And so we have arrived at the letter Z….

I’m a little hung up on this one, and I’m in the middle of holiday travel. But once again Barbara G. Walker’s “Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets” has come to the rescue. This time she got me with the very first Z entry: Zabat.

Her description:
Berber name for sacred dances performed in groups of thirteen, in connection with the magic ceremony called “an occasion of power”; possible origin of the so-called witches’ sabbat.

I looked it up in Webster’s dictionary, but it was not there. The Internet also had almost no information, but it did offer this from an artist describing a series of photographs titled “Zabat”: ‘a sacred dance,’ ‘an occasion of power’ or ‘a black women’s rite of passage’.


I think I am most intrigued by whether these Zabats did indeed become the Witches’ Sabbat. But the Internet is completely barren on information regarding this topic. I suppose I have yet another fascinating research topic on my hands. And in my mind probably no one thing became the Sabbat. Although the Zabat may have been a strong influence I imagine many events, ceremonies, and beliefs had to combine to become what we know as a Sabbat.

I also like the part about the Zabat being sacred dances performed in groups of thirteen. That’s pretty specific, but the number thirteen does carry a lot of power. And if there is documentation about these sacred dances of thirteen then my research needs are out there, I just have to go to the good old library.

And just what were these “occasion of power ceremonies” anyway?

So here I leave you with a couple things to ponder. We can think about the ancient Berber dances performed in groups of thirteen. What were the dances for? Do the Berber today still have these sacred Zabats? And did they become the Witches Sabbat? And just how did that process go down over the decades? And just what were these “occasion of power ceremonies” anyway?

And finally, let us all keep in mind the power of dance as it is through the release and repetition of dance that we make our desires known to the universe.


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