The ancient Celtic race of western Europe believed in a number of different deities and spirits existing in natural objects such as trees streams rocks and in there living environment in general. Beliefs and practises differed in the Celtic lands which stretched from the Black Sea to the northern most shores of Scotland. These begin to bear romanisation following the Roman Empires conquest of Gaul (58bc) and England (43ad), although the depth and significance is still open to academic debate. This major European Spiritual movement declined in the Roman Period and gradually disappeared during its persecution by the various sects of Christianity through the subsequent centuries of the dark ages.The medieval church maintained the ‘pagan’ harvest festival which was celebrated on August 1st [English Quarter day].
Sunset 31st July
Traditional date 1st August
Old Lammas 6th August
In Britain witches refer to this astrological date 6th August, known as Old Lammas. This is considered a power point of the Zodiac, and is symbolised by a Lion (Leo). Lughnasadh marks the beginning of the (grain) harvest season. At this time we give thanks to the Earth for its bounty. Festivities and Rituals center on the assurance of a bountiful harvest and to celebrate the harvest cycle. Witches though at this time give thanks to the Goddess, bake bread, and place ears of corn, grain, corn dollies and bread on our altars. This is a time also when the Sun God is beginning to lose his virility and as the days start to get shorter the Sun God begins to age and decline. This is a time of farewells, justice spells, spells for abundance are appropriate now, to dismiss regrets and prepare for Winter. It is a good time for grounding meditations and prosperity magick.
Lughnasadh (Loo-nus-uh) named in honour of the Celtic god. Lugh (Sun-God) of Celtic mythology. The name Lugh means ‘shining’ or ‘light’. Lugh is a Celtic fire and light god.
Lugh’s foster mother was from an older race known as the ‘Fir Bolg’. Who were conquered by the Tuatha De Danann of Ireland. According to legend Lugh decreed that a commemorative feast be held at the beginning of the harvest season each year in honour of his foster mother, Tailtiu. Tailtui being a royal lady of the Fir Bolg who were defeated by the Tuatha De Danann. Tailtui was obliged by the Tuatha De Danann to make clear a vast forest so that grain could be planted for them. As a result of this exhausting work she died, and legend says that she was buried under a large mound which was named after her…’The Hill of Tailtui’. The hill of Tailtui was where the first Lughnasadh was held in Ireland. Where many folk gathered to feast, take part in games and contests of skill.
Some ideas to celebrate this time are to perform ritual. Share your harvest with others, bake bread, pick fruits from your garden if you have one and share some of your harvest with your neighbours. Visiting places such as orchards, lakes and wells at this time is also traditional.
Harvested from "Sourcewitch" to share with you.
"As in the bread and wine, so it is with me.
Within all forms is locked a record of the past
And a promise of the future.
I ask that you lay your blessings upon me, Ancient Ones,
That this season of waning light
And increasing darkness may not be heavy.
So Mote It Be!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In England of yore, before the natural feelings of the people had been checked and chilled off by Puritanism, the harvest-home was such a scene as may be recognised by 2000 years of farming families. The grain last cut was brought home in its wagon—called the Hock Cart—surmounted by a figure dressed in representation of the goddess Ceres. Reapers tripped around in a hand-in-hand ring, singing appropriate songs:
‘Harvest-home, harvest-home, We have ploughed, we have sowed, We have reaped, we have mowed, We have brought home every load, Hip, hip, hip, harvest-home!’
In the evening a supper would take place in the barn, the master and mistress generally presiding. This feast was always composed of substantial vitals and with an abundance of good ale, ensuring a scene of intense enjoyment. A song of thanks is sung to the host and hostess:
Here ‘s a health to our master,
The lord of the feast;
God bless his endeavours,
And send him increase!
May prosper his crops, boys,
And we reap next year;
Here ‘s our master’s good health, boys,
Come, drink off your beer!
Now harvest is ended,
And supper is past
Here ‘s our mistress’s health, boys,
Come, drink a full glass.
For she ‘s a good woman,
Provides us good cheer;
Here’s your mistress’s good health, boys,
Come, drink off your beer?