Celebrating Lammas/Lughnasadh in the Kitchen

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.

lammas lughnasadh ritual sabbat celebration altar

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!

lammas lughnasadh ritual sabbat celebration altar full

::Celebration Activities::

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.

Blessed Be.

Samhain Altar and Celebration

night-sky-1111702_1920Most Blessed and Happy Samhain! Our Witches’ New Year is here!

As the Wheel of the Year begins again, so too do we have the joyous opportunity to take our harvest and make something magickal.

Now is also the time to honor our ancestors and be grateful for all the bounty they have wrought.

And as promised here is my Samhain altar and autumn images that I took.

altar-and-autumn-collage

And to help as all get connected with our ancestors on this most enchanting evening my Samhaim ritual. You can change this up however you like and it can work for a solitary practitioner.

Samhain 2016

Samhain, a Celtic-based holiday, is the festival where we honor the ancestors. Some traditions and groups really embrace this aspect of the holiday, while others do not. This will often depend on the strength of the group’s relationships with their ancestors. Some Wiccans and pagans revere their ancestors, honoring them each day, frequently communicating and receiving messages from them. Others may feel disconnected, and in a world when the ancient wisdom can be difficult to hear, it is even more difficult. But think on this. We all have loved ones who are now spirits, and this is the time to honor them.

For ritual, gather one candle for each person there, smaller candles work best. Also gather a bowl to place the candles in, where they will stand upright, or candle sticks for larger candles.

I often make an ancestor altar, as pictured above, and you can do the same. This process can be a ritual all in itself. It is sad and joyous to remember those we loved and look at their images decorating our altars. You can do this on your current altar or create a entirely separate one for this purpose. There should be room for the candles in addition to an offering. If you are doing this in a group, people can bring their own photos and place them on the altar as well. You can also use special items that were once theirs or which represent them. One large candle should also be atop the altar.

Once everyone has been given their candles, .address the idea of ancestors. Saying your own words or:
“On this eve of all evenings, when veil be thinned between the worlds, we honor those who have gone on before: our sacred ancestors.

Our ancestors shaped us and made us who we are. Physical ancestors, family going back who have now crossed over and spiritual ancestors, those to whom blood is not shared but are connected to us through love. Those who have shaped us through their example and actions. All have made us who we are and we honor our physical and spiritual ties to them.

Visualize your ancestors. The people in spirit you will honor and remain forever linked. They are here. They have always been here. For in the Otherworld there is no space, no time as we know it. The spirits are limited by neither. Think on your particular ancestors. Imagine them here, standing among us. See them clearly. Hold them in your hearts.

Beloved ancestors, we address you. Honored ones, holy ones, we know you are always with us. In some moments we can hear you speak to us. And even when we can’t, we know you are here. We call upon you and ask you to enter our circle. On this eve set aside just for you, we honor you. We remember you. Accept this offering in token of our love and respect.”

Now, light the large candle on the ancestor altar. Next, make your offering. A libation of water or wine, or an offering of flour or cornmeal is a good choice. Do what feels right. As you offer them, hold them up and imagine light pouring into it, filling it with positive energy.

Now direct those around you to do the following, saying whatever you wish or:
“One by one we’ll approach the altar. At your turn, think of your ancestors. Then, light your candle in their honor. Place it in the receptacle and leave it to burn. Speak to them. You can speak your words aloud or project them from your heart. They will know your message.”

If I’m in a group I typically go first so they know what to expect. Then I step to the side, moving clockwise, so that the others can go. Once everyone has gone and moved clockwise like I did, we should all be back in our original places.

Then, join hands and begin a chant. You can also dance if you wish. I like to say:

Beloved spirits! Loved ones who have passed unto the veil!

Those gone before but still with us! Connect to us now and forever!

Our soul lives many lifetimes and the bond of love always remains!

The veil does not dim your light but lets us feel your soft glow in times of need!

Beloved spirits! Loved ones who have passed unto the veil!

Those gone before but still with us! Connect to us now and forever!

Honored ancestors, we wish that our offerings please you. That you will keep us always in your hearts, as we keep you in ours. We will think of you always and honor our connections as the Wheel of the Year turns. Now at this time that we can feel you, see you, hear you the most, we honor you. We thank you for your contributions to our lives. Honored ancestors, may blessing be upon you! So mote it be!”

Then all repeat: “So mote it be!”

A Blessed Samhain to you all sisters and brothers and loved ones.

Blessed Be.