An Introduction to Lughnasadh

Traditionally celebrated on August 1st, this Sabbat is named for Lugh, an ancient Irish Solar God.

Lughnasadh means “Games of Lugh”

It is also known as Lammas which means “Loaf-mass

This Sabbat is about preparation for the Dark Time of the Year, which is right around the corner.

Lammas falls roughly halfway between the Summer Solstice and Autumnal Equinox.

Since it is near the beginning of Fall, we are harvesting the first round of grain about now, so it is traditional to bake the first loaves of bread Ceremonially.

The Blessing that this First Harvest represents is called “Bron Trogain” which means “Harvest’s Beginnings

The Festival of Lughnasadh is a Festival dedicated to Male Energy, and Priests would preside to represent the Green Man and the Red Man. The two Priests would lead opposing teams, one of men and of boys, who would then compete for victory.

Lugh had many skills, which is why he celebrated games, and why we celebrate them in his honor. He was a God of Craftsmanship, so anything you can create, build or make with your own hands honors him!

Another tradition of Lughnasadh is Fairs, marking the beginning of Autumn, a final chance to come together and share abundance before the Dark Time begins.

Lughnasadh is, traditionally, a good time to bless and dedicate Magickal Tools, decorate or consecrate an Altar, and Bless a Home!

The God

Lugh is the God of Lughnasadh, and it is named after him.

Here he celebrates both the Harvest, in thanksgiving of his Stepmother, but it is also a celebration of her Funeral.

In this funeral he showed her praise by competing in games to show his honor, glory and strength; hence the competitions we partake in!

In other Legends, it is the celebration of Lugh’s marriage!

Lugh was also once a Fierce High King of Ireland, leader of the Faerie Court known as the Tuatha De Danann. He fathered the Famed Hero, Cu Chulainn.

The Goddess

The Step-mother of Lugh, Tailtiu, is also celebrated at Lammas.

She is the Goddess credited with introducing Agriculture to Ireland, and the whole Sabbat is about Harvests, so she is a big factor to this day as well!

Tailtiu is also known as Tailte.

Any of the Earth and Harvest Deities are acceptable to use in place of Lugh and Tailtiu, if there are ones you work with besides them!

Knowledge of the Day

The Seeds

Seeds gathered at Lammas were planted later, usually in some form of a Ritual. The plant that grew from it represented the bounty you were blessed with and the strength of your connection to the Lord and Lady.

The Ash Tree

Ash is the Sacred Tree of Lammas and Lugh.

It is associated with the Divine and with Knowledge. For this reason it is used in man spells, rituals and other workings.

The Bread

We eat bread, since it is made of grain which we harvest here. But bread also has a rich meaning in Paganism and Christianity as well!

The Bread represents the body of the fallen God, something Christians and especially Catholics would be familiar with.

In Paganism we celebrate his Death at the Autumnal Equinox, losing the Sun to the Dark Time, and await his birth again in the Spring with the return of the Light!

The Name

Lughnasadh comes from the name of the God, Lugh, and the Gaelic word Nasad which means “assembly”.

A modern Irish Gaelic word for August is Lunasa and in Scottish Gaelic it is Lunasda.

More About the Day

Lammas is a day of excitement and magic, as the Natural World is thriving around us; but overshadowed by knowledge that it will soon die, as did Tailtiu.

As the Dark Time of the Year is looming it is common to perform Protection Rituals at this time, especially those involving Ash. These workings would be performed over the Home, Property and People, capturing the Abundance of Nature to ensure their safety through the Winter Months!

While the nature of form of many of the traditions have changed, and the basic meaning of them may be lost, we still celebrate many of these traditions today, even outside the Pagan community – just look at Fair Season in the Fall.

~John William


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