The Wheel of the Year Turns: Lammas

10:40 AM

Loaves of freshly baked bread symbolize Lammas, the August 1st festival celebrating the start of the harvest season. At Lammas, fields of grain are about to be harvested, threshed, and milled. Soon, local orchards will yield apples; grapes will be picked from vineyards, and pumpkins will ripen in time for Samhain (Halloween). Lammas is a good time to honor the cycle of life, death, and rebirth of crops, and to reflect upon what we have personally sown, reaped, and released in our lives.

How did the God of Blacksmiths become associated with the harvest?

Lugh is the Celtic god of blacksmiths, metalworkers, and artisans. He was once an Irish king, and his foster mother was Tailtiu, an Irish Queen, and an Earth and Harvest Goddess. 

Tailtiu asked that her funeral games be held annually on the grounds where a great forest had been cleared. Some say men ordered by the king did the clearing. Others say the goddess herself did the work. Tailtiu asked for her funeral games to be held in peace. In return she would insure a good harvest. Upon her death, Lugh fulfilled his foster mother’s wishes and held a festival in her honor on August 1, 1420 BC. The feast and games took place at the cleared hillside of Tailte, in what is now Teltown, County Meath, Ireland. The games included much of what can be seen at modern Highland Games. The festival continued into the Middle Ages. Lunasa is the Irish Gaelic word for August. 

Adorn your Altar
Your Lammas altar should acknowledge the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Decorate your altar in fiery summer colors and add a sickle or scythe. (For a family-friendly version, fashion a facsimile from cardboard and aluminum foil.) Add a corn doll, seasonal flowers, a jar of honey, and a basket of corn or sheaves of grain. To represent Lugh, add a summer-colored candle and a hammer or tongs to represent blacksmiths. Lugh championed artistry and skills. So add a symbol of your own trade or talent.

Happy Lammas!

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Copyright 2016 Ariella Moon

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