High holidays are meant to be celebrated in communities, like in the old days. I’m holding a free live and in-person ritual on August 1st to celebrate Lammas. Join me along with your magical community and take stock of all the intentions you’ve planted so far this year.
A brief history of Lammas
Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah), falls on Wednesday, August 1 this year. It is a holiday in Earth-based traditions, as old as time itself. In some Wiccan and 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 is still celebrated in many parts of the world. Lugh’s influence can be found across the names of several European towns. Lammas honors the first harvest of the season and the beginning – just the very start – of the lengthening nights, which signal the return of fall. By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honor our ancestors and the hard work they had to do in order to survive.
Like all Celtic or Pagan holidays, this one honors goddesses whose crafts and legends align with the work we’re doing at this time of year. Ceres and Tailtiu (mother of Lugh) are honored now as great forces of agricultural abundance; 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 sacred intentions we set in the darkness of winter and early spring.
An invitation to take stock
The week of Lammas is the time to take a moment to reflect. Let us look back upon the first half of this year, and upon the seeds we planted. Ask yourself: 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 have your seeds of intention grown into? Did they flourish or wilt? Harvest time is a deep grounding period. Diving deep and taking honest stock here will help us navigate the remainder of the year. Lammas is also a holiday of remembrance and releasing, a time of acknowledging the crops that didn’t make it to fruition. 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 are reminded that not everything survives in the grand cycle of life.
This 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 putting into our baskets whatever we set out to grow this past spring. Or we can do something more literal and cathartic by gathering our physical harvests and celebrating the growth of the year. Our children, getting bigger by the day. Our business ventures, growing incrementally, even if only in the intentions and plans we’re setting. Our relationships, maturing like ripe fruit. Our friendships, deepening with time. Our own personal growth and efforts towards deepening our spiritual connection. Gather and celebrate the growth; celebrate the bounty of your efforts and your deep work during the first part of the year.
A simple Lammas blessing and ritual
This is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in life, and to be grateful for the food on our tables. Lammas is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings. To celebrate, I favor simple practice.
Ideas to honor Lammas:
- Gather wheat, or stones in colors of the harvest (think oranges, reds, deep umbers). I’m offering these tools in my Lammas Kit.
- Create a wheel on a round plate or table. As you place each item, give thanks for what lies ahead. You might offer a few releasing stones as well, like Apache Tear or golden sheen obsidian, for the things you need to leave behind.
- 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.
- Since Lammas is also a festival of light, celebrating the last long days of the year, your ritual can be as simple as lighting a candle. I’m offering one in the kit in shades of yellow and orange, and anointed with Lammas perfume, and tiger’s eye chip stones for wisdom.
- Light your candle, and as you burn it, give thanks for what you’ve already grown this year, and for what remains to be gathered this fall.
- Charge your stones in the late summer sunshine, and work with them in deep grounding and healing meditation before taking stock of your harvest.
- Close your eyes, visualize the growth you’re choosing to celebrate, offer your thanks, and extinguish the flame.
Dear ones, a lot is happening. Change is in the air. I feel it in my soul. We are working hard to manifest our wishes. 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. Lammas is just a reminder of this sacred truth, along with a reward for your patience.
And so it is.