A Blessed Lughnasadh

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 1, 2013 — 4 Comments

Today is Lughnasadh (also known as Lammas) the first of three harvest festivals celebrated in many modern Pagan traditions. Lughnasadh originated as one of the four main Celtic fire festivals and was dedicated to the Celtic god Lugh/Lugus the many-skilled (or, in the case of Ireland, Lugh’s foster-mother Tailtiu). It is a time of thanksgiving, first-harvests, and the end of summer.

Communal harvest altar at Faerieworlds 2013.

Communal harvest altar at Faerieworlds 2013.

Here are some quotes for the holiday.

“Lammas, or Lughnassadh can easily be a forgotten Wiccan/Pagan holiday. It is not as showy as Samhain, or as lusty and festive as Beltane. But it remains one of the major sabbats, and should be recognized as such. The harvest is a time to gather: thoughts and blessings. It is about taking stock. We are getting ready for the next big seasonal shift. It is actually quite a powerful time, if you stop to ponder it. What better way to celebrate than to host an intimate gathering, simply to bake and break bread together; to just be?”Colleen DuVall, “Harvest Some Fun For Lammas,” PaganSquare

“This time of the year is an invitation to harvest what you have planted in your work and your life, both spiritually and mundanely. It is the time to stand fearlessly and with great care scrupulously cut away what no longer serves and will not sustain you through the time of turning within and the continued waning of the year. The tricky thing about sacrifice is that for most people the idea of sacrifice usually pertains to something that they willingly give up. There is the implied choice in the matter and although sacrifice can be disruptive and emotionally charged deep down there was still the ability to choose what the sacrifice would be. The sacrifice I am referring to implies neither choice nor selection. But definitely requires faith that all will be resolved in a productive manner if you are willing to surrender to what must be. Sacrifice in its refined form is the release of something that you ultimately want to cling to, whether negative or positive in its form despite the negative impact that you THINK it will leave.”  - Robin Fennelly, “Lammas: The Sacrificial Harvest,” The Witches’ Voice

“As we prepare to celebrate the first of our three harvest festivals, let’s not forget that so many of the foods we eat in celebration would not exist without pollinators. The most important of these are bees. And the bees are dying. [...]  It’s true that honeybees are not native to this continent, but were brought here by Europeans. Other native pollinators took care of the needs of the fruiting trees and other plants that are native here. However, bees are essential to the kinds of food production—even local, organic and sustainable methods—that we need to sustain ourselves. Whether you take action by signing a petition, contributing money, or taking individual action in planting bee-friendly yards, action is important. Without bees, it would be a sad Lughnassadh indeed. So include the bees in your prayers of thanks. And if you like, add one to the many bee goddesses to bless the bees.”Kathy Nance, “Bless the Bees — It Wouldn’t Be Lughnasadh Without Them,” Patheos.com

“Because my path is Earth-centered, I believe it is less important to hold to the “traditional” meaning of the sabbats than it is to attune to the energy of the place where you actually live, where (hopefully) your own food is grown. The seasons of Ireland are a far cry from the seasons of the Ozark Mountains. Here, gardens and farms are in the fullness of activity and production (Goddess willing). We have been harvesting many crops for weeks now – including the native Three Sisters: corn, beans and summer squash. August, while indeed a time to harvest, is also a time for planting the fall short-season crops. Therefore, my “locavore” version of Lughnasadh recognizes that this is also a time for renewal: strengthened by the warm soil and full bounty, we can plant new seeds in our lives and communities.”D. R. Bartlette, “Lughnasadh In The South,” PaganSquare

“Today, Lammas reminds us it’s time to “reap” (recognize, give thanks for) what we have sown (done) in the past year and to prepare for the coming autumn/winter. August in the northern hemisphere is when the heat is most intense. We look forward to the cooling days of fall when the apples are crisp and the last of the corn, chilies and tomatoes are harvested. In early religions the grain harvest represented the cycle of life and death. Stories were told of Persephone taken to the underworld and grief-stricken Demeter, her mother, grief-stricken, making the leaves fall (portraying winter). But before the autumn season, there was festivity, celebration, gathering fruits and grains and baking the first loaves of bread. Let us too give pause, recognizing our abundance, beautifying with grape vines, leaves, sheaves of wheat and oats, making corn dollies, sharing late summer fruits, celebrating skills, talents and craftsmanship and baking bread together from the first harvest.”Risa D’Angeles, “Lammas – First Harvest,” Good Times Weekly

“The August festival of Lammas or Lughnasadh was celebrated in Ireland, but not necessarily in many places across the British Isles. So our “wheel” is a relatively recent construction, made out of various components drawn from folklore and the imaginations of more recent practitioners [...] This cycle is reconstructionist at best and artificial at worst; but the same might be said with regard to any religious festival sequence and ritual practice. All start somewhere, and the virtue of the current cycle is its reminder of an agricultural and seasonal cycle from which it is easy to become divorced. Why, in a 21st-century society, should we need that reminder? Well, many feel that they require a link with the natural world, even – or especially – in the middle of the city, and whether that’s primarily spiritual, or primarily aesthetic, it is surely hardly harmful.”Liz Williams, “Paganism: The Wheel of The Year,” The Guardian

May you have a fruitful holiday!

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    Here’s to our Pagan friends in the southern hemisphere!

  • http://www.walkofthefallen.com Labrys

    While I am not Wiccan, we did, as a family “try on” the traditional eight sabbats including this one. But for us, it evolved into a “working sabbat” instead of a festive one. It is the time of year I am busy with jam cooking, mead making, herb drying…in other words, actual harvesting. It is a quiet internal kind of sabbat that ties me tightly to my small patch of the earth.

  • TadhgMor

    Not to be too picky, but all of those seem to be Wiccans (from the use of Wiccan terminology).

    I’d really like something from Celtic pagans on a holiday that is originally ours. I know there might not be anything available, and time constraints, and I really mean this in a polite way, but it’s a little disheartening on a Celtic holiday to only see the voices of what is to me, well meaning cultural appropriation.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      I would love to see more Celtic Pagans/Celtic Reconstructionists writing about their faith and holidays. I would also love to include their voices in round-ups like this one.