The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy Lughnasadh! What are you thankful for?

Happy Lughnasadh to you!,

Today is August 1st, Lughnasadh or Lammas to many pagans and Wiccans around the world. This is a Sabbat, a solar celebration that marks another click on our pagan wheel of the year.

This celebration has been recognized as the first harvest for centuries and with good reason. November first marks the third and last food harvest of the growing season and for many, centuries ago, there was not to be another food harvest until the following August! That's 9 months away! Food was to be stored and carefully guarded throughout the year, but mishaps occurred, from mold to rats to fire, any number of hazards could happen that would destroy the grain crop, virtually all the food a village or tribe had to survive on, back in the day.

Ancient man did not eat meat as often and as much as we do today. Firstly, one had to hunt and actually kill an animal, which, when using hand held weapons or bow and arrows was not that easy to do. Then storing the meat was difficult and most of it had to be eaten quickly. Dried meat was made but a substantial grain harvest was needed to sustain a community.

Vegetables as we know them today also did not exist for Celtic man. The Celtic culture is what I write about primarily because that culture is where our Wheel of the Year developed from. Vegetables such as maize (our corn on the cob), potatoes and tomatoes came from other cultures centuries later. Celtic man had cabbages, leeks, onions and turnips. These vegetables needed to be stored throughout the winter months also, with similar hazards threatening their existence as those that could destroy the grains.

So when Lughnasadh came around, the first grain harvest of the growing season, a cause of celebration and thanksgiving abounded. Bread, fresh baked bread was made. Fermented drinks made from grain, similar to beer was made. Fresh cooked cereal such as oatmeal and meal made from millet was cooked. Soups and stews with fresh vegetables and herbs, strengthened by the addition of grains was cooked over large fires and the first animals of the year were slaughtered to create an abundant feast that everyone would enjoy and most likely would over indulge in, having gone for so long with rationed supplies.

A time for Thanksgiving was recognized by all. Thanking the Goddesses and Gods for the survival of the clans, villages, tribes and family was very important to the people of the day. They realized and believed it was only through the beneficence of the Gods that they survived another year. Everyone helped with the bringing in of the grain harvest. The young, the strong, women, men and the elderly helped in anyway they could. Everyone was needed for this very important occasion.

The strong men and boys that may have been away from home fighting to keep marauders from overtaking their homeland borderlands would have returned as would every fighting force regardless of culture to help their families bring in the harvest. For without the harvest, their families back home would perish and there would truthfully be little to fight for should that happen. So, everyone followed a 'cease fire' and went home to become farmers.

While at home, during the harvesting and feasting time, games would be played. These Celtic games were ofttimes called the assembly or games of Lugh, which is the translation of Lughnasadh. Lugh being a Celtic God of the harvest, of light, of war as well as other attributes. These games were similar to the Greek Olympic Games and were games of warfare. So while the soldiers were home they were still keeping in fighting form as they competed with one another in these games.

This is a time of celebration, a time of abundance, fertility of the Earth Mother, a giving of thanks and a taking of sustenance. This is a time where one can contemplate their life and give gratitude for the blessings abundant within it.

What are you thankful for?

Take a moment and light a candle, make a bountiful feast or give love to someone to show your gratitude to the Gods. Allow your gratitude to overwhelm your soul and so it will spill out and affect others and thus it will return back to you magnified and transformed into divine energy.

So Mote it Be!

Peace and Happiness

© 2010-2012 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited.

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