Yesterday was the first of the harvest festivals celebrated on the Wheel of the Year. For those not in the know, the Wheel of the Year is a representation of the cycles and celebrations of the Natural World through one calendar year. It is comprised of eight holidays, or sabbats. Four of these are solar festivals: the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, and the summer and winter solstices. Four of them are earth festivals: the midpoints of each of the solar holidays which represent the traditional beginnings of each season.
Lammas is the earth festival marking the midpoint between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox, and marks the traditional beginning to Autumn.
There may still be a lot of heat coming off the tarmac, but Summer’s strength is now beginning to wane, and the first hints of Autumn’s transition starts to emerge.
In agrarian cultures (where the Wheel fo the Year originated), this is the time of the first harvest … the harvest of the grains. As such, celebrations of Lammas almost always include some kind of grain in practical and/or magickal ways.
In Scotland and Ireland, this festival is called Lughnasadh in reference to the Celtic Sun god, Lugh, who is said to have first celebrated this day by hosting a feast in honor of his mother, Tailtiu. This adds a solar element to this earth festival, which correlates nicely as the sun’s power slips slowly from it’s Solstice apex and the abundance of sunflowers ready to be harvested at this time.
As with any holiday, there are varied and sundry common traditional customs of celebration, but, IMO, the most powerful celebrations come from those traditions and practices that are born of our own individual connection with the holiday. To that end, I’m sharing my Lammas ritual with you in the hopes that it will inspire you. But I encourage you to experiment with your own blissful ways of honoring the seasons, and any holiday(s) you choose to observe.
My Lammas/Lughnasadh Ritual (2019):
I actually celebrated with a two-part ritual.
The first part was a celebratory meal. I made an early dinner to be eaten while the sun was still high in the sky. I baked a cob of dilly corn crusty bread. (Full disclosure: It was my first time doctoring a particular recipe [to make it vegan and gluten free], and it didn’t come out perfectly. It was edible, but just. I share this to reiterate the importance of always remembering that the intention is what counts during magick and ritual work, not the final outcome.) Then I made a beautiful corn chowder to be eaten with the bread. (It came out great! Yay!) I invited my family to join me in this meal, and shared a little bit about Lammas with them.
This was a delicious way to honor the grain harvest both with the grains and corn in the bread and the corn in the chowder. Not to mention the fact that the chowder was a stunning golden color with little rings of red and orange sweet peppers that looked like little suns. I then set aside a piece of the bread, and made a corn dolly from the corn husks - adding mint for additional abundance magnetism, for my evening ritual.
Part two was an evening ritual. It was a solitary affair. I lit candles round the room, burned some palo santo to purify the space, and set up my mini altar on the floor. (Check my instagram account to see my mini altar.) Then I sat myself down on my meditation pillows in the center of the room, and cast my sacred circle. (If you’re interested in how to cast a sacred circle, stay tuned! I’m planning a post on this soon!)
When the circle was cast, I began by honoring Lugh. Not only is He the Celtic Sun God, but I also consider Him to be the King of the Manifesting Generators (after His interest and mastery in many different skills). Being an MG myself, I asked His favor and support in gaining my own proficiency in all that I choose to study and practice, and in unifying all my gifts and talents and interests into one umbrella that will allow me to be of service to the world while meeting my financial needs and desires as well as my happiness quota. I also gave Him thanks for continuing to illuminate the path for me, for humankind, and for all that exists in this world.
Next, I honored Demeter, Earth Mother and Goddess of the Harvest. I offered Her deep gratitude for the bounty of blessings She continues to supply to me, to humankind, and to all that exists in this world. I asked Her to offer Her wisdom, support, and abundance to me as I go through the process of reaping in the harvest of all the seeds of Self I planted and toiled to tend this year.
After celebrating the two primary Guests of Honor, I shifted to spellwork. (Note: I don’t always cast spells when in sacred circle, but felt inspired to do so in this ritual.) I used the corn dolly I made with the husks from dinner’s chowder as a besom (sacred broom). I charged it with my intentions and asked that the Spirit of the Harvest imbue it, as well. I then recited a chant of prosperity and abundance while using the dolly/besom to sweep the energy of abundance toward myself. I did this until I felt the energy wax and apex, then I held the doll to my solar plexus, offered gratitude, and visualized a bountiful harvest season for myself.
Next, I laid a tarot spread for myself (as I almost always do), and let the wisdom offered marinate until it felt ‘set’.
Finally, I took a little time to meditate in communication with my astral and causal guides. This particular work is still relatively new for me. I am still getting used to how they communicate, and how I am able to receive information from them. So far, it’s been really powerful work, and I’m super grateful for it. I’ve gotten some really clear and consistent messages in the short time I’ve been consciously communicating with them. And I can see how they have been communicating with me throughout my life … I just didn’t have a name to describe where the guidance was coming from. I end these sessions with immense gratitude and a request for continued guidance and support.
Feeling complete, I then closed the circle. I took the piece of bread I saved from dinner out into the yard and offered it to Mama Nature/Demeter/Lugh and the elementals as a token of my appreciation and reverence. Thus ended my ritual.