Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lammas/Lughnasadh: The First Harvest Festival



The Earth Mother is full with a ripening harvest and we celebrate the first fruits of our labor. Lammas also marks the return of Autumn. The first day of the Autumnal season, a time when all Grain Deities and Mother Goddesses are worshipped. " Lammas" is derived from the Anglo Saxon word "Half mass" meaning the feast of bread, so bread baking, kneading and eating the breads are another important aspect of this festival, as are all symbols and recipes of the grain. Lammas is also a time of transformation,  rebirth and new beginnings. This is a great time for prosperity and abundance rituals as well as fertility. Embrace your creativity with open arms!

Traditionally, Lughnasadh (July 31st or August 1st) is a harvest holiday, honoring the Celtic Sun God Lugh, a master of arts and crafts. We celebrate the first fruits & grains of the harvest. What are you harvesting in your life right now? Whether it's literally from your garden or your personal and/or business life it's time to honor your harvest and celebrate and honor your achievements!

What have you reaped and sown? What are your talents, skills and abilities that you can shine out into the world? It is true, we reap what we sow and in offering the fruits of our labors back to the Universe we enrich both ourselves and our world. The Goddess wants us to shine our Light into the World so Let it Shine!


Excerpt from Heartworks Healing Arts:
"Lammas celebrates the first harvesting of crops, the first of three harvest festivals. At this time the energies of the Earth begin to decline. Growth ebbs to completion; life loosens its passionate hold and prepares to yield up its fruits.  The Earth is beginning the process of letting go, moving inexorably toward darkness and Winter. 
Corn and grains are of particular significance at this holiday.  Traditionally, the newly harvested grain is made into bread to be shared with all in celebration.  (The word ‘Lammas’ is an Old English word meaning ‘Loaf Mass’).   It is traditional to fashion a corn dollie from the last stalks of grain to be harvested.  It was believed that these stalks contained the ‘Spirit of the Corn’.  The bundle of grain is formed in the shape of a woman, the Harvest or Corn Mother. 
 Traditionally, the corn dollie was hung first in the barn to preside over the threshing of the grain, and then in the farmhouse until the planting of the new grain in Spring.  Today, the dollie is placed on the altar for the Mabon celebration and then hung in the house or on the front door until Imbolc when it is burned to release the "Spirit of the Corn" to bring life and growth once more. 
The Irish name for this festival is Lughnasadh; it is a holiday sacred to the Irish God Lugh.  Lugh is associated with the power of sun and light, and so fires were burned in honor of Him on this day.  In addition to His associations with light, Lugh is a  God of Skill and Craft, a master of all human skills.  On this His feast day, it is particularly appropriate that we celebrate our own abilities, skills and accomplishments."
Traditionally loafs of bread are made for the Lughnasadh feast, as well as an abundance of grains, fruits and berries. Here are some wonderful recipes to help in your Lammas celebration!


Brigid’s Blackberry Pie
4 cups of fresh blackberries (thawed frozen berries are ok)
11/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a deep pie dish with the pie crust or purchase a commercially-made one. Set aside. Mix all other ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. If it appears too “wet,” mix in a little more flour (about 2 tablespoons). Turn the fruit into the pie shell and dot with butter or margarine. You can bake the pie as is, or cover it with another pie crust. Then score the top several times with a sharp knife. Bake for 1 hour, or until the top crust is a golden brown. Taken from Edain McCoy’s book “The Sabbats- A New Approach to Living the Old Ways”


Ritual Bread (recipe from Wycksted)
1 ½ c flour
1 ½ c whole-wheat flour (you may use gluten-free flour)
pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
½ tsp dried basil
50g butter
8 fresh corn kernels
½ pint buttermilk, approximately

Light a gold or yellow candle before you start work, this is done to honour the Grain Gods while you work. Place the first eight ingredients into a large bowl, rub in butter until mix resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the corn kernels and milk, always sunwise direction. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently. Shape into a round and cut a solar cross on the top, leave for 10 minutes. Bake at 180°C for 35 minutes, bread should sound hollow when tapped. Wrap in a gold or yellow cloth and serve bread hot or cold at your Lammas feast. Whoever gets one of the corn kernals should make a wish, if you get more than one, share them with a loved one.


Basil Pesto (recipe from Patti Wigington from about.com)

8 Cups fresh basil, washed and packed
1 C Parmesan cheese, grated
1 C olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds (optional)
1 Tbs, lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor or blender. Mix until all the basil leaves are finely chopped. Serve pesto ladled over pasta, or as a dip for cheese and crackers. This recipe makes about two cups, and will last up to a week in your refrigerator -- if you don't eat it all before then!

Vegan Pot-Pourri (recipe from PaganRecipes.com)

6 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
2 carrots peeled and sliced
2 bell peppers cored and cubed
1 eggplant peeled and cubed
2 yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup small peas
2 fistfuls of green beans, cut in 1" pieces
1 apple, peeled, cored and cubed
1 cup of tomato sauce
2-3 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt, pepper, 1 bay leaf, oregano, thyme, fresh chopped parsley and rosemary


In an oven-grade big pot, pour the oil. Add the onions, carrots and peppers and sautee for 3-4 minutes. Add the potatoes, stir and sautee for about 5 more minutes.


Add the rest of the vegetables, the apple, bay leaf, spices and herbs, and 3 cups of water. Mix well and put the pot in the oven, in a small heat, for about 45 minutes. It is ready when the liquid in the pan is reduced enough.

Blueberry Breakfast Bread (Sourdough) – adapted from Baking with Sourdough by Sara Pitzer
Recipe from Recipes Tap
INGREDIENTS:

1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup soft butter
1/3 cup date sugar
1 egg
½ cup whole milk
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp coconut lime salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBS vanilla extract
1 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries

METHOD:

Bring the starter to room temperature in a large bowl. Add the flour and mix together. Let sit over night. Next day, cream the butter and sugar together in a separate bowl, then beat in the egg and milk. Turn this mixture into the bowl with the sourdough starter and flour. Add the salt and soda, mix together well. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour batter into a well greased square baking pan and allow to stand for at least 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F. Meanwhile, prepare the topping:

1/3 cup rapadura sugar
1/3 cup spelt flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup soft butter

Stir all the ingredients together with a fork, until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle half the topping over the bread, and with a knife swirl into the batter. Then evenly pour the other half on top. Bake in oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Although it may be tempting to eat this bread hot out of the oven, it will be sticky and gummy, due to the nature of sourdough. So let it cool completely before serving. Then cut into squares and enjoy!

5 comments:

The Blue Faerie said...

You had me worried for a second! Usually I'm really bad at remembering my own holidays, so for a bit I was thinking, "Wait a minute! Is there a holiday in July? There isn't a holiday in July! Wait, did I miss one?" :P I'm an August celebrater of Lammas, so it threw me off.

Thank you for the blackberry pie post. I've got a bunch here at home, so I'll have to try it out. :)

Jennifer said...

So sorry. When I was researching (I'm bad with dates) that is what I kept coming across so I posted it, although I am an August celebrater too! :)

Shamanic Winds said...

Can't wait to bestow upon this Journey towards Lammas/Lughnasadh -- so full of gratitude for running across this article you wrote this morning! It's one of my favorite Seasons of the Year, and this time in hopes of picking up on my Path where I'd left behind before in Ritual workings and the such.

Many blessings to YOU xo!
)O( Indigenous Shamanic Winds (Shami)

Aisha Shamise said...

Hey, wanted to let u know I have nominated u for 2 awards, please check it out!
http://witchscoffee.blogspot.com.br/2012/07/blog-awards.html
Blessed be!

Seren said...

Thank you for the lovely recipes. Blessed Lammas.

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