Lughnassadh, Lammastide, Lamas, August Eve, Harvest Home, Ceresalia (Roman,
in honor of the grain goddess Ceres), First Fruits, Festival of Green
Corn (Native American), Feast of Cardenas, Cornucopia (Strega),
Thingtide and Elembiuos. Lammas, an Anglo-Saxon word, means "loaf
mass." Lughnassadh is named for the Irish sun god Lugh (pronounced
Loo), and variant spellings are Lughnasadh, Lughnasad, Lughnassad,
Lughnasa and Lunasa.
Major Festival
Traditional: Lammas, August 1st.
Astrological: Sun 15° Leo

Dates for coming years:
· August 7th, 2005 10:04
· August 7th, 2006 15:42
· August 7th, 2007 21:32
· August 7th, 2008 03:17
· August 7th, 2009 09:02
· August 7th, 2010 16:05

The First Harvest
by Mike Nichols

It was upon a Lammas Night
When corn rigs are bonny,
Beneath the Moon's unclouded light,
I held awhile to Annie....

Although in the heat of a midwestern summer it might be difficult to
discern, the festival of Lammas (August 1) marks the end of summer
and the beginning of fall. The days now grow visibly shorter and by
the time we've reached autumn's end (October 31), we will have run
the gamut of temperature from the heat of August to the cold and
(sometimes) snow of November. And in the midst of it, a perfect
midwestern autumn.

The history of Lammas is as convoluted as all the rest of the old
folk holidays. It is, of course, a cross-quarter day, one of the four
High Holidays or Greater Sabbats of Witchcraft, occurring one quarter
of a year after Beltane. Its true astrological point is fifteen
degrees Leo, but tradition has set August 1 as the day Lammas is
typically celebrated. The celebration proper would begin on sundown
of the previous evening, our July 31, since the Celts reckon their
days from sundown to sundown.

However, British Witches often refer to the astrological date of
August 6 as Old Lammas, and folklorists call it Lammas O.S. (Old
Style). This date has long been considered a "power point" of the
zodiac, and is symbolized by the Lion, one of the tetramorph figures
found on the tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune (the
other three figures being the Bull, the Eagle, and the Spirit).

Astrologers know these four figures as the symbols of the
four "fixed" signs of the zodiac, and these naturally align with the
four Great Sabbats of Witchcraft. Christians have adopted the same
iconography to represent the four Gospel writers.

"Lammas" was the medieval Christian name for the holiday, and it
means "loaf-mass", for this was the day on which loaves of bread were
baked from the first grain harvest and laid on the church altars as
offerings. It was a day representative of "first fruits" and early

In Irish Gaelic, the feast was referred to as "Lughnasadh", a feast
to commemorate the funeral games of the Irish Sun God Lugh. However,
there is some confusion on this point. Although at first glance, it
may seem that we are celebrating the death of Lugh, the God of Light
does not really die (mythically) until the autumnal equinox. And
indeed, if we read the Irish myths closer, we discover that it is not
Lugh's death that is being celebrated, but the funeral games that
Lugh hosted to commemorate the death of his foster mother, Taillte.
That is why the Lughnasadh celebrations in Ireland are often called
the "Tailltean games".

The time went by with careless heed
Between the late and early,
With small persuasion she agreed
To see me through the barley....

One common feature of the games was the "Tailltean marriages", a
rather informal marriage that lasted for only a yearand- a-day or
until next Lammas. At that time, the couple could decide to continue
the arrangement if it pleased them, or to stand back to back and walk
away from one another, thus bringing the Tailltean marriage to a
formal close. Such trial marriages (obviously related to the Wiccan
handfasting) were quite common even into the 1500s, although it was
something one "didn't bother the parish priest about". Indeed, such
ceremonies were usually solemnized by a poet, bard, or shanachie (or,
it may be guessed, by a priest or priestess of the Old Religion).
Lammastide was also the traditional time of year for craft festivals.
The medieval guilds would create elaborate displays of their wares,
decorating their shops and themselves in bright colors and ribbons,
marching in parades, and performing strange, ceremonial plays and
dances for the entranced onlookers. The atmosphere must have been
quite similar to our modern-day Renaissance festivals.

A ceremonial highlight of such festivals was the Catherine wheel.
Although the Roman Church moved St. Catherine's feast day all around
the calendar with bewildering frequency, its most popular date was
Lammas. (They also kept trying to expel this much-loved saint from
the ranks of the blessed because she was mythical rather than
historical, and because her worship gave rise to the heretical sect
known as the Cathari.) At any rate, a large wagon wheel was taken to
the top of a nearby hill, covered with tar, set aflame, and
ceremoniously rolled down the hill. Some mythologists see in this
ritual the remnants of a Pagan rite symbolizing the end of summer,
the flaming disk representing the Sun God in his decline. And just as
the Sun King has now reached the autumn of his years, his rival or
dark self has just reached puberty.

Many commentators have bewailed the fact that traditional Gardnerian
and Alexandrian Books of Shadows say very little about the holiday of
Lammas, stating only that poles should be ridden and a circle dance
performed. This seems strange, for Lammas is a holiday of rich mythic
and cultural associations, providing endless resources for liturgical

Corn rigs and barley rigs,
Corn rigs are bonny!
I'll not forget that happy night
Among the rigs with Annie!

[Verse quotations by Robert Burns, as handed down through several
Books of Shadows.]


Animals/Mythical beings:
Griffins, roosters, calves, centaurs, phoenix

aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx, Cat's-eye, golden topaz,
obsidian, moss agate, rhodochrosite, clear quartz, marble, slate,
granite, lodestone, Carnelian


Red, orange, gold, yellow, citrine, green, grey and light brown.


Corn, cornucopias, red, yellow flowers, sheaves of grain (wheat,
barley, oats), first fruits/vegetables of garden labor, corn dollies,
baskets of bread, spear, cauldron, sickle, scythe, threshing tools,
sacred loaf of bread, harvested herbs, bonfires, bilberries, God
figures made of bread or cookie dough, phallic symbols

o All Grain Goddesses
o All Livestock Goddesses
o All Mother Goddesses
o Alphito (Irish)
o Artemis (Greek)
o Ashnan (Sumerian)
o Bast (Egyptian)
o Bau (Egyptian)
o Cabria (Phoenician)
o Carmen (Italio-Iberian)
o Ceres (Roman)
o Changing Woman (Native American)
o Chicomecoatl (Aztec)
o The Corn Mothers (Native American)
o Damia (Greek)
o Demeter (Greek)
o Epona (pan-Celtic)
o The Fates (Greek)
o Frey (Norse)
o Gaia (Greek)
o Goddess of Mundus (Norse-Celtic)
o Guadalupe (Mexican)
o Habondia (German)
o Habondia (Italian)
o Hani-Yasu-NoKami (Japanese)
o Huruing Wuhti (Native American)
o Ishtar (Babylonian)
o Juno Augusta (Roman)
o Kait (Hittite)
o Kornjunfer (German)
o Libera (Roman)
o Mama Alpa (Incan)
o Marcia (Italian)
o Mawu (African)
o Morgay (English)
o The Morrigan (Irish)
o Nisaba (Chaldean)
o The Norns (Norse)
o Oddudua (African)
o Persephone (Greek)
o Pirua (South American)
o Po Ino Nogar (Cambodian)
o Qocha Mana (Hopi)
o Rainbow Serpent (Australian)
o Rhea (Greek)
o Rhiannon (Welsh)
o Robigo (Roman)
o Saning Sri (Japanese
o Selu (Cherokee)
o Taillte (Irish)
o Tailltiu (Welsh-Scottish)
o Tailtu (Irish)
o Tonantzin (Mexican)
o Tuaret (Egyptian)
o Uti Hiati (Pawnee)
o Yellow Land Earth Queen (Chinese)
o Zaramama (Peruvian)
o Zytniamatka (Teutonic)
· Gods of Lughnasadh:
o All Father Gods
o All Grain Gods
o All Livestock Gods
o Athtar
o Bes (Egyptian)
o Bran (Welsh)
o Cinteotl (Aztec)
o Dagon (Phoenician)
o Ebisu (Japanese)
o Ghanan (Mayan)
o Howtu (Chinese)
o Liber (Roman)
o Llew (Welsh)
o Lono (Polynesian)
o Lugh (Irish)
o Neper (Egyptian)
o Odin (Norse)

fruitfulness, reaping, prosperity, reverence, purification,
transformation, change, The Bread of Life, The Chalice of Plenty ,
The Ever-flowing Cup , the Groaning Board (Table of Plenty)

Lugh's wedding to Mother Earth, Birth of Lugh; Death of Lugh, Celtic
Grain Festival


astrology, prosperity, generosity, continued success, good fortune,
abundance,magickal picnic, meditate & visualize yourself completing a
project you've started

games, the traditional riding of poles/staves, country fairs,
breaking bread with friends, making corn dollys, harvesting herbs for
charms/rituals, Lughnasadh fire with sacred wood & dried herbs,
feasting, competitions, lammas towers (fire-building team
competitions), spear tossing, gathering flowers for crowns,
fencing/swordplay, games of skill, martial sports, chariot races,
hand-fastings, trial marriages, dancing `round a corn mother (doll)


Apples, Grains, Breads and Berries.

Acacia flowers, aloes, chamomile, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek,
frankincense, heather, hollyhock, myrtle, oak leaves, passionflower,
rose, rose hips, rosemary, sandalwood, sunflowers and wheat.

Tarot card

Justice, The Wheel of Fortune

Energy: Projective
Planet : The sun
Element: Fire

Associated stones: Quartz Crystal, Lapis Laziuli, Olivine, Peridot,
Sardonyx, Sunstone, Topaz, Turquiose
Associated metals, Lodestone, Pyrite
Powers: Power, Healing, Protection, Wisdom, Money, Success, Male
Sexual Dysfunction.

Magickal use of gold:
· Use the metal gold or the color gold in rituals/spells
concerning Sun-deities, the male force, authority, self-confidence,
creativity, financial riches, investments, ,fortune, hope, worldly
and magickal power.

· Make a talisman. A golden one will be very expensive, but you
can make one of gold colored cardboard or write the symbols on it
with gold paint.

· Wear golden jewelry to improve self-confidence and inner

· For the same aim you can drink water in which you have put a
golden object during the 6 to 24 hours.

Rules: energy, faith, heat, flame, strength, passion, will, blood,
life force, sap, healing and destroying,
purification, bonfires, hearthfires, candle flames, the Sun, deserts,
volcanoes, all eruptions and explosions
Zodiacal signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Colors: reds, gold, oranges
Tools: athame, bolline, sword, candles, balefires (bonfires)
Spirits/elementals: salamanders ruled by Djinn
Watchtower/Angel/Guardian: Michael
Time: noon
Season: summer
Which of the 4 Winds: Notus
Sense: sight
Jewel: ruby, fire opal
Incense: frankincense
Plants: garlic, onions, hibiscus, cinnamon, red peppers
Tree: flowering almond
Animals: dragons, lions, horses
Goddesses: Brigit (Bride), Hestia, Pele, Vesta, Heartha
Goddesses: Agni, Hephaestus, Horus, Vulcan, Apollo, Ra




The Alder, like the Willow, is a water-loving tree. Its timber is
oily and water resistant and therefore used extensively for
underwater foundations: parts of Venice and many medieval cathedrals
were built on Alder piling. Bran the Blessed, or Benegeit Bran, is
the god linked with this tree in the Ogham alphabet. He is reputed to
have used his body to raise his followers above the dangerous waters,
as the wood does when used as a building material. Mortally wounded
in the battle whith the Irish, Bran prophesied the events that would
follow his death, instructing his followers to cut off his head and
carry it with them. They travelled to Harlech, where the head sang
for seven years; then to Gwales, he head remaining uncorrupted and
prophesying the while. Eventually, they came to rest in London, Caer
Llyndain, and buried Bran's head at the White Mount, or Bryn Gwyn,
now the site of the Tower of London. It was held that as long as the
head remained concealed it would give protection against plague from
across the sea. King Arthur, it is said, once dug it up; an unwise
action, since the Saxons then invaded the country.
Magickal Associations: Spirituality, teaching, weather magick, duty,
mental prowness
Sun sign