The first of this month marks the first days of harvest. Lughnasadh (Loo-na-sah) or Lammas is named differently based on the different groups of people celebrating the same holiday.
Northern Hemisphere (August 1st) Southern Hemisphere (February 1st)
Lammas is Anglo-saxan for hlaef-mass (Loaf-mass) which provides the first harvest. This is specific for English and Scottish traditions. This is focused on the wheat harvest and is usually involves beer brewing and bread baking. Originally it was named Lammastide, marking halfway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox.
Lughnasadh is Gaelic (Celtic) for the First Harvest, and is celebrated by Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and Isle of man. Please note that both names overlap for Scottish peoples due to the occupation of English within Scotland lasting from the late 1200’s to the late 1350’s. Scottish independence allowed them to bring back their language to it’s original form and thus, was marked to use Lughnasadh once again. The names are generally synonymous but some may believe otherwise.
The Christian/Catholic churches have changed the holiday for it’s own uses, like so many before it wherever the religions were able to reach.
Generally Speaking: If you are new to these Sabbats, I encourage you to look ahead and plan for these days but to also remind you that these days were very unspecific originally in time, and do not have to be honored on the 1st of August or February.
You can give yourself time to enjoy it, especially if you are busy but want to celebrate too.
From many sources I have noticed that the Celtic god of light, and son of the Sun, Lugh is also known as the master of many or “Jack of all trades”. He is regarded as a craftsman, warrior, and even a magician, which has earned his title. His power of light transforms to grain and other crops and sacrifices himself for the annual harvest. This Sabbat (aka holiday) is originally celebrated on the highest ground possible, and so many would go to a tall hill or mountain to appreciate the sun and continue their activities for Lugh.
Wheat and corn are the most prominently known crops to represent Lugh, but this holiday signifies only the beginning of the big harvest, which trails off into two other Sabbats: Mabon and Samhain. His warrior’s title also allows for the arrow to be a symbol in his name. Summer Solstice bleeding into Autumn Equinox has a theme specific to the focus on the Warrior. If you see yourself as a warrior, your time is with Lugh.
Many types of breads as well as brews are created for the holiday and you can find many online. I have one recipe I created for (Lammas) Lugh bread that you can visit and make on your own. My variation is one of many and can be changed based off of what you like most in your creations (Such as herbs or baking time). Many experienced bakers braid their bread and even create bread men to honor the Green man, the Gaelic God of Harvest.
Lammas allows us to appreciate the first fruits of our labor and to also give thanks for the powers that allow us to do so. This time is often regarded to be able to finish old projects as well as appreciate the long lasting sunny days before it gradually become dark once more. This means we can spend time outside more often, and doing so allows us to thank nature in return for our sunlight and festivities.
Crafts and Tools:
Ж Stangs or Staves (2 or 3 pronged staff) are created and woven to help draw a conduit to the sun or “catch the sun” to save it’s energy longer than the long bright days the earth has given us. This also referred to as a dowsing rod, when holding either of the two brings in each hand, can pull you to sources of water or sap of a tree. This tool is a symbol of a living tree and is used as both a portable alter and a tool.
Ж Braided Wheat is a traditional symbol that can be incorporated in your holiday. Wreathes or just bundled bunches of wheat are equally enjoyable.
Ж Corn husk dolls are created and held through out the Summer and Autumn and are buried in the Winter to ensure a new strong harvest for next year comes after Spring.
Ж Wicker men are created to burn away our bad habits, negative thoughts, and other things we wish to be rid of before the winter. You can bind a bundle of sticks in the form of a man with a piece of paper or bay leaf with a desired habit, (etc) folded inside. Once cast into a bonfire or even a hearth the burning banishes your cast away thoughts and helps lift your burdens away with the smoke it creates.
Ж Sun Water is an easy way to start your holiday festivities. By allowing the sun to charge your own container, you are keeping the sun’s energy for your work. This water can be used in certain rituals and can also be used in your tea or in cooking.
Gods/Goddesses: Lugh (Celtic), Demeter (Greek),Ceres (Roman), Hermes (Greek), Terra Mater (Roman), Baldr (Nord), Anuket (Egyptian), and Atum (Egyptian).
(If you are not familiar with these deities you can assign your own based off of the theme of the sun, agriculture, and harvest)
Colors: yellow, gold, orange, brown, and sometimes green
Objects For your Altar: Corn, Wheat (Braided or bundled), Candles (In place of pictures or figurines for deities), Bring a symbol of your skill to place on the alter (For example, if you are an artist you can bring a paint brush, or anything that is associated with your skill) If you cannot find anything to represent your skill, write the skill on paper facing up to be read. You can also bring fruits and or veggies form your garden if you have one, to show for the harvest holiday.
Disclaimer: I am always adding more information if I find my original writing to be incorrect. If you want to share with me new evidence to update any information, I would be happy to receive a note from the Contact Me page.
I am aware that some practice with rigid rules and regulations. As a solitary witch, I work as close as I can to these practices but also have many alternatives to work with to receive the same result. These alternatives are specifically noted for those who are learning to embrace the craft.
Always be safe, go with your gut, and don’t let anyone belittle you in the way you practice.