One way that I like to connect with Lughnasadh, the seasons, and the cycles of the earth is by tuning into The Wheel of the Year.
This is a relatively new practice for me, but I’m finding the journey into exploring this way of being in flow with the seasons to be an enjoyable one!
Read on to discover how you can connect more deeply with the earth’s natural cycles in your spiritual practice…
The Wheel of the Year can help you tune into natural cycles and helps you internalize these outward changes in nature as reflections of the growth and evolution you experience in your own life. Living in harmony with the seasons and the ebb and flow of nature helps you to lead a more soulful life and to cultivate a deeper understanding of yourself on a soul level. The Wheel of the Year helps you recognize who you are and your role in the world around you.
Set up your Lughnasadh Altar with me!
So what is the Wheel of the Year?
Separated into 8 main holidays, the Wheel of the Year represents seasonal cycles that focus on the 4 Solar Holidays of the year (also known as the quarter days). This stems from the Anglo-Saxon cultural observations of the solstices and equinoxes, with the addition of the 4 Gaelic, agrarian, seasonal celebrations (the mid-points between the solar holidays known as the lunar cross-quarter days or fire festivals).
Although some of the holidays observed in the Wheel of the Year are quite old, The Wheel of the Year as a whole is fairly modern (being developed in the late 1950s). Though I don’t personally follow the tradition that created the contemporary Wheel of the Year, I find it a helpful way to think about the passage of time and what’s happening at each time of year.
I tend to identify more with the Gaelic Cross-Quarter Days, like Lughnasadh, as they stem from my ancestral heritage, than I do with the Anglo-Saxon solstices and equinoxes, but I do find value in these quarter days because they more closely align with the seasons as I observe them where I live in Wisconsin. For this reason, these seasonal markers are important for helping me feel connected to what’s happening in nature all year long, while the cross-quarter days hold more spiritual significance for me in other ways.
An Introduction to Lughnasadh:
Lughnasadh is the third of the cross-quarter days, which marks the first harvest (and is the mid-point between Litha, the Summer Solstice, and Mabon, the Autumn Equinox). It is commonly celebrated on August 1st each year here in the northern hemisphere (or on February 1st in the southern hemisphere), but it may be celebrated between July 31st to August 2nd. Lughnasadh is the time of the first major harvest of the year of 3 in total – the second being Mabon at the autumnal equinox, and the final harvest being Samhain. It is also sometimes known as Lammas in the modern Pagan calendar.
- Green Aventurine
- Red Calcite
- Black Onyx
- Yellow Aventurine
- Rutilated Smoky Quartz
- Mahogany Obsidian
- Golden Tiger’s Eye
- Clear Quartz
- Moss Agate
- Garden Quartz (Quartz with inclusions of Chlorite and Lodolite)
- Peach Moonstone
- Red Tiger’s Eye
- Imperial Topaz
- Golden Quartz
- Black Obsidian
Lughnasadh Signifies the Time for:
- Honoring the Ancestors
- Honoring the Land
The fruits of your labor (reaping prosperity)
- Plentifulness & Fruitfulness
Why celebrate Lughnasadh?
Lughnasadh celebrates the first fruits of the labor put into tending the earth – it represents reaping the bounty of hard work and celebrating the bounty of the land.
At this time, summer berries were plentiful and could be gleaned from the land, and the first of the grain harvests could be turned to nourishing bread. This day captures the best of what is yet to come, the beginning of the season of abundance and a celebration of community efforts.
Ways to Celebrate Lughnasadh:
- Feasts are a common way to celebrate any Holiday, especially Lughnasadh (as it’s a time for harvest)
- Bake a loaf of bread (especially cornbread), enjoy eating it, and also leave a small piece on the land as an offering to the Earth
- Create a magical ink out of seasonal berries – infuse it with crystals and use it to write a gratitude list to celebrate the season (mulberries work great for this)
- If you have a garden or have grown any food or herbs, harvest anything that’s ready
- Connect with your family and friends
- Share your favorite recipes – collect these in a book, binder, or electronic file and prepare something using these recipes for a Lughnasadh feast (or anytime you want to connect with the energy of this holiday)
- Pick or buy a bouquet of flowers for your home or altar (especially Sunflowers, Yarrow, or Calendula)
- Try your hand at crafting something special, especially weaving or metal-work – it’s the perfect time for making new magical tools
- Make or eat jam made with your favorite seasonal berries
- Enjoy a glass of ale (responsibly) and pour a bit onto the earth as an offering of gratitude
- Dance or play music
- Bake oatmeal cookies & share some with your friends, family, or neighbors
- Have a picnic on a hilltop
- Enjoy an evening bonfire (be safe!)
- Harvest or buy some herbs and use them for making some magic
- Create your own Rowan branch cross from Rowan Twigs and red string for protection and hang it above the front door in your home
- Make a garland of berries and wear it for abundance (or hang it in your home for the day)
- If you’re able, set up a small area outside with any extra homegrown vegetables, herbs, flowers, or fruits to share with your neighbors and give them away to anyone who passes by as a gesture of abundance and community
- Volunteer at a local community garden to help with weeding or garden clean up
- Create a special Lughnasadh altar incorporating some of the correspondences in this article
- Tie a small ribbon (made of natural materials) to a fruit tree or food plant as a way to give thanks to the land for the abundance that it shares with all of us
Lughnasadh Goddesses, Gods, or Deities:
- Hestia (Greek)
- Abundantia (Roman)
- Cerridwen (Welsh)
- Rhiannon (Celtic)
- Epona (Celtic)
- Carman (Irish)
- Lugh (Celtic)
- Tailtiu (Celtic)
- Danu (Celtic)
- Demeter (Greek)
- Persephone (Greek)
- Damara (Celtic)
- Sulis (Celtic)
- Elen (Celtic)
- Saint Helen (Christian)
- Blodeuwedd (Welsh)
- Arianrhod (Welsh)
- Macha (Irish Celtic)
- Morrigan (Irish Celtic)
- Ceres (Roman)
- Vesta (Roman)
- Bran (Celtic)
- Morgen Glitonea of Avalon (Avalon Priestess Path)
- Gaia (Greek)
- Ker (Avalon Priestess Path)
- Farm Animals
- Rabbit & Hare
- Ale & Beer
- Stag (Deer)
- Aster Flowers
Spear & Shield
- Poppy Pods
- Ash Tree
- Horse & Mare
- Bull & Cow
- Apples & Apple Branches
- Rowan Branch Cross
- Goat & Sheep
- Holly Leaves
Boline & Sickle
- Woven Cloth
- Oak Trees
- Heather Ale
- Blackberry Leaf
- Rose Petals
Common Garden Sage
- Dark Green
Lughnasadh is also known as (or is related to):
- Feast of Bread
Lammas (Modern Pagan/Wiccan)
- August Eve (Celtic)
- Feast of the First Fruits (Anglo-Saxon & French)
- Lamb’s Mass (British)
Gwyl Awst / August Feast / Feast of Augustus (Modern Welsh Druidism)
Loaf Mass Day / Hlaf Mas / Hlafmaess (Anglo-Saxon)
- Bilberry Sunday / Garland Sunday (Celtic)
- Fomhar / Harvest – (Irish Gaelic)
- Lunasa / the August month (Irish Gaelic)
- Lunasda (Scots Gaelic)
- Lunasdal (Scots Gaelic)
- Laa Luanys (Isle of Man)
- Luanistyn (Manx Gaelic)
- Mean Fomhair (Irish Gaelic)
- Deireadh Fomhair (Irish Gaelic)
- Bon Trogain (Irish Gaelic)
- Festival of the Dryads (Greek)
- Marymass (Feast of the Assumption) – August 15th (Christian)
- La Feille Moire (Scottish)
- Domhnach Crom Dubh / Crom Dubh Sunday (Irish Gaelic)
- Lughnasadh: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Lammas
- Lammas: Celebrating the Fruits of the First Harvest
- Festival of Lughnasa
- Celebrating the Traditional Pagan Festival of Lammas: A Beginner’s Guide and Workbook for the Pagan Festival of Lammas from the Wheel of the Year
Disclosure: The links here are affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Yay!
*If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll be celebrating the festival of Imbolc today instead of Lughnasadh to keep with the seasonal cycles. In the Southern Hemisphere, Lughnasadh is usually celebrated during the time of the Northern Hemisphere’s Imbolc Festivities.
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