A Blessed Lughnasadh

A Blessed Lughnasadh August 1, 2012

Today is Lughnasadh (also known as Lammas) the first of three harvest festivals celebrated in many modern Pagan traditions. Lughnasadh originated as one of the four main Celtic fire festivals and was dedicated to the Celtic god Lugh/Lugus the many-skilled (or, in the case of Ireland, Lugh’s foster-mother Tailtiu). It is a time of thanksgiving, first-harvests, and the end of summer.

Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary leading a Lammas bonfire ritual.

Here are some quotes for the holiday.

“The First Harvest is a time to take stock of our fields; to survey all that has grown throughout this year. Some seeds planted took root, and others did not. Some soil was better prepared, and better tended to. But, it’s undeniable that there has been change, and that change came through our hard labor, our perseverance, and on occasion, an unexpected storm.”Teo Bishop, Patheos.com

“Modern Wicca, which only began to be defined in the 1930s, also moves those old rhythms of moon and sun, summer and winter, into a meaningful connection with modern life. That’s what [Wiccan high priestess Carol] Kirk emphasizes during rituals where she presides. Kirk, who also has worked as a hospital chaplain, is studying for a master’s in pastoral counseling at Cherry Hill Seminary in South Carolina, one of the world’s first pagan seminaries. Lamas, for example, is the beginning of the harvest season – a time to consider what we want to gather from our lives, what we want to preserve and protect, what we want to celebrate.” – Kay Campbell, The Huntsville Times

“Throughout Britain, Lammastide was the time for paying up rents and other obligations. For the many people who did not own land or even work a plot, at Lammastide it was customary to bake special loaves, called “Lammas Bread”, and offer them to the landlord and to the parish vicar.  There is good reason and much historical evidence to suggest that this tradition found its roots in Roman Britain, where the goddess Demeter and similar Celtic deities were given special offerings at – or around – the first day of August.  Regardless of its exact origin, Lammas is a very old tradition in the British Isles which is continued in North America, and it remains a time of accounting – literal and figurative.” – In Puris Naturalibu

“Even though we know today that the days are not getting shorter since Midsummer/Litha because the sun is dying, Lammas is still a festival of honering sacrifice and harvest for me, because even though the sun’s not dying he’s still showering us with his strength and light every day. The grain and fruits are still nourished and strengthened by his generous offering. Whenever we eat something, it’s ultimately the life force of the sun made manifest in plant and animal that we are taking in. We ourselves run on solar power, because all energy of our food literally originates there!” – Gwydion Blackrose, Courting the Serpents

“Since the main theme of the feast was the successful reaping of benefits from the Land by the Tribe, the communal enjoyment of first fruits was the high point of the day’s ritual. This would include both cultivated crops and wild-growing edible fruits, which were also made accessible for the Tribe’s use by Lugh’s intercession. Even if, because of weather conditions or circumstantial factors, the full harvest would not begin until later, it was absolutely necessary to gather and ceremonially consume a small portion of the crops on Lughnasadh.” – Alexi Kondratiev, “The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual”

May you have a fruitful holiday!

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23 responses to “A Blessed Lughnasadh”

  1. Aye, well said Jason. A happy and fruitful Lughnassah to all my freinds and aquantances here. Kilm

  2. Have a blessed Lughnassadh everyone.  Carry the Light in your hearts, may it warm you in the months to come!  Blessed Be!  )O(

  3. I still do not understand, why contemporary “pagans” celebrate at christian or occult dates i.e. solstices, equinoxes and so on. Our heathen ancestors had totally different times for blot and had nothinmg to do with occult sun worshipping…..

  4. Solstices and equinoxes are objective astronomical alignments. They don’t belong to any tradition. As a child of the Goddess and of the Enlightenment I’m delighted to celebrate the equinoxes because observation of the precession of the equinoxes overthrew the geocentric model of astronomy.

  5.  When Bede described the native Anglo-Saxon calendar, he was pretty clearly indicating that the new year, and thus Yule, came on the winter solstice. Litha also seems to have been a solstice event, and later folk customs among Germanic peoples from England and Germany and Scandinavia all seem to back this up. So it would seem that at least some solar timed holidays were celebrated by heathens.

    Lughnasadh is Celtic and is attested in ancient texts. While having the date set on August 1 clearly is an adaptation following the introduction of the Roman calendar into the Celtic world, there is nothing particularly Christian or occult about it.

  6.  Sorry, but Yule was never at the winter solstice in pre-christian times, that is a myth resp lie. Yule was between mid january and early february and set back by christian kings and missionaries to “Thomas day” that is the 21st of decembre. We have proven evidence from scandinavia and germany. Look here: http://www.fornsidr.no/2012/03/a-time-for-blot-2/

    Also the celts followed a moon calendre, not a sun calendre, not to speak from germanic groups. There is NO proof at all that solctices and equinoxes were used for the main blots in pre-christian times but loads of proof that the were celebrated about a month later.
    The whole wiccan/ celtic calendre is an invention from occult groups in the 19th and 20th century. It is sun worship like christianity or other eastern religions. Our germanic and celtic ancerstors were moon worshippers. That is why the moon is male and the sun is female.

  7.  Right, they were objective astronomical alignments to calculate the correct time for a blot. So midsummer was on the full moon of august 2nd this year …

    But anybody may celebrate what an when they like. But it is bit painful when people believe it is celtiv or germanic when they are following Golden Dawn’s way of Horus ;-)))))))

  8.  Absolutely not. When your ancestors are from Egypt or Rome or you are Christian,  you are well off with sun worshipping. But here in the north or central europe……I don’t know…..

    But pssssst! This is the basic pagan myth and the popes laughter is roaring thru the halls of the vatican:  my old trick still works!

  9. You seem have some obsessive dislike of ‘sun worship’ that I’ll admit I don’t quite understand. The notion that northern Europeans some how were against revering the sun in any sense strikes me as a little strange especially given how dramatically the length of days varies throughout the year that far north.
    Also, for the record, my ancestors were Finnish, and modern Finnish reconstructionist Pagans celebrate important holidays on the solstices (Joulu and Ukonjuhla) and have separate ones in the middle of January and July (Talvennapa and Karhunpäivä). The Finnish tradition also honors both the sun and the moon.

  10.  I am not against anything but we have to decide if we follow some wiccan based fantasy plot or if we try to renconstruct what was there BEFORE christianity. And it is pretty clear now, that the norwegian king Hakoon the Good and christian bishops in germany in the 8th century deliberatley changed the Yule date to the 21st of decembre. The goal was simply. To distract the heathen from heathen festivals. I don’t know anything about the finnish tradition, but I know that most of what the “reconstructionists” are doing is  copying each others myths.  If there were any main blots at the solstices in Finland before christianity: pls prove it.
    have a look at http://www.fornsidr.no or at my site if you know german: altesitte-asatru.blogspot.de/

  11.  A better festival for ‘midwinter’ would be Mōdraniht, from an Anglo-Saxon point of view.

    Rather than celebrating the longest night, it is usually accepted that the festivities were several days later, when it became apparent that the days were, indeed, getting longer – the feast of the rebirth of the sun.

    Yule (or ġéol) was this festival, most likely.

    There are also the months surrounding the festival (Ærra ġéola, ġéola and Æftera ġéola) which can cause a level of ambiguity with the exact date (coupled with the fact that the Christian contemporaries used the Julian, not the Gregorian calendar).

    The sun was more important to the Northern tribes than it was to the Southern peoples, simply because it had a far greater impact.

    In Northern Norway, for example, the longest night was (and is) a couple of weeks long.

  12.  I do not know very much about the Anglo-Saxons but I doubt they differ a lot from other indo-germanic groups in northern  europe…..
    And: the sun is of no great importance to these groups, it is the moon.  In the south, among the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians etc. it was the sun! So it is exactly the other way round.

    Since kabala and old egypt influenced occultists lead the pagan renaissance in the 19th and 20th century we have to deal with their misconceptions today. And most pagans have absolutely no idea where all those ideas come from.

    Right there is some ambiguity about the exact blot dates but we can exactly determine those ambiguities: Yule can NOT BE before the 9th of january! The germanic tribes had a modifed moon calendre with an extra  month called Lithe that was inserted every third or second year.


  13.  No offence, but bollocks.

    In the UK, there is a very clear distinction between the two words.
    Pagan is a generic term (often shunned by Heathens, it must be stated) that covers most forms of what people accept as ‘Pagan’ – such as Wicca, witchcraft and Druidry.
    Heathen is used, almost exclusively, in the UK to refer to Northern Tradition forms of ‘Paganism’ (such as Heathenry, Asatru, Odinism and others).

    The rejection of the ‘Pagan’ label often comes from the very fact that ‘Pagan’ is a vulgate term. Since the Heathen tribes of Northern Europe were never conquered by the Romans, people tend to feel the term ‘Pagan’ simply doesn’t apply to those traditions.

    It may be different in the USA, but that is only one of many differences between European and American cultures of Paganism, it would seem.

  14.  I never said that the sun was of great importance, merely that it was more important (seasonally) to those in the North than those in the south.

    In fact, moon and sun were not relatively important, compared to the actual deities.

  15.  The Anglo-Saxon calendar is only described in any detail by Bede, in chapter 15 of De Temporum Rationis, who states that it was brought from Germany when the Anglo-Saxons came from Germany. In his description, after indicating that the months are lunar, naming them, and indicating that there is an intercalary month (without indicating precisely when they added it) he describes the year as beginning on the 8th Kalends of January, which they called modranecht, Mothers’ Night. The English obviously did not use the Roman calendar, so the only reason why the traditional year would start on a date that corresponds to a (solar) Roman one is that it corresponded with a solar event, which in this case is fairly clearly the solstice. That there was a solar event corresponding with the beginning and middle of the year explains why there are two months called Yule (guili in Bede, sometimes aerrageol and afterrageol in other places, which does not mean before Yule and after Yule but means early Yule and Later Yule – some people who comment on this clearly do not know the difference between a prepostition (which would be aer or aefter) and an adjective (aerra and aefterra). There is a similar situation with Litha. This is clearly so that the lunar month names will always accomodate solar events (i.e. the summer solstice will always happen during one of the two or occasionally three lithas, although which one it occurs in will vary by year, and the same is the case with the winter solstice, indicating that the solstices were important enough that the otherwise lunar calendar had to be accommodated toward them).

    As far as moon worship or sun worship, there is no reason why one has to be exclusive of the other. Clearly both the sun and the moon are of importance to people, after all. Given the otherwise holistic nature of Germanic religion, it would be surprising if the just ignored something as central to everyone’s life as the life-giving sun. That the regarded it as female is fully irrelevant. The Germanic peoples had goddesses as well as gods. Indeed, in Old Norse there are a number of hints of some kind of sun veneration in the extant poetry.

    Sól er landa ljóme;

    lúti ek helgum dóme.

  16. In all honesty, neither I or any other Finnish Pagan has to prove anything to you or any other heathen. This is the way that we do it. Finnish culture didn’t disappear with the arrival of Christianity and is an ongoing evolution. I’m not the least bit concerned, beyond historical curiosity, how far back we can trace any particular holiday. I promise you that Finnish reconstructionist Pagans are not busy copying other people’s myths, and Finns don’t celebrate blots. You state that you don’t know anything about the Finnish tradition, then proceed to lecture me on it?
    In any case, I only brought up my own Finnish-based practice because several of your comments seemed to veer toward the unfortunately common idea among some Heathens that Northern European = Germanic, with perhaps an honorable mention of Celts, meanwhile forgetting the Sámi, Finns, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Russians etc etc. That is a huge pet peeve of mine.

  17. To Kauko

    Probably better to try and avoid using the term ‘Northern European’ when referring to the historical tribes and actually using more accurate terms (such as Germanic, Celtic, etcetera…).

    It could prevent confusion and insult.

    Of course, even within one tribal group there will be distinct cultures. You can hardly suggest that the Anglo Saxons were the same culture as the Danes, after all, even though both are Germanic.

  18.  kauko, the Christians changed the dates of the blots to break heathen customs. And now heathens stick to wrong dates.

    Off course you have no evidence of blots at the solstices. Only after baptizing the heathes.

    I was just asking. Why are you getting so nervous?

  19.  Germanic tribes followed the moon, not the sun, as the Egyptians, Romans etc. Tacitus is very clear about that.  The sun was just used to calculate the correct time for a blot. Very similar in hinduism, a closely related indogermanic religion. Off course there were later cultural adaptions with the romans and off course by force, the Christians.
    If you send me your Emailadresse I may send you an interesting diagram of an anglo-saxon calendre Beda venerabilis. You may find the diagram plus excellent text in german here: http://www.firne-sitte.net in the section: Der gebundene Mondkalender, die Zwölf-Nächte-Schaltregel und die FesttageWe are not saying: do this and leave that, but heathens and pagans should at least KNOW that they are basicly celebrating christian holidays and why this has been done….Norwegian heathens are more and more using the old moon calendre now after realizeing……

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