We are quickly coming to the end of summer and the start of the major harvest seasons. Lughnasadh is the Sabbat that takes place on August 1, halfway between the summer solstice and the equinox. This festival is alternately known as Lammas, or Loaf Mass, because it marks the first harvest of wheat and grains. Customarily, our ancestors would celebrate this time by making bread and storing the grains away for winter.
In Irish mythology, the Lughnasadh festival is said to have been begun by the god Lugh as a funeral feast and athletic competition in commemoration of his mother or foster-mother Tailtiu. She was said to have died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. Tailtiu may have been an earth goddess who represented the dying vegetation that fed mankind. (linked reference)
As someone who does not take part in agriculture directly and does not have a corn or wheat field to tend, I typically will celebrate Lughnasadh with a feast of the local harvests, share stories, and play games or have friendly competitions.
Lughnasadh is the first the three harvest festivals and it’s a good opportunity to give thanks to the Gods for sacrificing themselves for us, so that we might be fed through the winter. For me, the harvest festivals are a clear sign that the work of the year is coming to a close.I don’t actually have any food storing to do since I live in a society where I can work all year long and earn my pay so that I may keep a roof over my head, cloths on my back, and food in my pantry. So what I end up working on during the year is a goal.
My goal for this year has been to grow my skills as a yoga teacher and work on gaining employment at a yoga studio. Typically, I start this kind of work at the Winter Solstice but this year I added a second project that works in tandem with the first and that is to deepen my path as a Priestess. I want to be able to offer something more to my path as a yoga teacher that includes my pagan spirituality.
When I pause at the solar festivals to give honor to the Gods and give thanks for all that they have provided us with, I like to look back and see my progress and forward at my possible futures. I will normally do some ritual work to bring forth my desired future and to lay the groundwork for what I need to achieve by the next Sabbat. I will often give back to the earth a special loaf of bread that I bake myself as my thanks for the Gods providing me with all that I need.
This year, I have been working with my coven to help them support their families. We have been quite successfully so far but we all had to go through a rough spring and early summer. We are just about ready to celebrate the union of two coven members and the joining of their families. All the while, they have found ways to support their new marriage, just in time for the ceremony. I cannot wait to see what the harvest has in store for us this season!