Lammas Rebirth Incense

Lammas Rebirth Incense

By , About.com Guide

Celebrate the Cycle of Life and Rebirth at Lammas
By the time Lammas rolls around, it’s usually pretty hot. In some parts of the world, gardens are beginning to dry out, and the earth has gone from soft and pliable to dry and cracked. If you haven’t harvested your herbs yet for drying, now is a good time to start doing so — in other words, pick them before they die on their own. Any fresh herb can be dried simply by picking it and tying it up in small bundles in a well-ventilated area. Once they are completely dry store them in airtight jars in a dark place.

To make your own magical Lammas incense, first determine what form you’d like to make. You can make incense with sticks and in cones, but the easiest kind uses loose ingredients, which are then burned on top of a charcoal disc or tossed into a fire. This recipe is for loose incense, but you can adapt it for stick or cone recipes.

As you mix and blend your incense, focus on the intent of your work. In this particular recipe, we’re creating an incense to use during a Lammas rite — it’s a time to celebrate the beginning of the harvest. We’re thankful for the foods we’ve grown, and for the bounty of the earth, and the knowledge that we’ll have enough to eat through the coming winter months.
You’ll need: 

  • 1 part basil
  • 1/2 part cinnamon bark
  • 1 part coriander
  • 2 parts goldenrod
  • 1 part heather
  • 1/2 part rosemary
  • 2 parts Sweet Annie (you can use dried apple blossoms if you don’t have Sweet Annie)
  • 1 part yarrow

Add your ingredients to your mixing bowl one at a time. Measure carefully, and if the leaves or blossoms need to be crushed, use your mortar and pestle to do so. As you blend the herbs together, state your intent. You may find it helpful to charge your incense with an incantation, such as:

 

We’re thankful this day for the gift of rebirth,
Fruits and vegetables, the bounty of earth.
For the Harvest Mother with her basket and scythe, Abundance and fertility, and the blessings of life.
We’re grateful for the gifts we carry within
And for what will become, and what has been.
A new day begins, and life circles round,
As grain is harvested from the fertile ground.
Blessings to the earth and to the gods from me,
As I will this Lammas, so it shall be.

 

 

Store your incense in a tightly sealed jar. Make sure you label it with its intent and name, as well as the date you created it. Use within three months, so that it remains charged and fresh.

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Warrior Meditation for Lughnasadh

Warrior Meditation for Lughnasadh

By , About.com Guide

At Lammas, the harvest is kicking in. This is a time of year when the masculine energy of the earth is in full swing. For starters, it’s the season of the spirit of grain, and a time to honor Lugh, the craftsman god. Lugh was not only a craftsman, but a gifted smith and swordsman. The season from late summer to the middle of fall is often a season of heightened energy for those who identify with the warrior soul.

Who Is the Warrior?

The warrior in today’s society is someone who understands the idea of right action. He or she follows a code of honor, and abides by that code even when it may be inconvenient or unpopular. The warrior recognizes that the forces of creation and destruction must be balanced. The warrior is empowered because he or she knows his own circumstances, limitations and goals. Perhaps most importantly, the warrior is someone who has made past mistakes, owned up to them, and learned not to repeat them.

A note on women and the concept of warrior: the notion of masculine energy and a warrior soul is not exclusive to men. Many women have powerful warrior spirits. Think of the warrior soul as an archetype of personal empowerment. Indeed, throughout history, many women have been known as mighty warriors. If it helps you get in touch with your inner warrior, envision some of them as you work. Picture Boadicaea of the Iceni, conquering the Roman army, or Penthesilea battling her lover, Achilles. If you lean towards more current history, consider France’s Jeanne d’Arc, or Grainne’ni Mhaille, the Irish pirate. For those who connect best with pop culture, even television’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly‘s Zoe, or Xena make perfectly good warrior woman archetypes.

Setting the Mood

You may wish to prepare your mind and body prior to starting the meditation. Some people like to take a ritual bath as a method of cleansing the body, and clearing the mind. If you wish, you can anoint yourself with Blessing Oil or another oil of your choice before beginning. Since you’re performing a warrior meditation, why not try adding a bit of war paint to your face and body?

Before getting started, make sure you can work undisturbed somewhere for about an hour. Turn off the cell phone, get off the Internet, and send the kids off to play with friends for a while. Perform this meditation outside if at all possible. Set up a small altar that you can sit in front of. Since you’re working outside, consider using a flat stone or a tree stump as a natural altar. On it, place symbols of the warrior spirit: a knife, a drum, an arrow, a shield — anything that helps you connect with your inner warrior. If you have ancestors or loved ones that represent the warrior archetype to you, feel free to include photographs or other heirlooms. Finally, add a purple candle – purple is the color of royalty and power, and of honor.

Although this meditation is designed to be performed solo, it can easily be adapted into a group practice, or turned into a full-fledged ritual.

Welcoming Your Inner Warrior

Sit before your altar, and light the purple candle. Focus on the flame, and visualize the fiery passion of the warrior soul. Think about the things you’ve done in your life, incidents in which you should have taken one path, but instead chose another. Consider mistakes you’ve made, and how they’ve affected not only you, but other people. Think about the consequences of these actions. Did you learn anything from these events?

Take this knowledge of past action, and move it into the present. As a warrior, you have followed a particular path to get to the present, one with many roadblocks, twists, and obstacles in the way. How has this helped to shape the person you are now? Think about the person you have become, and how you have grown during the different experiences you’ve had.

Now, think about the person you wish to be, and how the past and present will influence the future. Understand that for you to follow a principle of right action, there may be times when you make decisions that are unpopular. Are you willing to stand up for your convictions? Are you willing to live in a manner that will earn you the respect and honor of others? To do this, you must first and foremost honor and respect yourself. One way to live rightly and with honor is to make a pledge, both to yourself and to the gods of your tradition.

As you focus on the burning flames, say:

I am a warrior.
I am one who lives with honor and pride,
in my deeds, words, and actions.
I am a warrior,
and I pay tribute to myself, my family, and my gods,
by living rightly.
Honor is found not in the sword and the first,
but in wisdom, and courage, and strength.
I will make the changes I need to make,
that I may live in an honorable way
and follow the code of the warrior.
I am a warrior,
and I have control over my mind, my thoughts, and my sword.
I pledge to hold truth in my heart,
to hold strength in my hands,
to be honest in my words,
and to stand on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.
This is the way of the warrior,

and I shall live with honor.

While you do this, envision the warrior archetypes that you wish to emulate. Who are some warriors you look up to and hold in high regard? Think about them, and draw their energy into you. When you are ready to end the ritual, put the candle out.

How To Hold a Lammas Bread Sacrifice Ritual

How To Hold a Lammas Bread Sacrifice Ritual

By , About.com Guide

Grain is the heart of Lammas, and the beginning of the harvest season is a milestone in many societies. Once the grain is threshed and milled it is baked into bread and consumed, honoring the spirit of the grain god. This ritual celebrates both the harvest and the sacrifices we make each year, as well as the sacrifice of the grain god. Decorate your altar with symbols of the season — sickles and scythes, garden goodies like ivy and grapes and corn, poppies, dried grains, and early autumn foods like apples. If you like, light some Lammas Rebirth incense.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varied

Here’s How:

  1. For this rite, you’ll need a loaf of Lammas bread and a cup of wine or water. You’ll also need pieces of straw or other plant material, enough for each person in the ritual to make a small doll, and some yarn or string to tie the dolls together. Finally, you’ll need a fire. You can either have a large bonfire, or a small tabletop fire in a pot or brazier.
  2. If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now.

    The High Priest or High Priestess says:

    It is the time of the harvest once again. Life, growth, death and rebirth, all have come full circle. The god of the harvest has died once more, That we may eat and consume him, Giving us strength in the months to come.

  3. The HPs hands each member of the group a sheaf of straw, saying:

    We now create dolls in our image. These dolls symbolize our selves, in our many aspects, and all the things we give up each year, so that we may thrive and flourish later on.

    Each member of the group constructs a doll to represent themselves. Use the instructions here if you don’t know how to make a doll: Corn Doll or Straw Man. As each person creates their doll, they should energize the doll with personal qualities. These are the essences of self that each person is bringing to sacrifice, so that they may be reborn as the harvest god is each year.

  4. When everyone has completed their dolls, the High Priestess says:

    The god of grain is dying, vegetation returns to the earth. We call upon the gods of the harvest, asking them for their blessings. Tammuz and Lugh, Adonis, Dumuzi, Cernunnos and Attis, Mercury, Osiris. You are born each year, and live in our fields and are sacrificed as part of the cycle.

  5. Raise energy by circling your fire or altar three times, moving in a counter-clockwise (widddershins) direction, building speed each time (you’re moving against the pattern of the sun, because it’s the end of the harvest season). If you like, you can increase the feeling of power by chanting one of these popular traditional Wiccan verses:

    Hoof and horn, hoof and horn, all that dies shall be reborn. Corn and grain, corn and grain, all that falls shall rise again.

    or:

    Earth my body, water my blood, air my breath and fire my spirit.

  6. If your group is musically inclined, have half the group sing the “Hoof and horn” part, and the second half sing the “Earth my body” verse, so that it forms a round robin. The effect is amazing!

    When the raising of energy is complete, each person in the group approaches the fire, one at a time, and casts their doll into the fire. They can either say out loud what their sacrifice will be this year, or speak it only to themselves and the gods. As each doll is placed in the fire, direct leftover energy into the flames as well.

  7. When everyone has made their sacrifice, the HPs holds up the loaf of Lammas bread. Say:

    Months ago, we planted seeds, and through the summer watched them grow. We have tended the fields in our lives, and now we are blessed with abundance. The harvest has arrived! Thank you, lord of the harvest, For the gifts yet to come. We eat this bread, grain transformed by fire, in your name, and honor you for your sacrifice.

  8. The HPs breaks off a piece of bread for herself, and passes it around the circle, so that everyone can take a piece. Eat the bread, and then pass around the cup of wine or water. If you wish, you can say something as the cup is passed, like:

    May you reap the blessings of the harvest.

    Once everyone has eaten their bread and sipped from the cup, take a moment to reflect on what you have harvested for yourself this season. End the ritual as you normally would or move directly into a Cakes and Ale ceremony or other rites you wish to perform.

What You Need

  • A loaf of Lammas bread
  • Straw or plant material
  • String
  • A fire
  • A cup of wine or water

Legends and Lore of Lammas (Lughnasadh)

Legends and Lore of Lammas (Lughnasadh)

By , About.com Guide

In many cultures, there are different legends and lore surrounding Lammas (Lughnasadh). Here are a few of the stories about this magical harvest celebration from around the world.

  • In Israel, the festival of Shavout commemorates the beginning of the harvest, as well as honoring the date that Moses received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. The final sheaf of wheat is brought to the rabbi for a blessing, synagogues and homes are decorated with flower, and a great feast is prepared for all to enjoy. 
  • The festival of Onam is celebrated in India, and people dress up in their finest clothes and give food to the poor. Onam is celebrated in honor of King Mahabali, who was a ruler of Kerala. In one story, the god Vishnu approached Mahabali dressed as a beggar, and asked for land, which Mahabali gave him. Mahabli ended up buried under the earth by Vishnu, but was allowed to return once a year, symbolizing the planting of the seed and the subsequent harvest. 
  • Thor’s wife, Sif, had beautiful golden hair, until Loki the prankster cut it off. Thor was so upset he wanted to kill Loki, but some dwarves spun new hair for Sif, which grew magically as soon as it touched her head. The hair of Sif is associated with the harvest, and the golden grain that grows every year. 
  • In the Shetland Islands, farmers believed that grain harvesting should only take place during a waning moon. They also believed this about the fall potato crop, and the cutting of peat. 
  • At Lughnasadh, calves are weaned, and the first fruits are ripe, such as apples and grapes. In some Irish counties, it was believed farmers had to wait until Lughnasadh to start picking these fruits, or bad luck would befall the community. 
  • In some countries, Lammas is a time for warrior games and mock battles. This may hearken back to the days when a harvest festival was held, and people would come from miles around to get together. What better way for young men to show off their strength and impress the girls than by whacking away at all the competition? Games and contests are also held in honor of Lugh, the mighty Celtic craftsman god, in which artisans offer up their finest work. 
  • It’s become a custom to give people the gift of a pair of gloves at Lammastide. In part, it’s because winter is just around the corner, but it’s also related to an old tradition in which landowners gave their tenants a pair of gloves after the harvest. The glove is a symbol of authority and benevolence.

Deities of the Fields

Deities of the Fields

Gods and Goddesses of the Early Harvest

By , About.com Guide

When Lammastide rolls around, the fields are full and fertile. Crops are abundant, and the late summer harvest is ripe for the picking. This is the time when the first grains are threshed, apples are plump in the trees, and gardens are overflowing with summer bounty. In nearly every ancient culture, this was a time of celebration of the agricultural significance of the season. Because of this, it was also a time when many gods and goddesses were honored. These are some of the many deities who are connected with this earliest harvest holiday.

  • Adonis (Assyrian): Adonis is a complicated god who touched many cultures. Although he’s often portrayed as Greek, his origins are in early Assyrian religion. Adonis was a god of the dying summer vegetation. In many stories, he dies and is later reborn, much like Attis and Tammuz.
  • Attis (Phrygean): This lover of Cybele went mad and castrated himself, but still managed to get turned into a pine tree at the moment of his death. In some stories, Attis was in love with a Naiad, and jealous Cybele killed a tree (and subsequently the Naiad who dwelled within it), causing Attis to castrate himself in despair. Regardless, his stories often deal with the theme of rebirth and regeneration.
  • Ceres (Roman): Ever wonder why crunched-up grain is called cereal? It’s named for Ceres, the Roman goddess of the harvest and grain. Not only that, she was the one who taught lowly mankind how to preserve and prepare corn and grain once it was ready for threshing. In many areas, she was a mother-type goddess who was responsible for agricultural fertility.
  • Dagon (Semitic): Worshipped by an early Semitic tribe called the Amorites, Dagon was a god of fertility and agriculture. He’s also mentioned as a father-deity type in early Sumerian texts and sometimes appears as a fish god. Dagon is credited with giving the Amorites the knowledge to build the plough.
  • Demeter (Greek): The Greek equivalent of Ceres, Demeter is often linked to the changing of the seasons. She is often connected to the image of the Dark Mother in late fall and early winter. When her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades, Demeter’s grief caused the earth to die for six months, until Persephone’s return
  • Lugh (Celtic): Lugh was known as a god of both skill and the distribution of talent. He is sometimes associated with midsummer because of his role as a harvest god, and during the summer solstice the crops are flourishing, waiting to be plucked from the ground at Lughnasadh.
  • Mercury (Roman): Fleet of foot, Mercury was a messenger of the gods. In particular, he was a god of commerce and is associated with the grain trade. In late summer and early fall, he ran from place to place to let everyone know it was time to bring in the harvest. In Gaul, he was considered a god not only of agricultural abundance but also of commercial success.
  • Neper (Egyptian): This androgynous grain deity became popular in Egypt during times of starvation. He later was seen as an aspect of Osiris, and part of the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
  • Parvati (Hindu): Parvati was a consort of the god Shiva, and although she does not appear in Vedic literature, she is celebrated today as a goddess of the harvest and protector of women in the annual Gauri Festival.
  • Pomona (Roman): This apple goddess is the keeper of orchards and fruit trees. Unlike many other agricultural deities, Pomona is not associated with the harvest itself, but with the flourishing of fruit trees. She is usually portrayed bearing a cornucopia or a tray of blossoming fruit.
  • Tammuz (Sumerian): This Sumerian god of vegetation and crops is often associated with the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

History Of Lammas

Lammas/Lugnasadh Comments

History Of Lammas

In medieval times the feast was sometimes known in England and Scotland as the “Gule of August”, but the meaning of “gule” is unclear. Ronald Hutton suggests following the 18th-century Welsh clergyman antiquary John Pettingall that it is merely an Anglicisation of Gŵyl Awst, the Welsh name of the “feast of August”. OED and most etymological dictionaries give it a more circuitous origin similar to gullet; from O.Fr. goulet, dim. of goule, “throat, neck,” from L. gula “throat,”. A Welsh derivation would point to a pre-Christian origin for Lammas and a link to the Gaelic festival of Lughnasadh.

Several antiquaries beginning with John Brady offered a back-construction to its being originally known as Lamb-mass, under the undocumented supposition that tenants of the Cathedral of York, dedicated to St. Peter ad Vincula, of which this is the feast, would have been required to bring a live lamb to the church,or, with John Skinner, “because Lambs then grew out of season.” This is a folk etymology, of which OED notes that it was “subsequently felt as if from LAMB + MASS“.

For many villeins, the wheat must have run low in the days before Lammas, and the new harvest began a season of plenty, of hard work and company in the fields, reaping in teams. Thus there was a spirit of celebratory play.

In the medieval agricultural year, Lammas also marked the end of the hay harvest that had begun after Midsummer. At the end of hay-making a sheep would be loosed in the meadow among the mowers, for him to keep who could catch it.

In Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet (1.3.19) it is observed of Juliet, “Come Lammas Eve at night shall she [Juliet] be fourteen.” Since Juliet was born Lammas eve, she came before the harvest festival, which is significant since her life ended before she could reap what she had sown and enjoy the bounty of the harvest, in this case full consummation and enjoyment of her love with Romeo.

William Hone speaks in The Every-Day Book (1838) of a later festive Lammas day sport common among Scottish farmers near Edinburgh. He says that they “build towers…leaving a hole for a flag-pole in the centre so that they may raise their colours.” When the flags over the many peat-constructed towers were raised, farmers would go to others’ towers and attempt to “level them to the ground.” A successful attempt would bring great praise. However, people were allowed to defend their towers, and so everyone was provided with a “tooting-horn” to alert nearby country folk of the impending attack and the battle would turn into a “brawl.” According to Hone, more than four people had died at this festival and many more were injured. At the day’s end, races were held, with prizes given to the townspeople.

To All of Our Dear Family, We Wish You A Very Blessed & Prosperous Lammas!

Lammas/Lugnasadh Comments
Merry Meet on this glorious and beautiful Lammas Day! I hope everyone is busy celebrating the first Harvest. And I might add I hope it is a very prosperous one indeed!

I would like to take a moment to thank each and everyone of you for making this one of the best years the WOTC has had. I have always said a group/site/blog is nothing without fantastic friends, family and supporters. We have the Goddess to thank for each of you. With Our Almighty Mother all things are possible. Every time I think it is the darkest it can get, She pulls me up by the boot straps. And shows me it is no way by any means over yet.  She has given me a blessed life that is for sure.

In the days of Old, our Ancestors would be giving thanks for a bountiful first harvest. They didn’t have the luxuries we do now. I can imagine what they would have given for one John Deere tractor. I know our Ancestors had it rough and the times were tough to say the least. But they had something we no longer have these days, that is charity for our fellow man. If farmer Brown saw farmer Smith didn’t have as good of a harvest as he did. He would take the buggy over to farmer Smith’s house and tell him not to worry. He would help him and his family make it through the Winter months. Farmer Brown wanted nothing in return, just to help out his neighbor, that’s it plain and simple. But farmer Smith didn’t want charity from Brown so he would find a way to repay the debt and show his gratitude at the same time. Boy, how people  have changed.

I guess if our Ancestors could see the shape we are in now, they would hang their heads. Probably shed a tear or two also. When I stop to think about living in the greatest nation on this planet, I want to cry. Every night in this country, there are thousands of people going to bed hungry. There are even more sleeping on the street. There are individuals a dollar away from being out on the streets themselves. I was listening to today’s news and they said a local food bank had had a triple increase demand since last year. They couldn’t figure it out. How damn stupid are these people? Do they not realize we are in a depression? I know what really get my feathers’ ruffled is that millions of dollars are being sent overseas. While we have our own babies going to bed hungry each night. People sleeping in the street in the greatest nation in the world.

It is past time that we of the magickal community did something about this. As you know, you don’t have to have money to act. You have the power within you to act. It is past time that petition our Great Mother for help for our nation. For our children going to bed hungry, for the homeless man or woman sleeping in the street, or the empty food banks in this country. We need our Mother’s help! We also need our Mother’s help in cleaning out the ears of the Politicians in this country. The economy is getting better, the unemployment rate is dropping??? Don’t they realize that the unemployment rate is dropping because people can no long draw benefits. Truth be told, it is scary as hell, I raised two kids and my husband worked construction. The money was great. But construction only happens during the Summer months. The money you did manage to save up, you had to live on this next year. As high as things are now and the way the world is, I would hate to think I had to do it now.

I know today is suppose to be a day of celebration for us. But I wanted to drive a point home. Share what the Goddess has given you with those less fortunate. It doesn’t cost a thing to be kind to another individual. We are all the Goddess’ children. Share your many blessings with a local food bank, if you can’t do that then start petitioning our Mother. Because that is what I plan on doing. I am not going to stop till this world of ours starts to change. I am going to ask Her to help feed the small children that go to bed hungry at night. Get that man or woman off the streets and give them a place to sleep that has a roof over it. And most of all makes those damn Politicians wake up and smell the coffee. The Politicians have had their turn at this country. You see what shape it is in. Now it is our turn and I am sure we can do a much better job than they ever did. I beg you to join me in praying to our Almighty Mother for these things.

This is the Year of the Witch. Let us change the course of our country for the good of mankind.

Goddess Bless You. May you have a bountiful and blessed Lammas!

Love,

Lady A