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Lughnasadh - Fourth Main Celtic Festival -August 1st

As posted on Love of the Goddess, all rights reserved by the author.

Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh, is the first of the three harvest festivals of the year. It is the time of great bounty when people would start preparing their stock for the coming winter. Being a festival to honor grain and the harvest, it was traditional to bake bread on Lammas. People would only harvest their grain on the day of Lammas and not a day before. This was because if the crops were left in the fields for too long, or the bread not baked in time, the people could starve.

On Lammas, we honor many different Goddesses , such as Ker the grain Goddess, Madron the mother Goddess, and Demeter Goddess of the harvest. Ker was prayed to while ancient women would bake bread on the day of Lammas. Since she is a grain Goddess, they would ask for her to bless their grain so that it would last through the coming months of winter. Madron is the bountiful mother Goddess who gives birth to all the crops. It is said that Madron was worshiped by Neolithic peoples in the British Isles. They would honor her by building sacred mounds on the earth, these were said to represent the womb of the pregnant mother Goddess.

To celebrate Lammas, honor the harvest and mother Goddesses. Pray for their bounty in your own life. On your altar have either a red, orange or yellow candle, or a combination of all three to represent the colors of fall. If possible, have some grain or corn to represent the harvest. A green crystal would represent the fertility of the earth. You could also bake some bread or make a corn dollie. I found pretty simple instructions for making a corn dollie here : SnowOwl



A Celtic Sprite Quotation

This is the time of the killing of the Corn King-John Barleycorn. This festival is Lughnasadh in honor of the God Lugh. Lughnasadh celebrates the harvesting of crops. The sickle and the scythe are symbolically used at this time represent the Goddess because they are in the shape of the Lunar crescent. The pitch fork represents the Horned Lord. The combination of the pitchfork and the sickle/scythe bring about the harvest. At this time the energies of the Earth begin to decline. Growth ebbs to completion; life loosens its passionate hold and prepares to yield up its fruits. The Goddess begins to show signs of weariness from the planting and growing season. The Earth Mother is beginning the process of letting go, moving unavoidably toward darkness and Winter.

Corn and grains are of particular significance at this holiday. Traditionally, the newly harvested grain is made into loaves of bread and shared with all in celebration.

It is traditional to fashion a corn dollie from the last stalks of grain to be harvested. It was believed that these stalks contained the ‘Spirit of the Corn’. The bundle of grain is formed in the shape of a woman, the Harvest or Corn Mother. Traditionally, the corn dollie was hung first in the barn to preside over the threshing of the grain, and then in the farmhouse until the planting of the new grain in Spring. Today, the dollie is placed on the altar for the Mabon celebration and then hung in the house or on the front door until Imbolc when it is burned to release the “Spirit of the Corn” to bring life and growth once more.

Lughnasadh is a holiday sacred to the Irish God Lugh. Lugh is associated with the power of sun and light, and so fires were burned in honor of him on this day. In addition to his associations with light, Lugh is a God of Skill and Craft, a master of all human skills. On this his feast day, it is particularly appropriate that we celebrate our own abilities, skills and accomplishments. Whatever our talents or abilities, this is a time to recognize them and honor them, and to share our recognition of the talents and abilities of others around us. By offering the fruits of our labors back to the Universe we enrich both ourselves and our world.

After the harvest, tribes would begin to prepare for fall by storing vegetables and canning. Saving and storing your vegetable harvests was the only way to sustain your family through the long, harsh winter. Use the wonderful harvest energy to gather your magical and culinary herbs and empower them as part of your winter stores.

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