Lughnasadh, also called Lammas, is the Celebration of Harvest. This is the time of the first harvests. At this celebration we give thanks to the Earth for its bounty and beauty. It is from these harvests that we eat through the upcoming winter. The grain Goddesses Demeter and Ceres are also honored. This is a time to harvest the dreams planted earlier in the year.
Lughnasadh or 'Festival of Lugh' is a time of thanksgiving and reverence to the Land for it's sacrifices to us.
It is said that Lugh (Llew, Lugos, Lugus), Master of All the Arts and Crafts, dedicated this festival to his foster-mother, Tailtiu, the last queen of the Fir Bolg, who died from exhaustion after clearing a great forest so that the land could be cultivated. When the men of Ireland gathered at her death-bed, she told them to hold funeral games in her honor. As long as they were held, she prophesied Ireland would not be without song. Tailtiu’s name is from Old Celtic Talantiu, "The Great One of the Earth," suggesting she may originally have been a personification of the land itself, like so many Irish goddesses. In fact, Lughnasadh has an older name, Brón Trogain, which refers to the painful labor of childbirth. For at this time of year, the earth gives birth to her first fruits so that her children might live....
The Lughnassadh Sabbat is a time to celebrate the first of three harvest celebrations (Mabon and Samhain being the other two) in the Craft. It marks the middle of Summer represents the start of the harvest cycle and relies on the early crops of ripening grain, and also any fruits and vegetables that are ready to be harvested. It is therefore greatly associated with bread as grain is one of the first crops to be harvested.
Lughnasadh was also the traditional time of year for craft festivals. The medieval guilds would create elaborate displays of their wares, decorating their shops and themselves in bright colors and ribbons, marching in parades, and performing strange, ceremonial plays and dances for the entranced onlookers.
One traditional Lughnasadh custom was the construction of the corn dolly or corn maiden. This figure, braided into a woman's form from the last harvested sheaf of grain, represented the Harvest Spirit. (In America, the tradition is continued in the making of corn husk dolls.) The doll would be saved until Spring, when it was ploughed into the field to consecrate the new planting and insure a good harvest. In other traditions, the corn dolly was fed and watered throughout the Winter, then burned in the fires at Beltane to insure a continuation of good growth.
Another custom drawn from Lughnasadh relates to fire. Lughnasadh was, to the Celts, one of four Great Fire Festivals, held on the cross-quarter days.
During Lughnasadh, the custom of lighting bonfires was intended to add strength to the powers of the waning sun. Afterward, the fire brands were kept in the home through the Winter as protection against storms, lightning and fires caused by lightning....
It is customary to consume bread or something from the First Harvest during the Lughnassadh Ritual. Other actions include the gathering of first fruits and the study of Astrology. Some Pagans symbolically throw pieces of bread into a fire during the Lammas ritual. The celebration of Lughnasadh is a pause to relax and open yourself to the change of the Season so that you may be one with its energies and accomplish what is intended. Visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells are also traditional.
Spellwork for prosperity, abundance and good fortune are especially appropriate now, as well as spells for connectedness, career, health and financial gain.
As Summer passes, pagans remember its warmth and bounty in the food we eat. Every meal is an act of attunement with Nature, and we are reminded that nothing in the Universe is constant.
Symbolism of Lughnasadh:
Abundance, middle of summer, prosperity...
Symbols of Lughnasadh:
Corn Dollies, Sun wheels, Threshing tools, the Full Moon
Herbs of Lughnasadh:
Acacia flowers, aloes, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, frankincense, heather, hollyhock, myrtle, oak leaves, sunflower, and wheat.
Foods of Lughnasadh:
Traditional Pagan Foods for the Lughnassadh Festival include homemade breads (wheat, oat and especially cornbread), corn, potatoes, berry pies, barley cakes, nuts,
wild berries, apples, rice, roasted lamb, acorns, crab apples, summer squash, turnips, oats, all grains and all First Harvest foods.
Traditional drinks are elderberry wine, ale and meadowsweet tea.
Incense of Lughnasadh:
Aloes, rose, rose hips, rosemary, chamomile, passionflower, frankincense, and sandalwood.
Stones of Lughnasadh:
Activities of Lughnasadh:
Activities appropriate for this time of the year are the baking of bread and wheat weaving - such as the making of Corn Dollies, or other God & Goddess symbols.
Sand candles can be made to honor the Goddess and God of the sea. You may want to string Indian corn on black thread to make a necklace, and bake corn bread sticks shaped like little ears of corn for your Sabbat cakes. The Corn Dolly may be used both as a fertility amulet and as an altar centerpiece.
Some bake bread in the form of a God-figure or a Sun Wheel - if you do this, be sure to use this bread in the Cakes and Ale Ceremony.
Colours of Lughnasadh:
Red -- Elemental fire, deities of love, passion, sexuality and war. Courage, will-power, determination, speed, assertivity, aggression, masculinity, independence, physical strength, sports, competition, conflicts, health, sexual attraction and potency, love and passion, fertility.
Orange-- Deities of good luck and good fortune. Charm, kindness, encouragement, stimulation, optimism, success, abundance, prosperity, feast and celebration, achieving business goals, investments, success in legal matters.
Yellow-- Elemental air. Deities for trade, travel, knowledge and magick. Vitality, change, progress, contact, communication, and trade. Confidence, joy, cheerfulness, learning, knowledge, mental clarity, concentration, speaking and writing and visualization.
Green-- Elemental earth and elemental water. Nature and fertility deities, Mother goddesses. Nature, fertility, growth, rejuvenation, recovery, healing, harvest and abundance, prosperity, harmony, balance, peace, hope, home, plants and animals.
Brown/Light brown--Elemental earth, stability, grounding, conservation, protection of household, family and pets, healing animals, finding lost objects, buildings, material increase, to make relationships solid, to increase decisiveness and concentration, to attract help in financial crisis.
Gold --Sun-deities, solar energies, and masculine energy. Abundant self confidence, creativity, perfection, financial richess, success in investments, luxury, worldly power, magickal power, overcoming bad habits and addictions.
Bronze-- Love-goddesses, love and passion, positive relationships in love, friendship in business, career promotions, successful negotiations.
Gray-- Neutralizing negative influences, putting a halt to action.
Animals of Lughnasadh
Griffins, basilisks, roosters, calves, centaurs, phoenix