What is Lughnasadh/Lammas?
August is almost here! Which means it is harvest time and we can see the days are starting to get shorter. While the weather is still warm and sunny, we are approaching fall, so this is not only a celebration of abundance, but also a farewell to the Sun.
The name Lughnasadh comes from the word Lugh, the solar deity to whom this feast is dedicated and “nasad” meaning assembly in Old Irish. The Celtic god Lugh is the poet with the long arm, identified with Loki in Nordic mythology and with Mercury.
Another name for this holiday is Lammas, derived from Hlaf-mass, the medieval Christian name for ‘loaf-mass’. On this day, loaves of bread were baked from the first grain harvest and laid on the church altars as offerings. It was a day representative of first fruits and early harvest.
Lughnasadh & the Wheel of the Year
Lughnasadh is the first of the three Wiccan harvest festivals: Mabon (the Autumn equinox) and Samhain (or Halloween) come next. Its significance as the first harvest comes from the seeds that will ensure prosperity in the next crops.
The Sun God loses his strength after passing his highest point (Litha), allowing his seed to grow inside the belly of the Goddess. Lughnasadh is the moment in which he takes care of the crops and the animals while becoming aware of his mortality. Mabon will find him preparing for his death, which will happen in Samhain, only to be reborn in Yule (December), as the Wheel of the Year keeps turning.
On this three harves sabbats, we reap the fruits of the seeds that we have planted, and we collect the seeds that will be planted next year.
Ways to Celebrate Lughnasadh / Lammas
It’s a great time to be thankful, enjoy a loaf of bread and offer a piece to your deities on your altar, welcoming the prosperity and abundance of the harvest. This bread represents everything that you have managed to harvest in your life: work, relationships, family, career achievements.
- Decorate your altar with yellow flowers, seasonal fruits, vegetables and especially cereals such as corn and wheat (but also oats, chickpeas, lentils, beans or rice).
- Enjoy a fruit that contains seeds, realizing that this fruit does not die when you eat it because its seed will return to the earth and give life again, to sprout and be reborn.
- Choose colors that remind you of the abundance of the earth and the fields: green, golden, brown, yellow.
- Make a doll with straw or corn leaves that will represent the Sun God. He will keep you company during the year and protect your home or your altar. The next Lughnasadh, burn your doll as a sign that a cycle is complete, his death is a sign that a new one is about to be born.
- Circle dancing: Dances that follow the direction of the Sun were performed by ancient Celts to strengthen the power of the Sun. By means of imitation they ensured the continuation of the life force for another year.
- Share a meal or gather with family, friends, colleagues. Whether they share your faith or not, spreading happiness and joy is a way to make sure that your deities will continue to bless you and your loved ones.
Wiccan Ritual for Lughnasadh / Lammas
Click here to watch the Lughnasadh Celebration Ritual #CastAlong video!
For this ritual, you will need:
- 1 candle (red, orange, yellow, or gold)
- Stones (in harvest colors)
- 1 small plate
- Paper and pen
- Lighter or matches
More Lughnasadh Correspondences
Incenses: Sandalwood, cinnamon, ginger, cedar, myrtle, blackberry, amber.
Colors: Red, orange, gold, yellow, green, brown.
Drinks: Cider, beer, water, seasonal fruit juice.
Herbs: All grains, cinnamon, sunflower, yellow flowers.
Food: Corn bread, blackberry, apples, pears, acorns, all grains and locally grown produce.
Crystals: Amber, tiger’s eye, quartz, or any brown or green stones.
Deities: Lugh, Apollo, Horus, Baldr, and any Solar deities.