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The Sabbats- Lughnasadh

Lammas is a Saxon name meaning "loaf mass". Falling on 1st August, this fire
festival celebrates the corn harvest. The "loaf" is the first loaf baked with the newly
harvested corn.
It is also commonly known by the Celtic name of "Lughnasadh" which means
"games of Lugh". Lugh was a God of light, a Sun king. Lugh's games were
celebrated with contests, fairs and rivalry. Livestock fairs were held and goods
were traded. In some parts of the country, Lammas fairs were held where servants
and farm workers would contract with Master or Mistress for a year and a day from August 1st to August 1st the following year when they were free to seek a
new Master or Mistress.
Lammas is a festival of rejoicing in the harvest, yet it is also a reminder that death
is ever-present because the strength of the Sun is now ebbing away with the
approach of the Winter once again. People were also reminded of death during the
harvesting - as the reapers cut their circular swathe from the outside edge of the
fields to the inner foxes, rabbits and other small animals were trapped at the centre.
Eventually they would break their cover and attempt to flee but they usually ended
up as meat for the pot.

Lammas was also a time when peace returned to the land. Summer was the time
for war but no-one could sustain a Winter campaign for long so war was halted at
Lammas when the men were needed to gather the wheat.
Barley is also harvested at Lammas and is used to brew ale. This is the first of the
harvest festivals, and in the ancient world this was indeed a time of celebration. A
successful harvest would mean survival in the harsh winter months. In the northern
countries this was, in particular, a celebration of the first harvest of wheat, thus
bread is featured in the celebration of Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh.
As the modern day Pagans celebrate this festival they will build roaring bonfires,
feed each other a mouthful of bread, and with wine they will toast each
other..."May you eat the bread of life"
Correspondences for Lammas
Herbs: frankincense, wheat, cornstalks, heather
Altar Flowers/Herbs: corn ears, hollyhock, myrtle, oak leaves, wheat
Feast Foods: apples/apple pie, cornbread, sweet potatoes/sweet potato pie, grapes,
Animals: calves, roosters, deer
Incense: chamomile, rose, rosemary, allspice, sandalwood, carnation
Rituals/Spells: maternal magick, prosperity spells, purification spells, thanksgiving
rituals, career spells

Author-Kathleen Dupree

The grain is ripe for harvest. Apple trees and gardens bear forth the fruits
of summer. This is the time of Lughnasadh, the ancient Celtic festival held
in celebration of the first fruits of the harvest.

The modern Irish spelling, Lnasa, is the name of the month of August in
Irish Gaelic. Lughnasadh, an older spelling, is often used to designate the
name of the seasonal festival that surrounds the first day of the month of
August. In Scots Gaelic the day is known as Lunasda or Lunasdal. This is
the time that marks a rest from labor, a time to take stock of what the
summer sun has yielded. It is a time to celebrate and enjoy the outcome of
our daily toil.

Lughnasadh is named for Lugh, the Celtic deity who presides over the arts
and sciences. According to Celtic legend, Lugh decreed that a
commemorative feast be held each year at the beginning of the harvest
season to honor his foster mother, Tailtiu. Tailtiu was the royal Lady of the
Fir Bolg. After the defeat of her people by the Tuatha De Dannan, she was
obliged by them to clear a vast forest for the purpose of planting grain. She
died of exhaustion in the attempt. The legend states that she was buried
beneath a great mound named for her, at the spot where the first feast of
Lughnasadh was held in Ireland, the hill of Tailte. At this gathering were

held games and contests of skill as well as a great feast made up of the first
fruits of the summer harvest.

Games and contests in honor of the dead were an ancient tradition across
Europe. It has been suggested that the Olympic Games may originally have
been held to commemorate the deeds of heroes who had died in battle.
Offering up a portion of the harvest to the Gods and the Ancestors and
feasting in their honor was also a common tradition in Europe and in
indigenous cultures throughout the world.

As years passed, traditions surrounding the feast at Tailte began to solidify

into events and ceremonial activities designed to celebrate not only Tailtiu
and the bounty of the harvest that her original sacrifice provided but also
to honor the work and sacrifice of human beings as they strove to provide
sustenance for their families and community

The name of Lugh is derived from the old Celtic word "lugio", meaning "an
oath". A traditional part of the celebrations surrounding Lughnasadh have
been the formation of oaths. From before recorded history into the
twentieth century marriages, employment contracts and other bargains of a
mundane nature were formed and renewed at this time of year. Since the
agricultural year had its culmination in the harvest and the harvest
festivals, oaths and contracts that had to wait until after the corps were in
could be focused on at this time. Marriages, hiring for the upcoming season
and financial arrangements were often a part of the Lughnasadh activities
and in many areas fairs were held specifically for the purpose of hiring or

In the Celtic nations of Europe traditions surrounding Lughnasadh still

continue from pre-Christian times. Most often, celebration of the holiday
occurs on the first Sunday of August or the Sunday just before the first day
of August. In modern Ireland the tradition still continues that on the last
Sunday of July families ascend into the hills of the countryside to pick
bilberries. The bilberries are symbolic of the bounty of Mother Earth at this
time of year and of the fruits harvested in that ancient time when Tailltiu
made a place for the grain that would feed the generations to come after
her. With the coming of Christianity to the Celtic lands, the old festival of
Lughnasadh took on Christian symbolism. Loaves of bread were baked
from the first of the harvested grain and placed on the church altar on the
first Sunday of August. The Christianized name for the feast of
Lughnasadh is Lammas which means "loaf mass". And, of course, there are
the fairs which are still held all across Europe and America.

It is Lughnasadh that gave rise to the country fairs which have always
traditionally been held in late August or early September in the
Appalachian region of America. The early European settlers to the new
land brought with them the tradition of celebrating the fruits of their
summer labor and the harvest fair.

The small town country fair is the American Lughnassadh tradition. The
agricultural competitions and midway games echo the ancient days when
people gathered to pay homage to the land and the fruits of their labor and
to take to take time for community reverie. When we as a culture shifted
our focus to city living, we lost a sense of the community oriented
celebration that was with our forbearers in the old days and that still exists
in smaller communities. The time of Lughnasadh reminds us that we are
not alone. We need this sense accomplishment in our work, of rejoicing in
what we achieve as a group, of dependence on the community we live in.

If a sense of belonging is lost to some of you, if you feel disconnected from

the world around you, perhaps what you need is to seek out one of the
small county fairs near you in some out of the way and still mostly
agricultural community. Go there and spend your money on the midway.
Go into the exhibition buildings and see the the home canned goods and
traditional crafts. Stand still and be aware of the time and the effort that
went into these works. These are the works of the human spirit brought
into being from the bounty of nature by human labor and imagination. We
would have not come this far without them. Give honor to those people
among us that still know how to reap the harvest. They connect us to the
Old Ways of our ancestors.

Spell work for Lammas


Make a loaf of bread at Lammas and before you put the loaf into the oven,
dip a paintbrush in milk and write on the crust what you most desire. Bake
the bread, then eat it while still warm.
A book of Anglo-Saxon charms advised the crumbling of the Lammas loaf
into four pieces and the burying of them in the four corners of the barn to
make it safe for all the grain that would be stored there. You can use this
old spellcraft in a protection spell for your home.Bake a Lammas loaf, and
when it is cool break it into four piecesdon't cut it with a knifeand take one
to each corner of your property with the words:
I call on the spirits
Of north, and south, east and west
Protect this place
Now, at the time of the Blessing.
Leave the bread for the birds to eat or bury the pieces.
From Lammas: Celebrating The Fruits Of The First Harvest
by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason

A Harvest Spell
Set an orange candle on either side of the caldron. On a piece of paper
(small)write the things you have harvested over the past year, light the
paper from one of the candles and let it burn in the cauldron. After it is
done put some corn (or squash) seeds in the cauldron. "Stir" the seeds with
your wand visualizing white light coming from the tip of the wand, filling
the cauldron and entering the seeds. When you feel the seeds have
absorbed their fill stop, put the seeds into another container to be kept on
the altar until next year's planting.
~author unknown