The wheel turns again and we find ourselves days from Lammas/Lughnasad. This is our first Harvest festival. It is a time of gratitude and celebration of this gratitude.
If you are new to the Wheel of Year you may not yet have traditions for this holiday. If you have been celebrating the turn of the wheel for some time, you may have your go to rituals and ways to celebrate.
For me this harvest marks the shift of movement toward the fall (my favorite season). It is the hottest time of year here in the northern hemisphere and it is also Leo season (think roaring gorgeous sunkissed lions), yet the first apples have been harvested and the scent of Fall is creeping in around the edges of the sunniest season.
Summer is still with us yet as she wanes, the hot and languid, lazy days of this season become more precious.
As with all things the more scarce the more precious.
Lammas or Lughnasadh is the first harvest festival (and means specifically “loaf mass”) and one of the 4 Fire Festivals that make up the wheel of the year.
Lammas is the Christian counterpart to Lughnasaadh. This festival falls between Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox. Lughnasadh is named after the god Lugh. (This means Lugh’s assembly).
There are several stories that explain Lugh’s correlation to this harvest. Lugh is a Sun god and it has been said he originated this celebration. I have read accounts of Lughnasadh being the funeral feast Lugh held for his foster mother, Tailtiu who died from exhaustion after clearing a forest to create farmland in Ireland, thus tying Lugh to the harvest through the work of his mother and the honoring of what she made possible. There are also stories that suggest that on her deathbed, Lugh’s foster mother requested that competitive games be held each year at this time to ensure an abundant harvest.
This is a time for gathering, coming together and deepening community. What better way to build connection than through feasting and outdoor games? Many fairs are still held during this time of year and we often find contests for produce, preserves, livestock and handicrafts at these.
This is a celebration of gratitude for the crops and the fertile abundant earth. It is a time for us to pause to examine what we have planted (both physically and through the use of our intentions) and begin to harvest that which has grown.
So in celebration of Summer, our first harvest and that turn of the wheel I encourage you to plan yourself a Lughnasadh/Lammas ritual.
Ideas for Celebrating
Share Fruits and Seeds- As you begin your harvest you may also find some of your early garden has bolted and turned to seed. In celebration of the harvest and to symbolize the fruits of your labors, why not have a seed exchange. You can label your seeds and mail them to friends to share. Get several friends involved and have everyone mail their favorite seeds to each other (this is a lovely thing to do in the Spring as well).
Share your surplus veggies with neighbors and friends. I have a neighbor who is frequently picking their surplus and leaving it in a box in front of their house with a free sign. This is a great way to share with your community.
Want to connect with the spirits of the land? Bake some bread to leave as an offering. Lammas means loaf mass and baking bread is not only a traditional way to celebrate this holiday but also a fun and nourishing activity (time to feed those sourdough starters). Bake up some bread for yourself and some for a gratitude offering to the earth.
If you are feeling particularly abundant right now in time, food or money, you can share this too.
A tradition I have adopted is to make a “corn dolly” annually for blessings and protection in my home. These are traditionally made with corn husks, but I tend to gather that which is growing in my yard and make a “dolly” with these plants. This is a symbol of abundance and I imbue my creation with protective energy then find a place for her to “guard” over my home for the next year. Once I have created this I burn the one from the year before to release the work it has done and invite in the protection of the new “dolly”. This can be a really fun way to celebrate with kiddos too!
As I mentioned earlier this is Leo season and Leo is a fire sign, which, coupled with the sun energy of this time of year, can be a powerful time for transformation. Just as our gardens are transforming from growth to harvest, you may find that you have something within you that is ready to be harvested or transformed.
A simple ritual with this idea at is core, might be to light a candle, and ask the question, “What have I been cultivating within that I am ready to harvest or transform?” Then pull a tarot or oracle card and spend some time journaling about how this connects for you.
Follow up this fist question by asking “What action can I take right now to support this harvest or transformation?” (Remember that fire energy is not only transformative but also action oriented)
You might choose to pull another card and reflect on this or just journal and let your inner wisdom take its own direction here. Close your ritual by creating a clear intention statement about what action you will take. Say it aloud and blow out your candle.
Want to celebrate with community? The Diving Deeper Membership Circle is open for registration.
In this community we gather for all the Wheel of the Year festivals and so much more.
Join today, get 50% off your first month and circle with us for Lughnasadh on Sunday.
Emily Morrison MA, MFT