The celebration of Lammas may reach back into Pagan European Harvest rituals and clearly the word “Lughnasadh” has been traced to much older traditions. It was during the beginning of August that the grain from the fields would start to be harvested. The first bread that was made from the harvest was treated with special care. It was blessed and often decorated as sympathetic magic to help the rest of the harvest continue to be prosperous and bountiful.
I live in Northern California where the harvest schedule that we experience is vastly different from the harvest that would have been the reality for the people in the British Isles. I have come to develop a deep appreciation for bread magic and it is a tradition that I have incorporated into our family Lammas celebrations.
Bread magic is not a new concept and it’s not only from England. The use of bread in magic spells is a time honored custom that comes from cultures all over the world. All of the steps of making bread from scratch can become a spell and the bread that is made and consumed becomes the vehicle that delivers the action of that spell.
- An old Scandinavian superstition is to add some of the dew collected on Midsummer to the bread dough in order to protect the family that reside in the house.
- In most European cultures it is important to bring bread and salt into a person’s home when they first move in as a blessing.
- There is an Appalachian superstition that you must pay attention when first slicing into a loaf of bread because slicing a hole in the bread may bring death.
- Dropping bread on to the floor is a sign that a friend in need will soon show up asking for help.
- In many traditions charms are baked into loaves of bread and the different charms serve as divination for the future of the person who had taken that piece of bread.
As you gather the ingredients focus on your intention, knowing that each item you gather will add more magic and power to your goal. Gather the following ingredients:
2 ½ cups oatmeal, ground finely
2 cups buttermilk
2 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
You will need to start by steeping the oatmeal overnight in the buttermilk. Pour the oats into a bowl and state your intention over the oats, send into the bowl your energy and your desire. As you pour the buttermilk over the oats imagine your goal being infused with power. Set the bowl in the fridge and go immediately to bed. Upon waking write down any dreams or messages that may have come during your sleep and return to the baking process. Sift in the flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir the mixture and add more buttermilk if the dough is too dry, but be cautious to not overly wet the dough. Again, charge the dough with your intention and energy, chant over the dough. Heavily grease a pan and roll the dough in the pan to cover the dough in the oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. When the bread is done slice one piece and eat it slowly savoring each bite, feeling your goal as if it is already done.
Note: The Scandinavian folk practice I mentioned can be found in the book “The Black Folder” edited by catherine yronwoode and written by Johannes Gardback. And several superstitions I referenced can be found on The Kitchen Wiccan website.