Header_Lammas

 



 
Lammas First Fruits

 

Lammas or Lughnasadh

 

Make your Own Insence

 

Berries and Grains

 

The Wheatsheaf Tarot Spread

 

Two Rituals for Lammas

 

A Song for Lammas

 

The Lammas Fair

 

The Lammas Bonfire

 



 

Lammas Or Lughnasadh

The Beginning of the Harvest:
At Lammas, also called Lughnasadh, the hot days of August are upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we still know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Apples are beginning to ripen in the trees, our summer vegetables have been picked, corn is tall and green, waiting for us to come gather the bounty of the crop fields. Now is the time to begin reaping what we have sown, and gathering up the first harvests of grain, wheat, oats, and more.
This holiday can be celebrated either as a way to honor the god Lugh, or as a celebration of the harvest.

Celebrating Grain in Ancient Cultures:
Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back nearly to the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The Sumerian god Tammuz was slain and his lover Ishtar grieved so heartily that nature stopped producing. Ishtar mourned Tammuz, and followed him to the Underworld to bring him back, similar to the story of Demeter and Persephone. In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.

A Feast of Bread:
In early Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lammas -- it meant that the previous year's harvest had run out early, and that was a serious failing in agricultural communities. However, on August 1, the first sheafs of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season. The word Lammas derives from the Old English phrase hlaf-maesse, which translates to loaf mass. In early Christian times, the first loaves of the season were blessed by the Church.

Honoring Lugh, the Skillful God:
In some Wiccan and modern Pagan traditions, Lammas is also a day of honoring Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills, and was honored in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe. Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah) is still celebrated in many parts of the world today. Lugh's influence appears in the names of several European towns.

Celebrating Lammas Today:
Honoring the Past

In our modern world, it's often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our ancestors had to endure. For us, if we need a loaf of bread, we simply drive over to the local grocery store and buy a few bags of prepackaged bread. If we run out, it's no big deal, we just go and get more. When our ancestors lived, hundreds and thousands of years ago, the harvesting and processing of grain was crucial. If crops were left in the fields too long, or the bread not baked in time, families could starve. Taking care of one's crops meant the difference between life and death.

By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honor our ancestors and the hard work they must have had to do in order to survive. This is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables. Lammas is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings.

Symbols of the Season
The Wheel of the Year has turned once more, and you may feel like decorating your house accordingly. While you probably can't find too many items marked as "Lammas decor" in your local discount store, there are a number of items you can use as decoration for this harvest holiday.
  • Sickles and scythes, as well as other symbols of harvesting
  • Grapes and vines
  • Dried grains -- sheafs of wheat, bowls of oats, etc.
  • Corn dolls -- you can make these easily using dried husks
  • Early fall vegetables, such as squashes and pumpkins
  • Late summer fruits, like apples, plums and peaches
Crafts, Song and Celebration
Because of its association with Lugh, the skilled god, Lammas (Lughnasadh) is also a time to celebrate talents and craftsmanship. It's a traditional time of year for craft festivals, and for skilled artisans to peddle their wares. In medieval Europe, guilds would arrange for their members to set up booths around a village green, festooned with bright ribbons and fall colors. Perhaps this is why so many modern Renaissance Festivals begin around this time of year! Lugh is also known in some traditions as the patron of bards and magicians. Now is a great time of year to work on honing your own talents. Learn a new craft, or get better at an old one. Put on a play, write a story or poem, take up a musical instrument, or sing a song. Whatever you choose to do, this is the right season for rebirth and renewal, so set August 1 as the day to share your new skill with your friends and family.

The goddess and guardian of the harvest is Habondia, the generous one, she who is abundance. The great mother goddesses of the world are overflowing with their goodness:

Kwan-Yin, guardian of mothers, children and childbirth;
Hestia, the keeper of the hearth and home; and,
Lilith, the first bride of Adam, Arianrhod and Yemaya.

In connection with the wider world than our own, it is a time to remember that not all peoples of the world are experiencing abundance that we may have in our lives. Due to war and interventions that are in opposition to the nature of the goddess, the natural rhythms and gifts of the earth have been curtailed or limited for some. It is good to send out to the universe energy and wishes for peace and abundance.

Lammas is also a time for blessing animals. At your ritual, you may not want to bring your animals along, but it is appropriate to remember them in the ritual circle. The donkeys throughout history and all over the world have helped in the building, the travel and the development of civilization. It was a donkey that carried Mary and Joseph into Jerusalem. Dogs have been friends, companions, guardians, workers and lifesavers throughout history; cows, sheep, pigs and goats have given us meat, milk, cheese and warmth since they were domesticated by women. We certainly want to remember the blessing of our cats who have been mousers, psychic connectors, teachers and companions throughout all time. It is a time to bless the wild animals left in the world; in the sky, on the earth and beneath the sea. As the wheel of the year turns, the first harvest corresponds across the wheel to the February 2 celebration of the earth’s quickening. The great mother has moved through the seasons from the promise of new life in February to the fulfillment of that promise with the harvest beginning in August.

August reminds us also that we are in the waning time of the year. The persistent song of the katydids tells us that in six weeks, there will be frost. Persephone, who strayed from her friends at the summer solstice is now on the path to the underworld and her mother, Demeter, is beginning to search for her and feels a chill.

However, this is the time of the year to gather with friends and share the abundance of August, to dance a spiral dance and together weave corn dollies from newly harvested wheat, to make corn angels from newly harvested corn and corn necklaces to dry and wear for celebrations.

 

 


Collected By Willow July 2010