Bright Blessings, Witches and Witchlets! Now that we’ve gone over the History of the Lughnasadh Sabbat, let’s go over a few different ways you can celebrate it in 2022. Let us say farewell to summer as we look forward to the next cycle with the turn of the Wheel of the Year.
- BUILD A LUGHNASADH ALTAR
A powerful ritual to keep the mindset of the season front and center is building an altar dedicated to the Lughnasadh Sabbat. How big or small the altar is doesn’t matter. And unless you subscribe to a particular sect that has rules to follow, there’s really no right or wrong way to do it.
First and foremost, you will need to physically clean and spiritually cleanse your altar space. Starting with a clean slate to welcome in the turn of the Wheel of the Year is a great habit to get into. I also recommend practicing some visualization to set a clear vision of what you want your altar to invite in for this cycle.
Here are some Lughnasadh correspondences you can include when building your own altar:
- Bronze, brown, deep gold, or emerald green altar cloth
- Aventurine, carnelian, cat’s eye, citrine, lodestone, moss agate, obsidian, onyx, quartz, tiger’s eye
- Berries, bread, candles, cauldron, corn dolls, symbols of the sun, wheat
- Flowers: Marigold, peony, sunflower
- Herbs: Acacia, basil, bay, cinnamon, frankincense, mugwort, rosehips, rosemary
- Food: Apples, beer, blackberries, breads, corn, grains, pears, wheat
- Animals: Buck, cows, crows, deer, eagles, pigs, roosters, sheep, squirrels
- Deities: Lugh, Ceres, Demeter, Grain Mother, Isis, Persephone, Pomona, Adonis, Attis, Dagon, Mercury, Osiris, Taranis
Remember that as it’s your altar, arrange it how you are called to. Make it personal to your taste and your path. It doesn’t have to be large or elaborate. You can even construct a jar altar where you place small representatives of Lughnasadh in a container and place it central in your home. Follow your intuition and get creative!
- PERFORM A LUGHNASADH MEDITATION
Another way to celebrate Lughnasadh is to perform a meditation centered around the coming cycle. It’s the perfect way to align your intentions with the natural order of the Sabbat. Your meditation doesn’t have to be extraneous in length or overly complicated. In fact, the simpler the better.
A great thing to focus on is gratitude for what you’ll be harvesting during this Sabbat. All of the lessons you’ve learned from the previous cycles and any intentions you set are also wonderful points to reflect on.
- BAKE BREAD
As Lughnasadh marks the first day of the harvest season, baking bread is a no-brainer. A loaf of bread can be seen in a couple of different ways:
- A representation of the god Lugh, for who Lughnasadh was named
- A symbol of the first sheaf of grain cut for the harvest
Traditionally, celebrants would bake their bread from scratch in the shape of a man to represent Lugh and then “sacrifice” him by eating it at the Sabbat feast. Another tradition is to take the man-shaped loaf and break off four pieces (two arms, two legs) and place the pieces in each corner of the barn that housed the harvested grain. This was thought to protect said grain.
If you aren’t able to bake bread from scratch, you can grab frozen pre-madebread dough from the grocery store. After all, modern times call for modern solutions. No shame in taking this route!
- MAKE CORN DOLLS
This way to celebrate Lughnasadh can be enjoyed by everyone in the family, especially the little ones! Making corn husk dolls is very traditional as it ties directly with the actual harvest itself. When it came time for the last sheaf of grain to be cut, it was done with somber ceremony. That sheaf was then made into a corn husk doll and it represented the Grain Goddess of the Harvest.
This Grain Goddess corn husk doll was kept until the following season’s crop planting. As an offering to Mother Nature, the doll was buried in the fields in hopes that it would ensure an abundant harvest at the next Lughnasadh. It can also be seen as symbolic of returning what the Earth yielded back to the Earth. Outside of this activity being fun, it also presents a great learning opportunity to discuss cycles of nature and the circle of life.
- GO MOUNTAIN CLIMBING
In our History of the Lughnasadh Sabbat post, we discussed how most of the celebrations and festivities took place on the tops of hills and mountains. One of the events included making a pilgrimage to a mountain top in order to bury either the first cutting of corn from the harvest or garlands of flowers worn by climbers. This was done in order to honor Lugh – or other deities associated with the Sabbat.
Make your own pilgrimage to honor Lughnasadh. Being out in nature and appreciating her beauty and all that you’ve been able to sow and harvest in your own life is a fantastic way to pay respect to this turn in the Wheel of the Year. Whether or not you decide to take and bury anything at the peak is up to you – just make sure it’s biodegradable!
- HOLD A LUGHNASADH FEAST
Who doesn’t love to sit down to feast with friends and family in honor of a Sabbat? I know I do! I also enjoy the menu planning, envisioning how the table will be set, and picturing the festive decorations. Just knowing I’ll be able to join in commemoration with loved ones, enjoying yummy food and relishing in all the Sabbat has to offer makes this one of the best ways to celebrate.
The following are some foods you may wish to include in your menu. Eating seasonally is highly suggested, but follow what’s best for your diet, budget, and beliefs.
- Baked Goods
Another idea is to host a potluck and have everyone bring a different dish. That will ease the burden of cooking everything yourself while also letting guests participate.
- COMPETITION/GAMES IN HONOR OF LOST LOVED ONES
As Lughnasadh hosted funeral games in honor of the god Lugh’s foster mother Tailtiu, you could honor your own lost loved ones by holding competitions in their name. While the funeral games were much like the Olympic Games held in Greece, the activities you choose could be anything from a card game competition to video game bouts – you get to choose the parameters!
- MAKE A BESOM
A besom is a magickal tool that looks like a broom. Appropriately, practitioners use them to sweep and clear away negative energies. This is done to keep magickal residue in check, altars metaphysically maintained, and before casting circles prior to rituals and spellwork.
Lughnasadh starts around the time that Mother Nature is naturally starting to shed her layers for the coming autumn and winter months. Take a nature walk and collect any fallen twigs or sticks for the bristles and a larger branch for the handle. For complete instructions, read this post to learn how to make your own besom from start to finish!
- COLLECT SEEDS
For all of my Green Witches out there, a lot of plants in your garden should be going to seed around Lughnasadh. Collecting these seeds for your next planting season is a great way to honor the Sabbat. It’s also a wonderful reminder that by letting something go you’re able to plant the seeds for something new. Seed collecting offers another great opportunity to teach kids about nature’s cycles, too.
There you have it! Hopefully you’ve learned a new way or two to celebrate Lughnasadh this year. If there’s any other way you partake, let me know in the comments. And as always, Bright Blessings and Happy Crafting!