Happy Lughnasadh or Lammas, whichever you wish to call it!
As the full sun rises on this beautiful Summer day, I can feel the heat around come to the crest in its pendulum swing. Things will start to cool after this burst of warmth and the harvest time will be upon us. To celebrate this wonderful Sabbat, I am getting in touch with my Kitchen Witch side (thanks very much to the amazing treasures contained in this month’s Sabbat Box).
::The Story of Lammas-Lughnasadh::
Celebrated on the Eve of August or August 1st in most traditions, Lughnasadh is an Irish Gaelic name for the feast which signals the death games of Lugh, the Celtic god of light and child of the Sun. The Sabbat is often called Lammas, or Loaf Mass, as well.
The Wheel of the Year;’s story tells of the Sun God transferring his power into the grain during this time. He is then sacrificed when the grain is harvested. A dying, self-sacrificing and then resurrecting god of the harvest. Who by doing so saves his people. This tale, as you can probably tell, influence later religions. It is also said that this funeral was not actually for him but for his Mother, Tailte.
As the grain grows and ripens, the power of the sun goes into them. The first bread of the season is made from what has been harvested. This is where the Saxon hlaef-masse, or loaf-mass, now Lammas, comes in. Seed grain was also typically saved for planting the following year’s crop. Allowing the Sun god to rise again in the Spring as the new green shoots are seen. There are many traditions and customs all over the world which celebrate this time and you can also see this in the tales of the Harvest Goddesses and a procession of the Maiden turned to Mother now becoming a Crone.
This is the time for bread-making and corn-dollies. Goddesses celebrated on this Sabbat commonly include: Demeter and Ceres, and any other harvest deity. Trees associated with Lammas are Hazel and Gorse, with the herbs Sage and Meadowsweet being associated with this Sabbat. Additional herbs associated with Lughnasadh include: All Grains, Grapes, Heather, Blackberries, Sloe, Crab Apples, Pears. Colors associated with Lughnasadh are gold, yellow, and orange for the God and red, brown, and also gold for the Goddess.
::My Altar and Ritual::
Today, I’m getting in touch with my love of cooking and home. The gifts I mentioned above came with a sweet, little cookie stamp in the shape of a pentacle and a recipe for Honey Almond cookies. I’m going to be making these for my celebration at the Sekhmet Goddess Temple tomorrow. Although, I will admit that I am a little hesitant to go into a hot kitchen while it’s in the 100’s outside and I’m pregnant and hot anyway. Oh well.
I’ve also decorated my altar with a beautiful corn dolly statue, which is a nice change from the real thing which can flake and breaks down. This dolly can hang out all the way through to September. The altar is also be covered in beautiful golden trinkets that remind me of the Sun and all it has given us to survive and flourish, and with it being Leo season one of them is a golden lion leaping up inside the round circle of the Sun.
A specially created Lughnasadh incense and candle is burning on the altar and filling my nose with spice and flowers and sunshine. Sashes of yellow and red and orange lay draped across the top of my altar and I’ve anointed myself with a custom Lughnasadh blessing oil. Sitting in the setting sun and soaking up all the goodness, I’m taking this time to thanks the Harvest Deities and the Sun for another prosperous year under their guidance.
This is the time to reap what we have sown and take stock for the coming Fall and Winter. I am feeling very connected to the cycles this year as my belly has grown with the sun and it will soon be time to harvest this little one and welcome Baby Moon into the world.
Bright Blessings All Around!
Aside from doing a ritual to recognize the changing season, here are a few other ways to celebrate this Sabbat.
- Create and/or decorate ritual items like a Stang, or if you’re feeling the Kitchen Witch vibe your cooking tools like a wooden spoon.
- Take a walk through the woods and spend time meditating on beautiful surroundings.
- Make bread and enjoy it with friends and family
- Make a wicker man and put all of your bad habits into him and then toss him in your ritual bonfire.
- Make a corn dolly.
- Harvest any plants you’ve been growing and use them to make something yummy or beautiful for the coming Fall.
- Drape yourself in yellow or the rays of the Sun and pull in the warmth and growth this Sabbat offers.
This Sabbat is a wonderful time to be grateful for all that is coming into begin because of the seeds you planted earlier in the Wheel of the Year. Take stock, enjoy, and as always enjoy the tiny, crazy ways the world is expressing its joy and beauty.