Lughnasadh / Lammas

A colorful image with. a clear blue sky, golden grains, and red poppies in the background, with a hot red circle in the middle. Black and white text overlays the foreground that says The Wheel of the Year Lughnasadh A Six Week Guide to the Pagan Sabbat celebrating the First Harvest with Meagan Angus

Upcoming Lughnasadh class: 7.26.2023

Watch the 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

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. However, by recognizing the fleeting nature of this superior season one can embrace the fullness of the Earth’s bounty at its highest point. This is the thinking behind Lughnasadh, also called Lammas. Currently, modern Pagans observe this Sabbat on August 1 & 2. It 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. Golden rays shoot out across the sky from behind clouds. Lughnasadh
A golden sunset with a clear deep blue sky over a golden field of grain.

The Sabbat is named after Lugh. He is an Irish Storm and Sun God with skills like crafting, fighting, musical artistry, and sorcery. Markedly, 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.

And we see this miracle of abundance in our modern world right now. Here in the Americas, the grain harvest has begun. The harvest starts 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 Sovereign.

And this regent or Leader 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. Past and prospective leaders held a mock battle where the old King “died” and the new King bested him.

“The Eternal Struggle” image of the Holly King and the Oak King arm wrestling on a wooden table in the forest by Angela Jayne Barne .
“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, they are harvested at that pinnacle moment 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. As well as simply enjoying some bread, 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. This returned 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, created and photographed by Mountainash333 for Lughnasadh
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. Further, 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. Moreover, 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 unfortunately need only look at our modern propensity toward war. This is surely a form of sacrifice—August has historically seen more wars than any other month.

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.”

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.

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 sickle over heads of rye in Kansas, USA Lughnasadh
Person harvesting rye in Kansas, USA

Above all, 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?
Finally, can you anticipate what is in the upcoming Harvest?

Lughnasadh Season Work

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Lughnasadh Season 2023 – Sun Enters Leo

Finally we enter the heart of Summer. For me, magically, Summer is the season of claiming our Power, and the responsibility that comes with that power, to foster, nourish, protect, and glorify whatever we have planted in Spring. Thinking on the garden metaphor, this is the garden, bursting with plants coming into their prime. What will we do with all this abundance? In Lughnasadh, we begin to engage the Harvest of our efforts so far. We also come back to the spiritual noblesse we all contain, and regally proclaim what and who we want to hold up for presentation to the Gods. Leoread more here.

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. Further 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

Everybody Loves The Sunshine
Obviously important to the symbolism of Summer, The Sun is the central deity of nearly every religion and spiritual practice on Earth! Consequently in 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 step into conversation with our leadership power. We consider 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. What’s more, some of that power comes from from the gut, not so much spoken as embodied, our actions louder than anything we could say.
**This class is now available for download for Patrons.** Join and get access here.

Sun enters Virgo 2023

Lughnasadh Season 2023 – Sun Enters Virgo

Summer is a 3 month season focused on putting in the work and seeing the results of the processes we started way back in Spring. Summer is a season of claiming our Power, and the responsibilities that come with that power. We must foster, nourish, protect, and glorify whatever we have planted in Spring. In Lughnasadh, we begin to engage the Harvest of our efforts so far. Guiding us through the last four weeks of Lughnasadh and Summer is Virgo. Leo Season can leave us feeling blown out and a little cooked. Virgo is here to help us process and integrate what granular data we have collected in the field work of Summer. It’s time to make adjustments…. read more 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.
However, we enter this hermitage when life knocks us off course.
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.