What is Lammas / Lughnasadh you ask? Who celebrates Lammas? When is Lammas?
Lammas or Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-Nas-Ah) is a pagan festival celebrating the first harvest on the 1st August or 1st February in the southern hemisphere. This is when the first crops of the year are harvested which mainly consists of wheat, barley, corn, and other grains. It can be celebrated as a way to honour the god Lugh or to celebrate the harvest.
Who is Lugh?
Lugh is a Celtic deity but references to a similar god can be found in Roman mythology. He is said to be a multi-skilled craftsman who created a festival on the first of August to honour his mother ‘Tailtiu’. The festival had a feast, games, market fairs, bonfires and lots of dancing. It is still celebrated this way in Ireland.
The Grain Mother is a Pagan and Wiccan reference to the Goddess at this time of year. The Grain Mother represents the ripe corn and crops while her daughter Persephone represents the grain. The grain falls to the ground where it is fertilised and then waits over the winter months to give birth to a new crop in the spring. (Metaphorically speaking, the mother becoming pregnant and giving birth in the spring.) This is according to goddessandgreenman.co.uk.
Ways to celebrate Lammas…
Decorating your home
One way to celebrate the season is to make decorations for your home or altar table. Anything seasonal works well as a rule and can be utilised according to your space and budget. If you are lucky enough to live near farmland you may be able to find some corn or grain stalks that have been broken off. (Please don’t pick things from the farmer’s fields without their permission; they work very hard to grow those crops.)
Check out your local greengrocers or farmers markets. Late summer fruits and early autumn vegetables can make great decorations. Some veg and hard fruit such as squash’s or apples can be engraved with appropriate symbols, or if you are brave enough, you could make a traditional cornucopia (a goat’s horn or horn-shaped basket filled with fruits and vegetables.)
Sunflowers can make a lovely bright and cheerful display and symbolise the summer sun (“Obviously :D”).
Corn dolls are fun to make, especially if you want to involve children in the celebrations. They don’t even have to be made of corn as it’s all about symbolising the harvest and let’s be honest, there are not many people that can just lay their hands on a bunch of dried corn. Raffia works well but you can also use things like wool. You can find lots of ideas on Pinterest. Or check out nurturestore.co.uk, edenproject.com
Sickles and scythes also make great decorations. “What could symbolise the harvest more, than tools used for the actual act of harvesting?” Obviously, real ones may not always be appropriate but if you can find ones meant for dolls houses or fairy gardens you can easily store it for use every year.
Colours herbs crystals and incense
Summer is ending and soon the leaves will be turning but the sun is still warm and strong. Colours for this Sabbat are reds and oranges, symbolising both the sun and the turning leaves. Include some green and brown to symbolise the green of the ripening harvest and the brown of the rich soil. If you have an altar, use a cloth in autumn colours and candles in rich reds or burgundy. Gold is also a colour that suggests the warmth of the sun and also the colour of the autumn leaves.
If you are amongst those of us that love to burn incense then frankincense and sandalwood are the ones most commonly associated with Lammas. They are both warm fragrances and frankincense can also be used in its herbal form. Other herbs to use include heather, corn stalks and ears, hollyhock, wheat, myrtle and even oak leaves.
Witches and Wiccans love, love, love crystals and you will find many varieties in their homes and the time for Lammas is no exception. Altars can be adorned with amber, aventurine, carnelian, clear quartz, obsidian, tiger’s eye and many others. Use what feels right for you or if you have something in particular that you’d like to manifest or banish then use an appropriate stone or stones.
Food for feasting
Lammas is a celebration but how you decide to mark the occasion is entirely your choice. Whether it is a small solitary affair, a gathering of a coven or anything in between one of the most important (or fun) things about Lammas or any of the Sabbats is of course food and drink (or maybe that’s just us) If you plan to make it a simple meal or a fabulous banquet here are a few suggestions…..
*Multigrain bread – (ideally from scratch but shop bought is fine too)
*Blackberry pie – (if you are able to pick your own then go for it)
*Corn on the cob – (obviously)
*BBQ meats – (get outside and cook on open flames while you still can)
*Fried chicken – (use flour or breadcrumbs in the coating)
*Blackberry wine, dark fruity mead or any dark beverage containing fruit or beer/ale, (good excuse to brew your own). Fruity mocktails if you want something non-alcoholic (the kids will also love them).
*Grapes, pears, peaches, grains- (anything fruity that is in season is good)
Finding ways to celebrate Lammas in this modern age is not always easy. People don’t always have the time and money to do lots of big things but there are many things you can do that take very little time, money or even effort. If you have children try to involve them too, kids love preparing for any Sabbat but it’s even more fun when the weather is good. Try out some of these suggestions…
Lammas is all about the grain harvest and what better way to show this than with popcorn? Make it from scratch and make loads. There are lots of crafts you can do with the kids, you can decorate your altar with it, you can even eat it (haha), make some chocolate covered popcorn for the kids or a gourmet version for the grownups such as rosemary and parmesan (personally we prefer the kids version but that’s just us).
Make bread from scratch-
Yes, we know, major hassle, right? Well maybe not. There is some really good bread mixes available in most supermarkets and all you have to do is throw in some lukewarm water and knead it. Easy. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and ‘voila’. Lammas bread made from scratch. The smell as its cooking is so worth it and you get extra brownie points because everyone thinks you’re a kitchen goddess (or god), (also you can get the kiddies to do the hard labour LOL)
Make beeswax candles-
You can get some from a craft shop or even a local beekeeper. Good craft for older children.
Do a full home blessing-
Start with opening all the doors and windows and do a good sweep through with your besom if you have one. (You can also use a normal broom if you don’t.) Sweep all that bad energy out of the open door. This is my own preference, but I like to use a floor wash with lavender and rosemary, either fresh or essential oil or a mixture of both. (You can, of course, use whatever is your preference for cleansing), but this is not essential. Then smudge all the rooms paying particular attention to ceiling corners and windows. Finish off by lighting some candles, scented ones are nice but also not essential.
Go berry picking-
Take the kids, take the dog but don’t forget to take something to put your berry treasure in.
Toast the sunset-
Find a nice quiet spot in a natural setting or your garden, get a bottle of champagne or harvest wine (or mead) and toast the sun as it sets over the horizon and bids farewell to Lammas for another year.
And saving the best till last…….HAVE A FEAST…
xx Happy Lammas Everyone! xx
from Stormy and Raven xx
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