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Lughnasadh ~ also called Lammas, Loafmas, August Eve
July 31st / August 1st in the northern hemisphere (for some it’s Aug. 6th) ~ between the Summer Solstice and the Fall Equinox, The first day of autumn seen by the days which are visibly becoming shorter. A Cross-Quarter Point on the wheel of the year
This is the first of three harvest festivals, the Grain Harvest. Grains were baked and the storage for winter was started.
Lughnasadh - The Irish Gaelic name was named after the Celtic Deity Lugh, who is the deity of light and wisdom, 'the many skilled' and the 'inventor of all arts'. He is the Guardian of roads and travelers, moneymaking commerce, and he governs social contracts like handfasting. The feast is to host the funeral games to commemorate the death of Lugh's foster mother Taillte. It is said that Taillte died while clearing the Irish forests in preparation for the planting of the fields. Many believe it is to celebrate Lugh's death, but the god of light doesn't really die until the autumn equinox.
Lammas/Loafmas is the medieval Christian name it means 'loaf mass', and making a special loaf bread out of the first grains harvested. A day representing the first fruits of the early harvest, loaves were baked and set at the church alters as offerings. Making loaves to eat at ritual can be symbolic of the sacrifice of the god as he is being transformed into the abundance of the harvest.
Native Americans share this date and celebrate it in honor of the Corn Grandmother, called the Festival of Green Corn.
-Celebrate with feasting, outdoor ritual, games, singing, dancing, and contests
- Make cornhusks, bake fresh corn, cakes, berry pies, oat scones, and barley cakes
The following was collected by Shadowkitten from pagan forum, xposted with her permission
-Lughnasadh is a time when Pagans should embrace those who they believed have wronged them and to move forward with their lives.
-As summer passes, many Pagans celebrate this time to remember its warmth and bounty in a celebrated feast shared with family or Coven members. Save and plant the seeds from the fruits consumed during the feast or ritual. If they sprout, grow the plant or tree with love and as a symbol of your connection with the Lord and Lady. Walk through the fields and orchards or spend time along springs, creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes reflecting on the bounty and love of the Lord and Lady.
-Ritually sacrifice negative emotions, outworn habits, etc. by "transferring" them into a small bread "person" you have baked, and then throwing it, either whole or in pieces, into the ritual fire.
-Sacrifice bad habits and unwanted things from your life by throwing symbols of them into the Sabbat fire.
-Decorate your altar with some of the first fruits, grains, and vegetables that are now ripening. A loaf of bread and harvest figures may also be added as well as any other crafts the kids have made. Add summer flowers and bright yellow or gold candles to represent the sun.
-Decorate your home and altar with sickles, scythes, fresh vegetables & fruits, grains, berries, corn dollies, bread.
-Baking breads is a traditional activity at Lughnasadh. If baking is not your forte, visit a real bakery. Call ahead and ask if you can get a little tour or at least a chat with the baker about the process. As Lughnasadh also celebrates the first fruits, making cobblers, pies, and jams is appropriate. Instead of getting your ingredients from the supermarket, head for the farmer's market or visit farms that allow you to pick your own berries. Talk to farmers. Ask them to share with you and your kids about what it takes to grow and harvest the foods.
-Bake a loaf of bread for the people you love, such as your family, friends, coven, etc. You can also make cards to go along with the bread if you would like.
-Some bake bread in the form of a God-figure or a Sun Wheel - if you do this, be sure to use this bread in the Cakes and Ale Ceremony.
-Bake corn bread sticks shaped like little ears of corn for your Sabbat cakes.
-Do a Harvest Chant when serving the corn bread at dinner:
The Earth Mother grants the grain,
The Horned God goes to his domain.
By giving life into her grain,
The God dies then is born again.
-Have a magickal picnic with libations to the earth of bread and wine.
-Harvest the first crops of your garden and dedicate them to the Gods. If you don't have a garden, take a trip to a farmer's market or grocery store and purchase some fruit and vegetables.
-Take time to actually harvest fruits from your garden with your family. If you don't have a garden, visit one of the pick-your-own farms in your area.
-Share your harvest with others who are less fortunate.
-Include bilberries or blueberries in your feast; these were a traditional fruit, whose abundance was seen as an indicator of the harvest to come.
-Collect blackberries and make a fresh pie marked with the Solar Cross.
-Be Charitable: Although the God has begun his downward journey toward the dark frosts of winter, the Goddess wears a face of exquisite abundance. Like Her, most of us experience good health and robust living at this time of year. The earth is awash in fertility and abundance and we relax in a summer haze. But not everyone is so fortunate. Most people think of those less fortunate around the winter holidays, but there are just as many going without in the summer. Many people are still going hungry and many children will return to school soon without the supplies they need. As the first harvest, Lughnasadh is an excellent time to share with others. If you didn't get around to doing your spring-cleaning, do it now. Donate what you no longer use -- old clothes, toys, school supplies. Consider volunteering in a soup kitchen.
-Bless your garden, where Lugh's vitality has transformed into the sustenance of ripe vegetables, fruits, and grains.
-Spend time in your garden. If you don't have a spot of your own land to plant and harvest, investigate the possibility of starting a community garden or visit one of the many farms which allow you to harvest your own vegetables.
-Start a compost heap. If your plot of land is small you can even start one in a large plastic garbage can. Poke some holes in the bottom to allow gasses to escape, fill about half full with grass clippings, vegetable parings and other biodegradable materials, moisten well and allow to sit. Turn the contents periodically to allow air to circulate and moisten occasionally. When the materials begin to decompose you can add a handful of earthworms to speed up the process. You can also add vegetable parings from time to time. It will take several months, but you should be able to use your compost in your garden next spring.
-Lughnasadh means "Lugh's assembly." The Celtic god Lugh, whom this holiday is named after, was uncommonly skilled in many arts, including the use of the spear, the sling, and the sword. Celebrating Lughnasadh outdoors with games is highly appropriate. They can be traditional summer games like sack races, relay races, and water balloon tosses. Frisbee games also work well as do popular modern sports like softball. Go to the park, the beach, on hikes. Explore the natural world around you.
-Hold your own "Tailtean Games" (the Irish contests in honour of Lugh or His foster-mother Tailte), by competing in athletic games, poetry reading, and any other contest that would be fun.
-Play a game such as rhibo (a Welsh game) which is traditionally played at Lughnasadh. Three pairs to people face each other and hold hands. A person is then laid across the hands and tossed into the air much like how grain is winnowed. For little ones use a blanket with two adults holding the corners. Be sure to be careful not to "toss" anyone too high!!!
-Making wreaths in a fun activity and the possibilities are endless. They can be made with dried, seasonal flowers and fruits. Corn dollies and other harvest figures are also fun to make. You can create strong links with nature by using things from your natural surroundings. Gathering plants is an excellent way to get your kids in touch with their environment. Encourage them to leave thank-you gifts. Crafts can be kept, used to decorate, or created to represent hopes and fears and then burned during ritual. For the latter, you can also use clay or construction paper. If you normally discard seeds, don't. Collect them for your kids to discover and play with. They can make seed mosaics using craft glue on wood or cardboard. Suns, spirals, God and Goddess figures and other symbols, made with seeds of different shapes, sizes, and colours make beautiful and meaningful additions to your seasonal decor.
-Make a Corn Dolly using stalks of wheat or corn husks to save for next Imbolc. Double over a bundle of wheat and tie it near the top to form a head. Take a bit of the fibre from either side of the main portion and twist into arms that you tie together in front of the dolly. Add a small bouquet of flowers to the "hands," and then you can decorate the dolly with a dress and bonnet (the dress and bonnet may be made out of corn husks if you wish, or and cotton material is fine too). The Corn Dolly may be used both as a fertility amulet and as an altar centrepiece.
-Make a God-figure which is whole ears of corn wired together with sticks, and covered with gold foil. During the ritual this sun god image is cast into the fire - later to emerge transformed into the corn god. Eat Him along with other ears of corn which have been roasting around the fire's edge and, of course, other potluck goodies. Thus the power of the sunlight is transformed into the harvest which sustains us and we give thanks for His willing sacrifice by feasting on corn and wine.
-String Indian corn on black thread for a necklace.
-Create and bury a Witch's Bottle. This is a glass jar with sharp pointy things inside to keep away harm. You can use needles, pins, thorns, thistles, nails, and bits of broken glass; it's a good way to dispose of broken crockery, old sewing equipment, and the pins that come in new clothes. Bury it near the entry to the house (like next to the driveway or the front door), or inside a large planter.
-If the Sabbat falls on a rainy day, you could collect rainwater in a glass or earthenware container, add dried mugwort, and use to empower objects.
-Make sand candles to honour the Goddess and the God of the sea.
-Do Magick to help you finish long-standing projects by Autumn.
-Gather the tools of your trade and bless them in order to bring a richer harvest next year.
-Walk through the fields and orchards or spend time along springs, creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes reflecting on the bounty and love of the Lord and Lady.
-Take a nature walk and collect goodies for your altar
-If you have a spring or well in your area, bless it and decorate it with flowers.
-Float flowers at a local creek or pond.
Please add anything else you have!! I'll be doing more research to see if I can find anything else to add.
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Those are wonderful suggestions. I love the idea of collecting seeds for kids to play with or make crafts with. I think I will start collecting seeds now, even though Daniel's a bit too young.
I usually do enjoy nature walks around this time of year and collecting natural objects, especially pine cones! And I think I will definitely look at baking a blackberry pie and maybe some biscuits of some description.
How would you go about making a wreath, Megan?
Here is the research on Lughnasadh I did for the calendar:
Traditionally this is the festival of the Celtic god Lugh, and later, the Anglo-Saxons marked the festival of "Loaf-mass" at this time, which became the Christian Lammas in the Northern Hemisphere calendar (August). Many Pagans in the Northern Hemisphere today celebrate this feast day on Lammas - both are marked on our calendar, as well as the Southern Hemisphere date for Lughnasadh.
This is also the first day of the harvest which concludes at Samhain. Symbols connected with corn may be used at this time.
My mom and I used to make head wreaths (I'm sure regular wreaths would be no different, just bigger) when we did a lot of Renaissance festivals and medieval reenacting. Either we went to the craft store and got prewound wreaths that we decorated OR we would go to a flower store and buy the young twigs and braid them, we would use either fresh or fake flowers to decorate them and we'd use wire and tape you'd find in the flower section to hold together the braids and such. I’m having a hard time remembering exactly how we did it; it has been so long for me. The last wreaths I made were pre-braided into circles and they actually took vine to wrap around the braid to help hold the shape. Sorry I can't be more help :-(
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Lughnasadh means the funeral games of Lugh (pronounced Loo), referring to Lugh, the Irish sun god. However, the funeral is not his own, but the funeral games he hosts in honor of his foster-mother Taillte. For that reason, the traditional Tailteann craft fairs and Tailteann marriages (which last for a year and a day) are celebrated at this time.
This day originally coincided with the first reapings of the harvest. It was known as the time when the plants of spring wither and drop their fruits or seeds for our use as well as to ensure future crops.
As autumn begins, the Sun God enters his old age, but is not yet dead. The God symbolically loses some of his strength as the Sun rises farther in the South each day and the nights grow longer.
The Christian religion adopted this theme and called it 'Lammas ', meaning 'loaf-mass ', a time when newly baked loaves of bread are placed on the altar. An alternative date around August 5 (Old Lammas), when the sun reaches 15 degrees Leo, is sometimes employed by Covens.
Apples, Grains, Breads and Berries.
Herbs and Flowers:
All Grains, Grapes, Heather, Blackberries, Sloe, Crab Apples, Pears.
Aloes, Rose, Sandalwood.
As summer passes, many Pagans celebrate this time to remember its warmth and bounty in a celebrated feast shared with family or Coven members. Save and plant the seeds from the fruits consumed during the feast or ritual. If they sprout, grow the plant or tree with love and as a symbol of your connection with the Lord and Lady. Walk through the fields and orchards or spend time along springs, creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes reflecting on the bounty and love of the Lord and Lady.
Carlye-mommy to Addy, girlfriend to Scott-dad to Curtis, Corbin, & Candice