July 31 (beginning at sundown)
Theme: First Harvest; Releasing; Skill; Accomplishments
Type: Seasonal Holiday ~ 1st Harvest Festival
Lammas celebrates the first harvesting of crops, the first of three harvest festivals. At this time the energies of the Earth begin to decline. Growth ebbs to completion; life loosens its passionate hold and prepares to yield up its fruits. The Earth is beginning the process of letting go, moving inexhorably toward darkness and Winter.
Corn and grains are of particular significance at this holiday. Traditionally, the newly harvested grain is made into bread to be shared with all in celebration. (The word Lammas is an Old English word meaning Loaf Mass). It is traditional to fashion a corn dollie from the last stalks of grain to be harvested. It was believed that these stalks contained the Spirit of the Corn. The bundle of grain is formed in the shape of a woman, the Harvest or Corn Mother. Traditionally, the corn dollie was hung first in the barn to preside over the threshing of the grain, and then in the farmhouse until the planting of the new grain in Spring. Today, the dollie is placed on the altar for the Mabon celebration and then hung in the house or on the front door until Imbolc when it is burned to release the "Spirit of the Corn" to bring life and growth once more.
The Irish name for this festival is Lughnasadh; it is a holiday sacred to the Irish God Lugh. Lugh is associated with the power of sun and light, and so fires were burned in honor of Him on this day. In addition to His associations with light, Lugh is a God of Skill and Craft, a master of all human skills. On this His feast day, it is particularly appropriate that we celebrate our own abilities, skills and accomplishments.
It is a time to ask ourselves: What are my talents? What are my skills? How do I express my creativity? How do I use my abilities to recraft my world ... to add beauty .... color ... richness? Whatever our talents or abilities, this is a time to recognize them and honor them, and to share our recognition of the talents and abilities of others around us. If you have had an interest or urge to develop a particular skill or creative expression, now might be the time to make a pledge or commitment to pursue your interest. By offering the fruits of our labors back to the Universe we enrich both ourselves and our world.