Lughnasadh Recipes

Brigid’s Blackberry Pie
4 cups of fresh blackberries (thawed frozen berries are ok)
11/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a deep pie dish with the pie crust or purchase a commercially-made one. Set aside. Mix all other ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. If it appears too “wet,” mix in a little more flour (about 2 tablespoons). Turn the fruit into the pie shell and dot with butter or margarine. You can bake the pie as is, or cover it with another pie crust. Then score the top several times with a sharp knife. Bake for 1 hour, or until the top crust is a golden brown. Taken from Edain McCoy’s book “The Sabbats- A New Approach to Living the Old Ways”

Lentencake
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons molasses
1 cup milk
4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt butter, add molasses and milk, and cool. Sift together flour, sugar, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir raisins and mix well. Pour into buttered pan, 13X9X2, baking for 30 minutes.

Perfect Corn Bread
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup yellow corn meal
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening
Sift flour with sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir in cornmeal. Add eggs, milk, and shortening. Beat with rotary or electric beater till just smooth. (Do not overbeat.) Pour into greased 9x9x2 inch pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Corn Sticks: Spoon batter into greased corn-stick pans, filling 2/3 full. Bake in hot oven (425) 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 18.

Cawl Cynhaeaf – Harvest Broth
2 1/2lbs. Welsh neck of lamb (or 2 1/2lbs of cubed lamb)
1/2lb peas
1/2lb broad beans
1 medium carrot
1 onion
1 small turnip
1 small cauliflower
5 sprigs of parsley
1 qt. water
salt and pepper

Remove as much fat as possible from the meat. Place the meat in a large saucepan and cover with the water.Bring to the boil and skim any fat from the surface of the liquid. Shell the peas and beans. Peel and dice the carrot, onion and turnip. Add the vegetables, except the cauliflower, to the meat. Season. Cover the saucepan and simmer slowly for 3 hours. 30 minutes before serving the broth, cut the cauliflower into sprigs and add to the saucepan. Serve hot decorated with sprigs of parsley. From: Country Cookery – Recipes from Wales by Sian Llewellyn.

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Lughnasadh Chants, songs and poems

Lammas Harvest
(Lyrics by Arnon Clark / Music The Mingaulay Boat Song -trad.)
(written at Kaleidoscope Fest, Lammas 98)

Chorus – Now is Lammas, Summer Harvest
Bind the sheaves tight and carry the grain home.
Feed the children, all the family
Food and plenty throughout the fall.

Call it Lammas, Lugh or Lughnasadh, but gather closely the first fruits of harvest.
We’ve no fear now, of want or famine, by the love of the God and Goddess.

As the long days all grow shorter, and the Horned One, He wanes and weakens,
We have plenty, and good eating, through His dying to live again.

-Chorus

As the sun sets, so the moon will rise. Praise the Lady and light the fire.
From Her body, and His sacrifice, comes our harvest and our lives.

Join your voices, spirits and your hearts. Bring your love now, and join together.
For the harvest it is gathered, and the time for the dance is come.

-Chorus (repeat)

(alternately, the chorus may be inserted between each stanza, rather than every second one)

Lughnasadh
Rev. Raven Spirit 2002

Waning days
Waving grain
The summer months begin to fade
The horned one walks to the shades
Day of first fruits
You reap what you sow
Is your grain all bland
Or with flavor, you know
Nines months we have nurtured
And cared for our goals
Now we are birthing
Like mother and foal
The seeds we have planted
Watered and helped grow
We now begin harvesting
The seeds we have sown
But the growing is not over
More cycles to pass
So weed your fields
Err it be your ass
Tis a time of great merriment
Games to be played
To honored the ancients
And the wisdom they say
Hail to Fair Tailltiu
For whom the games are named
That tests the skill and knowledge of both me and you

Lughnasadh
Fields of listening, whispering corn
Ripen in the heavy air
Lugh the Golden dancing forth,
Leaves and sheaves in his wild hair.

In perfect circles bow the stalks,
Mark the path where great Lugh walks,
Mark days and seasons, round they go,
As above, so below.

Grainne and Diarmuid meet
Clasping in the heady air,
Loving in the dolmen’s shadow,
Lost deep in her corn-sweet hair.

And his Moon follows her Sun,
Marks the way where she has gone,
Marks how love and life must be,
Each follows his own destiny.

Misty sun and steaming rain
Upon the pregnant, swelling earth.
Drying trees and tiring fields
Await the mystery of birth.

Now, in her ecstatic sleep
Mark she opens, dark and deep.
Mark, the Neolithic tomb
Pulses, like a throbbing womb.

Poppies scarlet on the gold,
Slashing, gory, gaudy red.
Colour brash and petals frail,
Bright life cut down, blown away, dead.

Now he lies down on the fields.
Mark, his life he freely yields
Mark the blood upon the corn
All that dies shall be reborn
All that dies shall be reborn

Lughnasadh Ritual

In our modern world it is easy to forget how important a successful harvest was to our ancestors. They had cause for celebration: A good harvest meant survival in the dark, cold months ahead. A poor or bad harvest signaled the beginning of difficult times. Even though we can nip out to the supermarket whenever we need something, this is a good time to give thought to where our food originates and reverence for the cycles that produce it. Better still, tending a garden keeps us in touch with the Goddess and her bounty. Even if your garden consists only of tomatoes or herbs grown in pots on a balcony, these taste all the sweeter for having been nurtured by your own hands.

Tonight’s circle is created to give thanks for what the Lord and Lady provide. The late summer harvest is a time of transformation; a time to take stock of how the year has unfolded thus far, what you have done, and what you are ready to reap. The fruits of the seeds planted in the spring (physical and spiritual) are ready to be gathered in.

Setup
Items needed for this ritual include: Six pieces of fruit, vegetables or a combination placed in a basket near the altar; Chalice; A wand or athame can be used to cast the circle; Honey mead or other honeyed drink such as chamomile tea; Cornbread on a plate; A small cup filled with grapes.

The Ritual
With your athame or wand, walk the perimeter of your circle saying:
A circle is a symbol of completeness and continuity. It is the Wheel of the Year; the cycle of life. Now is high summer. The days are hot and the nights sultry. The first harvest is taken in and I rejoice in the bounty that is provided.

When you arrive back where you started, say:
With this circle sacred space has been created where the realms touch.

Take a piece of fruit or vegetable from the basket. Before speaking, walk to the edge of the circle and raise it in both hands. For the Lord and Lady, make evocations standing in front of the altar. After speaking, place the fruit/vegetable on the altar.

Come ye spirits of North, powers of Earth, bring the beauty of ripe, golden fields. Be with me this night.

Come ye spirits of East, powers of Air, bring the cool morning breeze. Be with me this night.

Come ye spirits of South, powers of Fire, bring the hot, sultry summer afternoons. Be with me this night.

Come ye spirits of West, powers of Water, bring the warm rains that nourish the fields. Be with me this night.

Lord Lugh, Lord of the Harvest, the bounty of your seed ripens in the fields and orchards. Be with me this night.

Lady Gaia, Mother of All, your great swollen belly provides abundance. Nourish me, protect me. Be with me this night.

At the altar, take up the chalice and the athame. Slowly lower the athame into the raised chalice to symbolize the Great Rite, saying:
This is Lughnasadh, the time of Lugh. This is the time of the first harvest. I celebrate the bounty of Gaia and Lugh.

Fill the chalice with honey mead. Before taking a bite of cornbread and a sip of mead say, respectively:
I share the bounty of the Lord. I share the bounty of the Lady.

Think of what began earlier in the year, has grown, and is ready to come to fruition in your life. Take the cup of grapes and hold it between your hands. Think of what you want to reap in this time of harvest. When you have it firmly in your mind, eat one of the grapes, and then place one on the altar as an offering. After you have done that, you may want to move about your circle and voice what you wish for others. If you know someone is having difficulty, wish that it is resolved. You may also want to send loving energy to the earth and out into the world.

To add energy to your wishes, drum, dance and chant:
With my circle I send a gift to you,
May the Goddess grant your wishes true.

When the energy has reached its peak slow the chanting, bring it to a halt, and then say:
May my wishes and intentions be carried above and below.

Use your usual method for grounding and centering or playback a tape of the one in the group ritual.

Face each direction respectively from that point in your circle. Stand in front of the altar for the Lord and Lady.

Lady Gaia, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.

Lord Lugh, Lord of the Harvest, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.

Spirits of West, powers of Water, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.

Spirits of South, powers of Fire, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.

Spirits of East, powers of Air, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.

Spirits of North, powers of Earth, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.

As all good things must sometimes end,
Go forth with the love the Goddess sends.
For if your heart is always true,
This circle will come back to you.

Lughnasadh Activities & Ideas

  • If you have a spring or well in your area, bless it and decorate it with flowers
  • Harvest the first crops of your garden and dedicate them to the Gods. If you don’t have a garden, take a trip to a farmer’s market or grocery store and purchase some fruit and vegetables.
  • Bake some bread
  • Float flowers at a local creek or pond
  • Take a nature walk and collect goodies for your altar
  • Sacrifice bad habits and unwanted things from your life by throwing symbols of them into the Sabbat fire.
  • Hold your own “Tailltean Games” (the Irish contests in honor of Lugh or His foster-mother Tailte), by competing in athletic games, poetry reading, and any other contest that would be fun.
  • Baking and sharing a special “Lammas-loaf” with family and coveners using whatever grains are native to your area.
  • Make a god-figure which is whole ears of corn wired together with sticks, and covered with gold foil. During the ritual this sun god image is cast into the fire – later to emerge transformed into the corn god. Eat Him along with other ears of corn which have been roasting around the fire’s edge and, of course, other potluck goodies. Thus the power of the sunlight is transformed into the harvest which sustains us and we give thanks for His willing sacrifice by feasting on corn and wine.
  • Do Magic to help you finish long-standing projects by the fall.
  • Ritually sacrifice negative emotions, outworn habits, etc. by “transferring” them into a small bread “person” you have baked, and then throwing it, either whole or in pieces, into the ritual fire.
  • Bless your garden, where Lugh’s vitality has transformed into the sustenance of ripe vegetables, fruits, and grains.
  • Take time to actually harvest fruits from your garden with your family. If you don’t have a garden, visit one of the pick-your-own farms in your area.
  • Include bilberries or blueberries in your feast; these were a traditional fruit, whose abundance was seen as an indicator of the harvest to come.
  • Gather the tools of your trade and bless them in order to bring a richer harvest next year.
  • Share your harvest with others who are less fortunate.
  • Decorate with sickles, scythes, fresh vegetables & fruits, grains, berries, corn dollies, bread..
  • Save and plant the seeds from the fruits consumed during the feast or ritual. If they sprout, grow the plant or tree with love and as a symbol of your connection with the Lord and Lady.
  • Walk through the fields and orchards or spend time along springs, creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes reflecting on the bounty and love of the Lord and Lady
  • Play a game such as rhibo (a Welsh game) which is traditionally played at Lammas. Three pairs to people face each other and hold hands. A person is then laid across the hands and tossed into the air much like how grain is winnowed. For little ones use a blanet with two adults holding the corners. Be sure to be careful not to “toss” anyone too high!!!

Lughnasadh Correspondences

Activities and Rituals: bread being eaten and thrown into the fire, grains woven into god/dess symbols, onion braiding and works for harvesting of goals and ideas, bringing to bear concepts and ideas, meditation on the sun God, games, activities of all sorts, the time of reaping what one has sown

Incense: Aloes, Rose, Sandalwood, frankincense

Tools: Athame

Stones/Gems: Carnelian, Citrine, Amber, Tourmaline

Colors: red, orange, gold, yellow, brown, bronze

Symbols & Decorations: threshing tools, corn dollies, flowers, wheat stalks, the scythe, yellow candles, corn, sheaves of grain

Foods: All grains, Breads, cheeses, Cider, fruits, vegetables, herbs, Pies, corn, early apples, Berries, jellies, Herbal “sun”teas

Deities: Lugh, the Sun God, Sovereignty, Rhiannon and Epona, Tailte, Tammuz, Demeter, Persephone, Cerridwen, Faunus, Baal and Crom Dubh

Herbs and Flowers: Heather, hollyhock

Lughnasadh History

This is the history that I am using for my personal Lughnasadh ritual!

Lughnasadh is the beginning of the grain harvest, and the harvest season in general. The importance of grain to life is depicted in almost every pantheon on Earth. The preparation of the grain is symbolic of the life cycle. The growth, havest, and sown seed directly mirrors the life, death and rebirth of all life. The day of the festival was originally on the first day of harvest, even if it varied from year to year. Alternately, when the sun reaches 15 degrees Leo, usually around August 5th, Old Lammas was celebrated. The most common name is Lammas, meaning “loaf-mass,” taken from Anglo-Saxon dialects, while Lughnasadh means “The funeral games of Lugh,” referring to the games he hosted in honor of His foster-mother Tailltiu.

At Lughnasadh, the Wheel of the Year begins to shift from growing time to harvest time.  The subtle changes of the waning sun that occurred at Summer Solstice becomes more evident as the balance of day and night seem to shift more dramatically. The slight seasonal changes in weather, and the declining arc of the sun, the southern movement of it rising and setting are other indicators of this shift. “After Lammas, corn ripens as much by night as by day.”

Although temperatures can still be high, the mood and sensation of the year most decidedly changes. We enter the harvest time. It is the point in time when the first grains are collected and ritualistically sacrificed to ensure the continuance of the cycle of life both physically and spiritually.

In times past, fertility magic at Lughnasadh guaranteed the continued ripening of crops and bountiful harvest season. Festivities typically centered on the assurance of a plentiful harvest season and the celebration of the beginning of the harvest cycle. A bountiful harvest insured the safe passage of the tribe through the upcoming winter months. The gathering of bilberries is an ancient ritual symbolizing the success of the Lughnasadh rituals. If the bilberries were bountiful the crops would be also.

Lughnasadh celebration is associated with John Barleycorn, an anthropomorphized image of the barley grain that goes into making malt beverages that heeds us to the larger life mysteries that play out each year on the stage of the agricultural cycle from which we spin our Wheel of the Year. Although the life mysteries are deep and contemplative, John Barleycorn also reminds us that levity, joy and festivity are as much a part of the Wheel and our lives as Death and Rebirth. It is what makes life worth living and allows us to touch the Joy that is creation.

Lughnasadh is a time of personal reflection and harvest, of our actions and deeds, events and experiences, our gains and losses. A time when we begin the cycle of reflection of that which is our life. A period for personal fertility magic to ensure the bountiful harvest of life’s gifts and experiences, that which we have reaped though trial, tribulation, enjoyment, joy, love and loss. As my Elder once said to me, “We can not know what we have not experienced.” Such is the truth of life; we become not by chance but by experience. Each experience opens a window into ourselves, into who we were, who we are, and whom we are choosing to become.

The festival of Lughnasadh is named in honor of Lugh, by his Irish name. He is also know as and associated with: Lug (Continental), Llew, Lugos (Gallic), Lleu Llaw Gyffes (“The Lion of the Sure/Long Hand” Welsh), Ild‡nach and Lugh Lamfada (“Lugh of the Long Arm/Hand”). He is also associated with the Roman God Mercury, there are many names through many cultures. Lugh is “The God of Light”, “God of All Skills”, the “Bright or Shining One”; He is associated with both the Sun and agricultural fertility.

The name of Lugh is derived from the old Celtic word “lugio”, meaning “an oath”. A traditional part of the celebrations surrounding Lughnasadh have been the formation of oaths. From before recorded history into the twentieth century marriages, employment contracts and other bargains of a mundane nature were formed and renewed at this time of year. Since the agricultural year had its culmination in the harvest and the harvest festivals, oaths and contracts that had to wait until after the corps were in could be focused on at this time. Marriages, hiring for the upcoming season and financial arrangements were often a part of the Lughnasadh activities and in many areas fairs were held specifically for the purpose of hiring or matchmaking.

Stories of his conception, birth, naming, exploits, victories and descendents fill pages of Celtic myth. Lugh is indeed a tremendous personality with considerable influence in Celtic lore. Through lore and myth we can journey aside Lugh, delving deeper to his life and journeys and our own.

The origins of the games of Lughnasadh, often referred to as: the Assembly of Lugh; Games of Lug; Games of Sovereignty, are, however, more closely associated with Lugh’s foster-mother/nurse, Tailtiu.

Tailtiu is said to be daughter of the King of Spain, wife of Eochaid of the Tuatha de Danaan and is recognized as a Celtic Earth Goddess. She cleared the field at Coill Chuan in Ireland for agricultural use and died from the intensity of this labor. The area carries her name in memory; Teltown Kells, Co. Meath. The games of Lughnasadh were originally played in honor of Tailtiu, these games begun by Lugh and played by the kings who followed, as funerary tribute to his foster mother.

Lughnasadh is more popularly referred to as Lammas in many areas of the British Isles. Lammas comes from the Middle English Lammasse, and from Old English hlfm3⁄4sse : hlf, loaf + m3⁄4sse. This illustrates the incorporation of Lughnasadh by the Church into its seasonal calendar, as many other Old Celtic and agricultural holidays were. The harvest of the early grain was baked into loaves and offered at mass. It also became a feast that the Church celebrated in commemoration of Saint Peter’s deliverance from prison.

At Lughnasadh many grains, seeds, herbs and fruits can be harvested and dried for later use through the remaining year. Corn is one of the vital crops harvested at this time. Corn dollies are fashioned in the shape of Goddess and God. In some areas the sacrifice of the corn king (corn dolly) is performed. Death and rebirth are a vital part of the cycle Lugh journeys in his mating with the Earth Goddess, during the waning year.

The Goddess oversees the festival in her Triple guise as Macha. She presides in her warrior aspect, the crow that sits on the battlefields awaiting the dead. She is the Crone, Maiden and Mother, Anu, Banbha, and Macha; she conveys the dead into the realm of the deceased. For Lughnasadh, is a festival of not only life and bounty, but of harvest and death, the complete cycle of life.

In myth, Macha is forced, while heavy with child, to race against the King of Ulster’s horses. She wins the race and gives birth to twins, and cursed the men of Ulster with the pains of labor when they most need their strength. She becomes the Queen of Ulster through battle for seven years. Her fortress in Ulster is known as the Emain Macha and its otherworldly form known as Emania, the moon Goddess’ realm of death.

Without successes and a thriving personal harvest we will not have the fundamentals we need to continue our work on all levels. Our path is one of service, as a religious rite, as an active devotion to the Goddess & God, from which we receive as well as give. Our actions and deeds are the magic by which we cast the circle of our lives ö we give and we receive, which allows us to give again. This is the cycle of the Sacred Life, which we celebrate and honor at Lughnasadh. We dance and contemplate, reap and distribute, rejoice and reflect upon on this the first harvest in the Wheel of the Year.

We, as members of the Universe and children of the Mother, trust in sharing in the benevolence of Her Love. For ours is the Mother, who nurtures and loves Her children, sharing her bounty and joy. Prosperity is not amassing and hoarding a great profusion of assets. Prosperity is having more than what is essential and never having less than we need. We, through the celebration of the Wheel, understand the abundance and magnanimity of the Universe and celebrate, recognize, and honor this


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