Lughnasadh

By LaVonne (LaVonne) on August 4, 2011

This is about Lammas, aka Lughnasadh. It is the beginning of fall and I think you will enjoy this article.

2011-08-04/LaVonne/6c0ec8

Lammas, also called Lughnasadh

 

The Beginning of the Harvest:

At Lammas, also called Lughnasadh, the hot days of August are upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we still know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Apples are beginning to ripen in the trees, our summer vegetables have been picked, and corn is tall and green, waiting for us to come gather the bounty of the crop fields. Now is the time to begin reaping what we have sown, and gathering up the first harvests of grain, wheat, oats, and more.

This holiday can be celebrated either as a way to honor the god Lugh, or as a celebration of the harvest.

Celebrating Grain in Ancient Cultures:

Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back nearly to the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The Sumerian god Tammuz was slain and his lover Ishtar grieved so heartily that nature stopped producing. Ishtar mourned Tammuz, and followed him to the Underworld to bring him back, similar to the story of Demeter and Persephone.

In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.

A Feast of Bread:

In early Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lammas -- it meant that the previous year's harvest had run out early, and that was a serious failing in agricultural communities. However, on August 1, the first sheaves of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season.

The word Lammas derives from the Old English phrase hlaf-maesse, which translates to loaf mass. In early Christian times, the first loaves of the season were blessed by the Church.

Honoring Lugh, the Skillful God: He is the uncontested master of all arts. A god of war, smiths, poets, and bards; associated with the moon. He is a champion of the Tuatha, a historian, and a powerful sorcerer. He appears very handsome and clean shaven, with dark brown hair and blue eyes. He has a very lusty appetite and is known for his generosity and prowess. His cult symbols are the cock, tortoise, goat, and a bag of coins. 

In some Wiccan and modern Pagan traditions, Lammas is also a day of honoring Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills, and was honored in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe. Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah) is still celebrated in many parts of the world today. Lugh's influence appears in the names of several European towns.

Celebrating Lammas Today:

Honoring the Past

In our modern world, it's often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our ancestors had to endure. For us, if we need a loaf of bread, we simply drive over to the local grocery store and buy a few bags of prepackaged bread. If we run out, it's no big deal; we just go and get more. When our ancestors lived, hundreds and thousands of years ago, the harvesting and processing of grain was crucial. If crops were left in the fields too long, or the bread not baked in time, families could starve. Taking care of one's crops meant the difference between life and death.

By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honor our ancestors and the hard work they must have had to do in order to survive. This is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables. Lammas is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings.

Symbols of the Season

The Wheel of the Year has turned once more, and you may feel like decorating your house accordingly. While you probably can't find too many items marked as "Lammas decor" in your local discount store, there are a number of items you can use as decoration for this harvest holiday.

  • Sickles and scythes, as well as other symbols of harvesting
  • Grapes and vines
  • Dried grains -- sheaves of wheat, bowls of oats, etc.
  • Corn dolls -- you can make these easily using dried husks
  • Early fall vegetables, such as squashes and pumpkins
  • Late summer fruits, like apples, plums and peaches

Crafts, Song and Celebration

Because of its association with Lugh, the skilled god, Lammas (Lughnasadh) is also a time to celebrate talents and craftsmanship. It's a traditional time of year for craft festivals, and for skilled artisans to peddle their wares. In medieval Europe, guilds would arrange for their members to set up booths around a village green, festooned with bright ribbons and fall colors. Perhaps this is why so many modern Renaissance Festivals begin around this time of year!

Lugh is also known in some traditions as the patron of bards and magicians. Now is a great time of year to work on honing your own talents. Learn a new craft, or get better at an old one. Put on a play, write a story or poem, take up a musical instrument, or sing a song. Whatever you choose to do, this is the right season for rebirth and renewal, so set August 1 as the day to share your new skill with your friends and family.

Lammas (Lughnasadh) Cooking

Why not celebrate with a big feast? 

Lammas is all about the bounty of the early harvest. Nothing quite says Lammas Menu like bread and other grains, as well as early fall veggies like squash, or late summer fruits such as apples. Plan your Sabbat menu and have a delicious dinner to celebrate Lammas!

Bread is the ultimate symbol of the Lammas season. After all, once the grain is harvested, it is milled and baked into bread, which is then consumed. It is the cycle of the harvest come full circle. The spirit of the grain god lives on through us in the eating of the bread. In many traditions, a loaf of special bread is baked in the shape of a man, to symbolize the god of the harvest. You can easily make a loaf of Lammas bread by using a pre-made loaf of bread dough, found in the frozen food section in your grocery store. Certainly, you can make your own dough, but if you're not much of a baker, this is an easy alternative.

 First, place the frozen dough on a greased cookie sheet. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil, and place it on top of the dough. Place the tray in a warm place, and allow the dough to rise for several hours until it has at least doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, cut five slits in it, as shown in Figure 1.

2011-08-04/LaVonne/d52f71

Shaping the Loaf

2011-08-04/LaVonne/48937c

Shape the two lower sections into legs, the side sections into arms, and the top section into a head. Bake the bread for 40 minutes, at about 350 degrees, or until golden brown. After baking, remove from oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack. Brush the bread man with melted butter, sprinkle with herbs if you like, and use in your Lammas ritual.

 2011-08-04/LaVonne/36bf35

 At Lammas, blackberries are ripe and ready for picking. Go out and gather a bucketful and make a delicious blackberry cobbler for your summer celebrations!

Blackberry Cobbler

 2011-08-04/LaVonne/c295a9

 Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 C sugar – can use sugar free substitute
  • 1/3 C stick butter, softened
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 C fresh blackberries
  • 2 Tbs sugar - can use sugar free substitute
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 C boiling water

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the flour, baking powder, milk and salt. Blend until creamy, and spread into a greased 12 x 8" baking pan.

Pour blackberries over batter, and sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon. Pour boiling water over the top, and then bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or with fresh cream.

Blackberry Cobbler, Member Skyefiare 

The recipe called for 1 C fresh blackberries, that is so not enough. I just added until it looked right, closer to 4 C

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/lammascooking/Lammas_Lughnasadh_Cooking.htm

Lammas/Lughnasadh Folklore

The early harvest and the threshing of grain has been celebrated for thousands of years. Here are just a few of the customs and legends surrounding the Lammas season.

In many cultures, there are different legends and lore surrounding Lammas (Lughnasadh). Here are a few of the stories about this magical harvest celebration from around the world.

  • In Israel, the festival of Shavout commemorates the beginning of the harvest, as well as honoring the date that Moses received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. The final sheaf of wheat is brought to the rabbi for a blessing, synagogues and homes are decorated with flower, and a great feast is prepared for all to enjoy.
  • The festival of Onam is celebrated in India, and people dress up in their finest clothes and give food to the poor. Onam is celebrated in honor of King Mahabali, who was a ruler of Kerala. In one story, the god Vishnu approached Mahabali dressed as a beggar, and asked for land, which Mahabali gave him. Mahabli ended up buried under the earth by Vishnu, but was allowed to return once a year, symbolizing the planting of the seed and the subsequent harvest.
  • Thor's wife, Sif, had beautiful golden hair, until Loki the prankster cut it off. Thor was so upset he wanted to kill Loki, but some dwarves spun new hair for Sif, which grew magically as soon as it touched her head. The hair of Sif is associated with the harvest, and the golden grain that grows every year.
  • In the Shetland Islands, farmers believed that grain harvesting should only take place during a waning moon. They also believed this about the fall potato crop, and the cutting of peat.
  • At Lughnasadh, calves are weaned, and the first fruits are ripe, such as apples and grapes. In some Irish counties, it was believed farmers had to wait until Lughnasadh to start picking these fruits, or bad luck would befall the community.
  • In some countries, Lammas is a time for warrior games and mock battles. This may hearken back to the days when a harvest festival was held, and people would come from miles around to get together. What better way for young men to show off their strength and impress the girls than by whacking away at all the competition? Games and contests are also held in honor of Lugh, the mighty Celtic craftsman god, in which artisans offer up their finest work.
  • It's become a custom to give people the gift of a pair of gloves at Lammastide. In part, it's because winter is just around the corner, but it's also related to an old tradition in which landowners gave their tenants a pair of gloves after the harvest. The glove is a symbol of authority and benevolence.

Deities of the Fields

Gods and Goddesses of the Early Harvest

By Patti Wigington, About.com Guide

When Lammastide rolls around, the fields are full and fertile. Crops are abundant, and the late summer harvest is ripe for the picking. This is the time when the first grains are threshed, apples are plump in the trees, and gardens are overflowing with summer bounty. In nearly every ancient culture, this was a time of celebration of the agricultural significance of the season. Because of this, it was also a time when many gods and goddesses were honored. These are some of the many deities who are connected with this earliest harvest holiday:

  • Adonis (Assyrian): Adonis is a complicated god who touched many cultures. Although he's often portrayed as Greek, his origins are in early Assyrian religion. Adonis was a god of the dying summer vegetation. In many stories, he dies and is later reborn, much like Attis and Tammuz.
  • Attis (Phrygean): This lover of Cybele went mad and castrated himself, but still managed to get turned into a pine tree at the moment of his death. In some stories, Attis was in love with a Naiad, and jealous Cybele killed a tree (and subsequently the Naiad who dwelled within it), causing Attis to castrate himself in despair. Regardless, his stories often deal with the theme of rebirth and regeneration.
  • Ceres (Roman): Ever wonder why crunched-up grain is called cereal? It's named for Ceres, the Roman goddess of the harvest and grain. Not only that, she was the one who taught lowly mankind how to preserve and prepare corn and grain once it was ready for threshing. In many areas, she was a mother-type goddess who was responsible for agricultural fertility.
  • Dagon (Semitic): Worshipped by an early Semitic tribe called the Amorites, Dagon was a god of fertility and agriculture. He's also mentioned as a father-deity type in early Sumerian texts and sometimes appears as a fish god. Dagon is credited with giving the Amorites the knowledge to build the plough.
  • Demeter (Greek): The Greek equivalent of Ceres, Demeter is often linked to the changing of the seasons. She is often connected to the image of the Dark Mother in late fall and early winter. When her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades, Demeter's grief caused the earth to die for six months, until Persephone's return.
  • Lugh (Celtic): Lugh was known as a god of both skill and the distribution of talent. He is sometimes associated with midsummer because of his role as a harvest god, and during the summer solstice the crops are flourishing, waiting to be plucked from the ground at Lughnasadh.
  • Mercury (Roman): Fleet of foot, Mercury was a messenger of the gods. In particular, he was a god of commerce and is associated with the grain trade. In late summer and early fall, he ran from place to place to let everyone know it was time to bring in the harvest. In Gaul, he was considered a god not only of agricultural abundance but also of commercial success.
  • Neper (Egyptian): This androgynous grain deity became popular in Egypt during times of starvation. He later was seen as an aspect of Osiris, and part of the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
  • Parvati (Hindu): Parvati was a consort of the god Shiva, and although she does not appear in Vedic literature, she is celebrated today as a goddess of the harvest and protector of women in the annual Gauri Festival.
  • Pomona (Roman): This apple goddess is the keeper of orchards and fruit trees. Unlike many other agricultural deities, Pomona is not associated with the harvest itself, but with the flourishing of fruit trees. She is usually portrayed bearing a cornucopia or a tray of blossoming fruit.
  • Tammuz (Sumerian): This Sumerian god of vegetation and crops is often associated with the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

The full moon in August on the 13th begins at 18:57 (6:57 p.m.) Saturday.

This meeting of coven, college and other circles carries forth the celebration of the Harvest season. Altars are decorated with colors of Fall. Flowers might be sun flowers, mums, or dried cattails with an assortment of tall grasses.  The cloth would be a hunter green, rust, or muted yellow.  The participants may choose new robes of hunter green, rust, robes of floral patterns for fall, etc.  Their feast may comprise of squashes, root vegetables, salad greens, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes and fish (all kinds, esp. Salmon, trout, perch, halibut), fresh apples from the tree (if you can get them.) Their choice of wine for the feast would be a nice red or a chardonnay, and homemade Meade for the Altar ritual.

Whichever way you celebrate this holiday may you reap the positive energies that abound around you.

 

Related articles:
John Barleycorn, Lammas, Lughnasadh

About LaVonne
I am still learning who LaVonne/Dorothy is.

Statistically I am a 65 y/young mother of 3, grandmother of 9, and great-grandmother of 3. I am a High Priestess and founder of the College of the Boundless Truth, am an Ordained Minister and perform Handfastings, marriages during the Spring and Summer season. I am enjoying my Crone years.

« More articles

Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Harvest! dahlianut Aug 11, 2011 12:59 PM 2

The Cottage in the Thicket

This is a place for pagans of all paths and anyone else who wants to join in. Everyone is welcome here. Share your ideas or just share what you did today. C'mon in make yourself at home!

» Home
» Forums
» Articles
» FAQ

Cubit owner: Woodwife

Admin team:

» Contact the admins