The Sabbat of Lammas
Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-nus-ah-duh) means the commemoration of Lugh. He was a fire and light god of the Apollo-Hercules type. His name may be from the same root as the Latin "Lux", meaning light "which also gives us Lucifer, the light bringer.
In Irish legends, the god undergoes death and rebirth in the sacrificial meeting with the goddess. He was associated in Anglo-Saxon tradition with corn harvest and the killing of the Corn King. In this manner did the pagans of long ago celebrate the first harvest of corn.
In keeping with a pagan idea of balance, in a parallel to the "Greenwood marriage" is the "Charlestown marriage". These marriages were trial marriages that could be dissolved after a year and a day by the couple simply returning to the high priestess who had handfasted them and informing her of their decision.
THE ALTAR AND circle
1. Decorate the altar with sheets of wheat, barley or notes, fresh fruits, a little breads fashioned in the figure of the Sun God, and corn dollies.
2. Foods-bread in the shape of the god figure, any edible berries, acorns leached of their poisons, crabapples, all grains, and locally grown produce. Bake a cake. This is a time of abundance, so a trip to a farmers market will give you great ideas. Besides what are you going to do with all the zucchini anyway? Save some zucchini casserole and bread for this winter when it will really be appreciated. The same goes for those baskets full tomatoes. Your chili this winter will be all the better for it.
3. Drinks-cider, very drinks, and berry wines. My coven is particularly fond of Boone's Farm berry wines. Who said you had to have a palette to be a pagan anyway?
4. Altar cloth and candles-fire colors such as red, yellow, or orange to symbolize the sun. It is recommended that the altar cloth be decorated with sun symbols and grain. Any decorations that remind the coven this is the grain harvest are appropriate. I personally have an altar cloth I intend to stencil with wheat sheaves, but any good fabric store will be loaded with great fabric covered in fruit, herbs, suns, or wheat.
- Remember the warmth and bounty of summer in the food we eat. Each meal is an active attunement with nature. Add some of the fruit on the altar, while thinking the god for the sacrifice under the sickle.
- Plant proceeds from the fruit consumed in the ritual.
- Wheat weaving, or making corn dollies.
- Visit fields, orchards, lakes, and wells during the season.
- Bake a ritual loaf of bread in the shape of the god. I personally suggest wheat bread if possible. It is recommended that has begun to day of Lammas but not during circle.
- Make onion and garlic braids out of the onions and garlic that sprouted. Once the braids are made, consecrate them as protections for the house especially the kitchen and then hang them in the kitchen. Never again use them for food. They now contain all the negativity absorbed from your household. Replace them with a new braid at Lammas, or as necessary. Bury them in your garden or a pot for garlic or onions, returning them to the earth to be cleansed and renewed.
- To chanting, pickling, and preserving. Share ideas and recipes. There is much harvesting to be done at this time of year. There is a farmers market and by a large amount of some vegetable to preserve, then have a whole circle get-together to do it. (Pickling is smelly, but everyone gets a jar or two to enjoy during the winter. Any jam, jelly or preserve works.) Since the cost of the whole operation he shared by the whole circle, the cost is minimal. Save for the initial cost of preserving equipment. Take donations for the big preserving stockpot and box of jars. Let it be said pot is now owned by the circle, and the jars after use must be returned to the circle for use again next year. This way you build up a stock of jars for the future.
- Fruits and vegetables are easy to preserve. Fruits need only to be washed and hulled if necessary and stored in a plastic freezer bag with lots of sugar. You can also make fruit syrups by simply making a simple syrup of sugar and water at the fruit and bring to a boil. Most vegetables can be blanched or partially cooked and ladled into plastic freezer bags when cooled. It really is that easy.
- Make vinegars out of the herbs from everyone's gardens and kitchens. Everyone brings a gallon or less of vinegar. Some bring white, some brings cider, and some bring wine vinegar. Some bring Oriental rice wine vinegars, etc. Make vinegars for all to take home in saved jars. Suggest to the circle that during the coming year, they collect pretty bottles to put their vinegars in for display. Have the circle contribute toward corks for the bottles. Buy the corks ahead of time. Corks can be ordered from beer and winemaking shops.
- This is the time of year that marks the beginning of the craft festivals and county fairs. Talk to the circle about going as a group or as individuals to these and celebrate creation and harvest.
- Another way of preserving the fruits of the season is to sugar roses and violet petals. Dip the individual petals in egg, then coat with sugar. Let dry thoroughly being stored in a pretty jar or even plastic storage containers or bags. These will make lovely additions to a cake or ice cream as edible decorations.
- The time of year that marks the end of summer. The time of first harvest, when plants of spring began to whither and drop fruit or seeds for use.
- The sun God begins to also whither and die. Note that he begins to retreat farther south each day and the night grow longer.