(Harvest Home)
Write a secret wish upon a fallen leaf
Use a leaf with red colors for a wish pertaining to matters of love, sex, passion or health
a gold colored one for wishes involving money
a brown one for protection
a purple one for healing      an orange one for energy
a yellow one for confidence, attraction or persuasion
a green one for fertility, success or good luck.
Fold the leaf in half (or roll it up) and seal it with a kiss.
Using the flame of a white candle, set the leaf on fire.
As it burns, visualize your wish coming true for you.
Be careful what you wish for because your wish is likely to be fulfilled!
Although in the heat of a Mid-western summer it might be difficult to discern, the festival of Lammas (Aug 1st) marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. The days now grow visibly shorter and by the time we've reached autumn's end (Oct 31st), we will have run the gammut of temperature from the heat of August to the cold and (sometimes) snow of November. And in the midst of it, a perfect Mid-western autumn.

The history of Lammas is as convoluted as all the rest of the old folk holidays. It is of course a cross-quarter day, one of the four High Holidays or Greater Sabbats of Witchcraft, occuring 1/4 of a year after Beltane. It's true astrological point is 15 degrees Leo, but tradition has set August 1st as the day Lammas is typically celebrated. The celebration proper would begin on sundown of the previous evening, our July 31st, since the Celts reckon their days from sundown to sundown.

However, British Witches often refer to the astrological date of Aug 6th as Old Lammas, and folklorists call it Lammas O.S. ('Old Style'). This date has long been considered a 'power point' of the Zodiac, and is symbolized by the Lion, one of the 'tetramorph' figures found on the Tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune (the other three figures being the Bull, the Eagle, and the Spirit). Astrologers know these four figures as the symbols of the four 'fixed' signs of the Zodiac, and these naturally allign with the four Great Sabbats of Witchcraft. Christians have adopted the same iconography to represent the four gospel-writers.

'Lammas' was the medieval Christian name for the holiday and it means 'loaf-mass', for this was the day on which loaves of bread were baked from the first grain harvest and laid on the church altars as offerings. It was a day representative of 'first fruits' and early harvest.

In Irish Gaelic, the feast was referred to as 'Lugnasadh', a feast to commemorate the funeral games of the Irish sun-god Lugh. However, there is some confusion on this point. Although at first glance, it may seem that we are celebrating the death of Lugh, the god of light does not really die (mythically) until the autumnal equinox. And indeed, if we read the Irish myths closer, we discover that it is not Lugh's death that is being celebrated, but the funeral games which Lugh hosted to commemorate the death of his foster-mother, Taillte. That is why the Lugnasadh celebrations in Ireland are often called the 'Tailltean Games'.

   The time went by with careless heed
   Between the late and early,
   With small persuasion she agreed
   To see me through the barley...

One common feature of the Games were the 'Tailltean marriages', a rather informal marriage that lasted for only 'a year and a day' or until next Lammas. At that time, the couple could decide to continue the arrangement if it pleased them, or to stand back to back and walk away from one another, thus bringing the Tailltean marriage to a formal close. Such trial marriages (obviously related to the Wiccan 'Handfasting') were quite common even into the 1500's, although it was something one 'didn't bother the parish priest about'. Indeed, such ceremonies were usually solemnized by a poet, bard, or shanachie (or, it may be guessed, by a priest or priestess of the Old Religion).

Lammastide was also the traditional time of year for craft festivals. The medieval guilds would create elaborate displays of their wares, decorating their shops and themselves in bright colors and ribbons, marching in parades, and performing strange, ceremonial plays and dances for the entranced onlookers. The atmosphere must have been quite similar to our modern-day Renaissance Festivals, such as the one celebrated in near-by Bonner Springs, Kansas, each fall.

A ceremonial highlight of such festivals was the 'Catherine wheel'. Although the Roman Church moved St. Catherine's feast day all around the calender with bewildering frequency, it's most popular date was Lammas. (They also kept trying to expel this much-loved saint from the ranks of the blessed because she was mythical rather than historical, and because her worship gave rise to the heretical sect known as the Cathari.) At any rate, a large wagon wheel was taken to the top of a near-by hill, covered with tar, set aflame, and ceremoniously rolled down the hill. Some mythologists see in this ritual the remnants of a Pagan rite symbolizing the end of summer, the flaming disk representing the sun-god in his decline. And just as the sun king has now reached the autumn of his years, his rival or dark self has just reached puberty.

Many comentators have bewailed the fact that traditional Gardnerian and Alexandrian Books of Shadows say very little about the holiday of Lammas, stating only that poles should be ridden and a circle dance performed. This seems strange, for Lammas is a holiday of rich mythic and cultural associations, providing endless resources for liturgical celebration.

  Corn rigs and barley rigs,
   Corn rigs are bonny!
   I'll not forget that happy night
   Among the rigs with Annie!

[Verse quotations by Robert Burns, as handed down through several Books of Shadows.] .
Document Copyright 1986, 1998 by Mike Nichols. This document can be re-published only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others. Other uses of this document must be approved in writing by Mike Nichols. Revised: Saturday, May 23, 1998 c.e.
Lammas Article by Mike Nichols
It was upon a Lammas Night
When corn rigs are bonny,
Beneath the Moon's unclouded light,
I held awhile to Annie...
Harvest Home
Samhain    Yule    Imbolc    Lady Day    Beltane    Litha-Midsummer   Lammas    Harvest Home
The first harvest.  Lammas (loaf mass) celebrates the grain that is now harvested and promises sustenance during the coming winter.  It is also a reminder of the dying God, as darkness keeps taking over the light of day (the beginning of Autumn).  Traditionally, the seeds from the fruits consumed during the feast are saved, and any sprout is planted in honour of the God and Goddess.
Herbs and Flowers: Grains, Grapes, Sloes, Pears, Heather, Blackberry (all Berries), Oat, Fenugreek, Frankincense, Heather, Hollyhock, Mistletoe, Oak, Sunflower.
Incense: Dried Rose Petals, Aloe, Sandalwood, Barley, Basil.     Gem: Carnelian.
Sabbats Page

Mix above ingredients together completely, then place in a greased 9-inch
cake pan.  Bake at 350 deg. F for 30 minutes, until it begins to move away from
the sides of the pan.  When cooled, this bread may be shaped for ritual.
Also, fruits and nuts can be changed for different seasons.

CREDIT:  I don't remember where I found this wonderful recipe, please let me know
if you recognise the author so I can give proper credit.  Thank you!
1 cup Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Oleo
1/2 cup Nuts
3 medium Apples, chopped
1 cup Raisins
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger
1-1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1 Egg, beaten
1-1/2 tsp Vanilla or Orange Extract
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(a poem)