Lughnasadh (LOO-nə-sə,/LOO-na-saad/Loo-nus-uh) takes place from July 31st - August 1st.
Also known as Lammas, Loaf Mass, Festival of Lugh, Lugh-mass, First Fruits, First Harvest Festival, August Eve, Lammastide, Harvest Home, Lughnasad, Lughnassad, Lughnasa, Lunasa, Ceresalia, Feast of Bread, Sabbat of First Fruits, Festival of Green Corn, Feast of Cardenas, Cornucopia, Thingtide and Elembiuos, Lughnassadh is the first of the harvest festivals. The early Christians called this holiday Lammas “loaf-mass” because the first grains were cut and made into bread at this time of the year. It is a time of giving thanks to the land for all its sacrifices. And to give thanks for all the talents and skills we have been given, and all that we have achieved over the year. This is the time when the God starts to get weaker as the Sun rises farther in the South and the days grow shorter. The Goddess watches in sorrow as well as hope because she sees that the God is dying, but he also lives on inside her as their child.
Lughnasadh is a time of personal reflection and harvest, of our actions and deeds, events and experiences, our gains and losses. A time when we begin the cycle of reflection of that which is our life. A period for personal fertility magic to ensure the bountiful harvest of life's gifts and experiences, that which we have reaped though trial, tribulation, enjoyment, joy, love and loss.
At Lughnasadh many grains, seeds, herbs and fruits can be harvested and dried for later use through the remaining year. Corn is one of the vital crops harvested at this time. Corn dollies are fashioned in the shape of Goddess and God. In some areas the sacrifice of the corn king (corn dolly) is performed. Death and rebirth are a vital part of the cycle Lugh journeys in his mating with the Earth Goddess, during the waning year.
Songs: Lughnasadh, Corn Rigs, Scarborough Fair, John Barleycorn, Harvest Moon, The Scythe, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Shine On Harvest Moon, Harvest Home, King Harvest (Has Surely Come)
Activities: Bonfires, Processions through the fields, Gathering the first fruits of the harvest, All-night vigil, Singing, Feasting, Studing Astrology, Celebrating, Herb gathering, Handfasting, Leaping between two fires, Throwing pieces of bread into a bonfire, Women walking naked through gardens to ensure continued fertility, Honoring Mother Nature's richness and abundance, Relaxing, Sacrificing corn dollys, Saving/planting the seeds from the fruits consumed during the feast or ritual, Taking a walk through the woods/forests/fields/orchards/by a river/pond/etc. and reflecting on the generosity and bounty of the Lord and Lady, Holding Sport contests/races, Dancing jigs, Going to craft festivals
Foods: Loaves of homemade bread, Grains, Blackberries, Wheat, Oats, Lamb, Corn bread, Grapes, Barley cakes, Corn, Potatoes, Summer squash/Zucchini, Nuts, Acorns, Wild berries, Apples, Rice, Pears, Berry pies, Elderberry wine, Crab apples, Turnips, Mead, Crab, Meadowsweet tea, Cider, Hard cider, Beer, Colcannon, Ale, Berry jams/preserves
Crafts: Bake bread, Cut/make dowsing rods and wands, Wheat weaving, Put garlands of St. John’s Wort over doors/windows and a sprig in the car for protection, Make corn dolls, Make smudge sticks. Make a necklace out of Indian corn
Colors: Red, Orange, Gold, Golden Yellow, Bronze, Green, Light Brown, Gray
Symbols: Sun, Red/maize/yellow/gold flower, Full Moon, Love amulets, Seashells, Summer fruits & flowers, Feather/flower wreaths, Sun wheel, Fire, Circles of stone, Sun dials, Swords/blades, Feathers, Witches' ladder, Sickles, Scythes, Symbols of the harvest, Grapes, Vines, Dried grains, Sheafs of wheat/bowls of oats, Corn dolls
Stones: Yellow Diamonds, Aventurine, Citrine, Sardonyx, Peridot
Herbs: Grain, Ginseng, Acacia, Heather, Wheat, Sloe, Cornstalks, Aloe, Cyclamen, Oak leaf, Fenugreek, Frankincense, Hollyhock, Myrtle
Flowers: Sunflowers, Lilies, Oak, Birch, Fir, Rose
Incense: Wood aloes, Rose, Passionflower, Sandalwood , Rose hips, Safflower, Frankincense Rosemary, Chamomile, Eucalyptus
Gods: Lugh, Johnny Barleycorn, Lleu, The Waning God, Crom Dubh
Goddesses: Dana, Demeter, Ceres, The Waxing Goddess, Tailtiu, Persephone, Renenutet, Vesta, Hestia, Brigid
Journey through Lughnasadh in Gratitude:
Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes, put your feet on the floor and breathe into the bottom of your feet, gently calling it into your legs and pelvis. Let the breath pool in the pelvic floor, filling it up with air and then releasing it on the exhale.
Now feel the Earth energy moving up from its core into your feet chakras as you inhale, into the bubbling springs of life, moving through your legs into your Root Chakra and back down into the Earth.
Witness the Earth energy carving and defining its channels, streaming from the bottom of your feet, through your legs, passing the ankle, knee and hip joints; through the Root Chakra and into the Earth again.
Observe and notice how the Earth energy clears stagnant energy from your lower body, taking all things foreign or past-time as it moves out and back into the center of the Earth.
As you exhale, send the unwanted energy down deep into the Mother with great gratitude. She will transmute your dross to gold, giving birth to new and blessed forms, the fruits of your essence. Continue to offer her your dried and dead stalks, slashing and burning, fertilizing and making room for new seedlings of growth.
Breathe in and breathe out, sending gratitude for each cycle of nourishing inspiration and the die-off with expiration.