Celebrating the Wheel of the Year: Lammas (Lughnasadh)

July 26th, 2019 - filed under: The Farm » Family

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On August 1st, we celebrate Lammas!

Lammas, or Lughnasadh, is the first of the three pagan harvest festivals. Although the names “Lammas” and “Lughnasadh” are often used interchangeably, their origins are actually quite distinct. Lammas, literally translated to “loaf mass” in reference to the first reaping of wheat and thus the baking of bread, is a Saxon holiday. Lughnasadh, on the other hand, is named for Lugh, Irish god of craftsmanship, and is Gaelic in origin. But both are harvest festivals traditionally held at the same time of the year, and therefor they share many celebratory characteristics.

Personally, I do not worship gods (or goddesses), so I prefer to call my holiday Lammas. But many modern witches prefer Lughnasadh, and many others just use the two names interchangeably.

Whatever you choose to call it, the first harvest is a profound celebration; we joyfully revel in food and feasting, while weaving in timely themes of hope, sacrifice, and trust.

Because Lammas is a bittersweet time. We are at the height of summer, the most beautiful time of the year. The garden is abundant, the days are long and the sun is ever bright, ever warming. Our days are spent basking in this moment of perfection, but at the same time we know . . . it’s all fleeting.


It may not feel like it yet, but the days are already beginning to shorten. Darkness is returning. Lammas marks the halfway point between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox, so in these last glorious days of summer, we celebrate our harvest — but we also must be prudent. Now is the time to gather grain and save seed. This summer won’t last forever.

Lammas altars are decorate with sunflowers and other orange flowers, wheat and oak, corn dollies, onion garlands, and other images or objects related to the harvest. Seasonal activities follow suit, and include brewing beer or wine, baking breads or sweet pastries, and other kitchen magic. Spellwork focuses on themes of abundance and prosperity, connection to loved ones or settling disputes, and mental or physical gains.

Some fun and modern ideas for celebrating Lammas include:

♥ Do a full house cleansing or blessing. You can use smoke, vapor, or sound (bells or chimes work great). ♥

♥ Make corn dollies! This is especially great to do with kids — Waits and I made corn dollies for our altar this year, and he loved it. Some people bury their corn dolly in their garden during Samhain, and others keep their dolly for a full year, then burn it and make a new one next Lammas. As always, do whatever feels right for you. ♥

♥ Gather wild berries, then bake them into a pie. Make kitchen magic! ♥

♥ Try brewing your own beer or making your own blackberry or elderberry wine. ♥


A Lammas feast with a few other families, 2017.

Beautiful homegrown artichoke flower, from my garden. Beautiful homegrown boy, from my heart.

♥ The Perseid Meteor Shower happens every year between mid-late July and early-mid August, which means it’s always raining falling stars for Lammas! Find out where you can see the Perseids, and go out searching for a shooting star to wish upon. ♥

♥ Build (or rebuild) a handmade broom. ♥

♥ Braid onion garlands. ♥

♥ Make a wicker man. Then make a bonfire, and burn it! ♥

♥ For Cooking: Hearty grains, baked goods, cornbread, blackberries, potatoes, popcorn. ♥
♥ For Drinking: Beer, blackberry wine, elderflower cordial, mint or cucumber water, mojitos. ♥

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However you celebrate Lammas or Lughnasadh (or don’t!), my wish is that you’ll carry with you the spirit of hope as we move into the darker days of autumn. That you’ll notice the way the earth makes her seasonal sacrifice, and find a way to honor that sacrifice. And, that you’ll allow yourself to revel in these last lingering glory days of summer. Because goodness, they’re good!

♥ ♥ ♥