Lammas: the Sabbat I Always Forget

Celebrated around the 1st of August, also known as Lughnasadh. Under the sign of Leo.

Lammas is first of three harvest festivals celebrated by witches. It reaffirms the rites performed in the fertility festivals: assuring that the harvest will not just be plentiful, but that the fruits of that harvest will fill their life-sustaining function. This is an excellent holiday to honor sacrificial harvest gods, such as John Barleycorn, Dionysus, Tammuz, and of course, Lugh. This is also an ideal time for cauldron rituals.

Celebrations involve blessing of grains & loaves.

From my own formal Book of Shadows, drawn largely from the works of Janet and Stuart Farrar as well as other “traditional” sources.  Its very brevity speaks volumes.  I mean, seriously: y’all read this blog.  Even when I don’t have much to say, I take a while to say it.

Back in Lawrence, the first of August was always fraught because of my job.  Most of the leases in town turn over on that day, and the jeweler I worked for was also a landlord.  Even when I wasn’t, myself, moving, the whole week surrounding Lammas was fucked dealing with refurbishing his apartments almost literally overnight.  On what was almost always the hottest day of the year.

Not the sort of conditions that really facilitate a religious experience.  And … I’ve never managed to escape the Midwest, which means that Lammastime remains hot and nasty as fuck.  Although I’m better with the heat now than I ever have been, it still leaves me crushed and oppressed.  This year more than most.

There was a public ritual last Sunday. Pasiphae and Aidan attended; they did a ritual to summon rain.  I wanted to go, but I was working the mall on the wrong side of town. I would have been two hours late, and that shit is never cool.  I never got around to celebrating it on my own, either. I didn’t even make any mead.

I think Scylla put it best in her tumblr post:

But there’s nothing fertile, or restful right now. There’s angry fire, bitter wind, and pain. This is not “Fall” – this is Sekhmet at Noon, throwing iron bolts down at the unbelievers. This is “Will it ever rain? Will it ever be cool? Will Winter come? Is Winter going to be as mean and fearsome?”

There is no loving father-god slipping his lance into any fecund goddess’ chalice. There’s no fucking.  There’s no fertility. No. Fucking. Fertility.

Candles? AT A TIME LIKE THIS?! WHAT THE FUCK?! Baking? Holy shit, howabout NO? You want to eat bread and heavy shit? I want to remember what not dying of heat stroke feels like.  (Bold italics mine.)

And then there’s the whole question of, what does this harvest mean in the modern world?  Or as an urban witch?

So, yeah.  I skipped Lammas again.


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