13 Songs for Lammas/Lughnasadh!

Lammas is upon us. John Barleycorn must die. I must once again harvest Youtube for a playlist worthy of the season.

As we approach Lammas I’ve been thinking about the concept of sacrifice a good bit. I’m not certain how the ritual I attend will play out, but generally the Corn King is cut down. I may have teased some of the male members of my coven about getting whacked, but that only led me to think about how I will never play the Corn King in ritual. Gender in Wiccan theology is controversial, and I assume at least one commenter will insist I should be able to be the Corn King as a woman. Genderqueer the whole thing and stick it to The Man!

Working with and learning from the diverse body of elders in my tradition, I’m taking this to be less about gender politics or hetero-normative imposition, but about the simple fact that you cannot be everything. Americans especially think you can have everything, be everything, and furthermore, that it’s your Gods-given right. You can have it all!

There are roles in life I will never take on, either because I rejected them, circumstances prevented it or it simply wasn’t right for me, however badly I wanted it. I cannot be everything. I can be more than I think sometimes, do more than I think sometimes, but I cannot be everything all at once. It’s one of the many sacrifices we make in life, when we accept and create our boundaries. At one point we realize we won’t become an astronaut. We realize we may never live off-grid. We realize we have to give up that instrument we no longer have time for or give up that lover who needs to be set free.

Having separate roles reminds us we cannot be everything, and we need each other to make this work. Sometimes we need to sacrifice, sometimes other’s sacrifice for us. You can’t always get what you want but, if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.

13. You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones


12. Corn Rigs – The Wicker Man Soundtrack


11. John Barleycorn – Eastbourne Lammas Festival

Somehow, this song is better with Morris dancers.

10. Love Cake by Rocky and Balls

Lammas literally means “Loaf Mass” and it’s the harvest festival associated with bread and baking. This is my favorite song about baking.

9. Lughnasadh by Damh the Bard

I have been belting this out all morning.

8. Before the Twilight Falls by Emerald Rose

This is such a lovely song about the moments before Lleu Llaw Gyffes faces his own sacrifice of sorts.

7. Homegrown Tomatoes by Guy Clark

Because seriously, that’s the best part about this time of year!

6. The Scythe by Gaia Consort

5. Lughnasadh by Omnia

4. Lord of the Harvest by Fred Hammond

Simply because I love that there is nothing in word or symbol to denote this as a Christian worship service. Modern Christianity can be weird sometimes. You know there’s some dude in the back wondering if this song is ever going to end.

3. The Wind That Shakes The Barley – Dead Can Dance

2. Everything I Own by Bread

Seriously, between the lyrics and name of the band, this could have been written for Lammas…

1. Shine On Harvest Moon by Leon Redbone

This is for all the kids dreading to go back to school…

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