Lammas, August 2: First Harvest Festival of the year

At sunset this evening we began the first harvest festival of the year. It is called Lammas or Lughnasad - named for the God Lugh meaning "light" or "sun god". The second harvest is on September 21 and the third and last harvest is Halloween. It's traditional to jump over bonfires on these days and make wishes for the year. This is the ripest, most luscious time of the year! Everything is coming to fruition, or it's high point. The seeds we planted in the Spring are ready to be harvested.

 From the School Of the Seasons site, "The Celts celebrate this festival from sunset August 1 until sunset August 2, and call it Lughnasad after the God Lugh. It is the wake of Lugh, the Sun-King, whose light begins to dwindle after the summer solstice."

They also share the ancient Celtic story of the dying king of summer as a sacrifice to the harvest to come. Be sure and check it out. 

Here are some other thoughts from this article that sum this season up perfectly:

"Lammas is a festival of regrets and farewells, of harvest and preserves. 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. While you're sitting around the fire, you might want to tell stories. Look up the myths of any of the grain Gods and Goddesses mentioned above and try re-telling them in your own words. 

Regrets: Think of the things you meant to do this summer or this year that are not coming to fruition. You can project your regrets onto natural objects like pine cones and throw them into the fire, releasing them. Or you can write them on dried corn husks (as suggested by Nancy Brady Cunningham in Feeding the Spirit) or on a piece of paper and burn them.

Farewells: What is passing from your life? What is over? Say good-bye to it. As with regrets, you can find visual symbols and throw them into the fire, the lake or the ocean. You can also bury them in the ground, perhaps in the form of bulbs which will manifest in a new form in spring.

Harvest: What have you harvested this year? What seeds have your planted that are sprouting? Find a visual way to represent these, perhaps creating a decoration in your house or altar which represents the harvest to you. Or you could make a corn dolly or learn to weave wheat. Look for classes in your area which can teach you how to weave wheat into wall pieces, which were made by early grain farmers as a resting place for the harvest spirits.

Preserves: This is also a good time for making preserves, either literally or symbolically. As you turn the summer's fruit into jams, jellies and chutneys for winter, think about the fruits that you have gathered this year and how you can hold onto them. How can you keep them sweet in the store of your memory?"

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