Lughnasadh (or Lammas) is celebrated on August 1st and is one of the Sabbats of the Witches’ Calendar. Lughnasadh is a Celtic festival celebrating the summer harvest. It gets it’s name from the Celtic god Lugh, a warrior hero type and the Celtic solar deity. In the Gaelic tradition, Lughnasadh is celebrated with a feast, athletic events (like running up hills for some reason) and religious religious rituals. Lughnasadh is still celebrated in non witch circles but may go by other names – may favorite being Crom Dubh Sunday. Lughnasadh does not necessarily have to be celebrated on August 1st, but sometimes will be celebrated on the following Sunday (hence Crum Dubh Sunday) or the nearest full moon if you want to be extra druid-y.
Well how do I celebrate this extremely hard to spell holiday?
Think “summer” and “feast” and let’s go from there. Get some yellow/orange candles, yellow/orange flowers, and maybe an altar cloth to match. Since it’s a harvest festival a lot of witches will add stalks of corn or other fruits and vegetables from their garden to the decorations (but I am not so lucky). For incense, you can go with a traditional Sabbat incense like frankincense or sandalwood or opt to go for something that speaks summer to you (witchcraft should be personal!), for me, I’ll be choosing a jasmine.
For your feast, there a few main go-to’s, including bread, corn, cakes, barley soup and wash it all down with malt liquor (yes, I’m serious). Obviously, this is not weight watchers so eat what you want, but try to create a feast that is in season, homemade and feels of a summer bounty.
[Adapted from a ritual in Ann Moura’s Grimoire for the Green Witch]
Have: a loaf of bread (do not use white bread or the like, obviously), yellow/orange/green altar candles (2) and incense
Prepare for the ritual:
- Cleanse your space. Use sage to cleans the air around your altar or a besom (witch’s broom) to cleans the general space. Do this in a clockwise fashion.
- It’s just as important to prepare your body as it is to prepare your space. Take a bath prior to a ritual. Use an herbal bath to help enforce the feeling of the ritual even in preparation time.
- I like to build my energy before rituals by reaching down to the ground then pulling up, arms wide and back down and repeat. If I’m feeling like I need more grounding, I’ll meditate.
- Place the bread between the two candles, light your incense
[This ritual begins assuming you have already cast your circle or began your practice as you normally do, by greeting the god(s) and/or goddess(es) and the elements etc.]
- Clap or ring bell three times
“I celebrate this day, the First harvest, the festival of the Sun and Earth and all of the many gifts their union brings”
- Light both candles
“To the god of light and sun I offer gratitude. To the goddess who nurtures and feeds, I offer gratitude. For the harvest that has been reaped, I offer gratitude.”
- Ring bell eight times. Hold athame/wand/hand over bread
“The harvest that sustains us is brought through death and rebirth. Blessed be the mother aspect of the goddess, nurturing and warm, at her height, as she descends into the winter darkness to take on the Crone aspect. As does mother earth change, as do I”
- Touch athmae/wand/hand to bread
“Bless the bounty I have received. As I received, may I offer my bounty of gifts of the mind, body and spirit to those who seek nourishment of me”
- Take a bite of bread. Save the rest for the feeast or for cakes and wine ritual. Ring bell three times.
Questions, comments, did you try it out? Let me know!