Lammas is the Witch’s grand sabbat of High Summer. We astrologically celebrate this mid-point of the season that fiery moment of 15 degrees Leo. Despite the heat, I love Lammas rituals outdoors. This group ritual does not require there to be a lit fire, which we all know can be way too hot to enjoy that first week of August. This Lammas ritual includes the refreshing sharing of grapes to symbolize our harvests and gratitude, but also the toils and sacrifices we must still make to achieve our goals.
The inspiration for this sharing of grapes was first offered within our circle at a Lammas rite a few years ago by an amazing witch and former coven member, JoyLeaf. It remains one of my favorite coven-magick memories, for which I am deeply grateful to her.
Lammas Ritual: Sharing the Grapes of Gratitude
Altar and Circle Preparation:
- ‘Diamond at the Crossroads’ altar layout in center of 18′ diameter circle, outdoors.
- Perimeter of circle outlines in cornmeal.
- Tiki Torches lit at cardinal points to mark gates.
- Altar dressed in reds and golds
- Arrangement of sunflowers and grain stalks
- Consecration elements of incense, bowls of water and salt, red fire candle in glass, anointing oil.
- Athame, wand and chalice of wine
- Candles each for God, Goddess, and ancestors.
- Paten of corn muffins and seasonal berries for simple feast.
- Medium sized cauldron with heap of grapes, divided into smaller bunches still on the stems…one bunch per participant.
- Offering bowl
- All participants bring their besom
- Frame Drum
Entering the Eastern Gate
Coven members line up to enter with their besoms.
Summoner challenges each celebrant with the sword: How do you enter?
Celebrants: In perfect love and trust.
Gatekeeper of Air: smudges each with burning Sage and a blessing.
Gatekeeper of Water: anoints each on the forehead with oil, with a blessing.
Gatekeeper of Earth: sprinkles a few grains of salt on their feet, with a blessing.
Besom Clearing of Sacred Space:
Priestess: Everyone bring your besoms to the center of of our temple, let’s sweep away the mundane and cleanse our sacred space.
Circle will be swept by all present who have besoms. Group will start back to back around altar and sweep in spiraling circles outwards, deosil, until each has completed the circle three times.
“With our brooms, we sweep all clean,
To make a sacred space between.”
Consecration of the Altar and Hallowing the Circle:
The coven faces the altar.
Priestess: Lights the Spirit candle.
Priestess: Lights incense stick in burner. “I charge this incense as a Being of Air.” Draws invoking pentagram over altar, then carries it to the Gatekeeper in the East.
Gatekeeper of Air: “Air! I, your brother/sister of Air, greet you with Air, and ask that you blow free all energies that do not serve in our rites tonight! I consecrate this circle with the Powers of Air!” (repeats while walking the circle deosil back to the gate, Priestess returns incense to altar.)
Priestess: Lights red Fire candle. “I charge this candle flame as a Being of Fire.” Draws invoking pentagram over altar, then carries it to the Gatekeeper in the South.
Gatekeeper of Fire: “Fire! I, your brother/sister of Fire, greet you with Fire, and ask that you burn free all energies that do not serve in our rites tonight. I consecrate this circle with the Powers of Fire!” (repeats while walking the circle deosil back to the gate, Priestess returns candle to altar.)
Priest: Holds glass vessel of salted water. “I charge this water as a Being of Water.” Dips athame into the water and draws invoking pentagram into the water then carries it to the Gatekeeper in the West.
Gatekeeper of Water: “Water! I, your Brother/Sister of Water, greet you with Water, and ask that you wash free all energies that do not serve in our rites tonight. I consecrate this circle with the Powers of Water!” (repeats while walking the circle deosil back to the gate. Priest returns water to altar.)
Priest: Holds bowl of salt. “I charge this salt as a Being of Earth.” Dips athame into salt and draws invoking pentagram into the salt. Then carries it to the Gatekeeper in the North.
Gatekeeper of Earth: “Earth! I, your Brother/Sister of Earth, greet you with Earth, and ask that you ground free all energies that do not serve in our rites tonight. I consecrate this circle with the Powers of Earth!” (repeats while walking the circle deosil back to gate. Priest returns salt to altar.)
Creating the Temple
Casting the Circle with the Besoms:
Priest: We cast the circle tonight with our besoms, held two-handed, horizontally with strength before us, low at hip height, handles end pointing left in our left hands, or deosil. As we begin the chant we’ll each in turn say “broom to broom the circle is cast” as we overlap our besoms, connecting handles over bristles, gripping together our own and the bristles of our neighbor’s below, forming our circle until it is whole and complete.
Then, raising them all to belly height, chant three times “Will to Will the circle is cast.”
Then raising the heart level, chanting three times, “Heart to heart the circle is cast.”
Then raising to head height, chanting three times, “Mind to mind the circle is cast.”
Then to full extension of our arms, chanting three times, “Spirit to Spirit the circle is cast.” Then continue chanting “spirit to spirit to spirit” until the cone of power is sufficiently raised, all moving forward, now pointing the besom handles straight up to a point above us. Priest will direct the peak by the volume and speed of the chant, throwing the power outward to the boundaries of the circle.
Priestess: “We raise up this power, closing it above us, as we draw down the heavens above. Now we all draw down from that peak with the handles of the besoms, moving outward toward the circle edge, pointing the energy outward to the boundaries of our temple space.”
“And we draw up the underworld below, closing the sphere of our temple.” We sweep up to hold our besoms with strength horizontally before us once more, facing the inner circle. “We stand now in a time between times, at these crossroads between the worlds in a temple of our own making. We charge this temple as our boundary; Only love will enter in, and only love will emerge. We charge it to be an amplifier and magnifier of our workings tonight. As above, so below; As below, so above. May all that we do in our Lammas ritual tonight, be for the highest good of all involved, harming none. Blessed be!”
All celebrants now lay their besoms along the circle’s edge to hold the space.
Opening the Gates:
Eastern Gate: Air
Spirits of the East, Powers of Air! Sylph and Dragonfly! We call your summer breeze to inspire our Lammas rites this night. Be with us now! Hail and Welcome! (Draws invoking pentagram with athame, kisses blade, bows to east.)
Southern Gate: Fire
Spirits of the South, Powers of Fire! Salamander and Lion! We call your summer sun to empower our Lammas rites this night. Be with us now! Hail and Welcome! (Draws invoking pentagram with athame, kisses blade, bows to south.)
Western Gate: Water
Spirits of the West, Powers of Water! Undine and Crab! We call your summer dew to impassion our Lammas rites this night. Be with us now! Hail and Welcome! (Draws invoking pentagram with athame, kisses blade, bows to West.)
Northern Gate: EarthSpirits of the North, Powers of Earth! Gnome and Stag! We call your summer fields to nourish our Lammas Rites this night. Be with us now! Hail and Welcome! (Draws invoking pentagram with athame, kisses blade, bows to North.)
Maiden: (Lights black Ancestor candle.) Ancestors of the Land, Blood, and Spirit! All those beings of good will who guard, guide and protect us, join us in Divine Love. We welcome you to our sacred space. Hail and Welcome!”
Priestess: (Lights Goddess candle.) “Great Mother! You who we know by your many beautiful names and faces, we call upon you this Lammas Night of High Summer. Stir within us now. You who have been with us from the beginning. You who nourish us, and teach us to enjoy our lives on Earth. You who will receive us in your embrace beyond the Veil, bless our Lammas Rites as we align with your Divine Love. Great Mother, Hail and Welcome!”
Priest: (Lights God candle.) “Great Father! You who we know by many powerful names and faces, we call upon you this Lammas Night of High Summer. Stir within us now. You who kindle passion’s courage and strength. You who guide and inspire us to accomplish our Great Work on Earth. You who teach us service and sacrifice, as you lead the way through the gates of death. You who are that which is attained at the end of Desire, bless our Lammas Rites as we align with your Divine Will. Great Father, Hail and Welcome!”
Setting Magickal Intent:
Tonight we celebrate the First Harvest Sabbat of Lammas. This is High Summer, and the bounty of our fields grow lush. This is the first of three harvest Sabbats. We harvest the first fruits of our labors that we may savor with gratitude. In our Great Work of Magick we begin reaping that which we sowed at Imbolc. For each of these gains, we are grateful. For each nourishment of the soul and body, we remember that life feeds on death; that the God of Light grows as the grains, and as the God of Darkness, is willingly shorn so that his people may thrive. Lammas is the satisfaction of toil and service. Lammas is the joyful sacrifice, given in humility. Let us take stock of our fields, and find them plentiful. Then let us offer our own sacrifices so that their full fruition may be realized, and shared generously within our interconnected web of existence.
These grapes in our cauldron are the nourishment of the Gods made manifest to sustain our Great Work. They represent all the bountiful blessings we may harvest in our lives this turning of the Wheel.
Power Raising Chant:
Grapes of gratitude are Growing
From the seeds of magick sowing
Harvest now in wisdom knowing
I toil and sacrifice for thee!
Fire Minister drums. We hold hands and do the “grapevine step,” dancing deosil, and merrily chanting, faster and faster until it peaks, then we sink that energy into the cauldron of grapes.
Celebrants all select a bunch of the grapes.
As you hold your bunch of grapes, call to mind the intention you set for yourself at Imbolc. Call to mind all that you’ve done this turning of the wheel toward accomplishing that goal.
What opportunities and accomplishments have you achieved so far?
What can we reap from the Great Work right now?
We ask now for guidance on what work is yet to be done so that we may bring our harvests to full fruition. <pause for messages to be received>
We ask now for guidance on what we must sacrifice during these fires of Leo, to clear space for these harvests to enter our lives. <pause for messages to be received>
Water Minister (as Diviner) now goes around to each person with a bag of runes, or a deck of tarot or oracle cards, inviting a single draw by each participant, giving each a brief message for their next instruction (a toil or sacrifice to make, a harvest that is coming, etc.)
In turn, each participant approaches the altar with their grapes. Each plucks a grape, states aloud their harvest with gratitude, and then eats the grape as we all applaud. They puck a second grape, and state what toil or sacrifice they will make over the remaining harvest season to further that work. They give that grape as a symbol of their offering in the bowl.
Offering Grapes of Gratitude
In an informal, casual milling about, all the celebrants go up to each other, and offer a remaining grape to individuals in the circle giving thanks to each other with something specific they appreciate about that person. The recipient offers them a blessing of good will and abundance for the rest of the coming year. (We usually just keep exchanging gratitude, hugs, compliments and blessings until all our grapes are gone.)
Blessings of the Wine and Cakes/Berries. (see this sample ritual for details) The plate and cup are passed around to be shared.
Deconstructing the Temple
Priest: Our Lammas Rites are complete and it is time to close the temple and step back into the flow of time. Let us bid our ancestors farewell.
Maiden: “Ancestors of spirit!…. Ancestors of the blood!….Ancestors of the land! Thank you for your presence here tonight. Stay if you will, but go if you must. Hail and Farewell!”
(Snuffs ancestor candle.)
Release Goddess and God:
Priestess: “Great Mother. We are honored by your guidance. Thank you for your presence in our Lammas Rites tonight. Walk with us in grace. Hail and Farewell.” (She puts out Goddess candle.)
Priest: “Great Father. We are honored by your sacrifice. Thank you for your presence in our Lammas Rites tonight. Walk with us in strength. Hail and Farewell.” (He puts out God candle.)
Closing the elemental Gates:
Gatekeeper of Earth: (facing North) “Spirits of the North, Powers of Earth! Gnome and Stag! Thank you for your presence here. We release you now, back to your sturdy realms. Hail and Farewell.” Draw banishing pentagram, kisses athame and points energies outward with a thrusting motion, and bow.)
Gatekeeper of Water: (facing West) “Spirits of the West, Powers of Water! Undine and Crab! Thank you for your presence here. We release you now back to your dreamy realms. Hail and Farewell.” Draw banishing pentagram, kisses athame and points energies outward with a thrusting motion, and bow.)
Gatekeeper of Fire (facing South) “Spirits of the South, Powers of Fire! Salamander and Lion! Thank you for your presence here. We release you now back to your courageous realms. Hail and Farewell.” Draw banishing pentagram, kisses athame and points energies outward with a thrusting motion, and bow.)
Gatekeeper of Air (facing East) “Spirits of the East, Powers of Air! Sylph and Dragonfly! Thank you for your presence here. We release you now back to your whimsical realms. Hail and Farewell.” Draw banishing pentagram, kisses athame and points energies outward with a thrusting motion, and bow.)
Releasing the Circle
Priestess: Directs the group to pick up their besoms, and like sweeping into the center, they reach out and gently draw in the boundaries of the temple, sweeping in closer and closer, until a dense sphere of energy. May the powers of our circle light our paths until next we meet again! So mote it be! (And all now direct that sphere up and out with a big sweeping motion.)
We all say together: “The Circle is open but never broken. Merry Meet and Merry Part and Merry Meet Again!”
For more of our group and private rituals, visit my Sabbats page!