Lughnasadh / Lammas

Upcoming Lughnasadh class: 7.27.2022

Watch the most recent Lughnasadh Class here

A Lughnasadh Prayer

Hoof and Horn
Hoof and Horn
All that dies will be reborn!
Corn and Grain
Corn and Grain
All that falls shall rise again!

Traditional Pagan round

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Harvest Season is here!

Summer will not last forever. No matter how we try to deny or ignore it, this fact persists in the back of our sun-addled minds. Yet it is only by recognizing the fleeting nature of this superior season that one can embrace and consume the fullness of the Earth’s bounty at its highest point. This is the thinking behind Lughnasadh, also called Lammas, which will take place on August 1 & 2 and is celebrated by Witches, Pagans, and other Heathens all over the Northern Hemisphere.

A golden sunset with a clear deep blue sky over a golden field of grain.
A golden sunset with a clear deep blue sky over a golden field of grain.

The Sabbat is named after Lugh, an Irish Storm and Sun God with skills like crafting, fighting, musical artistry, and sorcery. He wins the gift of agriculture for the Tuatha Dé Danann in battle.

At Beltane, The God rises. At Lughnasadh, He Falls.

This is the first of three harvests of the year, the moment when we gather the very best of our year’s efforts. This celebration was a multi day festival for some cultures.

We can see this miracle of abundance in our modern world right now. Here in the Americas, the grain harvest has begun in the South and will continue up the continent until it arrives in Canada in mid-August. Green Corn Ceremony will be held by Indigenous tribes all over the country. For modern Witches and Pagans, this is a time to step into our power and begin harvesting and sharing the gold in our lives (hint: it starts with knowing how to identify it!)

But nearly all ancient celebrations culminated in the sacrifice of the regent or King, who was the living symbol of the Sun God. Sometimes a proxy like a bull or another animal was brought in. Sometimes it was prisoners of war who were sacrificed. And sometimes these sacrifices were only symbolic, taking place in a mock battle where the old King “died” and the new King bested him.

“The Eternal Struggle” Angela Jayne Barnett

Depending on the culture and era, it may be the Goddess who kills him, or his successor, or he may sacrifice himself. Regardless, the metaphor represents the process of this light-bearing deity pumping themselves up to their final form, then being harvested at that pinnacle moment of their power for the ultimate benefit of the people and the land. It is this intense power shift that kicks off a series of events that lead to the Solar God’s upcoming journey through the Underworld that is fall and winter.

One of the Greater Cross-Quarter Sabbats, Lughnasadh is also known as Lammas which translates loosely to “loaf mass.”

Pagans of old would have observed Lammas in several ways.

The most common was baking a loaf of bread with grains from the literal first armful of the first harvest. This loaf was treated differently by various Pagan groups. Some split up the bread, and everyone working the harvest got a small bite. Another tradition was to break up the loaf and sprinkle the crumbs in the fields, returning the energy back to the land. Yet another practice was to cut the loaf into quarters and place them in the corners of the grain storage, to protect the harvest as it came in. Another nearly universal custom was to leave the last stalk of grain standing in the filed. To cut it was to signify a lack of faith that more grain would rise.

Small corn dolly with a brown cape and antlers made of corn husks, with a woven pentagram made of wheat behind it
Contemporary Corn Dolly of Lugh created and photographed by Mountainash333

“Corn Dollies” are another long-standing Lughnasadh tradition (we see them at other Sabbats as well.) Woven from reeds and husks, corn dollies could represent the Goddess or the God, or both. And depending on the Pagan tradition, they may be burned, buried in the soil after harvest, or saved and worked with through Winter and Spring. In all regards, the corn dollies are an embodiment of the “old” energy cycle, and are seen by Pagans are carrying the old energy into the new cycle, connecting past, present, and future harvests.

Pagans didn’t focus solely on the land, and its capacity to produce. They also honored sources of water. Ancient peoples would have gone out to the local well, river or pond and “dressed” it with garlands, flowers, and art, honoring all the sources of abundance in their world.

Other Lughnasadh or Lammas traditions

  • purifying and warding the home
  • reaffirmed commitments to friends and loved ones
  • trying to wrap up unfinished projects and deals
  • and looking at what could be sacrificed in our lives

Ritual sacrifice plays a key role at Lughnasadh, and has been a part of cultures around the world throughout time. Those who think that we no longer partake in such barbaric traditions need only look at our modern propensity toward war, which is a potent form of sacrifice—August has historically seen more wars than any other month.

Many of the deities and heroes worshiped at this time of year are warriors, leaders, and light-bringers, such as the Irish Lugh, Egyptian Hatshepsut, and Greek Prometheus. A sacrifice does not always entail blood, however. It is just as appropriate to the season to offer our “sins” or our “shadow” to be sacrificed: our prejudices, our unhealthy habits, our lazy ways of thinking, our fear, our insecurities, our shame—the “dross” in us that holds us back from being a “light-bringer.”

We each carry a sacred fire in us that could light up the world if we could share it, but it is often buried under doubt, insecurities, and fear. What is holding you back from being a source of light to your community? What’s holding back the people around you?

black and white photo of a person in a white shirt, dark vest, and pants, swinging a large suckle over heads of wheat
Person harvesting rye in Kansas, USA

There’s one other element to this holiday: Death. This is the last six weeks of the Sun’s full power, and after this, the days get shorter and colder. Crom Dubh, the “Dark Crooked One” of Irish myth, has his holy day at this time too. Like the dark spot on the bright side of the Yin-Yang symbol, Crom arrives in the heart of the heat and Sun to remind you, this is finite.

The Wheel turns.
I encourage you to drink deeply of the golden summer while we have it.

Vibrant pink, gold, and red honeysuckle in bloom. Honeysuckle is great for connecting to Leo, The Sun, and Lughnasadh energy

Power, Maturation, Leadership, Production

Mugwort, Rowan, Heather, Honeysuckle, Poppy, Oakmoss

Sunstone, Gold, Pyrite, Kunzite, Moss Agate, Geodes

What have you sown this year?
What loose ends or toxic people are draining you?
Can you anticipate what is in the upcoming Harvest?

Lughnasadh Season Work

Spinning The Wheel weekly Podcast

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Strength and The Sun Cards: Harvesting Lughnasadh Symbols In the Tarot

August 1st marks the Pagan holiday and season of Lughnasadh, also named Lammas. During this season we will work with issues around Power, Leadership, Winning vs. Losing, Natural Talents vs. Learned Skills, and Adepthood. We are watching the Sun live momentarily at the apex of its power, but it will also begin the descent into the Underworld Journey.

The word Lughnasadh comes from the Irish Gaelic God Lugh, a Lightbringer Sun God, who is a skilled warrior. They are handsome, charming, competitive, and young. They speak and act from an authentic sense of power and prestige. In short, Lugh embodies a lot of what we experience in The Strength Card… read more here.

The Sun Card – Tarot Circle

The Sun Card – Everybody Loves The Sunshine
The Sun is the central deity of nearly every religion and spiritual practice on Earth! As we move through Lughnasadh Season, The Sun becomes a profound metaphor for us to explore our capacity, our magnanimity, our personal Gold. As the ruling planet of Leo, the sign that over sees our entry into Lughnasadh, The Sun card can be a potent archetype to work with.
**This class is now available for download for Patrons.** Join and get access here.

The Strength Card – Tarot Circle

The Strength Card: Taking All Calls – No Small Talk
As we progress through Lughnasadh Season, the imagery and energy is encapsulated in two powerful archetypes; Leo and The Strength Card. At this point in the Wheel, we are stepping into conversation with our leadership power. We are considering to what we hold responsibility. We are examining our maturation process, where our Power Truly comes from, and what we might ultimately do with it.

Some of that energy is boastful cry from our puffed out chest. And some of that power comes from from the gut, and is not so much spoken as embodied, which sometimes is louder than anything we could say.
**This class is now available for download for Patrons.** Join and get access here.

The Hermit Card – Tarot Circle

The Hermit Card: Don’t Follow The Guru – You ARE The Guru!
After the thrust of Leo and Strength season, we come to Virgo Season and The Hermit card. Virgo covers the last four weeks of Summer. These archetypes represent a type of retreat from the battle. A momentary stepping back from the surge in energy of reality.
Sometimes we choose this moment, to be able to reflect.
Sometimes we are knocked off course, and despite our best efforts, are sidelined.
Either way, this moment of solitude has much wisdom to dispense in the midst of the noise at the crashing end of Summer.
**This class is now available for download for Patrons.** Join and get access here.