“The festival of Lughnasadh speaks of fullness and bounty of richness and sacrifice. As cornfields ripple in the late summer breeze and whisper golden promises of the grain harvest to come, we know deep within our psyche that the darkness is but a heartbeat away.”
It’s taco night at the Manor. The kitchen is filled with energy. My husband chops lettuce and grates cheese; we’re dunking salty corn chips into his famous fresh Guacamole as a pre-dinner snack. I’m at the stove cooking up ground beef with onion and spices, the tortillas are warming in the oven. The smells of a delicious dinner fill the warm air. July is coming to an end, and just like that, the First Harvest is here.
Pagans know this time as Lammas or Lughnasadh, the Grain Harvest. Baking bread is tradition on this holiday and fruits and vegetables planted in Spring are ripe for picking. The days are still warm but the wheel continues to turn and the Harvest season is a reminder that soon the days will get shorter and cooler weather is not far over the horizon. For now we bask in sunny days and give thanks to the Gods for the abundance of the season. This simple Bread Recipe can be baked for the Lammas Festival. You can use store-bought dry instant yeast (like Fleischmann’s) You can also use your sourdough starter if you prefer.
What is the Sourdough Starter Equivalent to Yeast?
|100 grams or 1/3 cup + 1/2 of a Tblsp||5 – 7 grams or 2 1/4 |
|12 – 15 grams|
Simple Bread Recipe
3 cups of flour
1 to 1.5 cups of warm filtered water
A generous dallop of honey
A pinch of salt
1 heaping tablespoon of yeast
In a bowl combine your flour & salt. Add in the warm water, yeast & honey. Mix up well with your hands till you’ve formed a dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place. After an hour gently knead for no longer than 1 minute then cover up again to let rise for a 2nd time. After each rising you’ll notice the dough getting bigger and bigger as it expands. After the 2nd hour long rising, knead it again very gently for only a minute or less then form into a ball and place into a dutch oven or loaf pan for baking. Score however you desire- slits on top of the dough. You can cut a very pretty design on it if you want! Bake covered for 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
“Lughnasa means ‘the marriage of Lugh (pronounce Loo).’ There is a tremendous romantic component to the celebration. Lugh the sun and the Earth Mother renew their wedding vows annually during the full moon in August and invite all to gather and revel with them.
Lughnasadh Ritual to practice August 1st
For this rite, you’ll need a loaf of Lammas bread (or a loaf of bread from your kitchen) and a cup of wine, berry juice or water. Have a pen and paper or large note pad handy. If you have pencil crayons or markers, bring these into the circle as well as you will be drawing. If you are outdoors and can have a small fire do that – if not you can have a small fire indoors in your cauldron or place a candle in the cauldron to represent the fire. Place the cauldron in the centre of your circle. Think of something you would like to sacrifice before beginning your ritual. It can be something like:
- An hour or two of your time toward recycling or cleaning litter along the beach
- A bag of groceries to be donated to a food bank
- Donating time or money to a wildlife foundation
- Reducing your ‘carbon footprint’
- Starting a garden
- Planting a tree
- To treat others with more compassion and caring
When you’re ready to begin. Start by casting a circle and calling the Quarters and Elementals then say:
It is the time of the harvest once again.
Life, growth, death and rebirth,
all have come full circle.
The god of the harvest has died once more,
That we may eat and consume him,
Giving us strength in the months to come.I now create this drawing in my image.This drawing symbolize myself, in my many aspects,
and all the things I give up each year,so that I may thrive and flourish later on.
Take a moment to draw yourself on the paper using a pencil or crayons. Energize the image with personal qualities. These are the essences of yourself that you are bringing to sacrifice, so that they may be reborn as the harvest god is each year. When you have completed your drawing cut the image out and hold it and say:
The god of grain is dying,
vegetation returns to the earth.
We call upon the gods of the harvest,
asking them for their blessings.
Tammuz and Lugh,
Cernunnos and Attis,
You are born each year,
and live in our fields
and are sacrificed as part of the cycle.
Raise energy by circling your fire or cauldron three times, building speed each time (move counter clockwise, against the pattern of the sun, because it’s the end of the harvest season).When the raising of energy is complete, approach the fire and casts your drawing into the fire or set it aflame with the candle (make sure to do this in a well ventilated room with open windows). You can either say out loud what your sacrifice will be this year, or speak it only to yourself and the gods. Watch the image burn.
Take the loaf of bread and say:
Months ago, I planted seeds and through the summer watched them grow.I have tended the fields in my life,and now I am blessed with abundance.The harvest has arrived!Thank you, lord of the harvest,For the gifts yet to come.I eat this bread, grain transformed by fire, in your name,and honour you for your sacrifice.
Break a piece of bread and eat the bread, and then have a sip of the beverage you’ve brought to the circle. When you are done eating and drinking, say:
May I , my family and loved ones reap the blessings of the harvest!.
Take a moment to reflect on what you have harvested for yourself this season. End the ritual as you normally would or move directly into other rites you wish to perform. I like to pull a tarot or oracle card at this time for a message for the season.
Much abundance to you and your family during this, the first harvest.