… is celebrated on 1st August every year. Lammas is an ancient Gaelic festival, with festivities on this day stretching as far back as the first Anglo Saxon settlements in the 6th Century AD, and is known as Lunghnasadh in the Gaelic tongue. Literally translated it means Lugh’s Gathering and Loaf Mass and is the time of year when we see the first harvests of fruits and grains and give thanks to our life gifting May Queen, now our Mother Earth Goddess, for blessing us with the crops to make enough food to last us around the next spin of the wheel of the year.
Whilst many consider this to be a Christian festival, the honouring and celebrating of the earth and the fruits of nature in all it’s colourful and cyclical glory is very much reminiscent of the practices of pagan earth based religions rather than the omnipotent patriarchy of Christianity. The Lammas festival is incorporated into the pagan wheel of the year for this very reason; the honouring of the earth and the bountiful sustenance’s she provides to us year in and year out.
This day is also called High Summer by many; granted the days have started to noticeably shorten by 1st August, the sky is darker on a night showing us more of his stars for us to wish upon, but the days and nights remain warm and we are only at the half way point between the beginning of summer on 21st June and the beginning of autumn on 21st September.
So, as Pagans, how do we celebrate this day and give thanks an honour to our mother earth, our goddess? It is customary to bake (or buy if you don’t have the time or inclination) beautiful breads from grains and fruits. Communal celebrations see pagans from all paths forming friendships in magical circles, sharing breads and other earthy foods with each other. Songs are sung, drums beat in time with the heartbeat of the goddess and folks dance and tell stories amidst their own. There is laughter, merriment and happiness, this is a time to spend outdoors with a heart filled with joy, gratitude and community.
I celebrated exactly like this last year in the most wonderful surroundings of the Spirit of Awen Camp in Gloucestershire. This week long pagan camp is one of the most wonderful places I have ever had the privilege to spend time. The community welcomed me with open arms, I made deep and profound lifelong friends and everything in my life changed for the better from the moment I set foot on the camp site. The Lammas picnic was a wonderful day filled with everything I hold dear about being a pagan; honouring the earth, forming friendships based with genuinely good people, spending time in and with nature, singing with the Goddess, dancing to the beating of drums and drinking good cider and mead round a roaring camp fire.
This years celebrations were very different but equally as wonderful. COVID-19 meant it was not safe for the Spirit of Awen Camp to go ahead but that didn’t mean we couldn’t come together as a family at home to give our offerings of thanks to the Mother Earth Goddess.
In another of the most widely practised customs of Litha, we, as a family, made corn dolls to throw into our ritual fire along with our wishes or intentions for the future. We made a fun game of this for the children and hid them around the garden for them to find, before putting magic fire packets on fire to make beautifully colourful flames and throwing our corn dolls into the fire to ask who or whatever we personally believe in or work with to guide us down the right path to see our wishes, hopes and dreams come to pass.
Of course, we can’t tell what our wishes are, as to speak a wish made is to ensure it will evade us. But keep reading the unravelling ramblings, rituals, practices and adventured of Ginger Witch to see more of this pagan path and more of the unrivalled stunning diversity of Northumberland.
Stay Wild & Blessed Be