originally published in Imramma Magazine 7/26/15
It was on a Lammas night,
When corn rigs are bonie,
Beneath the moon’s unclouded light,
The sky was blue, the wind was still,
The moon was shining clearly… Robert Burns
Lammas, the festival of the First Fruits of the Harvest, is the first festival of the Waning Year. It is celebrated on July 31, while the climate (in the United States) is essentially still Summer. Never-the-less, technically, Lammas is the first day of Autumn.
However, some Witches often refer to the astrological date of Aug 6th as Old Lammas, and folklorists call it Lammas O.S. (‘Old Style’). This date has long been considered a ‘power point’ . When the Sun is 15 degrees in Leo.
To the Celts, Lammas was, of course, one of the four Great Fire Festivals, i.e., cross-quarter festivals. The custom of lighting bonfires to add strength to the powers of the Waning Sun was wide-spread. The Need-Fire seems to have been an integral part of most Fire Festivals, but was not limited to them. Since the ashes from such a fire had properties of protection, healing, and fertility, a Need-Fire might be lit at any time a “need” for such things existed.
I share a Lammas spell:
In a small sachet bag, (color your choice, I used purple for wishes), put in some basil and thyme, and your wish on paper, add some ashes from your need fire burned (even from a small cauldron). Dot your wish paper and bag with some prosperity oil. Tie the bag and carry with in pocket or purse even place under your pillow if want. Harvesting everything we desire.
As autumn begins, the Celtic Sun God enters his old age, but is not yet dead. The God symbolically loses some of his strength as the Sun rises farther in the South each day and the nights grow longer.
Lammas/Lughnasa is also one of the fairy festivals. A feast day of the fairy Aine. A Goddess of Harvest. There is a strongly held belief in Irish folklore that the success or failure of the harvest was dependant on the fairies!
Grab your fave tarot deck, (I pulled from 3) and I will share a Pentagram spread I devised for now til Mabon, using 5 cards. Place them as a star starting at the right down from the top and going around cliockwise so that the 5th card is the top of the star. They are read as:
1 What is the most nourishing fruit you have now?
2 What are you harvesting?
3 What needs to further ripen?
4 What need to cut away/change?
5 What need to prepare for Autumn Equinox?
What will be is. What was will be.
The Wheel of the Year forever turns.
Dark to light, light to dark,
Each season passes with lessons learned.
Celebrate in The Old Ways! Blessed Be!!!