Honoring Lammas – The First Harvest

Posted by Janet Blades on

In Earth-based traditions, Lammas is usually celebrated on August 1, honoring the first harvest of the season. Lammas is also known as Lughnasadh. In some Wiccan and Pagan traditions, Lammas is also a day of honoring Lugh, the Celtic god of craftsmanship, grain, the Sun, and late summer storms. Lughnasadh is still celebrated in many parts of the world today. At this time of year, the nights are beginning to lengthen. This is truly the beginning of shadow season. Before the Wheel turns to the darker months, we can take time to appreciate warmth and sunlight and how they support the season of growth. Gratitude in times of plenty is a powerful practice. What we reap now wasn’t always full-grown. By honoring Lammas – the first harvest, we acknowledge our ancestors and the hard work they had to do to survive and secure our lineage.

Like all Celtic or Pagan holidays, Lammas also honors goddesses whose associations, strengths, and myths align with the work we’re doing at this time of year. Ceres, the harvest goddess, known as Demeter by the Greeks, and Tailtiu, mother of Lugh, are great forces of agricultural abundance. We receive their blessings in the bounty of food that will feed us through the rest of the year. Metaphorically, our mental, spiritual, and emotional crops are ready for the first harvest, too. If you set intentions in the darkness of winter or early spring, this is the time to see how they’ve manifested and will support you in the months to come.

Ancient Lammas Magickal Tradition 

One Lammas tradition was a trial marriage between a couple. This was called a Handfasting, and it lasted for one year and a day. At the end of that time, the couple would decide either to remain married or separate without any ill-will.

Moving into the modern day, Ireland hosts the Puck Fair at the beginning of August. This fair has ties to Lughnasadh. It begins with the crowning of a goat as king and a local maiden as queen. Parades, workshops, cattle shows, and an open market continues through the day. August is also a customary time for family reunions and parties.

Among Neo-Pagan Celtic Reconstructionists Lammas becomes a religious observance. The practitioners try reconstructing the early Pagan traditions into a cohesive whole. Generally, the first full moon after August 1 is the feast day. Some go out harvesting berries. Others leave offerings for Land Spirits, Gods and Goddesses. If it rains during this event, it is a sign that Lugh has enjoyed the festivities and brings his blessings.

Take Time to Reflect and Practice Gratitude 

During the week of Lammas, take a moment to reflect on the first half of this year and what has carried over from 2021. These last six-plus months have presented a unique set of challenges, asking us to grow in the wake of one of the most challenging years in our lifetime. Now is the time to make peace with the year behind us and focus on what we can harvest from that trying, transformative experience.

Ask yourself: How did I connect with others? What did I create? Did I learn anything new? Did I plant intentions, and how were they different from every other year? Take time to reflect upon the seeds you planted, giving thanks for what has pushed through the soil and bloomed. It’s also essential to take an honest look at what didn’t serve and release what no longer belongs. Letting go helps you be fully present now and ready to take the next turn in your journey.

Lammas is a great time to connect with the Earth – to open your eyes and witness the effect of gratitude in nature.

It’s seen in sea shells and in the way leaves grow on plant stems, and tree branches grow on trees. It’s in fruit sprouts of a pineapple and the arrangement of a pine cone’s bracts. It’s also in the clockwise and counterclockwise spiral seed pattern of sunflower heads. This symbol is everywhere, and it’s a reminder of how gratitude multiplies, amplifies, and brings more abundance.

6 Ways to Honour Lammas

1) Decorate your altar. Gather items for a Lammas or harvest altar such as wheat, barley, oats, mint, sunflowers, and anything in colours of the holiday, from green to gold and yellow to the deepest orange – every shade of sun and harvest.

2) Create a harvest jar or container. Write down the things you’ve manifested this year and put those pieces of paper in the container. Hold a little ritual to honor everything you’ve grown, including yourself.

3) Bake bread. The most traditional Lammas practice is baking bread from the newly harvested wheat (Lammas is an Anglo Saxon word for loaf-mass). In Anglo-Saxon England, a loaf of bread baked from the new crop was broken into four pieces and placed in the four corners of the barn to protect the grain.

4) Light candles. Lammas is a festival of light, celebrating the last long days of the year. Your ritual can be as simple as lighting candles in shades of yellow and orange or whatever calls to you.

5) Celebrate with gemstones. Work with stones associated with Lammas, like carnelian, citrine, aventurine, golden topaz, obsidian, and moss agate. Place these on your altar, hold them in meditation, or create a crystal grid for the season.

6) Charge your stones in the late summer sunshine. The Moon isn’t the only luminary with magical infusing power. Put your crystals out in the sunlight to absorb solar warmth and vitality. Your stones will hold this energy and continue radiating it throughout fall and winter. Be careful though, some gems like amethyst and larimar can actually fade with too much Sun exposure. It only takes a few hours in the Sun to cleanse and charge. 

Lammas Blessing Spell

Take 3 orange candles & run them through the smoke of Frankincense. As you light each one say:

"May this candle bring warmth to my home,
light to my heart & prosperity to my spirit."

On 3 pieces of orange paper, write down three blessings, one on each.
Pass each paper through the smoke of Frankincense to bless it as you 
each intention & say:

"Thank you for this blessing."

With a bundle of wheat stems as an offering place each blessing hidden inside the bouquet of wheat. Then pass the entire bundle once more over the smoke of Frankincense & say:

“Harvest time comes get again, to bring us food in
abundance before the cold of Winter. To keep us happy & healthy, this I give thanks. May prosperity & peace always find way to our hearts.”

Let the candles burn down & blessings prosper. 

Lammas Magickal Tip

Gather some wheat stems & bundle them around a glass volive candle holder. This is a special way to adorn your home or altar in celebration of the Harvest Season. Wheat represents love, fertility, wisdom & charity. 

Lammas Correspondences

Colours: deep greens, gold, yellow, green, brown, bronze

Animals: rooster, buck, deer, cow, sheep, crow, pig, squirrel, eagle

Crystals: carnelian, citrine, aventurine, golden topaz, obsidian, & moss agate

Herbs: basil, rosehip, rosemary, mugwort, acacia, frankincense, bay, cinnamon

Flowers: sunflower, peony, marigold

Food: wheats, breads, grains, blackberries, apple, corn, pears

Lammas Blessing

The Wheel has turned once more, the First harvest is at our door. Giving us Abundance of Plenty, We shave them with our own and many Our Dying Sun begins to Fade, As the Goddess bears the Fruit they made, The Sun will journey back to Earth, In the endless Cycle of life, Death and Rebirth.

Blessed Be

Mystiques Enchantments 🌾