Lughnassadh (meaning Lugh’s Assembly), also known as Lammas (Loaf Mass), Cornucopia (Strega) and Thingtide (Teutonic), generally falls on the 1st or 2nd August or, the closest Full Moon. You will by now have noticed that most of the Sabbats are plus minus six weeks apart. The Wheel of the Year, is ever turning, ever moving. It is the first of the three harvest celebrations.
The festival itself has two aspects:
The first is one of the Celtic fire festivals, honouring the Celtic Solar God Lugh. He was known as “The Shining One” and it is on this day, that we commemorate the death of his foster mother Tailtiu. It is generally celebrated with games, feats of skill, matchmaking and the resolution of disputes. Interestingly, I wonder if this is where our Sports Days at school stem from and of course the Olympics is generally held around this time.
The second is Lammas, which has survived as a Christian Harvest Festival (derived from the Saxon Feast of the Bread). Within out Pagan Sabbat, we now celebrate the first harvest of corn and perhaps bake bread on the day and use it in our Cakes and Ale.
This time is also sacred to the Greek Goddess of the Moon and Hunt, Artemis. Other Goddess’ of this time, include Ceres, the Roman Goddess of the Harvest and Ceridwen, Welsh Celtic Goddess of the Cauldron and also of Grain.
Lugh himself, is the ultimate Celtic “Golden Boy”. He is able to do everything correctly, on time and under budget. He celebrates his triumph over his arch-rival Balor. Balor was a sun god and after his defeat, he descended into the underworld to heal. As we now begin to notice, after Litha (midsummer), the sun has begun to rise a little later, set a little earlier and not reach so high in the Sky.
If you wish to honour Lugh in your life – and even as women you can do this – begin by developing your skills, whatever they may be. Lugh is the master of them all. He is the harvest God, and harvest means the completion of something, no matter the time of the year. He may also help you with your sense of law, justice, fair play and right. As Pagans, working within the Reede, these are good and perhaps difficult attributes to work with and learn.
This is a good time to work in the kitchen and bake bread. The altar is decorated with fruits and wheat. Stock your cabinets with and magickal herbs that you have harvested this day, perhaps empowering some of them in your Ritual. It is also time to prepare for autumn, and similarly as we do in Spring, so in Autumn, we change the tablecloths and curtains and refresh the home, ready for the coming months.
It is not just the bread that is important, but the elements that are used to create it – Earth, Air, Fire and Water are all used.
Lughnassadh – The first harvest and thanksgiving.
Practices – Bread is eaten and tossed into the fire or used in ritual. Wheat is woven into the goddess symbol.
Colours – Yellow, orange, green and brown. Red.
Fruits of Harvest – Herbs etc. – All Grains and sunflowers. Heather, blackberry, sloe, crab apples, pears, red currants, gooseberries. Lavender, mint and any other herb in your garden that is ready to be harvested.
Incense – Sandalwood, Rose and Aloes.
Foods – Breads, cider, blackberry pies and meadowsweet tea, all berries and apples.
Altar items – Breads, wheat, corn dollies, fruits and vegetables.
Other items or practices – Making a wheel of the year. Save the seeds of the fruit you have eaten and sow them into seed trays if you have the space. If any of them start to germinate, plant them with love, as a symbol of your connection with the Lord and Lady. Visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells are also traditional.
Symbolism – The first harvest and thanksgiving.
Stones or Crystals – Carnelian, yellow and orange calcite, orange kyanite and golden tigers-eye.
Gods: Lugh (Irish Celtic), Lleu (Welsh Celtic) Mercury (Roman), Adonis (Assyrian), Attis (Phrygean), Dagon (Semitic), Neper (Egyptian), Tammuz (Sumerian).
Goddess’: Ceridwen (Welsh Celtic), Ceres (Roman), Parvati (Hindu), Pomona (Roman), Demeter (Greek)