Merry Meet my friends! Hope you all are well and enjoying your Summer (or Winter depending where you live 🙂 . We have been having an amazing couple of weeks of cool, breezy, gorgeous weather. I am not a fan of HOT weather so I am loving this so much. We have had a nice amount of rain here too..enough to keep everything green and lush, growing and blooming. I love sitting out on the porch in the evenings with a glass of wine and watching the fireflies flitting, hearing the frogs croaking and crickets chirping, the windchimes softly chiming. The nights feel soft and gentle to me and all seems right with the world in that moment.
“The summer air is hot and still, the afternoon hazy; crickets call relentlessly from among the brown grasses, and ears of corn are the same heavy, burnished gold as the late-day sun. Hawks circle in the blue-white sky overhead, and seedpods ripen where flowers bloomed just a month before. But shadows begin to lengthen along the garden wall, and the nights come, just a bit cooler, perhaps; a settling begins in the Earth, a gathering, a slow, quiet turning toward the coming darkness.”
From Simple Wicca by Michele Morgan
Believe it or not, the days are getting shorter and Autumn is on it’s way. Soon, on August 1, we will be celebrating the first Harvest festival of the Wheel of the Year. It is Lughnasadh (prounounced loo-na-sa), known also as Lammas, or Lammastide, the first of three Harvest Festivals. This Sabbat marks the ending of summer and the first harvest of the grain. 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.
Lughnasadh is named for Lugh, the Celtic deity who presides over the arts and sciences. According to Celtic legend, Lugh decreed that a commemorative feast be held each year at the beginning of the harvest season to honor his foster mother, Tailtiu. Tailtiu was the royal Lady of the Fir Bolg..an older race that was defeated by the Tuatha De Dannan. After the defeat, she was forced by them to clear a vast forest for the purpose of planting grain. She died of exhaustion after it was completed. She was buried beneath a great mound named for her, the hill of Tailtiu. The very first feast of Lughnasadh was held in there. At this gathering there were games and contests of skill as well as a great feast made up of the first fruits of the summer harvest.
When Christianity arrived in the Celtic lands, the old pagan festival of Lughnasadh took on Christian symbolism. Loaves of bread were baked from the first of the harvested grain and placed on the church altar on the first Sunday of August. The Christians called this feast Lammas or “loaf mass”.
With the coming of Autumn, the Sun God is aging and he loses strength as the nights grow longer. This is a time for giving thanks for summer’s bounty. Harvesting the fresh fruits and vegetables and herbs and feasting on them, thanking the Sun God for his transformation into the soul of the harvest. This is the time of year that so many women are in the kitchen preserving and canning the produce from their gardens..putting it away for the long winter. My daughter and I have just in the last couple of years tried our hand at canning and we are loving it 🙂
*Symbolism- Celtic grain Festival, first harvest festival, The aging of the Sun God, Autumn’s arrival.
*Symbols/Tools/Decorations- Corn, cornucopias, red & yellow flowers, sheaves of grain, First fruits/vegetables of garden labor, corn dollies, baskets of bread, cauldron, Sickle, scythe, harvested herbs, bonfires, sacred loaf of bread.
*Herbs- All grains, heather, apples, pears, cornstalks, frankincense, sunflower, wheat, oak leaf, hollyhock, myrtle.
*Incense/Oils- Wood aloes, rose, rose hips, rosemary, chamomile, eucalyptus, safflower, corn, passionflower, frankincense, sandalwood.
*Colors- Red, orange, golden yellow, green, light brown, gold, bronze, gray.
*Crystals/Stones- Aventurine, citrine, peridot, yellow diamonds and citrine, carnelian.
*Customs/Activities- Breaking bread with friends, making corn dollys, harvesting herbs for charms/rituals, feasting, gathering flowers, handfastings, games,
*Foods- Loaves of homemade wheat, oat & corn bread, barley cakes, corn, potatoes, nuts, acorns, summer squash, wild berries, apples, pears, elderberry wine, crab, grapes, cider, beer.
*Gods-Lugh, John Barley Corn, Dionysus, Lieu, Dagon, Vegetation Gods
*Goddesses-The Mother, Dana, Demeter, Ceres, The Barley Mother, Isis, Luna
*Spellwork/Ritual- Astrology, prosperity, generosity, continued success, good fortune, abundance, magickal picnic, finishing projects
There is so many ways to celebrate this wonderful Sabbat. Have a feast with your family and friends..outside while the weather is still nice. Fix lots of fresh veggies and fruits, they are great grilled on the grill 🙂 Have a bonfire, drink wine! Go to a medieval fair or craft show..this time of year they are everywhere. Go on a picnic and enjoy the warm weather. Lay on a blanket under the stars and find the constellations, watch for shooting stars. Catch fireflys and let them go.
Don’t have a garden of your own, visit a farmer’s market or produce stand! Make a big bouquet of flowers and bring it in or better yet, give it to an elderly neighbor to enjoy. Harvest herbs from the garden, and make flavored oils and vinegars to keep a taste of summer in your pantry all winter long. They would make great Yule gifts as well. Have a bread baking day with your family. Put grains, fruits and nuts in the bread and send a loaf home with everyone. Make corn dollys. Make fresh fruit jams, jellies or preserves, or can veggies. Plan a “tournament” of corn hole for the kids, or croquet, or kickball…playing games is just what the Celts did!
Lughnasadh is a good time to start your Fall House cleaning, to finish projects you wanted to do over the Summer. Get your carpets cleaned, windows cleaned, take down and wash your curtains and linens. Get your fireplace checked so it’s ready for the wonderful fires you’ll have soon. I actually LOVE Fall cleaning…I call it nesting 🙂 Getting ready to be in, be home, be cozy, be more lazy 🙂
I will be posting recipes, rituals etc over the next few weeks for this Blessed Sabbat! For now, Summer is in full swing so enjoy every minute of it….I hope your gardens are blooming, that you are active, outside, feeling energized, enjoying the Sun every chance you get! Remember that time flies, so savor every moment 🙂 Grab onto that Sun and don’t let go!!
Blessings and Light, Autumn
*Sources Simple Wicca by Michelle Morgan, my BOS, the internet. Pics from the internet..Jam jar picture is my own.