Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas or First Harvest, is celebrated each August 1 at the halfway point between the Summer Solstice (Litha) and Autumn Equinox (Mabon). As flowers come into full bloom, fruits and vegetables ripen, and new life from Spring continues to grow and develop, we are for the first time fully aware of the growth cycle and our role in it. Lughnasadh shows us how our efforts can manifest and that hard work will glean results.
While Summer has peaked and the days now begin to grow shorter, harvesting begins and we are aware that Autumn and Winter will come in time. Reaping the fruits of our Spring and Summer labor is an experience for all the senses as we fully immerse ourselves in the season. Our collective awareness shifts to the bounty of the land and all the cosmic forces that have played a role in the Earth’s bounty. We are called to share what we reap and in doing so express our gratitude for all that we have and all that we receive. Sharing of the harvest with family, friends, and community connect us deeply to others and serve as food for our bodies and relationships. Our souls are nourished though cooperative actions and we are overcome with the joy of giving as the pain and sweat of our hard work to get here slowly fades behind us.
The abundance of what has grown around us an what continues to grow within us cannot be overstated. Just as the Earth has become lush, green, and full of life, we too are full of potential and vitality. Ideas, passion, projects, attitudes, relationships all flow freely and beckon us to collect and harvest them in our growth and development. Embrace the warmth of Lughnasadh, the balmy nights, and the glow of sun-kissed skin as you recognize your own growth as a mirror of the year cycle around you and give gratitude for all that has and continues to come to fruition.
All of our rituals are unique, personal, and deeply sacred. I’ve put together ritual components to guide you in celebrating Lughnasadh. Work with the elements that resonate with you and honor your connection to this sacred time. Whether your ritual be private or public, I wish you comfort, clarity, and celebration. The following ritual components are intended as a mix-and-match menu so you can engage in the practices that you most connect with and enjoy.
- Colors: Yellow, Orange, Red
- Flowers: Yarrow, Calendula, Chamomile, Heather, Sunflower, Marigold
- Herbs: Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Mugwort, Rosehips, Thyme
- Crystals: Carnelian, Citrine, Sunstone,
- Trees: Oak
- Foods: Corn, Cornbread, Berries, Local Produce, Beans, Barley, Grains
In a space that will not be disturbed but is visible and accessible, begin to construct your Lughnasadh altar. Clear the surface of all items and use a natural cleaner to ensure a fresh surface. Drape a colorful cloth, piece of fabric, or decorative paper to designate your altar space. Assemble your altar space utilizing fresh cut or potted flowers, circular shaped dishes and bowls, imagery or figures representing harvesting, wreaths or garlands of flowers, and Goddess/God figures. As you place each item, hold it for a moment and connect with the energy it brings to your sacred space. Intuitively place your items on your altar and move them as necessary to accommodate for additional pieces.
This altar space can be used to meditate with, engage in energy work, read tarot, journal, or simply sit quietly and reflect. Speak to your altar and let all the components know what they mean to you and why they are important. Express gratitude freely.
Your altar is an ideal space to burn incense or candles and to charge and protect your energy work tools. Tarot or oracle cards make great additions and can also contribute to the energy at hand.
Those with deeper meditation and energy work practices may find this is a particularly potent space to receive messages, connect with sacred energy, and hear one’s intuition speak. As with all sacred spaces, do guard this area with bright white protective light and ask for divine barriers from anything that may interfere with your work. Open and close your sessions in recognition of this sacred space and use a mantra, prayer, or incantation to welcome energy, call in the 4 elements, and express gratitude.
LUGHNASADH & TAROT
If including tarot into your ritual feels appropriate, the Ten of Cups may be a good fit. The Ten of Cups is a card of bounty, community, and collaboration but also nods to healthy boundaries and mindful decision making. Generosity is at the heart of the Ten of Cups and it shows us that when we share what we have it is not in vain, rather it brings more to us through relationships, reciprocation, and good will. ‘Spreading the wealth’ doesn’t necessarily mean finances or physical items; ‘spreading the wealth’ can also be sharing your time, skills, emotions, and other intangible items of value. Given Lughnasadh’s connection to community and selfless sharing of the harvest, Ten of Cups reinforces that hard work, collaboration with others, and generosity are the foundation for a healthy life, balanced partnerships, and a thriving community.
LUGHNASADH CANDLES & INCENSE
Candles and incense are wonderful additions to any space, altar, or ritual. The flame of a candle or smoke from incense can be a wonderful focal point for meditation while also adding to the visual aesthetic and aroma of the space.
For your Lughnasadh altar candle, begin with a yellow, orange, or red candle. Chime candles can be gently rubbed with oil and rolled in dried herbs and flowers to dress them. Use a stand to burn them and be aware of any dressing that may catch fire during the burn. 7-day glass candles can have a very small amount of herbs and flowers added to the top prior to burning. Keep the wick trimmed as the candle burns and be aware of dressing that may catch fire, which could lead to glass breakage.
For your Lughnasadh incense blend choose herbs, flowers, and resins that are pleasing and seasonal. Combine your blend with a mortar and pestle, reciting a mantra, prayer, or incantation. Using a charcoal disk on a heat-safe surface, add small amount of your blend. Know that more incense creates more smoke; best to start small and slow.
Some herbal allies for your candles and incense that correspond with Lughnasadh include: Frankincense, Marigold, Mugwort, Rose Hips, Chamomile, and Thyme. Let your intuition guide you as you choose your blend; there is no wrong combination when your intention is pure.
If you prefer incense cones, our Hand-Rolled Incense • Lughnasadh are ideal for all your Lughnasadh rituals.
NOTE: Always burn candles and incense responsibly using heat-safe surfaces in well ventilated areas. Never leave burning items alone for any amount of time. Be aware of pets and children that may be nearby.
Lughnasadh Tea from Nor’Eastern Herb Company
INGREDIENTS: Chamomile, Mint, Rosehips
DIRECTIONS: Mix dry ingredients in equal parts or to taste to create an herbal blend. Add 1-3 TBS of the herbal blend to a tea filter or steeping insert. Pour boiling water over tea into a mug and cover for 5-7 minutes. Remove tea blend and press liquid from the herbs. Add a scoop of local honey and mix to incorporate. Allow to cool. Finish with milk of choice to taste. Enjoy!
MORE WAYS TO HONOR LUGHNASADH
- Show Appreciation – Lughnasadh kicks off a season of ‘thank yous’. As we begin to reap both literal and figurative harvests, it is critically important we also express our gratitude and give thanks for what the Earth and Universe provide for us. Put gratitude into motion with the Earth, others, and yourself. Every time you pick a flower, harvest a vegetable from the garden, or see new growth in a tree, thank the Earth. When you have coffee with a friend, a day together with your partner, or time with your family, thank them. When you accomplish a task, make progress in a new skill, or keep a promise to yourself, thank yourself. These moments of gratitude not only provide a moment of thanks but they also deepen our connections and allow us to more easily see positive things in life.
- Dance and Move – This is the perfect season to be outside and move you body in a way that feels good. Whether it be time in the Sun or moments under the Moon, embrace this time of being able to be comfortably outdoors. Sing, dance, drum, walk, stretch, or do any movement that connects you with the environment and your own body. This time when the bounty of nature begins to come to fruition is ideal for sharing joy and taking advantage of all nature has to offer. Holding a party, cookout, or any kind of celebration that fills the air with happiness and laughter is a wonderful way to give back to the Earth and share your vibrancy as the harvest season progresses.
- Create a Traditional Corn Doll – For many who observe Lughnasadh, making a corn doll is not a new idea. These adorable dolls are made from corn silk and husks by children and adults to symbolize the spirit of the corm and the first harvest of the season. There are many videos and tutorials available for making a corn doll or you can let your intuition guide your process. For materials, if you do not have access to fresh corn husks, the dried ones often found in Hispanic grocery stores are a great option. Once you have constructed your corn doll, place it in a space where you will be able to see and interact with it, perhaps on your Lughnasadh altar. Talk to your doll about what is growing, what needs assistance, and what has not sprouted this year. Thank your doll for helping to provide sustenance in the form of food and spiritual connections. Your corn doll will play a role in our upcoming Mabon ritual so be sure to keep it safe until then.
- Collect Seeds – As some early blooming flowers have reached their peak and begin to fade, this is a great time to collect their seeds. Seed collecting is done with plants that are annuals, meaning they must start anew annually. Peas, tomatoes, and beans are some great places to start if you’re new to saving seeds. Collecting seeds is only done when plants have reach the end of their life cycle which gives us an opportunity to connect with them before they are gone and reflect on their lives. For some plants, their seeds are incredibly tiny, unbelievably large, or strangely shaped yet they lead to beautiful and bountiful flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Seeking out seeds is a wonderful reminder of all our humble beginnings and how we all harbor the ability to transform. Seeds become a metaphor for life. For more info about saving seeds, check out this article from Seed Savers Exchange, a 501(c)e nonprofit.
- Embrace Water – While we all know how important it is to stay hydrated, especially in the hot weather, we may overlook the importance of immersing ourselves in water. Taking time to swim in fresh or salt water, dip your toes in a creek or wade in a river can be transformative for your energy, outlook, and emotional state. Many of us do not have easy access to places to swim in a natural body of water so when we get the chance to do so, we should embrace it with our whole heart. Allowing your body to move with the motion of the water and feel the lunar connection grounds us in the moment and reminds us of the brilliant fluidity in our own bodies. If you cannot make it to a swim area, try a long, cool bath with fresh herbs, or a foot soak with local flowers. However you’re able to incorporate water into your ritual is a wonderful way to honor yourself in nature and the nature in yourself.
- What in your life is bountiful and are you beginning to harvest?
- What activities do you most enjoy doing?
- Which crops in your life are not doing well and need more tending?
- What have you identified in your life that could be released?
- What do you need to cross the finish line in projects or attitudes you’ve been working on?
PAYING IT FORWARD
If advocacy is part of your personal rituals, I ask you to consider talking action along side your local food bank or food pantry. While celebrating Lughnasadh in this time of the first harvest, it is critically important that we share our abundance and ensure our neighbors have their needs met. This is an especially vulnerable time of year for children who rely on meals provided by their schools given that school is still out for summer break. Use the Find Your Local Food Bank tool on the Feeding America website to find a local food bank that you can contribute to or volunteer with.
(I do not have any affiliation with Feeding America other than supporting their work and appreciating their advocacy.)
When you have completed your ritual, take a few moments to sit with the emotions, and images that came to you. Journal your experience or take notes that you can return to as Summer begins to wind down. As you move from your sacred space drink a large glass of water and wash your hands in cool water. Express your gratitude for these moments and know you have participated in an ancient and sacred tradition.
I wish for you all a very blessed Lughnasadh. With love and light, Kristen