Lammas is a Pagan holiday, often called Lughnasadh,
celebrating the first harvest and the reaping of grain.
It is a cross-quarter holiday halfway between the Summer Solstice (Litha)
and the Autumnal Equinox (Mabon). In the northern hemisphere,
Lammas takes place around August 1 with the Sun near the midpoint of Leo
in the tropical zodiac, while in the southern hemisphere Lammas is celebrated around February 1
with the Sun near the midpoint of Aquarius. On the Wheel of the Year,
it is opposite Imbolc, which is celebrated on February 2 in the northern hemisphere,
and late July / early August in the southern hemisphere.
In some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere, August 1 is Lammas Day
(Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mass, "loaf-mas"), the festival of the wheat harvest,
and is the first harvest festival of the year.
On this day it was customary to bring to church a loaf made from the new crop,
which began to be harvested at Lammastide. The loaf was blessed,
and in Anglo-Saxon England it might be employed afterwards to work magic:
A book of Anglo-Saxon charms directed that the lammas bread be broken into four bits,
which were to be placed at the four corners of the barn, to protect the garnered grain.
In many parts of England, tenants were bound to present freshly harvested wheat
to their landlords on or before the first day of August.
In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, where it is referred to regularly,
it is called "the feast of first fruits".
In mediæval times the feast was sometimes known in England and Scotland
as the "Gule of August", but the meaning of "gule" is unclear.
In the medieval agricultural year, Lammas also marked the end of the hay
harvest that had begun after Midsummer. At the end of hay-making a sheep would be
loosed in the meadow among the mowers, for him to keep who could catch it.
In Scotland, the first cut of the harvest was made on Lammas Day,
in a ritual called the “Iolach Buana”.
It was often called "Bilberry Sunday.” Bilberries (or blaeberries),
close relatives of the American blueberry, were a sign of the earth’s covenant with her children,
so it was very important to gather and share them with the community.
The entire family dressed in their finest clothing
and went to the fields. The head of the family would lay his bonnet on the ground
and cut the first handful of grain with a sickle. He would then twirl it around his head
three times while thanking the god of the harvest "for corn and bread, food and flocks,
wool and clothing, health and strength, and peace and plenty.”
This was the day to climb the nearest "Lughnasadh Hill" and gather the earth’s
freely-given gifts of the little black berries, which might be worn as special garlands
or gathered in baskets to take home to make jam, bilberry wine, “frahghan cakes”
or simply mashed with cream. And some bilberries were also left behind
on a special cairn or rock as an offering to an old,
almost-forgotten god who first brought the harvest to Britain.
Like many Christian holidays, Lammas is actually derived
from the ancient Celtic harvest holiday Lughnasadh, also spelled Lughnasad,
Lughnassad and Lughnasa. It is named after Lugh, the Irish/Celtic sun god.
It is thought by some to be the funeral or wake of Lugh, the sun king,
whose light is now beginning to dwindle. A more correct interpretation, however,
is that it was established by Lugh to commemorate the life of his foster mother,
Tailtiu, the goddess of agriculture who died while clearing the Irish forests in preparation for planting.
Lughnasadh was a traditional time for hand fasting, a temporary marriage. Couples would join hands through a hole in a stone, wall or gate, and plight their troth for a year and a day.
If the hand fasting did not work out, the couple returned to next year’s gathering and officially
separated by standing back to back and walking away from each other.
In early Ireland, Lughnasadh involved great tribal assemblies, with trading, feasting, music and games, and crafters displaying their wares. Right up to the middle of this century, English country people celebrated the harvest at revels, wakes, and fairs – and some still continue today. It was usually celebrated on the nearest Sunday to August 1st, so that a whole day could be set aside from work.
Rural folk sang and danced jigs and reels and held uproarious sporting contests and races. In some places, a woman—or an effigy of one—was crowned with summer flowers and seated on a throne, with garlands strewn at her feet. Dancers whirled around her, touching her garlands or pulling off a ribbon for good luck. In this way, perhaps, the ancient goddess of the harvest was still remembered with honor.
ACTIVITIES & RITUALS: Giving Thanks for the Harvest of both physical and spiritual gains; The time of reaping what one has sown; Giving thanks to the Mother for her bounty upon the Earth; Marking and mourning the 'death' of the God, and the Spirit of the grain; Rituals of Releasing and Sacrificing what one wants to get rid of; Harvesting & Baking Breads; Offerings of the Produce and Grain Harvest being blessed and/or thrown into the fire; Grains being woven and braided into Goddess symbols; Corn Dollys and Grain Mothers; Doing Rituals and Spell Workings for Prosperity, Protection and the continued Fruition of Goals.
GODS: Lugh, The Sun God, The Oak/Holly King, Adonis, Dionysus, Tammuz,
GODDESSES: Demeter/Ceres, Persephone, Habadonia, Sif, Hathor, Cerridwen
FOODS: All Grains, Breads, Corn, Apples (Sacred to Lugh), Early Summer Fruits and Vegetables, Summer Squash, Ciders, Ales & Wines, Berries, Grapes, Plums, Pommegranites (Pesephone), Preserves, Jams, Tarts and Pies, Honey
COLORS: Red, Yellow, Orange, Gold, Copper, Bronze, Brown, Tan- the colors of the Sun, and of Grain
SYMBOLS & DECORATIONS: Corn Dollys, Grain mothers, Braided Grains, Wheat Stalks, Corn, Threshing Tools, Scythe, Sickle, Summer Vegetables and Squashes, Dried Herbs and Flowers, Candles, Cornicopias,
TOOLS: The Athame
STONES: Carnelian, Amber, Citrine, Tourmaline, Tiger's Eye, Brown Agate, Desert Rose, Red, Brown, Rutilated and Lepordskin Jasper,
INCENSE: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Patchouli, Musk, Rose,
HERBS: Acacia, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Cumin, Curry, Fenugreek, Cinnamon, Myrrh,
FLOWERS: Sunflowers, Zinnias, Marigolds, Daisies, Heather, Rose, Chammomile, Passionflower, Hollyhock,
TREES: Oak, Mistletoe, Cedar, Mytle, Rosewood, Madrone
IDEAS FOR CELEBRATING LAMMAS
Harvest fruits and vegetables from your garden, or pay a visit to a Farmer's Market
Make Jams, Sauces or Wines
Harvest herbs for use in charms and rituals
Make a Grain Weaving or a Corn Dolly
Kindle a Lammas fire with sacred woods and herbs
Sacrifice bad habits and unwanted things from your life by throwing them into the Sabbat fire.
Bake an Apple Pie or Berry Cobbler
Visit a Craft or Barter Faire or simply have an afternoon of crafting, by yourself or with friends, in honor of Lugh, the Master Craftsman God.
Attend an early Harvest Festival
Go Wine Tasting or host your own by having each of your friends come over for a Pot Luck Dinner and Wine Tasting
Try a new recipe for cooking your favorite summer vegetables- or try a new vegetable
Make a Sabbat Altar indoors or out
Try a new recipe for a Sabbat Oil or Incense
Go to a farm to pick apples or berries
Take a drive into the countryside to enjoy the last of summer, and the change of the seasons
Spend a clear evening outdoors observing the early autumn night sky and constellations (with or without a telescope)
Go Camping...even in your own backyard!
Take some time to observe the different species of trees, herbs and flowers that grow locally in your area this time of year.
Pay attention to which animals and birds are spending time in your area at this time of year.
Study some of the folklore that surrounds this holiday.
Learn about some of the Gods and Goddesses that are honored this time of year; read their myths.
Perform a Releasing Ritual, an Offering, or a Thanksgiving Ritual.
Make magickal Charms or Talismans to be blessed on Lammas.
Corn Bread Ear Sticks
Use an iron mold shaped like little ears of corn.
Grease lightly and preheat in a 425 degree oven.
You will need:
3/4 cup Flour
3/4 cup Yellow Corn Meal
1/4 cup Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 cup Milk (or Buttermilk if you prefer)
1/4 cup Shortening
Sift dry ingredients together. Add milk, eggs, shortening, and beat until smooth. Pour into preheated and greased molds and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
BASIC BREAD RECIPE
(this takes about 3 hours)
1 cup warm water
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast (or 1 packet if you bought it this
you vary this recipe by adding any fruits,
vegetables, or extra fiber in an amount that is
less than 1/4 cup. Try flax seed/oatmeal, whole-
grain flour, add garlic and parmesan cheese to
make garlic bread…Or try 1/2 tsp of seasoning
like garlic, pepper, basil, parmesan
love, peace & light