Celebrating Lammas: The First Harvest

This year, I was blessed to celebrate the energy of Lammas with my chalice circle ladies – it was lovely.

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What is Lammas?
-Lammas, or Lughnassad, occurs in late July/early August.
-It marks the beginning of the harvest. It is the first of three harvest festivals and is usually associated with ripening grain. It heralds the coming of Autumn.
-The Goddess manifests as Demeter, Ceres, Corn Mother, and other agricultural Goddesses.
-The God manifests as Lugh, John Barleycorn, and vegetation Gods.
-Colors are Golden Yellow, Orange, Green, and Light Brown.
-It is a festival of plenty and prosperity.

It’s the dog days of summer, the gardens are full of goodies, the fields are full of grain, and the harvest is approaching. Take a moment to relax in the heat, and reflect on the upcoming abundance of the fall months. At Lammas, it’s time to begin reaping what we have sown throughout the past few months, and recognize that the bright summer days will soon come to an end.

The name Lammas is a derivation of “loaf-mass”, an ancient celebration of the bread loaves that villagers would fashion from the first grains of their harvest.  This was a time of natural magic for rural folk – the earth, their mother, was providing them once more with fruits and grain so that they might live.  They watched seed become sprout, bud, leaf, and then flower.  To the ancient mind – and still to us today – this was a feat of stupendous natural magic.

The theme of sacrifice was an important aspect of this ancient celebration.  The sacred harvest represented the sacrifice of the horned god, as he manifests through the grain, to sustain human lives.

lAMMAS

From Sage Goddess:
“Lammas is a holiday in Earth-based traditions, as old as time itself. Lammas honors the first harvest of the season and the beginning – just the very start – of lengthening nights that signal the coming of fall.

This week, take a moment to reflect on the first half of this year and the seeds you planted. Were they seeds of intention or did you drop them as you walked? Either way, you sowed something and the first harvest begins this week. What are you pulling up out of the Earth with your hands? Harvest is a deep grounding. And you can put your hands in the Earth in a very figurative sense by consciously attending to what’s in your spirit soil and visualizing yourself putting into your basket whatever you set to grow this spring; or you can do something more literal and cathartic by gathering your physical harvest and celebrating the growth of the year. Your children, getting bigger by the day. Your business, growing incrementally even if only in the plans you’re laying. Your relationships, maturing like ripe fruit. Your friendships, deepening with time. Gather and celebrate the growth.

We are working hard to make something happen and many of us aren’t even sure what that something is; here’s where faith enters and reminds us to develop a vision and hold tight to it even when doubt creeps in. Well tended seeds, sown with care, will yield a harvest. Lammas is just a reminder of that sacred truth along with a reward for your patience.”

lammas altar 2 200014

So, how do we celebrate?
Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Lammas, but typically the focus is on either the early harvest aspect, or the celebration of the Celtic god Lugh.

To begin with, I used incense and essential oils that correspond to the season, and we all wore colors of Lammas to feel that energy with our bodies.

In our circle, we did a few things, including this “sacred harvest” activity:
Each attendee should bring a produce or grain item that has symbolic attributes that represent a quality they would like to bring into their homes and lives. Be creative and make your own intuitive selections.  I brought sweet corn (to bring sweetness and joy!) and green heirloom cucumbers (green meant prosperity to me!).  Some of the others brought apples to symbolize vigor and youth, and ginger to symbolize strength and roots.

Place the items in the center of your circle, and bless them with the attributes you have chosen to associate with them.  Know that all of these blessings are for everyone in the circle.  Share your good energy, and be sure to take the item home and eat it after ritual!

Another option is for each attendee to bestow personal thanks and good wishes into a central loaf of bread.  One member then breaks the bread in the circle, and each member takes a small portion and eats it to assume those virtues and blessings, with the affirmation among the group: May you never hunger.

Finally, we did a meditation on a garden of pomegranates – it helped us all move into the energy of giving!

Some other ideas:
Have a magical picnic and break bread with friends.
Do a meditation in which you visualize yourself completing a project you have already begun.
Bake a sacred loaf bread and give a portion of it to Mother Earth with a prayer of appreciation.
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 harvest festival, such as a corn or apple festival.

For some other great ideas, check this page.
lammas-altar
How did you celebrate this early harvest season energy?  Please share!
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