I follow the Wheel of the Year Wiccan (Celtic) Sabbats which celebrate the eternal circle of life – birth, death, and rebirth. These holidays mix well with my Buddhist path and also that of Faery Wicca.
There are eight Sabbats, and they follow the changing seasons of our year always in sync with nature. This cycle represents the continuing saga of life, death, and rebirth of the god and the fertility of the goddess.
Agriculture figures prominently in this calendar with the four major festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh (Lammas). The minor Sabbats include the solar festivals of the equinoxes and solstices, Yule, Ostara, Litha, and Mabon.
The midpoint of the four seasons is where I celebrate the major Sabbats. The beginning of each season is when I celebrate the minor Sabbats.
Our next festival occurs on August 2nd and is called Lughnasadh or Lammas. This is the time we literally harvest the fruits of our labors which we sowed earlier in the year when we planted our gardens. In another sense, this can represent the attainment of goals you set earlier in the year. This is the time to reap the rewards of your decisions.
One of the most meaningful explanations of Lammas that I’ve discovered is from Heron Michelle, a witch, high priestess, mom, artist and shopkeeper living in Greenville, North Carolina. (You can connect with her on Facebook: Witch on Fire, and follow her on Twitter @HeronMichelle13).
Heron Michelle says:
“For me, the ritual purpose of Lammas is the harvest the first fruits of our labors, so that we may savor them with gratitude. In our Great Work of Magick we begin reaping that which we sowed at Imbolc. For each of these gains, we are grateful. For each nourishment of the soul and body, we remember that life feeds on death; that the God of Light grows as the grains, and as the God of Darkness, is willingly shorn so that his people may thrive. Lammas is the satisfaction of toil and service. Lammas is the joyful sacrifice, given in humility.”Patheos: Lammas Sabbat Index: Rites, Tales and Recipes for Witch’s High Summer
Heron Michelle goes on to share some of her rituals, the history of Lammas, recipes to celebrate the season, and even a cocktail recipe for high summer celebrations. You will want to check out this post!
That’s when my perception shifted, and I suggested that this harvest is about what is growing right here, right now, in our own back yards, thanks to our endeavors and partnerships with nature. For me? Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and flowers. Witch on FireTweet
This year on Lammas, I’ll celebrate the Celtic god, Lugh. Because I’m an Aries and a fire sign, I feel a deep connection to his magic. Lugh was a warrior of the Celts besides being the patron god of blacksmiths and artisans. As a writer, I like to think of myself as an artisan of the written word.
Lugh is the god I call upon when I need assistance with my creativity, which, depending on the day, can be quite often. Not only is Lugh associated with the harvest, but he is also the god of late summer storms, which is something we need in my desert location.
So, how does a god who became a blacksmith come to be associated with a harvest festival?
“The Book of Invasions tells us that Lugh came to be associated with grain in Celtic mythology after he held a harvest fair in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu. This day became August 1, and that date ties in with the first grain harvest in agricultural societies in the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, in Irish Gaelic, the word for August is lunasa. Lugh is honored with corn, grains, bread, and other symbols of the harvest. This holiday was called Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NA-sah). Later, in Christian England the date was called Lammas, after the Saxon phrase hlaf maesse, or “loaf mass.”
After our relocation to Arizona earlier this spring, I haven’t had time to plant a garden. For the first time in many years, I won’t have a harvest. I contemplated what I should do about this rare occurrence. Finally, I decided that I would bake my offering to Lugh this year in the form of cornbread. I’ll leave some of the bread on a plate, along with honey for the good neighbors.
Also, I’ll leave an offering to the land spirits who inhabit the arid land where I make my home. I’ve let them know my intentions and how I want to honor them with a pagan spiral around the center tree in the back garden.
The spiral depicted on the form of the goddess below is a sign for life representing the feminine power within. In my yard, I want to embody the imagery of the tree of life, which will figure prominently in my design.
When we purchased this house, the backyard was bare dirt. Starting Monday, the 29th, the landscapers will begin the chore of turning our backyard into a desert garden oasis. I’ve asked for a stone birdbath and a bird feeder for the finches. I can’t forget my bird friends.
Prayer is one of the most powerful ways to connect to deities. The following prayer is from Priestess Akelta and one I’ve used before to honor Lugh:
Prayer to Lugh
Mighty God Lugh,
God of the craftsman,
Lord of the artisans,
Master of the smiths,
I call to you this day
and Honour your name.
Lugh, who has many talents and skills
I ask of you,
Bless me with your wisdom,
Shine your light upon me this day,
Reveal to me your gifts,
and secrets to mastering my talents.
Thank you for your blessing upon me and my home.
Prayer is a powerful tool. With prayer, you can change the energy of a house or a room.
Happy Lughnasadh! How will you celebrate this year?