A Brief History of Lammas
In Earth-based traditions, Lammas is usually celebrated on August 1, honoring the first harvest of the season. The days are starting to grow shorter, but the weather is at its peak of warmth and sunshine. These are the golden-brown summer months when the heat swelters and you kick up dust as you walk around outside. At night a gentle breeze reminds you that autumn is on the way. 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.
Lammas is also known as Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah). 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. 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.
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. Now is the time to make peace with the year behind us and focus on what we can harvest from our experiences.
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.
6 Ways to Honor Lammas
1. Create a Lammas Altar
This Lammas, you may feel called to create a sacred altar space to honor the first harvest. Your altar could be a simple shelf, table, or cabinet, or it might be something more elegant and elaborate. You can locate your altar inside your home or outdoors. Choose a spot that feels right for you. Incorporate items into this space such as wheat, ears of corn, sunflowers, and anything in the colors of this holiday, from green to gold and yellow to the deepest orange – every shade of the 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. Keep adding to this container throughout the rest of the year and look back next Lammas to see how far you’ve come.
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. It represented the abundance of the harvest, protection for the hearth and home, and celebration of the Gaia Cosmic Mother. If you celebrate with family or friends, you may choose to pass a freshly baked loaf around, each person breaking off a portion and eating it after sharing the things they are grateful for. Serve it with other foods associated with the sun such as honey, roasted peppers, tossed salad, or fresh pesto.
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. Candles are fire magic that transforms the room and mood. There’s something entrancing and mystical about a candle’s flame dancing and flickering, moving and swaying with the unseen currents in the air. Fire is what kept your oldest ancestors alive in the harshest environments of early life on Earth. Candles also clear negativity, heal and purify. They help us see things in a different light.
5. Work with Crystals
Crystals emit energetic vibrations that impact how you feel, sense, and interact with your environment – and you can add them to your Lammas altar, create a Lammas crystal grid, or hold them in meditation to strengthen your connection with this season. Some good crystals to work with for Lammas are carnelian, citrine, golden healer quartz, and yellow fluorite. Carnelian is empowering, increases energy, and enhances endurance and stamina. It turns on desire, brings optimism, and reminds you that you’re divinely alive. Citrine is a powerful manifestation stone and its sunny and bright disposition imparts wonder, delight, and enthusiasm. It increases your levels of empowerment, self-esteem, and confidence to help you fully recognize all of your shining, special attributes. Golden healer quartz restores confidence and your sense of power while magnifying financial success. It gets its warm yellow color from inclusions of iron oxide that add properties of power, strength, and protection. Yellow fluorite is like the Law of Attraction in crystal form, attracting wealth, resources, and prosperity. It also boosts intellectual development, logical thinking, imagination, and creativity.
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 fluorite and larimar can actually fade with too much sun exposure. It only takes a few hours in the Sun to cleanse and charge.
Lammas is the first harvest of the season. It’s still summer in the Northern Hemisphere, but the nights are continuing to get longer. On August 1, we celebrate this sacred holiday and give thanks for the abundance of the growing season. While the Sun is still shining brightly, we prepare for even greater levels of prosperity that the coming autumn will bring. And so it is.
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