Everyone knows that Full Moons, New Moons, and Sabbats are great times for ritual and spell work. These days hold immense amounts of energies that can be used to our Will and directed towards a common purpose. However, there has been some debate about when these energies mature enough to the point to be effective, especially in regards to Full Moons and Sabbats. Certain traditions in Wicca and Witchcraft have a time limit on when these energies can be tapped into, if you will. To some this may sound ignorant since there is energy all around us just waiting to be utilized everyday but to others this is a legitimate concern.
I believe there is energy all around us. The term I like to use for it is Prana which is a sanskrit term for "life force" which is from Hinduism. I remember when I was reading a book about 6 years ago when I first discovered this term and a meditation for it (something I'll probably blog about later) and thinking to myself wow, that makes so much sense! However, I consider this universal energy that can be tapped into at any time. Full Moons and Sabbats have a certain special energy, to me at least.
Full Moons are filled with the divine feminine energy from the Goddess. These are Her nights and I expect most would agree with me on this. The Moon belongs to the Goddess in all her forms and give off immense amounts of psychic and spiritual energy that can be used specifically for divination, candle magick, psychic development, astral projection, and a ton of other stuff. Since most of my training is in the Celtic Witchcraft Tradition, I tend to stick to my rule of when it is appropriate and effective to harness this kind of energy for my rituals and spell. In short, I was taught that with Full Moons you can harness this energy up to 3 days before the Full Moon and up to 3 days after the Full Moon. This is because the energy has almost reached it's peak 3 days prior and the residual energy 3 days after is still strong enough to use as well. The moonlight given off reflects the energy in a way.
This is the general rule in my tradition which I'm sure it varies across the board in other sects and traditions. But, if you ever wondered about it, this is what I go by. Now as for Sabbats, they're a little different.
So Sabbats are basically Wiccan Holy Days. They reflect the Wheel of the Year. What I was taught, was that you can celebrate a Sabbat 3 days prior to that Sabbat but never after. Celebrating a Sabbat after the Sabbat has already passed is basically void. They depict certain astrological occurrences that happen on those days as well as the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. It would be like going to watch a meteor shower the day after it happened. You're not going to see anything. Also, to celebrate a Sabbat after it has already occurred disrupts the cycle, You wouldn't celebrate Thanksgiving on Christmas so why would you celebrate the death of the God on Yule when he's being reborn? If you miss a Sabbat it's not the end of the world. Just move on to the next chapter just as life does.
I understand this may be absurd to some people but to me, it's just what I stick to. I understand people have busy lives and may be too tired to do anything on a Sabbat and therefore want to do it later; that's cool, whatever floats your boat. To me, Sabbat days are significant for a reason and I believe that reason to be that that's when the energy has peaked. Anything after it starts to wane so I try my best to harness it when I can.