of the Year is what we call the eight Pagan holidays that celebrate the cycles of Earth and the Sun throughout the year. Some Pagans celebrate other holidays along with the Wheel of the Year, and some Pagans don’t celebrate the Wheel of the Year at all. Also, some Pagans that celebrate the Wheel of the Year, might celebrate it for different reasons or in different ways than we do. There are four days when we celebrate the cycle of the sun–the Equinoxes and Solstices (Quarter days), and four days when we celebrate the changing seasons of the Earth (sometimes called Cross-quarter days, because they come in-between the Quarter days). The holidays are called a “wheel”, because a picture of them looks like the spokes of a wagon wheel (remember the picture of the wagon in Little House on the Prairie?). Sometimes these holidays are called Sabbats, as is the ritual that celebrates the holidays…which brings us back to our fairies.
The eight fairies are named Garnet, Citrine, Sapphire, Emerald, Aquamarine, Topaz, Amethyst and Opal, and they live in a magical forest with all of the nature spirits that visit our world, and with lots of other creatures and beings. They are called the Sabbat fairies because it is their job to help organize the celebrations for the cycle of the sun and the changing of the seasons, which happen on eight special days every year. You might remember that all the fairies work together to make the Sabbats special for all the boys and girls that celebrate them, but they take turns, so that each fairie is the Fairie-in-Charge on their favorite holiday.
- Yule, which is sometimes called The Longest Night, celebrates the Winter Solstice–the time when the Baby Sun King is reborn and it is night time for the longest time of the year. This is the favorite holiday of Garnet, who loves the snow and evergreens! You might remember that Garnet makes sure that the fairies pick up the presents from Santa early to deliver them to all the boys and girls that celebrate Yule instead of Christmas (since Santa is busy getting his sleigh packed).
You do remember that tonight is The Longest Night, where we celebrate the dying of the Old Sun King and the birth of the Baby Sun King? Tomorrow is what we call Yule, or the Winter Solstice–the time when the Baby Sun King is reborn and the days will start to grow longer again as the Sun gets stronger.
Yule is the favorite holiday of Garnet, who loves the snow and evergreens. In fact, Garnet actually lives in an evergreen–the 34th branch of the biggest, tallest pine tree in the Piney Woods! When Garnet decided to move from the city to be closer to her friends (she used to live in New York City’s Central Park), a cardinal friend built her a nest there, so it would feel like being in the city, with its tall buildings. He even donated some of his feathers to make a nice waterproof roof, and a fox friend donated some of her fur to make the nest cozy and warm. Garnet loves her perch in the Piney woods, where she can see all the way across the forest.
Garnet is in charge of the Winter Solstice, and organizing all the fairies to deliver the gifts for Pagan children that celebrate the Winter Solstice. She had gotten to know Santa one winter, and he was so upset that he felt he wasn’t doing a proper job at Yule, because he was still trying to get ready for Christmas, that she offered for her and her friends to help. You see…during the rest of the year, Garnet is busy with her regular job–she helps teach the baby birds how to sing their special songs, but by winter, they’ve all learned them! She was happy to help Santa out since she would be sitting around waiting for Spring to come around again otherwise. And so, Garnet makes sure that the fairies pick up the presents from Santa on time to deliver them to all the boys and girls that celebrate Yule while Santa double checks his list and packs his sleigh.
What was that you asked? What about Santa’s cookies and hot chocolate? Oh! don’t worry–that’s why we make the cookies extra small! And use your doll tea set! Besides…fairies have a very high metabolism. Why, I bet they eat as much as Santa!
Chimneys? No…fairies don’t like those–the soot makes them sneeze! And since they are so very tiny, they can fit through key holes and window cracks.
How do the presents not get squished? I have no idea…except to say, its magic.
- Candlemas, which is sometimes called Imbolc, celebrates the cross-quarter day between Yule and the spring equinox. It is a celebration of the changing seasons from winter to spring. The people of an ancient culture, called Celts, celebrated Imbolc as one of their fire festivals. Even though its still really cold out, beneath the surface, things are stirring and getting ready for spring. This is the favorite holiday of Citrine, who loves the shining light of candles and is even friends with Phil, the groundhog that predicts when spring weather will officially come!
Now, I’ve never met Citrine, but Chickadee tells me that she is the faerie that oversees Candlemas. I have it on good authority that Citrine lives in a stand of my second favorite tree (Emerald apparently lives in my favorite tree, but Chickadee won’t tell me any more than that), the Live Oak (its called the Live Oak because it is an evergreen oak tree). In the winter, she shares the home of a rabbit friend in a burrow at the base of the branchiest Live Oak of them all. If you’ve never seen one before, Live Oak trees are very branchy…and very gossipy; they are always ready to tell a good yarn about someone or something that has passed them by! In the summertime though, she stays in a hammock that sways in the breeze from one of the tree’s many branches.
According to Chickadee, Citrine is friends with The Shining Ladies–you know, those goddesses that some people choose to celebrate at this time of year, who usually have something to do with candles and flame and coziness and inspiration and all sorts of stuff like that, who have given her a number of tasks to organize for this time of year? Citrine checks on the hibernating animals to make sure that they are still snug and hidden, and she makes sure that the the birds and other animals that are not hibernating have enough food to last them a little while longer. Citrine, if asked (and left a treat of oats, or dried fruit or nuts), will also bless candles made at this time of year, and will send her friends to add a little faerie sparkle to newly cleansed and blessed homes.
- Ostara is the celebration of Spring Equinox and falls on a day when the day and night are equal. It marks the time of the Sun Prince growing into power, and is a celebration of the height of Spring. We even celebrate Ostara as First Blooming—the time when the flowers start to show off their beauty! It is the favorite holiday of Sapphire, who loves the bright colors of eggs, the soft fluff of newborn bunnies and the fresh scent of spring air.
Now, don’t tell anyone, but I’ve actually met Sapphire! I was out for a walk one morning, and she rescued me from a spring shower! She knows that you are collecting stories of the Sabbat faeries, and she told me that I could tell you all about it.
Sapphire is very interesting–all faeries are, but even as faeries go, she’s extra interesting! Her hair is black and spiky with blue tips, and her skin is silvery like fish scales, and I’m sure they would glimmer in the sun…but it was a dreary day when we met, do I don’t know for sure. And I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen a picture of a flying fish, but her wings look just like their fins! No? You haven’t? Well, remind me, and we’ll Google some pictures up later! You might wonder why on earth her name is Sapphire…until you noticed her eyes, which are the exact color of sapphires. And, she has piercings (eyebrow and nose) and tattoos (a map of her favorite constellations)–I can’t believe I almost forgot to tell you about that!
Sapphire lives under a waterfall that bursts from the River of Dreams, into a pool in the Moonlight Gardens, before it disappears into an underground cavern (further downstream it pops back above ground in a lovely spring in the center of the Willow Grove). Her day job is to take care of the creatures of the rivers and streams and lakes–mostly freshwater fishes and whatnot, but sometimes she works with Aquamarine in tidal marshes and estuaries. Since she’s used to being wet, her springtime job is to call in the rain showers and make sure everything gets watered for the Spring (April showers, and all that!). She tries to make sure the baby animals stay out of the worst of the weather, to stay as cozy and warm as possible. And, she’s also great friends with the Easter Bunny.
Just like Garnet helps organize the Sabbat Faeries for Yule, Sapphire helps to organize them for Ostara. The Easter Bunny was so busy getting ready for Easter, that he felt bad that he couldn’t get everything done for the Pagan boys and girls to have their very own special Ostara egg hunts…so he asked Sapphire for her help, and she recruited her friends to get the job done. Oh, and just so you know, Sapphire especially likes it if you leave a little coffee with whipped cream. Its her favorite treat, and I’ve heard that sometimes she will leave an extra special treat for children that don’t forget.
- Beltane, which is sometimes called May Day, is a celebration of the changing seasons from Spring to Summer. The Celts considered this another of their fire festivals. When your grandma was a little girl, people used to celebrate May Day by taking bouquets of flowers to neighbors, ringing the doorbell, leaving them on the porch, and running away as fast as possible. Beltane is the favorite holiday of Emerald, who loves to dance around the Maypole!
I really don’t know too much about Emerald, except that she lives by the Misty Mountain. Its called the Misty Mountain because it looks like the mountain is rising from the mist.
Chickadee promises that she will try to contact Emerald before next Beltane, so we can hear more about her.
- Midsummer, which is sometimes called Litha or The Longest Day, and celebrates the Summer Solstice–the time when the sun shines for the longest and when the Sun King is at his strongest, is the favorite holiday of Aquamarine. Aquamarine loves to play outside, especially if she gets to visit the beach. She also likes a good barbecue on this day, and to do all sorts of Summertime things!
As you might imagine, Aquamarine is quite busy right now, making sure everyone has the best summer they can have. Plus, its her job to keep and eye on all of the sea turtle nests and help Mama O’shen keep track of all of her cetaceans (What is a cetacean? Oh, sorry about that–“cetacean” is a science word for “dolphins and whales”). But we will try to talk to her soon!
- Lammas is the celebration of the First Harvest and is another of the Celtic fire festivals. Sometimes it is called Lughnasadh and it is a time where lots of people bake breads in thanks for grain crops. We celebrate Lammas as the time of Summer’s Bounty, because its when we can get all sorts of our favorite tasty treats from the farmer’s market. Lammas celebrates the start of the transition to autumn. It is the favorite holiday of Topaz, who loves the smells of baking bread and a good deal on healthy foods from the market!
It just so happened that when I met Sapphire, she was on her way to have coffee and mini-bagels with her very best bestie, Topaz. Topaz lives in the hat of a scarecrow in a field that used to be a farmer’s field, but has been restored as a grassland, or prairie. Topaz is part of the group of faeries we like to call the “Freckle Faeries”, because they leave freckles when they give you a kiss (its because they have a big dollop of sunshine in their souls). She is in charge of coordinating the ripening of the fields with Pomona and Ceres. Chickadee tells me that there is a very funny story about Topaz (who is a great practical joker) and a Llama at Lammas, but I haven’t heard it yet, so I can’t share it with you–maybe next time!
Update: Oh! Just yesterday Sharkbait told me that Topaz has an awesome telescope that she made from some beach glass that Aquamarine brought her from the beach. Apparently, she and Sapphire like to look at the stars together and read the mythology stories that go with it. Did you know that every culture on earth told stories about the stars?
- Mabon is the celebration of the another time when day and night are equal–the Autumn equinox. We celebrate this day as the transition of the Sun King to the Wise Old King and as the height of the harvest time–for us, this is the Apple Harvest. Sometimes we even call it Pomonalia, for the Roman goddess Pomona, who is the goddess of fruit and orchards. This is the favorite holiday of Amethyst, who loves to go apple picking and make jam!
Sharkbait tells me that when he met Amethyst she was purple! Not because she is actually purple, but because she fell into the vat of grapes that she was helping mash for wine and jelly! She things it will fade eventually, but I can tell you, it gave him a shock! Chickadee and he say that she is tall for a faerie–4 1/2 inches exact (she made them get a ruler to prove it) and likes to dress in scraps of fabric that she finds in trees. She looks like she’s wearing a crazy quilt dress! Now, when we go to pick anything, we leave a piece of yarn or a scrap of fabric (only natural stuff)–if Amethyst doesn’t get it, a bird might use it in her nest.
Amethyst is the only faerie I know that lives in a house looking house. It has a roof made of the scales of a pine cone, and a fireplace and chimney of beach pebbles, and walls made out of twigs. Chickadee says that she used to live in a cubby hole of an apple tree, but she came over to hear story time when we were reading Little House on the Prairie, and wanted to live in a house like Laura, Mary, Carrie, Ma, and Pa. Apparently all of the faeries came together to help build it last spring, and much hilarity ensued.
- Samhain is the celebration of the Last Harvest, and is another of the Celtic fire festivals. We celebrate this day as Remembrance Eve. a time to remember our family and friends that have passed on before us. Many people celebrate this day, which they call Halloween, by dressing up in costumes, visiting their neighbors who hand out treats, and having parties! This is the time when the season starts shifts from autumn to winter. It is the favorite holiday of Opal, who loves to help her animal friends prepare for the winter–by helping them gather acorns or tucking them into hibernate. Opal also loves the celebration of Halloween, and is always keen to create a new and fantastic costume!
The Samhain, or Last Harvest Faerie, is named Opal, and I’ve been told by Chickadee that she lives in a tea pot hanging from the branches of a very old tree called Willow (who, of course, happens to be a willow). In addition to her duties as a Sabbat Faerie, Opal helps the Willow Keepers (you might remember that the Willow Keepers are a group of Tree Herders, but if you don’t, that is okay because I just reminded you) tend the Willow Grove.
Opal and the Faeries have quite a few jobs to do for both Halloween AND Samhain–planting costume ideas into people’s heads when they need help, making sure that everyone has a fair amount of treats as they trick-or-treat, trying to keep the candle’s in the jack-o-lantern’s from going out, and putting the extra bang or super shrieky shriek into All Hallow’s Eve fun. But their most important task is organizing the spirit side of Remembrance Eve. You see, it used to be that when the veil thinned and the spirits wandered that some of them got lost, and others caused a ruckus, and some of them even didn’t want to go back afterwards! Can you imagine the mess that made?!?
Let’s just say that Grandmother Moon and Mama O’shen and Mr. Mountain and…well, you know, all those head honchos, they were NOT happy. Wayward spirits have a tendency of scaring some people. So, Opal and her friends were given the task of helping spirits find the right homes to visit–the homes with families who had prepared special meals to invite them in to share, and homes where families might not know about Samhain, but could use a little bit of comfort from their departed relatives. For those spirits that no longer have families, I have heard that the Sabbat Faeries throw one heck of a party!
Now do you remember the Sabbat fairies? Good!
I’ll try to update this page whenever we learn something new! Be patient though, sometimes boring stuff takes priority (like doing the dishes and going to work, ugh!). Although, Chickadee, Sharkbait, and I have been talking about making a map of the Faerielands…maybe that is what we will do next.