Wordsmithing Magic from the Crossroads

May You Never Hunger. Blessed Lughnasadh!

Wheat grain scythe seeds and bread on wooden table

The Song of Lughnasadh
I am the sovereign splendor of creation,
I am the fountain in the courts of bliss,
I am the bright surrender of the willpower,
I am the watchful guardian and the kiss.

I am the many-colored landscape,
I am the transmigration of the geese,
I am the burnished glory of the breastplate,
I am the harbor where all strivings cease.
Caitlín Matthews, The Celtic Devotional: Daily Prayers and Blessings

Now the Wheel of the Year has turned once more, and the season of planting and growing gives way to the first harvest, and the first taste of Fall.

Blessings on this Lughnasadh! Sometimes spelled with two S’s, and pronounced “LOO-nahs-ah” or “Loo-NAH-sah,” this is an Irish Gaelic word. It is also known by the Anglo-Saxon, Christianized name of “Lammas.

Lughnasadh is one of the Cross-Quarter Sabbats (the Quarters refer to the Equinoxes and Solstices). Since ancient times, across the northern European traditions, it has been a merry celebration of the First Harvest, featuring dancing, music, matchmaking, and country fair festivities.

Although some of the hottest days of Summer may still be on the way, here in the Northern Hemisphere, we can already notice the diminishing hours of daylight, and feel the shifting towards Autumn.

At this time, our friends in the lands of the Southern Hemisphere are celebrating Imbolc, when Winter’s grip begins to noticeably slip. May you be blessed by dearest Brigid this day!

For all of us, the Equinox is now only six weeks away. After that, in the northern half of the world, night’s hours overtake the daylight for six months.

First Harvest

In agricultural traditions throughout the Northern Hemisphere, this marks the start of the harvest cycle, when grains and corn are the first to ripen. This is a day of thanksgiving for these early crops of ripening cereal crops, as well as the fruits and vegetables that are now filling our pantries.Germany - CIRCA 1920s: Edwardian era farmers working on grain harvest using the mechanical reaper or reaping machine. Shocks of grain in a field. Archive vintage black and white photography

Although in some places, this time also begins the hunting season, Lughnasadh is primarily a grain harvest, one in which corn, wheat, barley, and other grain products such as bread are prominently featured.

At this time, many Witches give special devotion to the Harvest Gods and Goddesses, as well as observe the sacrificial Dying and Resurrection motif, by preparing magical loaves of bread.

Of course, the grain harvest does not transform into bread only, but is used to make spirits. The old British folk song, John Barleycorn Must Die, which dates back at least to the 15th century, is a witty reference to this theme.

Other activities include making corn dollies, courtship, and dancing around the bonfire.

Lugh and Taltiu

In her beautiful book of daily devotions, The Celtic Spirit, Caitlín Matthews writes, “This feast is often understood to be a celebration of the Irish God Lugh, but this is not the case.Spirit of Lammas, a woman with a her hands overflowing with fruit representing Lughnasadh.

“The festival is celebrated primarily in honor of Lugh’s foster-mother, Taltiu (TAWL’too), who single-handedly cleared the plains of Ireland of trees in order that agriculture and the grazing of cattle might take place. This necessary work is remembered and honored in the myth of Taltiu.

So the meaning of Lughnasadh is not so much to celebrate Lugh, although naturally any honor given to this Shining God of the Many Gifts is always appropriate. Instead, it is to celebrate the promise of Lugh – the vow He gave to His mother.

The games He established were held at Telltown (named for Taltiu) in County Meath for many centuries. Though discontinued after medieval times (except for a brief 20th century revival), the traditional celebration spread throughout Ireland and other parts of northern Europe as harvest fairs, with people gathering for bonfires, dances, harvest suppers, games, and food contests.

Giving Thanks and Paying It Forward

As you celebrate today, what vows may you feel called to make, on behalf of those you love?

In the same way that the grain now harvested from the fields contains the seed for next Spring’s planting, you are the result of your forebears’ seeds of desires and dreams. What promises are you obliged to keep, especially to the Ancestors?

You might take this day to consider what seeds of wisdom, hope, and love you may be called to protect and pass on to those who come after you.

As I have written many times, the practice of gratitude is a life-transforming activity that is actually documented to have profound medical benefits. This could be a splendid time to begin keeping a gratitude journal, and then watch how blessings pour into your life in amazing ways.

Maybe most of all, as we feast and give thanks for our bountiful table, let us consider what promise and fidelity we might give to the sacred land itself, that makes possible our very lives.

For Goddess knows, our fierce, loving allegiance to our Mother Earth is needed now more than ever before.

On this most ancient festival of fire and feast, may you never hunger. May you never thirst.
Blessed be.

Lughnasadh corn doll, candles, wheat ears, bread, apples, sunflowers.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Beth August 1, 2023, 11:53 am

🌾💚🌾 And to you, dear Rose!

Dianna Warren August 1, 2023, 10:21 am

Bless you Beth, may you or yours ever hunger!
I really struggle with Summer, in a seasonal affected Bess way, so I love that we are nearing the close of those blistering days and I am one who welcomes the return of the long nights, so that’s me! I have some seed pods from the beautiful desert willow tree that I hope to plant today and keep in a pot til Spring.
Thank You Beth!♥️

Dianna Warren August 1, 2023, 10:22 am

That was Never Hunger!!! Sorry for the misspelling!!!

Beth August 1, 2023, 12:12 pm

LOL! I totally understand. ☺️

Beth August 1, 2023, 11:56 am

While I confess that I love Summer, my husband John HATES the heat and humidity (and I have learned to love Winter, thanks to him).

So I definitely understand.. It is, indeed, oppressive sometimes.. so here’s to cooler days and longer nights on the horizon! 🥂

Wolf August 1, 2023, 10:25 am

Thou art Goddess.

Beth August 1, 2023, 11:57 am

Thou art God. 🙏🏻💚🙏🏻

Samantha Gray August 1, 2023, 10:40 am

Good Lammas, Blessed Lughnasadh! I am grateful for all the beauty and learning you share with us.

Beth August 1, 2023, 11:58 am

I am so glad, Samantha. It’s a labor of love. Blessings and more blessings to you! 💚

Debra August 1, 2023, 10:43 am

Happy first harvest! Blessings to you and yours! Thank you for all your wonderful posts. I truly enjoy reading them. They always provide great food for reflection.

Beth August 1, 2023, 12:00 pm

Thanks so much for stopping by, beautiful daughter of Mercury. May this lovely season of changes be wondrous and abundant for you. 🙏🏻✨🙏🏻

Dana Duppen August 1, 2023, 12:00 pm

Thank you Beth for your continuous service to others through celebrating the sabbats and teaching us as you do. You are greatly appreciated.

Beth August 1, 2023, 12:01 pm

Beautiful Dana! I am SOOOO glad to hear from you and hope you are doing loads better. Thank you for stopping by and saying hello. You are a true blessing.

nofixedstars August 1, 2023, 12:19 pm

blessed be, beth! i struggle with summer and heat, like dianna below mentioned, so the summer festivals are my least favourite, and i have celebrated them rather indifferently in the past. but this take on it has really resonated with me: gratitude, sharing our abundance with others, and a reciprocal vowing of fidelity to the land that sustains us. that, more than anything else i’ve read or researched or observed others celebrating, lights me up. and i do believe that gratitude and a sense of giving back honour and offerings to the land were at the heart of ancient harvest-tide celebrations, so it is a very authentic way of observing lammas.

thank you for reigniting my engagement with this holiday. i plan to donate to a local food bank, and put together a mixture of grains and local herbs and seeds which will be milled at home and shared with my witchy friends who bake. (this local-referencing flour mix was inspired by a recent “dark mountain” article.) finally, i will make a dinner celebrating the “three sisters” which are bearing so abundantly and generously now (along with tomatoes! and melons!), in honour of our local earth and the indigenous stewards who shared this farming technology with my ancestors.

with gratitude!

Beth August 2, 2023, 1:55 pm

Oh Ann! When you get inspired, you are off like a rocket! Thank you for catching the spirit of this way underrated sabbat!

I, too, used to just sort of slog through it more often than not, but considering how precarious food is for so many, how our own First World abundance has had serious threats in recent years, and how our Ancestors emphasized over and over that we must never, never take our food for granted, I have learned to see it as a vital moment to acknowledge and share our magical grace.

Just like you are doing! Blessings to you, dearest one. You are an inspiration.

Kathy August 1, 2023, 3:14 pm

lammas blessings to you

Beth August 2, 2023, 1:56 pm

And to you as well, dear Kathy. Considering all that is going on for you, I am always so grateful to see you here. May all your blessings be nourishing and abundant.

cate August 1, 2023, 4:53 pm

My dearest Beth, the very brightest of blessings and much love to you at this golden turning in the Wheel of the Year.

Blessed Lughnasadh to you and your clan. May there be celebration, music and feasting in abundance on this fabulous Hazel Moon. I like to think that we are indeed dancing together in spirit, swirling in our gypsy skirts, kicking up our heels and shaking our tambourines! One of these days, perhaps we will be able to do so in person.

And happy, happy birthday to our Jerry! Hard to think of him having been gone for twenty-eight years.

Sending you much love, all that is magical and incandescent and wild.

Beth August 2, 2023, 1:58 pm

Beloved Cate –
Your post makes me smile from head to toe. Looking forward to our dances.
Meantime, a thousand blessings to you – for all you create, that you share, that you are.

Sending you massive love, my heart sister.

Kate Stockman August 3, 2023, 10:00 am

Blessed be, sistah! May your harvest be an abundance of blessings!

Beth August 3, 2023, 10:06 am

You too, dearest Kate. Wishing you soul-deep beauty and bounty this harvest season. 🌾💚🌾

Marguerite August 3, 2023, 12:26 pm

Wonderful post! Many many Blessings to you and all who see this. The wheel turns and many thanks for all your teachings!

Beth August 4, 2023, 10:42 am

Thanks for stopping by, dearest Marguerite. I hope that this harvest season is going to be delicious for you. xoxo

Art does not try to communicate;
it calls for communion.

~ Paul Reynaud

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