By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Hello, and welcome to my first “new” blog on our new blog address. We are readying to celebrate Lughnasadh/Lammas, and it seems a bit strange to be celebrating a first harvest already. The summer has been brutal for many… flooding in Germany, China, wildfires in upper Midwest US and British Columbia, Canada…heat waves everywhere that are hotter than ever. Just heard recently on news that India was needing to create its own rain using drones [don’t ask me how, not that technically minded!] to relieve the summer heat. And there are surges galore of the Covid delta variant. Don’t leave! I’m not naysaying and trying to put you off, really. Let’s turn this around…
When you have a tonne of lemons all you can do is make lemonade… and lemon cake… and lemon tarts and… let’s make something positive of it all, something magickal.
Lughnasadh is the time of offering first fruits, feasting, handfasting, fairs, and athletic contests. As it happens, we are seeing quite a lot about the athletic contests getting underway in Japan, known as the Olympics. Let’s all get behind our countries and cheer them on. It really is a good way to celebrate the coming of Lughnasadh.
In Medieval times, particularly in Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lammas; it meant that the previous year’s harvest had run out early. I would imagine the women-folk may have had a word with themselves for making those extra loaves here and there during the year for friends and family, but what else could you do? However, on August 1, the first sheaves of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season. And the gratitude was joyous on that night as I’m sure you can imagine.
A good deal of us do not need to wait until first harvest to have a loaf of bread, obviously. However, we are finding ourselves needing to wait for other things which we deem necessary. Let’s pretend we don’t need to wait. One way to celebrate, of course, is with your immediate family – the ones you have lived with and bubbled with the entire pandemic, but what if you have a few friends who are fully vaccinated? Of course, I believe in taking precautions around even those fully vaccinated but maybe, particularly if you are alone, you could invite at least one or two to celebrate with you. That way you could still socially distance and enjoy each other’s company by having a nice slap up meal, some drinks, and general witchiness!
For children, planning a small Olympic-themed back garden event would be lovely for them. Medals to be awarded to each child for their participation and their best-of performance so that every child goes home a winner. As children under 12 in most places aren’t vaccinated perhaps you could stitch up their own mask with their country of choice to represent [even if they have never been to that country] on it.
Are there married couples in your coven or circle of friends? Perhaps a handfasting would be a nice celebration to re-affirm their marriage vows or their first handfasting. Mind, some may not be up for it but there could be. I love a good handfasting!
Have a bread making fair in your neighbourhood. Or if you have a community centre to hold it in, more the better. Contact all the people you know and your neighbours and ask that they bake a loaf of bread to be donated. You can create a worthy cause for the sales to go to in order to create more interest. Mind, you don’t need to tell everyone, unless you know they are Pagan or witches, that the bread-making is because of Lughnasadh [for which they would give you blank look, anyway], but everyone can get their heads around something like contributions toward the NHS or their healthcare system wherever you live, or for helping families cope with food insecurity, or whatever great cause you wish. This can all be performed socially distanced and masked.
Whatever you choose to do, it is a wonderful time to honour Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills and was honoured in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe.
It’s often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our Medieval ancestors had to endure. They could not pop to the shops for a loaf of bread and probably would not get much assistance from neighbours this time of year so close to first harvest. No one wanted to be caught without. They also had their own pandemics to worry about. Still, they understood the wheel had turned yet again and that things would become easier in time. They celebrated this and so should we all. Happy Lughnasadh!
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings for all whom this way wander x