Lammas is probably easier to say (at
first), however, we celebrate this Sabbat as Lughnasadh (Pronounced
"Loo-na-sar"). It is a harvest celebration named for the Sun god
Lugh, and he was one of the most popular of the Celtic gods.
known to non-Celts as Lammas and is celebrated on February 1st
(August 1 northern hemisphere).
"Lammas", the common name for this
seasonal celebration in modern times comes from the word for "loaf
mass" which celebrates the bread made from the first grain to be
the first of three harvest festivals, and often the largest and the
most important followed by Mabon
and then the final harvest of the year which came at
the season that the Goddess becomes the Mother of the Harvest. She
is strong, her face dark from the sun and wind. he carries a scythe
and a basket of fruits, vegetables and ears of corn. She knows that
in order to eat bread we must cut the grain. In fact, is we didn't
cut it, it would die anyway, for that is the only way next year's
grain can grow. We can call on the Harvest Mother when we have
difficult decisions to make or hard tasks to perform. We must face
our fears of failing, of losing the harvest, or making mistakes. She
gives us the strength to do what must be done, to tell the truth,
even when it hurts, and to say no to things that are not right.She
loves us, her children, and her gifts are food, abundance, and
plenty. Everything we need to live and grow.
The success of the harvests would
determine the quality of life for the rest of the year. Everyone who
was able would gather to harvest the all-important grain crop with
everyone in the community working together. At the completion of the
work they then would celebrate and thank the gods for the bounty of
the fields. In Europe the Corn Mother was made of the last sheaves
of corn harvested; as her spirit was believed to be embodied in
these sheaves of corn. The "corn dolly" can be burned in a ritual
circle at Lughnasadh to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, or
would be kept safe throughout the winter and then buried in the
spring with the sowing of the fields. It is fun to make these
dollies (See here for instructions).
In the modern world we tend to become
distanced from our food. When all the food we eat comes wrapped in
plastic or inside a can or freezer box, we tend to forget the effort
that has gone into producing it. We should always be thankful for
the food on our plates and give thought to how it got there, you
don't have to wait for Lughnasadh for that!
Altar arangements - The Altar should have on it
some of the first fruits, grains, and Vegetables that
are now ripening. You can add things that represent your
skills: a book, a drawing, even a hammer! Bread you have
baked in the figure of the Sun or a man (to represent
the God) could also be used for the Simple Feast during
ritual. Corn Dollies, symbolic of the Goddess, are
appropriate as well.One section of the altar can
represent your hopes. Look for pictures in magazines and
make a hope card.Another section of the altar can be for
your fears. Draw pictures of them, fold them up, and, as
part of your ritual, burn the pictures and release your
fears.Have you and/or your ancestors been part of a
struggle for justice? What struggles going on in the
world right now could use some help from Lugh's spear?
Put something on the altar to represent those struggles.
Colours - Although we still see green, for the
fields and trees have reached their full spectrum of
foliage, the focus is in the yellows and golds of the
corn, and the black of the Dark Mother. Bone and Tan
accent this holiday nicely.
Incense, Herbs and Woods - frankincense,
sandalwood, copal and heather. Dill, Yarrow, Sunflowers,
Rye, Oats, Corn, Wheat, Hazelnuts, Grape Vine, Hazel and
Lughnasadh activities might include:
Spend time in your garden. If you don't have a spot of your own land
to plant and harvest, investigate the possibility of starting a
community garden or visit one of the many farms which allow you to
harvest your own vegetables.
Make a corn dolly using stalks of wheat or corn husks.
Start a compost heap. If your plot of land is small you can even
start one in a large plastic garbage can. Poke some holes in the
bottom to allow gasses to escape, fill about half full with grass
clippings, vegetable parings and other biodegradeable materials,
moisten well and allow to sit. Turn the contents periodically to
allow air to circulate and moisten occasionally. When the materials
begin to decompose you can add a handful of earthworms to speed up
the process. You can also add vegetable parings from time to time.
It will take several months, but you should be able to use your
compost in your garden next spring.
Seed and Corn Necklaces
· Dried beans
(several different kinds and colours)
· Dried corn which
has already been removed from the cob
· Dried corn on
the cob ("Indian" corn)
· 1 yard heavy
thread or dental floss for each child
· 1 tapestry
needle for each child
· finger bandages
(just in case somebody gets stuck!)
Prepare the strings
in advance by threading the needles and knotting the end. Prepare
the beans and dried corn by soaking overnight in water.
children the ear of dried corn (Not the corn you soaked!)
and show them how the kernels can be removed from the cob.
(Twist the cob firmly in your hands while holding it over a
towel or blanket. The corn should pop off--once you get it
started it isn't difficult to remove all the kernels.)
children how to use the needle to poke a hole through the centre
of each corn kernel and bean. Alternate corn and beans or make
some other pattern.
When the strand
of strung seeds is about 24" long, set it aside overnight or
hang it in the sun to dry (the seeds will shrink slightly). When
it is dry, push together the seeds to cover any spaces which may
Tie the ends
together in an overhand knot and cut off excess string. Slip the
necklace over your head or wind it around your wrist as a
You could also do
1 C. sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 C. sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 C. yellow cornmeal
1 C. milk
1/4 C. shortening.
together the dry ingredients. Then mix in the remaining ingredients.
with a rotary beater or electric mixer just till smooth. (Don't
overbeat or your muffins will have peaks on top--they taste the
same, but they look funny!)
well greased muffin tins about 2/3 full.
at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Makes about a dozen
1 C. sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 C. milk
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups cooked corn
Vegetable oil in heavy saucepan or
inches of oil to 375.
remaining ingredients except for corn with rotary beater or mixer
rounded spoonful into hot oil.
until light golden brown (do not overcook or allow the oil to become
paper towels. Makes a lot! (Serves 6-8 adults)
1 cup sifted
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup yellow corn
1 cup milk
1. Sift flour
with sugar, baking powder, and salt then stir in cornmeal.
2. Add eggs,
milk, and shortening.
3. Beat with
rotary or electric beater till just smooth. (Do not overbeat.)
4. Pour into
greased 20cm x 20cm x 5cm pan. Bake at 220°C for 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Corn Sticks:
Spoon batter into greased corn-stick pans, filling 2/3 full. Bake in
hot oven (220°C) 12 to 15 minutes.
diced green pepper
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup chopped
mushrooms, stems removed
3/4 cup bread
cooked, crumbled bacon
12 small slices
1. Preheat oven
2. Melt 1
tablespoon of the butter over low heat and sauté the mushroom stems,
green pepper, and onions until tender.
3. Mix in the
bread crumbs, bacon, thyme, salt & pepper.
4. Spoon the
mixture into the mushroom caps and place the caps on a cookie sheet.
5. Melt one
tablespoon of the butter & drizzle over the caps, then top each with
a cheese slice.
6. Bake for 15
minutes. (Serve hot).
Yield: About 1
in Faery Butter
hard-boiled egg yolks
tablespoons orange flower water (optional)
sweet butter, softened
noodles (any kind), cooked
teaspoon dried thyme
teaspoon dried sweet basil
the egg yolks, sugar, butter, thyme, basil, and orange water
in a small bowl until smooth.
enough of the butter with the hot noodles to coat the
noodles with a golden-yellow colour.
3. Garnish with
Yield: 8 Servings
Once upon a time
there was a little girl named Meagan. She lived with her mother
Elizabeth, her father Michael, her brother Corwin and her cat
One day Meagan
was helping her mother do the grocery shopping. They were buying
ingredients to make bread. They got flour, yeast, and molasses.
Meagan was very excited. She was going to help make the bread for
her family's Lammas celebration. Meagan knew that Lammas was also
called the 'Loaf Mass' by some Christians. It was a holiday to
celebrate the grain harvest. She helped her mother put the groceries
into the cloth bags and carry them to the car. Soon they were ready
to go home and start making the bread.
Meagan, "can we make a loaf for Cindy and Mrs. Hanson?"
"I think that's a great idea! We're going to make a loaf for each of
them, two for the coven and maybe a loaf for Nana and Gamma Lee and
Granpa Scott. How many loaves will we need to make?"
and thought. She started to count on her fingers. "Hmmm," she said,
"let's see, two and two is four and one is five and one is six. We
need to make six loaves of bread to have enough for everyone."
said her mother, "and as soon as your brother gets home we'll start
unload the groceries when they got home. She helped set out the
ingredients for the bread. Then she decided to make cards to go with
the bread until Corwin got home. She made a card for her best friend
Cindy and Mrs. Hanson who lived down the street. She made a card for
her Nana. She made a card for Gamma Lee and Granpa Scott. Corwin was
still not home.
Her cat Starweaver jumped up into her lap and started to purr.
"Gosh," she said to him, "I don't think that Corwin will ever come
home!" She decided to make a card for Gwennie's new baby. Gwennie
was in their coven and would be having a baby very soon. Michael had
told Meagan that the midwife said that Gwennie's baby would probably
be a little boy.
chose a red crayon for fire. Meagan drew a red lion to stand for
fire and the South. She drew a yellow eagle for air and the East.
She drew a blue dragon for water and the West and she drew a green
stag for earth and the North. Meagan stopped and looked at her card.
She opened it up and put a silver Goddess on one side and a gold God
on the other.
Just then Corwin
came in the back door with their father. His face was pale. He had a
white cast on his arm. Meagan jumped up from the table just as her
mother came into the room.
hugged Corwin tight. "Corwin fell from the tree he was climbing at
the park and broke his arm. He'll have to keep the cast on for
awhile but the doctor said that it was a clean break and should heal
Meagan put her
hand on Corwin's good arm. "I'm sorry," she said, "will we still
make bread?" Elizabeth looked at Michael over Corwin's head, "That
depends on how Corwin feels, honey." Corwin sighed, "I think I'll be
okay but I'm just gonna sit in the armchair and supervise."
Corwin get settled in an armchair in a corner of the kitchen. They
made the dough for the bread and set it aside to rise. Meagan showed
Corwin the cards she had made. "Hey, that's neat," her brother said,
"I think I'll make a card for Gwennie and the baby later too. But
right now I'd like to take my medicine and lay down."
Corwin went to
his bedroom. Michael and Elizabeth were both doing other things
while they waited for the bread to rise. Meagan felt all alone. She
decided to make an extra special card for Corwin to help make him
feel better. She used all her favorite colors. She took her time and
was very careful. The dough still wasn't ready to cook.
Meagan looked at
the timer. It was about to go off! She called her parents. "We're
coming," chuckled Michael. Meagan jumped around the kitchen
shouting, "It's time! It's time!" "Hush," said her mother, "we don't
want to wake up Corwin. First we have to punch down the dough and
let it rise again. We'll wake up Corwin just before we're ready to
cook the bread." Meagan sighed, "How much longer?"
and showed her the timer. Meagan sighed again. She had already made
tons of cards. What could she do while she was waiting for the
bread? She decided to make a present for the new baby and for
Corwin. She went and got two jars from the recycle box. She cleaned
them very carefully. She saw her father in the workshop and asked
him to punch some long slots in the jars. "What are you making?"
asked Michael. "I'm making a saving's jar for Corwin and one for
Gwennie's new baby," said Meagan. "That's a great idea!" said
Michael, "Why don't you go decorate the jars and I'll have the tops
ready for you by the time you're done."
Meagan took the
jars up to her room. She glued on sparkles. She used yarn. She set
the jars aside to dry and went back to the workshop. Michael had
just finished filing the slots smooth. Meagan took the lids up to
her room. She took out her button collection. She very carefully
picked out buttons to fit on the lids. She glued buttons all over
the lids in a spiral design. She hid the jars away so that Corwin
wouldn't see them if he came into her room. By the time she had gone
back to the kitchen it was time to bake the bread.
feeling a little better. Soon the house was filled with the
delicious smell of baking bread. When the loaves were done, they set
them out to cool. Meagan and Corwin decorated some paper to wrap the
bread in for their friends.
Soon it was
Lammas. They put the bread on the altar with some real grain that
someone had brought from their farm. Meagan looked for Gwennie but
she didn't come. Someone told her that Gwennie was working on having
her baby. While they were in Circle they asked the Lord and Lady to
watch over Gwennie and her baby. When Circle was over everyone came
back into the house. Michael checked the phone messages.
It is a boy!" he
shouted, "Little Arthur Linden born at 6:22 PM. He weighed 6 pounds
11 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. Baby and parents are doing
Everyone was very
excited. Someone mentioned taking a present by their house. Meagan
asked them to wait before they left. She ran to her room and got the
card and the jar she had made. She also got the card and jar she had
made for Corwin. Corwin saw the jars and asked her what they were
for. "Well, one is for you and one is for Arthur for being born,"
she said, "since he's just a baby and won't care you can pick out
which one you like best." Corwin took the jar that had blue and
silver buttons on the top, "This looks like the night sky. Thanks
Sis, this really makes me feel better." He gave her a hug. Meagan
felt warm inside. Corwin had picked the jar that she had made while
thinking of him. She gave the other jar to the grownup who was going
by Gwennie's house. Everyone liked her present.
She told everyone goodnight and went into her room. She got ready
for bed. When she got into her bed she found a piece of paper and a
shell on her pillow. The paper was from Corwin and said "Thank you
for being my sister." Meagan smiled and went to sleep holding her
new shell. Her cat Starweaver came in and curled up at her feet. It
had been a good day.
by Kathryn Dyer
The Grasshopper and the Ant
adapted from the
tale by Aesop
Once upon a time
there was a very hard-working ant. Every day he worked from sunup to
sundown collecting food and carrying it to his ant hill where he and
his brother and sister ants stored it safely for winter.
Living next door
to the ant was a grasshopper. The grasshopper was lazy. All he
wanted to do from sunup to sundown was to play his fiddle in the
sunshine and sing and dance. He would watch the ants going to and
fro from their ant hill and he would sing:
[Tune for all
songs: London Bridge is Falling Down]
"Hurry, hurry, work all day
Never any time for play...
Sit and listen to my song.
The day is warm and life is long."
usually just ignored the grasshopper when he would sing his song.
They were too busy collecting food to worry about what a silly
grasshopper might have to say, but the ant cared what might happen
friend the grasshopper, so he
made up a song of his own:
play all day...
Play your fiddle while you may.
Winter comes with ice and snow.
How you'll live, I just don't know."
grasshopper had never really thought about winter. Perhaps the ant
was right; maybe he should collect some food for the winter.
The grasshopper started looking for food, but then he got distracted
by the clouds in the sky and the song of a bird and he decided to
a new song instead:
scurry, work all day.
You should take some time to play.
Clouds float by and birdies sing
I'll work later... it's still Spring."
The ant just
shook his head in disbelief and kept on working. From time to time
the ant would remind the grasshopper that he needed to save food for
the Winter, but the grasshopper always had an excuse to do it later.
the sun was shining bright in the Mid-summer sky, the grasshopper
scurry, work all day.
You should take some time to play.
Grass grows green and sun does shine
I'll do work another time..."
When the chiily
Autumn breezes began to pull the leaves from the trees, the ants
weren't the only ones hurrying to bring food into their houses. The
squirrels and chipmunks also tried to convince the grasshopper to
save for the coming Winter, but the grasshopper just laughed and
are falling down.
Nuts and apples on the ground.
Though there's frost up in the air,
I won't work...I just don't care."
As the days grew
colder, the ant tried again and again to get his friend to find a
warm house and to save some of the nuts and seeds that were lying on
the ground. The grasshopper would just laugh at the ant and went
right on playing his fiddle and singing and dancing.
Then, one morning
when the ant woke up, he couldn't hear his friend singing. The ant
looked for the grasshopper and found him frozen to death with his
fiddle in his hands. The ant shook his head sadly and sang:
silly, always played...
Never worked a
Never planned and now you're gone.
I will really miss your song."
Then the ant
crawled back into his nice warm anthill with all his brothers and
sisters and they all had a nice big breakfast.