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An esbat /ˈɛsbæt/ 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. ISBN 0-919345-71-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Farrar, 1984, p. 178.
  3. "Esbat". Random House, Inc. Retrieved 25 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Murphy Pizza, James R. Lewis (2009). "The Modern Magical Revival: Nevill Drury". Handbook of Contemporary Paganism. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishers. p. 64. ISBN 978-90-04-16373-7.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Wigington, Patti. "Esbat". Paganism / Wicca. Guide. Retrieved 25 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Valiente, Doreen (1989), The Rebirth of Witchcraft, p. 123<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Murray, Margaret (1921 (2003 reprint)), Witch Cult in Western Europe: A Study in Anthropology, Sampson Law, Marston & Co., Ltd., pp. 112–123, ISBN 978-0-7661-4455-2 Check date values in: |year= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Murray, Margaret (1933), The God of the Witches, Sampson Law, Marston & Co., Ltd.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>