Welcome to the Witches Digest for Tuesday, August 1, Lammas

Lammas/Lugnasadh Comments

The Witches Digest for Tuesday, August 1

Lammas

 

“Now is the time of the First Harvest,
when bounties of nature give of themselves
so that we may survive.
O God of the ripening fields, Lord of the Grain,
grant me the understanding of sacrifice as you
prepare to deliver yourself under the sickle of the
goddess and journey to the lands of eternal summer.
O Goddess of the Dark Moon,
teach me the secrets of rebirth
as the Sun loses its strength and the nights grow cold.

 

I partake of the first harvest, mixing its energies
with mine that I may continue my quest for the starry
wisdom of perfection.
O Lady of the Moon and Lord of the Sun,
gracious ones before Whom the stars halt their courses,
I offer my thanks for the continuing fertility of the Earth.
May the nodding grain loose its seeds to be buried in
the Mothers breast, ensuring rebirth in the warmth
of the coming Spring.”

– Scott Cunningham, Lammas Ritual

Your Daily Sun & Moon Data for Tuesday, August 1

The Sun
Sun Direction: ↑ 85.82° E
Sun Altitude: 24.97°
Sun Distance: 94.340 million mi
Next Equinox: Sep 22, 2017 3:01 pm (Autumnal)
Sunrise Today: 5:59 am↑ 67° East
Sunset Today: 8:01 pm↑ 293° Northwest
Length of Daylight: 14 hours, 1 minute

 

The Moon
Moon Direction: ↑ 3.61° N
Moon Altitude: -68.37°
Moon Distance: 251164 mi
Next Full Moon: Aug 7, 20171:10 pm
Next New Moon: Aug 21, 20171:30 pm
Next Moonrise: Today3:14 pm
Current Moon Phase: Waxing GIbbous
Illumination: 68.1%

 

Lunar Calendar
Moon Phase Tonight: Waxing Gibbous
Full Moon: Aug 7, 2017 at 1:10 pm
(Next Phase)
First Quarter: Jul 30, 2017 at 10:23 am
(Previous Phase)

Source

timeanddate.com

Your Astronomy for Tuesday, August 1st

The Moon is in Scorpio until 8:01 AM, after which the Moon is in Sagittarius.
The Moon is void until 8:01 AM (since yesterday at 7:10 AM).
The Moon is waxing and in its First Quarter phase.
The First Quarter Moon occurred on July 30th, and a Full Moon (Lunar Eclipse) will occur in Aquarius on August 7.
Mercury is in its pre-retrograde shadow (Mercury will retrograde from August 12-September 5).
Venus spends its first full day in Cancer (Venus is in Cancer from July 31-August 26).

Moon in Sagittarius

The Moon is traveling through Sagittarius. The grass looks greener on the other side during this time. Jump ship. Learn a new language. Tell it like it is. Make people laugh.

The Moon is at her most optimistic and upbeat in Sagittarius. We are motivated by a need to seek the truth, and we are ready to pursue a new vision. We are not interested in details just now. Instead, we focus on the big picture. New experiences and adventures satisfy a deep emotional need. Spontaneity is the key. We may also be inclined toward overdoing and overstating. We don’t want to plan ahead, and prefer to “wing it”.

The Moon in Sagittarius generally favors the following activities: Adventurous activities that involve “winging it”, travel, higher education, starting publishing projects, advertising, sports, physical activity.

The Sky This Week for August 1 to August 6

The Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower, Asteroid 89 Julia, and other cool things to look for in the sky this week.
By Richard Talcott

Tuesday, August 1

Jupiter resides in front of the 11th-magnitude spiral galaxy NGC 4941 this evening. Although visual observers have no hope of seeing the two in the same telescopic field of view, astroimagers might be able to capture both. Plan on taking multiple exposures to show the bright planet, its fainter moons, and the dim spiral. Perhaps your best bet is to capture a series of images over several nights to record the planet’s passage by the galaxy.

Wednesday, August 2

The waxing gibbous Moon stands at its highest point above the southern horizon as darkness falls this evening. If you look a few degrees to its lower left, you can’t miss Saturn. The glorious ringed planet shines at magnitude 0.3 and shows up nicely against the backdrop of southern Ophiuchus on any clear night. When viewed through a telescope, Saturn’s globe measures 18″ across while its dramatic ring system spans 40″ and tilts 27° to our line of sight.

The Moon reaches apogee, the farthest point in its orbit around Earth, at 1:55 p.m. EDT. It then lies 251,671 miles (405,025 kilometers) from Earth’s center.

Thursday, August 3

Uranus’ eastward motion against the background stars comes to a halt at 6 a.m. EDT. This so-called stationary point marks the beginning of the best period to observe the outer planet. Uranus rises before midnight local daylight time and appears more than halfway to the zenith in the southeastern sky as morning twilight commences. The magnitude 5.8 planet lies in Pisces, 1.2° north of magnitude 4.3 Omicron (o) Piscium. A telescope reveals Uranus’ blue-green disk, which spans 3.6″.

Friday, August 4

Look overhead around 11 p.m. local daylight time any day this week and your eyes will fall on the brilliant star Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp. At magnitude 0.0, Vega is the brightest member of the prominent Summer Triangle asterism. The Triangle’s second-brightest star, magnitude 0.8 Altair in Aquila the Eagle, lies some 35° southeast of Vega. The asterism’s dimmest member, magnitude 1.3 Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, stands about 25° east-northeast of Vega. Although the waxing gibbous Moon diminishes the luster of stars this week, the Summer Triangle remains conspicuous.

Saturday, August 5

Distant Neptune reaches opposition and peak visibility in just a month, but the view now is essentially the same. The ice giant planet rises around 9:30 p.m. local daylight time and climbs nearly halfway to the zenith in the southern sky by 3 a.m. The magnitude 7.8 planet lies in Aquarius, 2° east of 4th-magnitude Lambda (l) Aquarii. You’ll need binoculars to spy Neptune and a telescope to see its blue-gray disk, which spans 2.4″.

Sunday, August 6

Asteroid 89 Julia should be relatively easy to find through small telescopes south of the Great Square of Pegasus. Your signpost for finding this magnitude 9.6 space rock is a squashed box of four 5th-magnitude stars: 55, 57, 58, and 59 Pegasi. The box lies 6° south of magnitude 2.5 Markab (Alpha [a] Peg), the star that marks the Great Square’s southwestern corner. Tonight, Julia stands 1.5° south of 59 Peg. If you sketch the field and then return to the same area a night or two later, you should be able to detect the asteroid’s movement relative to the stellar background.

Source

Astronomy Magazine

The Magick of Lammas

Also called: Lughnasadh, Lunasdal, August Eve, The Festival of Bread, Elembiuous, Lunasa, Cornucopia(Strega), Thingtide(Teutonic)

Date: August 1 or 2

Symbols: All grain breads, threshing tools, berries (especially blackberries)

Primary spellwork: Bread harvest, first harvest, grain harvest, games of sport, blessig and saining rites, payment of debts, weather magick.

Popular mythos: Marriage of Lugh to the Goddess(varies), sacrifice of fruits to the soil, season of handfasting.

 

Today is Tuesday, August 1

Tuesday is dedicated to the powers of the planet Mars, personified in Ares, Tiwaz, Tiw, Tuisco and Tyr. Tuesday rules controlled power, energy and endurance.

Deity: Tiwaz

Zodiac Sign: Aries

Planet: Mars

Tree: Holly

Herb: Plantain

Stone: Agate

Animal: Crab

Element: Fire

Color: White

Number: 2

Rune: Tyr (T)

 

Celtic Tree Month of Tinne (Holly) – July 8 – August 4

Runic Half-Month of Thorn (defense) – July 29 – August 12

Goddess of the Month of Kerea – July 11 – August 8

 

Source

The Pagan Book of Days
Nigel Pennick

The Pagan Book of Days for Tuesday, August 1

At this festival of the first harvest, the first corn is cut, bakes into a loaf, and offered to the goddess in thanksgiving. Lammas is the eighth and last station of the year, completion, sacred to Odin and Frigg. Celebrants would ascend the spiral path of the Lammas hill, on their way to Lammas festivities.

Source

The Pagan Book of Days
Nigel Pennick

The Wicca Book of Days for August 1

Lughnasadh or Lammas

On August 1 Wiccans and Witches celebrate Lughnasadh, or Lammas (to give it its Christianized name), with a Sabbat. This ancient Pagan festival marks the harvesting of the year’s first sheaf of wheat or corn, and with it the self sacrifice of the Horned God in his incarnations as the Corn King, or the Lord of the Harvest. As its name suggest Lughnasadh (‘The Games of Lugh”) was originally linked by the Celts of Ireland with Lugh, their God of Light and possessor of a magical sling and spear, who reputedly established the original festivities in honor of his foster-mother, the Earth Goddess Tailtu.

First Fruits

It is acceptable to place fresh fruit on your altar, instead of corn, for your Lughnasadh rite. After you have given thanks to the Horned God and Goddess, and have partaken of the fruit, plant the seeds within in a pot today and encourage them to germinate.

“Lammas Night”

I stood before my altar at Lammastide, and asked the Lord and Lady to be my guides…

“Please show to me a vision that I may see… what sacrifice is worthy to give to Thee.”

They showed to me an apple without a core… They showed to me a dwelling without a door… They showed to me a palace where They may be, and unlock it without a key…

How can there be an apple without a core? How can there be a dwelling without a door? How can there be a palace where They may be, and They may unlock it without a key?

…My spirit is an apple without a core… …My mind is a dwelling without a door… My heart is a palace where They may be, and unlock it without a key…

I stood before my altar on Lammas night… and gave my Lord and Lady bright… the sacrifice They asked for – with spirit free… Upon that Lammas evening, I gave Them me…

Blessed Be…

—-Author Unknown

The Witches Guide to Lammas

A guide to the Sabbat’s symbolism

by Arwynn MacFeylynnd

Date: August 1 or 2.

Alternative names: Lughnassadh, Lammastide, August Eve, Harvest Home, Ceresalia (Roman, in honor of the grain goddess Ceres), First Fruits, Festival of Green Corn (Native American), Feast of Cardenas, Cornucopia (Strega), Thingtide and Elembiuos. Lammas, an Anglo-Saxon word, means “loaf mass.” Lughnassadh is named for the Irish sun god Lugh (pronounced Loo), and variant spellings are Lughnasadh, Lughnasad, Lughnassad, Lughnasa and Lunasa.

Primary meanings: This festival has two aspects. First, it is one of the Celtic fire festivals, honoring the Celtic culture-bringer Lugh (Lleu to the Welsh, Lugus to the Gauls). In Ireland, races and games were held in his name and that of his mother, Tailtiu (these may have been funeral games). Second, the holiday is the Saxon Feast of Bread, at which the first of the grain harvest is consumed in ritual loaves. These aspects are not too dissimilar, as the shamanic death and transformation of Lleu can be compared to that of the Barley God, known from the folksong “John Barleycorn.”

Lammas celebrates the first of three harvest celebrations in the Craft. It marks the beginning of autumn, the start of the harvest cycle, and relies on the early crops of ripening grain and any fruits and vegetables ready to be harvested. It is associated with bread because grain is one of the first crops harvested. Those in the Craft often give thanks and honor now to gods and goddesses of the harvest, as well as those who represent death and resurrection.

Symbols: All grains, especially corn and wheat, corn dollies, sun wheels, bread, harvesting and threshing tools and the harvest full moon. Altar decorations might include corn dollies or kirn babies (corncob dolls) to symbolize the Mother Goddess of the Harvest. Other appropriate decorations include summer flowers and grains. You might also wish to have a loaf of whole cracked wheat or multigrain bread upon the altar, baked in the shape of the sun.

Colors: Red, orange, gold, yellow, citrine, green, grey and light brown.

Gemstones: Yellow diamonds, aventurine, sardonyx, peridot and citrine.

Herbs: Acacia flowers, aloes, chamomile, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, frankincense, heather, hollyhock, myrtle, oak leaves, passionflower, rose, rose hips, rosemary, sandalwood, sunflowers and wheat.

Gods and goddesses: Lugh, Thor, John Barleycorn (the personification of malt liquor), Demeter, Danu, Ceres, sun gods, corn mothers, all grain and agriculture deities, mother goddesses and father gods.

Customs and myths: Spellwork for prosperity, abundance and good fortune are especially appropriate now, as well as spells for connectedness, career, health and financial gain. Sacrifice is often associated with this holiday. Visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells are also traditional. It is considered taboo not to share your food with others now.

Activities appropriate for this time of the year are baking bread, wheat weaving and making corn dollies or other god and goddess symbols. You may want to string Indian corn on black thread to make a necklace, or bake cornbread sticks shaped like little ears of corn for your Sabbat cakes. The corn dolly may be used both as a fertility amulet and as an altar centerpiece.

Some pagans bake Lammas bread in the form of a god-figure or sun wheel — if you do this, be sure to use this bread in your Lammas ritual’s cakes and ale ceremony, if you have one. During the Lammas ritual, some consume bread or something from the first harvest. Some gather first fruits; others symbolically throw pieces of bread into a fire

The Witches Correspondences for Lammas, August 1, 2017

Time of Day: Mid-Afternoon, Noon to 5 pm

Time of Life: 40-60’s, Middle Age, Height of Powers, Fatherhood

Decorations: Bread, Corn, Wheat, Fruits, Corn Dolly, Green Man

Foods: Plums, Peaches, Grapes, Wheat, Lamb, Berries, Barley Cakes, Breads

Herbs: Heather, Acacia, Hollyhock, Aloes, Sunflowers, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Rose

Tools: Baskets, Lugh’s Spear (Areadbhar), Sickles, Scythes

Goddesses: Ceres, Demeter, Corn Mother, Pomona, Mother Earth

Gods: Lugh, Mercury, Hermes, Adonis, John Barleycorn, Green Man
Lughnasadh is more of a Men’s Holiday

Themes
Harvest, Transformation, Fruitfulness, Change Abundance, Completion, Prosperity, Robustness, Achievement, Letting Go, Reaping, Sacrifice, Purification, Contentment, Bread of Life, Table of Plenty, Ever Flowing Cup, Chalice of Plenty

Farming Activities
Harvesting and preserving wheat, corn, vegetables

Animals: Crow, Salmon

Tarot, Divination: Wheel of Fortune, Justice

Colors: Golden Yellow, Light Brown, Purple, Orange, Red-Brown, Brown-Grey

Activities, Celebrations
Dancing, Singing, Playing Music, Poetry Reading, Bardic Competitions, Games, Competitions, Men’s Sports, Drinking beer, whiskey, mead, iced tea

Sacred Circle (Valley Spirit): South-West, Violet

Celebrations:
Lughnasadh – Druid, Neo-Pagan, Lammas – Wiccan, Mea’n Fo’mhair (Greenman) – Druid, Welsh

Lammas History: Welcoming the Harvest

 

THE BEGINNING OF THE HARVEST:
At Lammas, also called Lughnasadh, the hot days of August are upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we still know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Apples are beginning to ripen in the trees, our summer vegetables have been picked, corn is tall and green, waiting for us to come gather the bounty of the crop fields.

Now is the time to begin reaping what we have sown, and gathering up the first harvests of grain, wheat, oats, and more.

This holiday can be celebrated either as a way to honor the god Lugh, or as a celebration of the harvest.

CELEBRATING GRAIN IN ANCIENT CULTURES:
Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back nearly to the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The Sumerian god Tammuz was slain and his lover Ishtar grieved so heartily that nature stopped producing. Ishtar mourned Tammuz, and followed him to the Underworld to bring him back, similar to the story of Demeter and Persephone.

In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.

A FEAST OF BREAD:
In early Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lammas — it meant that the previous year’s harvest had run out early, and that was a serious failing in agricultural communities.

However, on August 1, the first sheaves of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season.

The word Lammas derives from the Old English phrase hlaf-maesse, which translates to loaf mass. In early Christian times, the first loaves of the season were blessed by the Church.

HONORING LUGH, THE SKILLFUL GOD:
In some Wiccan and modern Pagan traditions, Lammas is also a day of honoring Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills, and was honored in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe. Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah) is still celebrated in many parts of the world today. Lugh’s influence appears in the names of several European towns.

HONORING THE PAST:
In our modern world, it’s often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our ancestors had to endure. For us, if we need a loaf of bread, we simply drive over to the local grocery store and buy a few bags of prepackaged bread. If we run out, it’s no big deal, we just go and get more. When our ancestors lived, hundreds and thousands of years ago, the harvesting and processing of grain was crucial. If crops were left in the fields too long, or the bread not baked in time, families could starve. Taking care of one’s crops meant the difference between life and death.

By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honor our ancestors and the hard work they must have had to do in order to survive. This is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables.

Lammas is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings.

SYMBOLS OF THE SEASON
The Wheel of the Year has turned once more, and you may feel like decorating your house accordingly. While you probably can’t find too many items marked as “Lammas decor” in your local discount store, there are a number of items you can use as decoration for this harvest holiday.

Sickles and scythes, as well as other symbols of harvesting
Grapes and vines
Dried grains — sheafs of wheat, bowls of oats, etc.
Corn dolls — you can make these easily using dried husks
Early fall vegetables, such as squashes and pumpkins
Late summer fruits, like apples, plums and peaches

CRAFTS, SONG AND CELEBRATION
Because of its association with Lugh, the skilled god, Lammas (Lughnasadh) is also a time to celebrate talents and craftsmanship.

It’s a traditional time of year for craft festivals, and for skilled artisans to peddle their wares. In medieval Europe, guilds would arrange for their members to set up booths around a village green, festooned with bright ribbons and fall colors. Perhaps this is why so many modern Renaissance Festivals begin around this time of year!

Lugh is also known in some traditions as the patron of bards and magicians. Now is a great time of year to work on honing your own talents. Learn a new craft, or get better at an old one. Put on a play, write a story or poem, take up a musical instrument, or sing a song. Whatever you choose to do, this is the right season for rebirth and renewal, so set August 1 as the day to share your new skill with your friends and family.

Author

Patti Wigington

Published on ThoughtCo

The Legend of John Barleycorn

In English folklore, John Barleycorn is a character who represents the crop of barley harvested each autumn. Equally as important, he symbolizes the wonderful drinks which can be made from barley — beer and whiskey — and their effects. In the traditional folksong, John Barleycorn, the character of John Barleycorn endures all kinds of indignities, most of which correspond to the cyclic nature of planting, growing, harvesting, and then death.

Although written versions of the song date back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, there is evidence that it was sung for years before that. There are a number of different versions, but the most well-known one is the Robert Burns version, in which John Barleycorn is portrayed as an almost Christ-like figure, suffering greatly before finally dying so that others may live.

Believe it or not, there’s even a John Barleycorn Society at Dartmouth, which says, “A version of the song is included in the Bannatyne Manuscript of 1568, and English broadside versions from the 17th century are common. Robert Burns published his own version in 1782, and modern versions abound.​”

The lyrics to the Robert Burns version of the song are as follows:

There was three kings into the east,
three kings both great and high,
and they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn must die.

They took a plough and plough’d him down,
put clods upon his head,
and they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on’
and show’rs began to fall.
John Barleycorn got up again,
and sore surprised them all.

The sultry suns of Summer came,
and he grew thick and strong;
his head well arm’d wi’ pointed spears,
that no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn enter’d mild,
when he grew wan and pale;
his bendin’ joints and drooping head
show’d he began to fail.

His colour sicken’d more and more,
and he faded into age;
and then his enemies began
to show their deadly rage.

They took a weapon, long and sharp,
and cut him by the knee;
they ty’d him fast upon a cart,
like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
and cudgell’d him full sore.
they hung him up before the storm,
and turn’d him o’er and o’er.

They filled up a darksome pit
with water to the brim,
they heav’d in John Barleycorn.
There, let him sink or swim!

They laid him upon the floor,
to work him farther woe;
and still, as signs of life appear’d,
they toss’d him to and fro.

They wasted o’er a scorching flame
the marrow of his bones;
but a miller us’d him worst of all,
for he crush’d him between two stones.

And they hae taen his very hero blood
and drank it round and round;
and still the more and more they drank,
their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
of noble enterprise;
for if you do but taste his blood,
’twill make your courage rise.

‘Twill make a man forget his woe;
’twill heighten all his joy;
’twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
tho the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
each man a glass in hand;
and may his great posterity
ne’er fail in old Scotland!

In The Golden Bough, Sir James Frazer cites John Barleycorn as proof that there was once a Pagan cult in England that worshipped a god of vegetation, who was sacrificed in order to bring fertility to the fields. This ties into the related story of the Wicker Man, who is burned in effigy. Ultimately, the character of John Barleycorn is a metaphor for the spirit of grain, grown healthy and hale during the summer, chopped down and slaughtered in his prime, and then processed into beer and whiskey so he can live once more.

In early Anglo Saxon Paganism, there was a similar figure called Beowa, or Bēow, and like John Barleycorn, he is associated with the threshing of the grain, and agriculture in general. The word beowa is the Old English word for – you guessed it! – barley. Some scholars have suggested that Beowa is the inspiration for the titular character in the epic poem Beowulf, and other theorize that Beowa is directly linked to John Barleycorn.

In Looking for the Lost Gods of England, Kathleen Herbert suggests that they are in fact the same figure known by different names hundreds of years apart.

Author

Patti Wigington

Published on ThoughtCo

The Final Sheaf

 

In many societies, the cutting of the final sheaf of grain was indeed cause for celebration. People celebrated by making corn dolls, which represented the spirit of the grain. Sometimes these dolls were full-sized, made of the last stalks of corn to be harvested, and decorated with ribbons, streamers and even articles of clothing. Ivy was a symbol of rebirth, and so it wasn’t uncommon to dress the corn doll with a headdress of ivy.

In some rural areas, the corn doll was kept in a place of honor at a farmhouse in the village, until it was time to make one the following year. At that time, the old one was ceremonially burned.

Elizabeth W. Barber writes of harvest customs in Russia and eastern Europe in The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance. Barber says, “The reapers carefully cut and bind the first sheaf and give it as an offering of “first fruits” to God or the gods… then the teams cut, bind, and store the remaining grain, until they approach the end of the last field. But this again requires care, for now the reapers feel they have driven the “spirit of the grain” into a corner, and if they anger her, there will be no harvest next year. What to do? All over Europe, from Russia and the Balkans to Ireland, the last sheaf has traditionally been made into some sort of corn dolly.”

The creation of corn dolls was just one of many customs surrounding the final sheaf of the grain harvest. In Ireland, the final sheaf was gathered with great ceremony, celebrating the living things that might be living within it. If you think about it, that makes sense — a cornfield is a perfect nesting place for small animals, such as rabbits, mice, birds, or frogs.

As the reapers harvested the crop, the animals within fled, until there was only one sheaf left. Since the animal was more often than not a small, very frightened hare, the phrase “putting the hare out of the corn” came to mean the end of the reaping.

In some parts of the British Isles, young maidens were invited to cut down the final sheaf. The one who was able to do so in a single stroke of the scythe was guaranteed to be married within the year — probably because she had just proved herself as an able and strong farmwife. In other areas, it was believed that the person to cut the final sheaf would have good luck for a year, but in some communities, it was a sign of ill fortune to come.

Courtney Weber says in her book Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess, “At Lughnasadh, [Brighid] produces the harvest… when sowing time comes again, the grain from the final sheaf was mixed with the new seed, to nurture the earth again, encouraging the next harvest, and ensuring a cycle of life and rebirth.”

An odd tradition in some areas was the use of the final sheaf to find the corpse of a drowning victim. The sheaf was placed in the water with a lit candle upon it, near where the person was believed to have fallen in.

The sheaf drifted, and it was believed that it would come to rest where the body was submerged. It was thought that only the final sheaf had the magical ability to find these lost souls.

Regardless of how it was used, the cutting of the final sheaf meant that the grain harvest was over. Now bread baking could begin, and food stored away for the coming winter months.

Author

Patti Wigington

Published on ThoughtCo

Make a Corn Husk Herb Sachet

Corn Husk Sachet

During the late summer, particularly around the Lammas season, corn is in abundance. It’s everywhere, and if you’ve ever picked fresh corn straight from the fields, you know how delicious it tastes! When you pick your own corn – or even if you buy it from your local farmer’s market – you typically have to figure out what to do with all those leftover husks. You can use them to make a corn dolly or a husk chain if you like. Another great way to use them is by making corn husk herb sachets.

You’ll need:

Several corn husks
Dried herbs of your choice
A hot glue gun
Not sure which herbs to use? Check out our list of Herbal Correspondences.

WEAVE THE HUSKS
Corn Husk Sachet

Trim the ends off the husks, and cut them into strips – I find that about 1/2” – 3/4” in width is the most manageable size. Weave several strips together as shown in the photo (I used five going in each direction, for a total of ten). Once you’ve created a square, use your hot glue gun to anchor the stray edges into place, so you have a nice even edge.

ADD YOUR HERBS
Corn Husk Sachet
Fill your pouch with dried herbs of your choice. Image by Patti Wigington 2012
Fold the square in half and glue the short sides together, creating a small pocket. Fill the pouch with herbs of your choice, and then hot glue the long open edge closed.

To give your sachet some magical mojo, select herbs based upon purpose and intent:

Healing: Apple blossom, lavender, fennel, chamomile, sandalwood, wintergreen, peppermint
Money/prosperity: Bay leaf, basil, chamomile, Buckeye, myrtle, apple, sunflower, pennyroyal
Love: Allspice, apple blossom, catnip, lavender, clove, yarrow, marjoram, basil.
Strength: Oak, acorns, bay leaf, thistle, yarrow.

Once your glue has dried you can place these sachets around your house or in your drawers. The corn husks will dry naturally, and you’ll be left with scented woven packets. If you like, decorate them with a pretty ribbon, some berries, or other seasonal items.

Author

Patti Wigington

Published on ThoughtCo

8 Facts To Know About Lughnasadh, Pagan Harvest Festival

The holiday honors Lugh, the Celtic god of light

 

In August many pagans and polytheists celebrate the summer festival of Lughnasadh. Here are eight things to know about the holiday:

1. Lughnasadh, also called Lammas, falls on August 1, roughly halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox.

2. The name of the holiday derives from Old Gaelic and is a combination of Lugh, a Celtic god, and násad, or assembly.

3. The holiday honors Lugh, the Celtic god of light, but it also celebrates his mythical foster mother Tailtiu, who is said to have cleared the lands of Ireland to make way for the planting of crops.

4. Modern pagans celebrate Lughnasadh as a harvest festival, when the first crops of the year would traditionally have been reaped.

5. Lughnasadh’s alternate name, Lammas, derives from the Old English term for “loaf mass.” It originated from early English celebrations of harvest time, during which loaves of bread were consecrated.

6. One of the earliest references to the holiday is a 15th century version of a medieval Irish legend, Tochmarc Emire. The saga suggests that the holiday celebrated the god, Lugh’s, wedding feast. Other legends, though, attribute the origins of the holiday to a mythical funeral rite Lugh held in honor of his mother, Tailtiu.

7. Many pagans and polytheists celebrate the holiday with feasting, songs, and games. Some honor the harvest roots of the holiday by baking breads and cakes.

8. Lughnasadh is one of eight pagan holidays, along with the fall equinox, Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, the spring equinox, Beltane, and Litha.

Source

Antonia Blumberg, Reporter
Published on HuffPost

Ways of Marking Lammas in the Modern world

 

Bake your own bread on Lughnassadh Eve, either with yeast or from a mix in the shape of a figure who can either represent the Grain\Corn Spirit or the Grain Mother. Add milk to the mix and as you stir the mix in turn with friends and family or alone, make wishes for abundance and the harvest you wish to reap during the coming months. Ask also if appropriate for suitable employment.

When your bread is cooked, eat or share it and name the transformations you seek in your life/the world. At dawn put out any remaining crumbs for the wild birds.

Bake extra bread or fruit pies to give to neighbours and colleagues who maybe live alone and may not cook for themselves often.

Cut down an area of weeds or overgrown grass in your garden or tidy up indoor plants. Alternatively spend a day on an organised project clearing local wilderness, to symbolically generate the energies to clear your way ahead in your life and relationships.

Light an orange candle every evening if possible for a week around the festival. Sprinkle a pinch of salt in the flame to let go of any injustice that cannot be put right but which needs to be released from your mind to set you free.

Then add a small pinch of dried sage to the flame and name a blessing however small or an unexpected kindness you have received in the previous few months. At the end of the week, make a practical gesture or spoken small blessing to someone who does not merit it

Alternatively if you feel you have been unjustly treated and cannot put matters right, knot dried grasses or pluck the petals of a dying flower, one for each injustice and cast them into running water or bury them, planting late flowering seeds or autumn flowers.

Use corn or dried grasses to create corn knots and corn mother figures (with featureless head, arms, body and legs) tied with red and blue threads. Hang them in the home through the winter to bring protection and burn them on the first Monday after Twelfth Night (January 6) or on next year’s Spring Equinox fires.

If you want to make a Corn spirit, make an abstract shape using ears of corn tied together. Burn him in your Lughnassadh festival bonfire and scatter some of the ashes in your garden or on indoor plants to bring abundance to the home during the winter ahead.

Arrange journeys to see friends and relations or write or telephone, making definite plans to meet, as this is a time when tribes would get together before the long winter. Try to take an impromptu weekend away to fill you with energy for the coming months,

Make a final effort to resolve an unfair official or neighbourhood dispute or a disagreement over an inheritance or property matter, if necessary by changing tactic or the person representing you.

If you are in love, make a commitment as this was the time when couples would pledge themselves for a year and a day. Alternatively if things are not working decide if you can make one last all out effort to salvage the relationship or if you want to use this cleansing time to move on at least in your own mind. Cast dying flowers into your festival bonfire and ask for renewal and afterwards pick any flowers growing or buy yourself a flowering plant to symbolise new love, maybe loving yourself for the first time.

Above all do not think of the first harvest as a step towards the waning of the light but look across the wheel to the southern hemisphere to the growth of the springtime and realise both are happening at the same time. Soon we will be rising up the wheel again and planting the next lots of seeds.

Author

Cassandra Eason, Author
Published on Her Website, Cassandra Eason

How To Hold a Lammas Harvest Ritual

In some Pagan traditions, Lammas is the time of year when the Goddess takes on the aspects of the Harvest Mother. The earth is fruitful and abundant, crops are bountiful, and livestock are fattening up for winter. However, the Harvest Mother knows that the cold months are coming, and so she encourages us to begin gathering up what we can. This is the season for harvesting corn and grain, so that we can bake bread to store and have seeds for next year’s planting.

This ritual celebrates the beginning of the harvest season and the cycle of rebirth, and can be done by a solitary practitioner or adapted for a group or coven setting. 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.

Have a candle on your altar to represent the Harvest Mother — choose something in orange, red or yellow. These colors not only represent the blaze of the summer sun, but also the coming changes of autumn. You’ll also need a few stalks of wheat and an un-sliced loaf of bread (homemade is best, but if you can’t manage, a store-bought loaf will do). A goblet of ritual wine is optional. Also, if you have celiac disease or are otherwise sensitive to gluten, be sure to read Celebrating Lammas When You Eat Gluten-Free.

If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now.

Light the candle, and say:

The Wheel of the Year has turned once more,
and the harvest will soon be upon us.
We have food on our tables, and
the soil is fertile.
Nature’s bounty, the gift of the earth,
gives us reasons to be thankful.
Mother of the Harvest, with your sickle and basket,
bless me with abundance and plenty.

Hold the stalks of wheat before you, and think about what they symbolize: the power of the earth, the coming winter, the necessity of planning ahead. What do you need help planning right now? Are there sacrifices you should be making in the present that will be reaped in the future?

Rub the stalks between your fingers so a few grains of wheat fall upon the altar. Scatter them on the ground as a gift to the earth. If you’re inside, leave them on the altar for now — you can always take them outside later. Say:

The power of the Harvest is within me.
As the seed falls to the earth and is reborn each year,
I too grow as the seasons change.
As the grain takes root in the fertile soil,
I too will find my roots and develop.
As the smallest seed blooms into a mighty stalk,
I too will bloom where I landed.
As the wheat is harvested and saved for winter,
I too will set aside that which I can use later.

Tear off a piece of the bread. If you’re performing this ritual as a group, pass the loaf around the circle so that each person present can take off a small chunk of bread. As each person passes the bread, they should say:

I pass to you this gift of the first harvest.

Everyone eats their bread together. If you have ritual wine, pass it around the circle for people to wash the bread down. Once everyone has finished their bread, take a moment to meditate on the cycle of rebirth and how it applies to your own life – physically, emotionally, spiritually. When you are ready, if you have cast a circle, close it or dismiss the quarters at this time. Otherwise, simply end the ritual in the manner of your tradition.

Author

by Patti Wigington

Published on ThoughtCo

Prayer to Lugh

Great Lugh!
Master of artisans,
leader of craftsmen,
patron of smiths,
I call upon you and honor you this day.
You of the many skills and talents,
I ask you to shine upon me and
bless me with your gifts.
Give me strength in skill,
make my hands and mind deft,
shine light upon my talents.
O mighty Lugh,
I thank you for your blessings.

So Mote It Be

Celebrating Legends, Folklore & Spirituality 365 Days a Year for August 1 – 2

Old Lammas Eve, Festival of Lights, St. Clair

In some areas of England, Old Lammas Eve is the date for fairs and “handfast marriages” —trial unions in which either party is free to end after a year without the social stigma of divorce. It was also around this time that the crop fields were thrown open for Winter grazing.

The ancient Egyptian festival in honor of the Goddess Isis and her search for Osiris is commemorated on this day by a Festival of Lights. With the advent of Christianity, this day became the feast of Saint Clair, patron of embroiderers.


Magickal Goody for the 1st Day of August, the day of Lammas

Lammas Charm for Gathering in Abundance

You will need:

A broom or beson

Ribbon (traditional Lammas colors, green(for abundance) or gold(for prosperity and gathering)

A Sprig of Mint

As far as the broom or beson goes, any broom/besom will do as it is always the intent of your actions that are important. If you don’t have a broom then collect a bundle of twigs and tie time at the top with your ribbon to make a hand shaped broom. The broom/besom is a potent symbo of hearth and home, found in some form in almost every home. It is a traditional magickal tool useful for everyday charms as it has the imprint of its owner firmly on it.

Next take your sprig of mint (ideally from your own garden, or dried mind – put in a pouch. The mint represents abundance and plenty and is easily accessible to obtain.

Take your broom and tie your ribbon around the top. Tie in your sprig of mint or securely fasten your pouch. Take your broom outside, place both hands on the stave and focus on your intention – gathering in the harvest for winter. Turn slowly three times in a clockwise direction then start to sweep towards your door saying:

“By one, two, three and four, sweep Lammas gifts to my door. May abundance be a constant friend by my hearth till Winter’s end.”

If you don’t have an outside space, you can sweep from your front door inwards to either you kitchen or hearth.

Repeat this three times, take your besom back into your house and put it in its usual place. You can leave the ribbon on for as long as you want to. If you have made your own broom you can place it where you consider the heart of your home to be. You can return the mint to the earth and be sure to say thank you for the use and gift of it.

The Coming Of Lammas

Hear the call of the rooster in the early morning haze, another day of heat and humidity. The corn silently ripens in the field as the crows gather to claim their share. The scent of fresh ripe tomatoes fills the air in the kitchen. The clean mason jars, brought from storage, washed and ready to receive the bounty of field and garden glisten in rays of the morning Sun that pierces the veil of mist.

In the cool of the cellar are the crockery jars, ready for the pickling of cucumbers and cabbages the bins have been cleaned to receive their full compliment of the first harvest of potatoes, onions, cabbages and carrots.

 

As July passes, we remember the flag, thirteen pentagrams in a circle, one for each English Colony that made up a young nation; or one for each lunar month in a year and now, of course, it could be one for each witch in a coven. The red and white stripes are like the streamers on a May Pole.

 

Americans, American witchcraft and American Wicca are totally unique, nothing quite like either has ever been seen before, even in this great, new land of ours. The American nation, founded for the purpose of religious freedom is the home of the greatest revival of ancient practices in the world. The Neo-Pagan religions are growing by leaps and bounds and as American Witches we have the best the two worlds, both old and new have to offer.

 

A very few are born into the tiny pockets of hereditary witchcraft that seem to be still scattered about the world, the rest of us, we the chosen children, must make our own new traditions, claiming as our own, gathering bits and pieces from around the world. Who is brave enough to deny us this right, remembering the God and Goddess themselves have called us to the fold and made us their own?

 

We are a people, we are the children of the Gods, they have made it so. Our task is to reclaim the good, the useful, the ancient ways from the wreckage of the past.

 

Lammas or first harvest is a bountiful and wondrously full time of year, what traditions are each of you celebrating during this time?

 

If you have a tradition that is too secret to share, keep it to yourself, this is an echo for caring and sharing. Those of us who are the Goddess’s chosen children, those of us who answered the call of Herne the Hunter in whatever form, here we can learn and develop our own new and uniquely American Traditions based upon the Ancient Ways; with a flavoring of the new for sauce….

 

Celebrating the first harvest with American Corn Dollys, pumpkin pie and jack-o-lanterns, bobbing for Washington apples, hard and soft cider, homemade bread, hand shucked popcorn, ice-cream, made at home like our grandmother’s did….

 

Rites and rituals, burning of last winter’s candles….

 

Ritually washing with handmade soap made from the finest tallow…

 

Cologne and rosewater, made from the bounty of our gardens or from the corner farmers market…

 

Reclaiming the ancient ways… in our hearts and minds, in our homes, in our  rituals, looking to the Gods themselves for guidance…

Continue to Part 2 of the WOTC’s Lamma Digest for August 1

Part 2 contains: Daily Horoscopes, Weekly Love Horoscopes, Get a Jump on Tomorrow, Tarot Cards of the Day, Daily Runes & Much more Divination

 

 

For all your magickal needs, think Magickal Necessities….

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