Lammas, or Lughnasad, is the Pagan Sabbat that is traditionally celebrated on August 1st or the eve of August. It is the official mark of being halfway between summer and autumn. We’re starting to see the nights get a little shorter in terms of daylight left, and though it may seem early in our minds, we’re actually getting ready for the first of the three harvest celebrations in Pagan traditions (the first of which is Lammas).
Lammas is all about hope, gratitude, blessings, sacrifice, abundance, reflection, sacrifice, and the beginning of the harvest. We are also looking at the beginning of life and death. There is a lot of magickal work done right now around prosperity for the future harvests, honoring what we already have and our own personal transformations. It’s a time to grow strong as we learn more about ourselves.
The word “lammas” actually means “loaf mass”, and that’s why there is so much association with grains, breads, etc. with this particular harvest. This Sabbat also falls in the middle of Leo Season, which is very spot on because it harnesses a lot of Leo energy, including all the focus on the sun and the sun god, Lugh. (Check out 25 Ways To Celebrate Leo Season.)
So how can we honor this occasion today? I’ve got ten ideas for you, and they’re all super doable.
10 Ways To Celebrate Lammas
1. Create/redo your altar. A perfect way to set the mood for Litha is to create an altar as a sacred space. Supplies/materials to consider using for your Lammas altar include: grains, loaves of bread, honey, ears of corn, corn kernels (in a jar), grapes, onion garlands, squashes, root vegetables, Cornflowers, Poppies, Sunflowers, straw braids, corn dolls, herbs in bundles, smudge sticks, mortar and pestle, roosters, lions, sun wheel, green and gold ribbons, imagery of the god of Lugh, crystals like Aventurine, Citrine, Peridot, Moss Agate, and Carnelian, and as far as colors, stick to yellow, orange, red/burgundy, brown, and greens.
2. Collect berries. Traditionally, people would observe Lammas by collecting wild berries and using them in many ways. You can make preserves, a pie, a jam, muffins, vinegar, sauces, or eat them on their own. Make sure you are very careful about picking wild berries because obviously some are poisonous. You can always get some from a local Farmer’s Market or grocer!
3. Go to a county fair. There are all types of festivals and fairs that you can attend this time of year. It’s a great way to connect with people, be outdoors, and celebrate lots of different things. You can see parades, play games, win prizes, go on rides, see animals, eat food, dance, and more. You can even look up specific Pagan festivals in your area!
4. Make a corn doll. A corn doll is a traditional Lammas craft. They were originally made from the last parts of the corn sheaves and called “kirn babies” in Scotland and northern England as far back as the 1500’s. The idea is that the corn doll is a good luck/magickal charm to bring prosperity to people, livestock, and land. (Corn Doll Tutorial)
5. Bake bread. This is no easy task, and everything I’ve seen about it doesn’t seem simple, but eating handmade bread is such a delight. And if you are gluten-free or vegan, this is an opportunity to make bread the way you want/need to eat it, and share it with loved ones. Literally break bread with those you love!
6. Make berry crafts. Instead of just eating the berries you collect, you can also use them for DIY projects! For example, you can use berries to make special inks that you can write with in your spell book or journal, or you can use them as dye to decorate ornaments replicating the sun (sunbursts).
7. Collect wild herbs. Another tradition is to gather wild herbs. You can also visit a metaphysical or apothecary store to learn more about herbs if you’re wary about collecting them from the wild (you should always know what you’re putting in your body). Every herb has different properties that can be used for physical and/or mental healing! You might put them in your recipes, make an elixir, put it in a bag to seep into your ritual bath. There’s a lot of options.
8. Do an act of service. Sacrifice is a big theme of Lammas, and so is counting your blessings. How can you give back to someone or your community right now? Can you host a dinner and feed people you love? Can you host an event, start a community project, or help the environment? Can you run an errand, take a task off someone else’s place, or donate your time? Can you reach out to someone who might be feeling lonely right now or going through a tough or transitional period?
9. Celebrate the sun. Research the sun god, Lugh and embrace all things related to the sun and Leo Season.
10. Create a Lammas Ritual. Lastly, the best thing you can do for yourself is to just create a ritual that feels the best to you! There are tons of other things you can do to celebrate Lammas that I haven’t mentioned, and maybe you want to incorporate those into your own personalized ritual. For example, hosting a Lammas party on July 31st or August 1st, visiting a sacred well, visiting a cemetery to honor your ancestors, offering something to your ancestors and/or Lugh on your altar, climbing a hill, hosting a potluck, meditating on reaping and sowing, starting a gratitude journal, decorating your house, getting a Tarot reading, educating people on the origins of Lammas, doing Lammas-themed crafts, looking up any of the gods or goddesses associated with this Sabbat (like Lugh, Osiris, Tailtiu, and Isis), take a ritual bath with purifying minerals and herbs, connecting to nature, say a Lammas blessing/prayer, etc, wearing yellow, orange, red, brown, and green. Do what feels right to you.
I made you a downloadable cheat sheet with the colors, crystals, apothecary, foods, activities, and altar supplies for your ease. Download it for free below!
Photo: Maura Housley