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

Many confuse the esbat with the ritual observance of the full moon.[3] While Doreen Valiente writes that in Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches full moon rites were known as Esbats in the rest of Europe,[4] she later finds it necessary to specificy "full moon Esbat,"[5] to distinguish it from other esbat occasions.

The term esbat in this sense was described by Margaret Murray.[6] Murray (1921) claimed that "The Esbat differed from the Sabbat by being primarily for business. ... very often the Esbat was for sheer enjoyment only". Murray used 16th to 17th century French sources on supposed Witches' Sabbaths in the context of the European witch trials to "reconstruct" a Witch Cult in Western Europe. The Old French term esbat (Modern French ébat) meant amusement or diversion, with a connotation of frolicking.[7].


  1. ^ Janet and Stewart Farrar, 1984, The Witches' Way: Principles, Rituals and Beliefs of Modern Witchcraft, ISBN 0-019345-71-9, p. 320.
  2. ^ Farrar, 1984, p. 178.
  3. ^ is typical (accessed: November 19, 2009)
  4. ^ Doreen Valiente, The Rebirth of Witchcraft, pp. 22, 23, 1989.
  5. ^ Valiente, p. 123
  6. ^ Margaret Murray, 1921, Witch Cult in Western Europe: A Study in Anthropology, ISBN 9780766144552 (2003 reprint), pp. 112-123; 1933, The God of the Witches, Sampson Law, Marston & Co., Ltd.
  7. ^ esbat. Unabridged. Random House, Inc. (accessed: November 19, 2009).

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