Lammas, or Lughnassad, occurs in late July and early August. It is marks the middle of Summer and the beginning of the harvest. Canning goes into full swing, and magickal cabinets are stocked with herbs before the onset of fall. This is also a time to prepare your household for fall and the upcoming Winter months. It is the first of three harvest festivals and is usually associated with ripening grain. It is time to celebrate the fruits of the harvest but also to be aware that summer is passing and winter is on its way.
We honor the weakening Sun God and give thanks for the seeds and the plants that went through the death process (harvest) in order to be reborn next season. The Sun God is waning, but the Goddess is full of abundance. Even as he wanes, he lives on inside her as her child. The Goddess manifests as Demeter, Ceres, Corn Mother, and other agricultural Goddesses. The God manifests as Lugh, John Barleycorn, and vegetation Gods. Colors are Golden Yellow, Orange, Green, and Light Brown. It is a festival of plenty and prosperity.
Decorate the altar and house with grains such as barley, oats and wheat -- also fruits and veggies. Begin gathering and drying herbs, flower, grains or seeds for spellworking in the next year. Make magickal oils now with fresh herbs.Braid onion and garlic charms. Onion is sacred to the sun -- because of its shape, and its dye is a golden amber to burnt apricot.When the onion is cut, it reveals the symbolism of the moon. Garlic, too, is sacred to the moon -- the crescent shape of the cloves. It exorcises evil and protects. Collect rain and storm water for use in spellwork or to empower objects, add dried mugwort and store in glass bottles. Make a corn wheel. Bake a loaf of bread on Lammas. If you've never made bread before, this is a good time to start. Honor the source of the flour as you work with it: remember it was once a plant growing on the mother Earth. If you have a garden, add something you've harvested--herbs or onion or corn--to your bread. If you don't feel up to making wheat bread, make corn bread.
Corn Dolly -Another way to honor the Grain Goddess is to make a corn doll. This is a fun project to do with kids. . She's your visual representation of the harvest. As you work on her, think about what you harvested this year. Give your corn dolly a name, perhaps one of the names of the Grain Goddess or one that symbolizes your personal harvest. Dress her in a skirt, apron and bonnet and give her a special place in your house. She is all yours till the spring when you will plant her with the new corn, returning to the Earth that which She has given to you. Make a corn dolly to save for next Imbolc.
HERBS to use in your magic at Lughnasadh: goldenrod, peony, nasturtium, clover blossom, yarrow, heliotrope, boneset, vervain, Queen Anne's lace, myrtle, rose, sunflower, poppy, milkweed, Irish moss, mushroom, wheat, corn, rye, oat, barley, rice, garlic, onion, basil, mint, aloe, acacia, meadowsweet, apple leaf, raspberry leaf, strawberry leaf, bilberry leaf, blueberry leaf, mugwort, hops, holly, comfrey, marigold, grape vine, ivy, hazelnut, blackthorn, elder, bee pollen.
STONES: Cat's-eye, citrine, aventurine, golden topaz, obsidian, moss agate, rhodochrosite, clear quartz, marble, slate, granite, lodestone.
Foods appropriate for Lammas are breads, berries, crab apples, and any locally ripe produce.
At this time, witches cast spells for connectedness, career, health, and financial gain. Spells for abundance are completely appropriate now. As the sun is growing weaker, it is a good time to do grounding and sun meditations, then use the golden rays of the sun (gathered during meditation) in spellcasting.
This is the perfect holiday to honor the prosperity and generosity of Mother Earth. It is a season to throw away useless thoughts and habits and to form new ideas which bring renewed strength. Reflect on these topics alone in the privacy of your journal or share them with others around a fire. Lughnasad is one of the great Celtic fire-festivals, so if at all possible, have your feast around a bonfire.