Monday, August 1, 2011
Lughnasadh, Harvest Festival of the Grain Goddess
Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas, comes from the ancient Irish celebration held on August 1st. This Celtic festival was held in honor of the Sun God Lugh, and it was the first of three harvest festivals until winter. This was the time when people would start harvesting their crops and baking breads in preparation for the coming months of winter. It is traditional to bake bread at Lughnasadh. Some people would throw bread into their bonfires in sacrifice. Others would bake bread in the shapes of grain deities for offerings.
The Goddesses we honor at the first harvest are Demeter, Ceres and Ker, all of which are grain and harvest Goddesses. Ker was prayed to while ancient women would bake bread on the day of Lammas. They would ask for her to bless their grain so that it would last through the coming months of winter. Demeter, the Greek Goddess of the Harvest, and Ceres, Roman Goddess of Grain, were prayed to in much the same way. In hopes that the abundance of the Harvest would last them throughout the dark and cold months of winter.
Some great crafts to do for Lammas are baking bread and making smudge sticks. Baking bread from scratch can be difficult, so if your not experienced with it, then you could just buy a box mix and bake bread. You could also make shapes of grain Goddesses out of your bread to put on your altar as an offering. I'm blessed enough to have a KitchAid, so I can bake my bread in that. I plan to make a cinnamon bread on Lammas, hopefully it will come out good for the Goddess!
The other craft that I love doing at Lughnasadh, is making smudge sticks. If you have a fresh herb garden great! If not, buying fresh herbs from your local grocery store or Whole Foods Market will do the trick. Some great herbs to use for smudge sticks are sage, rosemary, mugwort and lavender. You must use fresh herbs when you make them, and then you let the rolled smudge stick dry out. All you need is some thread, any color you like, some fresh herbs, and scissors. Directions on how to roll them are here: How to make smudge sticks. My favorite combo is sage and mugwort, and I'm lucky enough to have both growing in my small herb garden! :)
On your altar for Lammas, have representations of grain, warm colors of orange, red and yellow, pictures or statues of the harvest Goddesses, apples, corn or corn dollie, bread, your own handmade smudge stick, and any other harvest symbols that speak to you.
I wish you all abundant blessings on this Lughnasadh!
Photo courtesy of Wendy Andrews
Posted by Tara at 2:00 AM