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Title: Esbat  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Contemporary witchcraft, Dianic Wicca, Wicca, Christianity and Neopaganism, Worship
Collection: Wicca, Wiccan Terminology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


An esbat is a coven meeting of other than one the Sabbats[1] within Wicca and other Wiccan-influenced forms of contemporary Paganism. Janet and Stewart Farrar describe esbats as an opportunity for a "love feast, healing work, psychic training and all."[2]


The term esbat is derived from Old French s'esbattre (Modern French ébat), meaning to frolic and amuse oneself, diversion.[3][4] It was a borrowing by 20th century anthropologist Margaret Murray's use of French witch trial sources on supposed Witches' Sabbaths in her attempts to "reconstruct" a Witch Cult in Western Europe.


An esbat is commonly understood to be a ritual observance on the night of a full moon.[5] However, the late high priestess Doreen Valiente distinguished between "full moon Esbat[s]" and other esbatic occasions.[6]

The term esbat in this sense was described by Margaret Murray.[7][8]

The Esbat differed from the Sabbat by being primarily for business. ... very often the Esbat was for sheer enjoyment only
—Murray, 1921


  1. ^ Farrar, Janet and Stewart (1984). The Witches' Way: Principles, Rituals and Beliefs of Modern Witchcraft. p. 320.  
  2. ^ Farrar, 1984, p. 178.
  3. ^ "Esbat". Random House, Inc. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Murphy Pizza, James R. Lewis (2009). "The Modern Magical Revival: Nevill Drury". Handbook of Contemporary Paganism.  
  5. ^ Wigington, Patti. "Esbat". Paganism / Wicca. Guide. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Valiente, Doreen (1989), The Rebirth of Witchcraft, p. 123 
  7. ^ Murray, Margaret (1921 (2003 reprint)), Witch Cult in Western Europe: A Study in Anthropology, Sampson Law, Marston & Co., Ltd., pp. 112–123,  
  8. ^ Murray, Margaret (1933), The God of the Witches, Sampson Law, Marston & Co., Ltd. 
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