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 the many-skilled. It is a time of thanksgiving, first-harvests, and the end of summer (though it doesn’t feel like it considering our recent heat-waves).
Lammas food altar (Photo: BBC)
Here are some quotes both modern and historical on the holiday.
“Although in the heat of a midwestern summer it might be difficult to discern, the festival of Lammas (August 1) marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. The days now grow visibly shorter and by the time we’ve reached autumn’s end (October 31), we will have run the gamut of temperature from the heat of August to the cold and (sometimes) snow of November. And in the midst of it, a perfect midwestern autumn.” – Mike Nichols, The Witches’ Sabbats
“At Lughnasadh, the Wheel of the Year begins to shift from growing time to harvest time. The subtle changes of the waning sun that occurred at Summer Solstice becomes more evident as the balance of day and night seem to shift more dramatically. The slight seasonal changes in weather, and the declining arc of the sun, the southern movement of it rising and setting are other indicators of this shift. ‘After Lammas, corn ripens as much by night as by day.'” – Christina Aubin, Witchvox
“In modern times this agricultural core of the festival is all that has survived, but formerly, when Celtic lands were under native rulers, Lughnasadh was the occasion of major assemblies where legal matters were settled, political problems were discussed, craftsmen, artists and entertainers got a chance to show off their talents, and sporting events brought scattered communities together. All this was under the patronage of Lugh (the 9th-century Sanas Cormaic explains ‘Lughnasadh’ as “the assembly of Lugh”), who was said to have instituted the games in memory of either his wives or of his foster-mother Tailtiu, whose name (from Old Celtic Talantiu, “The Great One of the Earth”) and life-history give her a special affinity with the Harvest. But it is Lugh alone who allows the Harvest to actually begin, by setting the right conditions for it and by combating the hostile elements in the Land that are trying to destroy the crops.” – Alexei Kondratiev, Lugus: The Many-Gifted Lord
“Lammas is a time of abundance and a surplus of food. The hedgerows are now yeilding wild strawberries and raspberries. Gardens are fat with blackcurrants and beans. Green turns to gold, the flowers will begin to die back and bring forth their fruits instead. It is a time for gathering and we must bear in mind the coming of Autumn and Winter ahead. It is time to begin to lay in store the things we will need mentally and physically, to get us through the dark months.” – Argyll and Clyde, Lammas : Festival of the Corn
“Have a magical picnic and break bread with friends. Do a meditation in which you visualize yourself completing a project you have already begun. Make a corn dolly charm out of the first grain you harvest or acquire. Bake a sacred loaf bread and give a portion of it to Mother Earth with a prayer of appreciation. Make prayers for a good harvest season. Do prosperity magic. Harvest herbs in a sacred way for use in charms and rituals. Kindle a Lammas fire with sacred wood and dried herbs. If you live in or near a farming region, attend a public harvest festival, such as a corn or apple festival.” – Selena Fox, Celebrating the Seasons
May you have a fruitful holiday!