Lammas, or Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah), is on Monday, August first this year.
What the heck is Lammas you may ask?
Lammas is a Pagan tradition which honors the first harvest of the season and the beginning of the lengthening nights which signal the return of fall.
What did you plant this year?
In some 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. He was also the original Celtic Sun God. It wasn’t until Christianity began to overtake the world and the Church began undermining Pagan traditions in order to sway followers to conversion, that Lugh began to lose his honor as the Sun God. The Church repainted Lugh as a crafty, stooped trickster, and the legend of the leprechaun was born.
Lughnasadh is still celebrated in many parts of the world and Lugh’s influence can be found across the names of several European towns.
Like all Celtic or Pagan holidays, this one also honors goddesses whose crafts and legends align with the the energy of the world right now. The goddesses Ceres (goddess of agriculture) and Tailtiu (mother of Lugh) are honored here as great forces of abundance and prosperity; their blessings manifest in the bounty of the food and growth we will enjoy in autumn. Our spiritual and emotional crops are ready for first harvest, too—the fruit of those mindful and focused intentions we began setting in the darkness of the end of winter and early spring.
The week of Lammas is the time to reflect. It’s where we can look back upon the first half of this year, and upon the seeds we planted.
Did I plant them with mindful intention, or did I drop them carelessly as I walked? Either way, you’ve sown something, and now, as the first harvest begins, it is time to reap what you’ve sown.
What will you pull from the Earth with your hands? What will you pull from the etheric realm to manifest here?
What have your seeds grown into this year? Did they flourish or wilt?
Did you nurture your seeds and help them grow, or did you abandon them?
Harvest time is a deep grounding period. Diving deep and taking honest stock here helps us to navigate the rest of our year.
Lammas is also a holiday of remembrance and releasing, a time of acknowledging the crops that didn’t make it to fruition, literally and figuratively. This is a time that asks: What do you need to let go of right now, so that you can be fully present to what is ahead of you? We can acknowledge here that not everything survives in the grand cycle of life.
Lammas is a time for us to put our hands in the Earth in a very figurative sense. We can do this by consciously attending to what’s in our spirit-soil, visualizing ourselves harvesting and collecting what it was that we planted. Or we can do something more literal and cathartic by gathering our physical harvests and celebrating the growth of the year. these may be in the form of our children, getting bigger by the day. Business ventures, growing incrementally, even if only in the intentions and plans we’re setting. Relationships, maturing like ripe fruit. Our friendships, deepening with time. Our own personal growth and efforts towards deepening our spiritual connection and self realization.
Gather with your dearest ones and celebrate the growth. Celebrate the bounty of your energetic and physical efforts and your deep spiritual work this year. Create a sacred space for yourself and sit in meditation or work a harvest ritual.
This is the perfect time to give thanks for your abundance and many blessings, and to be grateful for the physical and energetic food on our tables. Lammas is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings. To celebrate, I favor simple practice as our ancestors would’ve once.
I’d like to share a simple meditation and ritual ideas for Lammas harvest:
- Gather wheat (or buy it if you don’t have access), and stones in colors of the harvest (think oranges, deep yellows, reds, browns).
- Create a wheel for the Wheel of the Year. Use a round table or space and set your wheat and stones upon it. Place each item with intention, and give thanks for what lies ahead. If you are grieving, or feel you need deep release, incorporate a few releasing stones as well, like Apache Tear or golden sheen obsidian. See your grief attaching to these stones, and leave it here in your wheel to turn with time.
- The most traditional Lammas practice is the baking of bread (the name Lammas comes from the Old English hlafmaesse or loaf-mass). When we bake bread, we use the grain around us to sustain our bodies, honoring and consuming nature’s sacred gifts. So have some fun and experiment—have you ever attempted bread baking?
- This is also a festival of light, celebrating the last long days of the year, your practice can be as simple as lighting a candle. Find a beautiful harvest colored candle and place it in the middle of your wheel or other sacred space.
- Light a candle. As you burn it, give thanks for what you’ve grown and achieved, and for what remains to be gathered.
- If you’re a crystal worker, charge your stones in the late summer sunshine, and hold them in deep grounding and healing meditation before assessing and taking stock of your energetic harvest. Explore what is still missing from your year, and what you haven’t yet achieved that you’d hoped to.
- Ask yourself what actions you need to take before Mabon (the Autumn Equinox) to harvest what you you wish to reap in order to energetically sustain you through winter. Take these intentions into the New Moon.
- Close your eyes, visualize the growth you’re choosing to celebrate, offer your thanks, and extinguish the flame. Light it each time you sit in meditation with this energy.
- August second is the New Moon in Leo which will be fuelled with the fire and strength of the lion. Set your intentions for the rest of the year with this moon.
A lot is happening in the world. Maybe you feel it energetically, maybe you don’t—but know that change is in the air.
We work hard to manifest our wishes—we must, because only we can. No one else can do the work for us.
Here’s where faith enters, reminding us to develop our vision and hold tight to it, even when doubt creeps in.
Well-tended seeds sown with care, will yield a potent harvest. This day is a reminder of this truth, and may also be a reward for your patience and hard work.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Renée Picard