February 1st (southern hemisphere)
August 1st (northern hemisphere)
Lammas is the first of the three Harvest Festivals in a witch’s seasonal cycle, the others being Mabon, and Samhain. Also known as Lughnasadh, by Irish-Gaelic traditions, it marks the end of summer and the coming of autumn; the days slowly become shorter, giving way to the growing nights.
This festival symbolizes the fading power of the Sun God, and calls attention to his willingness to sacrifice himself to the Moon Goddess so that we can make it through the coming winter with the fruits of the first harvest, knowing all the while that he will return to us again as the cycle continues.
It’s a time to give thanks for the people and things that we have, to feel grateful for what we have and share it with others, therefore planting the seeds for a future harvest.
The most common theme associated with this Festival, is that of “eating, drinking, and making merry”. A baker’s oven goes into over-drive making loaves to be broken with friends and family, and the message is that of sharing what we have with others so that they might benefit from our good fortune as well.
Your altar and circle should be decorated with mostly grains, sheaves of wheat and barley, or, if you’re like me and like to use what you have on hand, a few handfuls of rolled oats will do in a pinch. The altar cloth should be red, or reddish-hued, while the altar candle should most certainly be orange. If you notice, the whole colour scheme is very “earthy” in nature.
Note: some witches prefer to have a ritual bath before they get started, that is, a quick dip in the tub to which herbs and salt have been added…it can help put you in the right frame of mind.
When you’re ready, cast your circle, call the elements and invoke the Gods, and then begin. Standing in front of your altar, take some of the grain or oats in your hand and hold it high.
Say something like:
Upon us is the First Harvest, a time when the fruits of nature sacrifice themselves so that we may survive. Now, as the Sun God prepares for death, I ask that his sacrifice helps me to understand and accept the sacrifices I must make in my own life.
Now, as the Moon Goddess’ power grows, I ask that she whispers her secrets and magickon the night winds, so that I can hear them and use her wisdom wisely.
Rub the oats between both hands so that it falls onto your altar. Then take a piece of fruit, like an apple, and bite into it, allowing yourself to fully experience the taste.
Then say something like:
I share in the fruits of the First Harvest, so that I might share in the wisdom it offers.
Goddess of the Moon, Mother of All
God of the Sun, Father to All
I thank you for that which you’ve given me. May I always remember “harm none”, and may all that I do be in reverence of you.
Now you can eat the rest of the fruit. Meditate, or reflect, on the good things that have happened to you thus far, and the sacrifices you had to make to get to this point. Think about how you’ve shared your good fortune with others, even if it only meant smiling at a stranger. Any magickal works should now be done, or write about your experiences in your Magickal Journal…if you have one.
Thank the Gods and the Elements for their attendance, and let them know that while you appreciate their presence, it’s now time to go. Release the circle, and then carry on with the Cakes and Ale ceremony, or so “eat, drink, and be merry” with some good friends.