Time for Bread!
I apologize in advance for being a bit late with this post, all I can say is it has been a very demanding week on many levels, and boom! –just like that it’s the full moon and soon Lughnasadh arrives riding on her moonbeams!
Lughnasadh originated with the funeral games of Lugh (pronounced Loo) the sun god, these games were held in honour of his foster mother Tailte; contests, craft markets and trial marriages, all kinds of games and bread baking contests are all associated with this day. The first harvest includes the gathering of grain, fruits, early corn and lots of berries; it is sometimes called August Eve, Harvest Festival or Festival of Fruits, though you are probably familiar with Lammas, meaning loaf mass. The Christian influence couldn’t quite eradicate the first harvest festival, and Lughnasadh is one of the Greater Sabbats, so they compromised and came up with Lammas where the first harvest bread, the Lammas Loaf was placed on the priest’s altar.
The Goddess is abundant with life, carrying the future sun child within, her husband the God has matured and he is in his fatherly role as protector, provider, lover and king. They enjoy their time together and the bounty of the world that surrounds them as they celebrate all the wonder and blessings of life. The God lives in the grain and now offers himself to support his family, clan and tribe, as he is literally cut down and harvested to feed people. John Barleycorn is a traditional harvest song that describes the process. Harvesting was done with gratitude and reverence, and traditionally with a sickle that has connections with the Crone, who holds the powers of rebirth. It was traditional to eat bread baked from the grain of the first harvest and to drink beer brewed from the previous years, it reflected the continuous cycle of life; there are some modern pagans who also carry on this tradition as cakes and ale for their Lughnasadh celebration.
The world around us is bursting with bounty, many fruits have ripened, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are ripe for picking, leafy vegetables are abundant and the gourds, squashes and root vegetables are well on their way to harvest time. The growing to maturity is inevitable now; the only actions are to support the growth by providing adequate water, support and nutrition. It’s a time to celebrate the bounty of nature, to appreciate all the forms of life around you, a time to soak up the warm sun, gather with friends at the beach and play in the warmth. Carpe diem, really applies now, it won’t be long until the coolness of autumn starts creeping in, you may already sense it especially at night.
It’s also time to think about what you are growing personally, what is ready to harvest now? Is there something lacking in your life that is stunting the growth of your personal harvest? Notice what isn’t working and choose to let it go; it’s powerful to choose a symbol of what you want to release and throw it into the sabbat fire and be done with it. If you are a craftsperson or have specific tools associated with your job, career or a passion you want to make into a career, it’s a powerful time to bless them. The harvest energy absorbs into your tools to bring you a better harvest next year, if you are a writer infuse your computer, pens, writing pads, or even a symbol you associate with your craft with the day’s energy.
What is your abundance right now? Are you sharing it or are you hoarding it? The grain and corn king could have some wisdom to share, connect with meditation, or invite them into your ritual circle. Are you grateful for the blessings in your life? How do you show your gratitude? What have you harvested/achieved already this year?
Some ideas for celebrating the day, host a feast, hold a potluck, have a bread sharing where all participants bring a favorite kind, bake bread with your friends, have a picnic in your garden, gather fruits and veggies to share, remember to thank the plants. Make a wheat wreath or corn dolly, have some kind of contest or games, bless your garden with the day’s energy, decorate a favorite place in nature with seasonal flowers, visit a farm, go to a farmers market, pick your own fruit, visit a place where you can bask in the sun, really notice all the life around you when you go to a river, lake or other natural environment. Play a game you love and haven’t done for a while, sack races, stone tosses, charge up a solar lantern and use it outside when it gets dark. There are so many ways to celebrate.