lammas

Photo By: Ad Victoriam

Lammas

Pronounced: English – LAH-mahhs
Lughnasadh
Pronunciation – LOO-nah-sa
August 1-2
Themes: first fruits of harvest, gratitude, benevolent sacrifice, utilizing skills and talents
Other Names: Lughnasadh, Lughnasa, August Eve, Feast of Bread, Frey Fest, First Harvest

The feast of Lughnasadh commemorates the funeral games of Lugh, Celtic god of light, and son of the Sun.  In the mythological story of the Wheel of the Year, the Sun God transfers his power into the grain (harvest), and is sacrificed when the grain is harvested.  This grain is then used to bake the first bread from the year’s crop, which in earlier times would then be taken to a church and laid on the altar to be blessed. The name “Lammas” actually comes from this tradition, taken from an old Anglo-Saxon phrase meaning “loaf mass.”

Irish legend has it that the festival originated with Lugh himself, when he held a funeral feast and sporting competition to honor his foster mother, Tailtiu. She had died from exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland so the people could grow crops.

It is the cross-quarter day between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox, and it marks the beginning of the harvest season. The first hints of Autumn are appearing even through the heat of summer. Grains are ready to be harvested, fruit is starting to fall from the fruit trees and daylight is now becoming shorter. In some places you may start to feel cooler evenings and begin to see a leaf or two tumble to the ground as the trees prepare for their autumn colors to appear!

Lammas rituals usually revolve around; harvesting, gratitude, and recognizing the manifestations of our intentions that have unfolded so far during the course of the year. Many a loaf of bread are made traditionally as way to mark the holiday, as it represents bringing the seeds of intention into full fruition. Corn dollies are a traditional craft made from straw. Decorate with the colors of Summer and Autumn; yellows, oranges, reds, greens and browns. Use harvest imagery like weaved baskets and, Summer corn, late blooming flowers of Summer (daisies, goldenrod, helenium, chrysanthemum, aster, black eyed susan, gaillardia, sunflowers, and zenia), stalks of wheat and of course loaves of bread. Spellwork related to securing abundance and a happy home is particularly powerful at this time.

Candle Magic

Materials Needed

  • 3 Orange candles
  • Frankincense incense
  • 3 Pieces of orange construction paper
  • Make 1 bouquets of wheat stems. Tie with string or thin cord.

Take 3 orange candles & pass them through the smoke of frankincense. As you light each candle say; “May this candle bring warmth to my home, light to my heart & prosperity to my spirit”.

On the 3 pieces of orange paper, on one each, write down 3 blessings. Pass each paper through the smoke of Frankincense to bless it. As you pass each through the smoke, say; “Thank you for these blessings.

Fold each piece of paper individually. With a bundle of wheat stems as an offering, tuck each blessing inside the bouquet of wheat. Then pass the entire wheat bouquet bundle once more over the Frankincense smoke and say; “Harvest time comes yet again to bring us food in abundance before the cold of Winter. To keep us happy and healthy, for this I (we) give thanks. May prosperity and peace always find a way to our hearts.”

Let the candles burn down & blessings prosper. Amen, aho, and so it is. (Additionally you can burn the wheat bundle in a bonfire.)

Lammas Ritual For Courage

Materials Needed

  • 6 inch square of orange cloth
  • Red thread or ribbon
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • pinch of dried basil
  • a few black peppercorns
  • a few drops of orange essential oil

Lay out the cloth and sprinkle the herbs and oil onto it, saying; “The strength of the bull, the daring of the boar. Grant me courage , now and ever more. Grant me bravery in my life each day to follow my own path and have my own say”.

Tie the sachet with the red thread or ribbon and keep it near you, in your bag, in your pocket, or car. *Place it beneath your pillow when you sleep (be careful oil doesn’t seep to your sheets). Every full moon replace the herbs and oil.

When the sachet has served its purpose, untie the knot and bury it.

*Note: keep away from pets

Salt Dough Ornaments

ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water

instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt.
  2. Gradually add water while stirring and mixing to form a dough with a Play-Doh like consistency.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and knead for approximately 5 minutes, adding a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky or a bit more water if it’s too dry.
  4. Place them on a baking sheet in a 150-degree oven. Gently turn them frequently so that they dry out evenly. Baking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your crafts, so just keep a close eye on them.

Lammas Meditation

The meditation can be done in a group setting, if you wish. You can record the instructions if you like, or memorize them or listen to my audio. This meditation is to help you find out how you can be more productive and creative, so be sure to affirm this to yourself before you start. Find a quiet, undisturbed place.

Sit in a comfortable and supported position.

Relax and begin… 

You’re walking down a country lane, towards the setting sun.  You feel its lingering warmth and see the remaining glow.

It is warm, the insects are buzzing and the air is thick with the scents of summer; the trees, the flowers and grass. Take the time to see what’s around you, hear the sounds of the birds, feel the grass between your toes, smell the flowers in full bloom and sense everything around you.  What animals cross your path? What else comes into your view?

As you move forward relish the solid contact your feet are making now with each step, as you move onto the dry earth of the path… 

You are approaching a field of golden corn. The sun is a huge golden ball, setting over the field. Ahead of you, to one side, there rises a hill, a green hump rising above and just beyond the gold of the corn. Standing near the edge of the mound is a glorious tall, lush oak tree, its branches spread in welcome… When you’re ready, enter the field.

The corn swishes and sways as you walk through it. Approach the tree. The corn doesn’t grow right up to the tree, so there is soft grass at the base of the trunk, you feel it beneath your feet and toes. Now sit with your back to the tree, facing the setting sun with the hill to one side and the whispering, golden corn stretching ahead of you …. 

Ask now for your creative gift. Wait patiently and notice everything you see, feel, hear and sense, however small. When you feel you have received a sign, or feel you need to move on, proceed in your own way with the journey, moving onward over the hill for perhaps more information. Whenever you feel ready turn back along the path through the corn as you walk back into conscious awareness.

Make a note of all you experienced. You can do this visualization as often as you want – your message may clarify over time. 

Lammas Intentions/Activities

  • Gather wheat, gem stones in harvest colors and create a segmented wheel on a round plate or on a table. As you place each item, give thanks for what lies ahead. Include one offering to represent what you need to leave behind.
  • Bake bread.
  • Lammas is a festival of light celebrating the last long days of the year. So, light some candles! Light one in yellow and one white. Let the candles burn until sun down.
  • Gather dandelion blooms and make dandelion wine or jelly.
  • Make preserved or jam from summer fruits.
  • Have a bonfire.
  • Bless and thank your garden. And spend some time caring for it and begin plans to protect it as the cold months are around the corner!
  • Brew beer or ginger beer.
  • Take full advantage of the bounty at the farmers markets.
  • Go apple or berry picking.
  • Pick wildflowers.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Spend time reflecting on this year so far.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Make a list of what you intend to harvest this year.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Make Corn dollies from grasses or grain stalks.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Create a gratitude list.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Cleanse your space to welcome the new.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Nourish yourself, in whatever form you choose. Good food, good company, a massage, a bath, crafting; whatever nourishes you as a whole.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Lammas Blessing

At first harvest we gather to give thanks for the abundance we are about to enjoy. These crops, these gifts from Gaia our Mother come to us after seasons of sacred Intention. Our efforts now rewarded, honor earth. As the great wheel turns to brings summers end, I prepare my spirit for harvest and feast.
~ Sage Goddess

Corn Husk Dollies

Materials Needed

  • Square-cut dried corn husks ($7.43 for 6 oz., amazon.com)
  • Yarn or raffia
  • Paper towel
  • Buttons
  • Glue

Putting It Together

  1. Start by soaking the husks in water for 10 minutes, and then blot excess water with a paper towel.
  2. Lay four or six husks (always an even number) in a stack.
  3. Using thin twine, tie husks together, about 1 inch from the top.
  4. Separate husks into equal portions (2 and 2, or 3 and 3), and fold halves down, covering twine.
  5. Using thin twine, tie husks about 1 inch down, creating the head.
  6. Roll a single husk and tie at the ends to make arms.
  7. Position arms below the knot at neck, between equal portions of husks.
  8. Tie waist. For a female doll, trim husks to an even length. For a male doll, separate legs into equal portions. Tie at knees and ankles. Trim evenly.
  9. *For non-binary, let your imagination flow!
  10. To make the hair, glue the yarn or raffia to the heads. Fashion clothes from pieces of felt: Cut rectangles, and snip slits or X’s in the center; then slide over the doll’s head, and secure around the waist with a strip of felt or yarn. (Glue on buttons, and use scissors to make fringe as desired.) Create hats and bonnets by cutting felt to fit, and then gluing in place.

Craft By: Martha Stewart *Added by me.

Foods Of Lammas

A Lammas feast should definitely involve bread, as well as late-summer fruits and vegetables, corn, and other grain dishes. apple and pear trees

Lammas Bread
  • 1 c whole wheat flour or rye flour…or do all regular flour
  • 3 c bread flour plus more as needed
  • 1/4 c toasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or caraway seeds
  • 2-1/2 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c scalded milk (optional on the scald…it brings out the milk’s natural sugars, but the recipe works fine with warmed milk)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 3 Tbsp honey

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the honey to the hot milk and stir to combine. Cool milk mix until it reaches 115ºF. Stir milk mix into flour mix. Knead for 15 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to make a smooth, elastic dough. Oil the dough’s surface, then cover with plastic or a damp towel. Let it rise in a warm spot until double. Punch down, then shape into 2 rectangle loaves or one large wreath. Let rise again until doubled. Bake at 375ºF until golden; it should make a hollow sound when tapped. About 30 – 40 minutes, depending on shape you choose. If you’ve got a bread machine, add wet ingredients first, dry second, yeast last. Let it do the work on the European setting, and pull at 1 hour, 55 min, immediately after the last knead. Shape by hand, do the final rise, and bake. 200 degrees internal temperature is ‘done’ for bread. Let cool before slicing.

Yield: 1 large braid or 2 regular-sized loaves

To do a braid, divide dough into three sections and roll them into long ropes. Match at the top and braid downward, tucking ends under when placing it on parchment lined baking sheet. 

Roasted Garlic Corn

Ingredients

  • Unshucked corn cobs
  • A pot of water
  • Butter
  • Minced garlic
  • Salt, pepper, and paprika

Directions

Soak the corn cobs in the pot of water—leave the husk on—and let them sit for an hour or two. This will make the corn cobs nice and moist.

Put the wet corn cobs, still in their husks, on a grill. If you’re lucky enough to be using a campfire, drop them into the white coals on the edge of the fire ring. Turn the corn cobs once in a while, and let them cook for about half an hour. You’ll know they’re done when the husk is dry and slightly burnt.

Remove the corn cobs from the grill and let them sit for a few minutes to cool a little. Don’t let them get cold. Peel the husk all the way back and use it for a handle, or use wooden skewer sticks. Brush the cob with butter, and sprinkle with garlic, salt, pepper and paprika.

Barley Mushroom Soup
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 20 ounces button mushrooms stems trimmed and caps thinly sliced
  • 3 14.5-ounce cans low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Sourdough or some other bread toasted (optional)
  1. Bring the barley and 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, salt, and pepper and cook for 7 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes more. Add the mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until they release their juices, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, bay leaves, and thyme and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked barley and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and serve with the toasted bread, if desired.
  2. To freeze: Let the soup cool, then ladle it into resealable freezer bags. Store for up to 3 months.
  3. To reheat: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or thaw partially in the microwave. Warm in a covered saucepan over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Serve with the toasted bread, if desired.
Lammas Brew

Blend together the following herbs:

  • 5 parts Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis)
  • 1/2 part Fennel Seeds (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • 1/2 part Cinnamon Chips (Cinnamomum spp.)
  • 1/4 – 1/8 part Freshly ground Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)

Add 1 teaspoon to 1 cup of hot water. Then add 2 – 3 Blackberries to each cup of tea and allow to steep for 5 – 7 minutes. You can adjust the level of spiciness by adding or reducing the amount of Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) or omitting it all together. Want it more sweet? Add more Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). No fresh berries available? (That’s a shame.) The tea is still good without them (but really find some berries if you can).  

Lammas Corn Custard
  • 2 c fresh kernel corn
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1 tsp each sugar and salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 c milk
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter

Mix corn with dry ingredients. Add eggs, milk, and butter. Place in a buttered baking dish, individual dishes, or casserole set in a shallow pan of hot water. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Fun Lammas Links

Lammas Facts & Worksheets For Kids
Lammas Day
Lammas: First Fruits of the Earth
Festival of Lughnasadh

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