The mid-way point, calculated between the Celestial Sabbats of the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox tells us when the first Harvest Sabbat begins. This Sabbat is known to some as “Lammas” and to others as “Lugnasad.”
The Lammas Sabbat is considered a “Terrestrial Sabbat” and led by the High Priestess. At this Sabbat, we celebrate the first big harvest festival of the season and the Great Mother’s rich bounty. These are but symbols which symbolize to us that we are not only thankful for the first fruits of the “seed-thoughts” that we planted at the Candlemas Sabbat, but also that we are just beginning to reap the harvest of those “seed-thoughts” with full recognition and acceptance of our “harvest” when the Fall Equinox comes which gives unto us the final outcome of the symbolic garden we have planted – the full manifestation of the thought-forms set into motion at the earlier seasonal ceremonials.
Each Sabbat we perform is part of a complete cycle of action and re-action, or initiation and response: the Celestial initiating the change on the Terrestrial. To understand the changing of seasons that occur above and below us is to work on our continued harmony within – to strive always to find a harmonious existence all around us, harmony with the natural world and harmony with our fellow man.
Along with the normal bread and wine partaken of at the “Love Feast,” fruits and cheeses are also shared at this time as well in circle.
This ritual is a three-part feast: the first part is the feast of bread and wine in the magical circle, the second part is the offering of bread and wine to the Mother Earth and then the third part is the Feast enjoyed with much celebration after the ceremonial is complete.
The warm summer nights found at this time with the Summer season at it’s height is great for spending time outdoors – especially when the moon is shining above:
To understand what has been described in our modern times as the three harvest festivals in Witchcraft today, I will give you a brief summary so you can familiarize yourself with these terms:
The Lammas Festival for us is the start of Harvest Season when the first big harvests of the summer growing season are coming in. During this time, the focus is on that of thanking the Deity, in which the incantations will be of gratitude.
The Autumnal Equinox Sabbat is where we receive what is due to us – both what we have succeed with and what we have failed at. Sometimes, this Sabbat is the one focused around the Thanksgiving feast. At this time, we balance the books and also the scales – hence, why the imagery of the apothecary scales or scales of justice tends to be the meditational symbol of this particular ritual.
The Hallowmas Festival is complex, and such a grand occasion that multiple things will occur. Divination to reveal the watchword for the coming year is done, occasionally we may hold the High Ceremonial Dumb Supper in order to sup with our beloved dead & Hidden Company, or we may perform incantations to be sustained through the winter months and to release all things that hold us back. It is a time of release and honor of those that have come before – and looking ahead to next year.
I think sometimes many of us can easily take for granted the fact that so many people do live in climates where the seasonal changes are not as pronounced. Seasonal patterns and change are never a one-sized fits all and each coven must adjust some of the symbolism to reflect this from their natural environment.
In my personal climate, it is the hottest at this time usually and we can see the full effect of Summer. Our group works with witches all over the place – so Lammas here might look different from what some of our witch-kin experiences in Canada, and also different from what our witch-kin experiences in Texas or even Arizona! Each of us makes those adjustments in our symbolism accordingly.
For those of us who wear the old ‘Talking Stone‘ of the Old Religion and even those friends who don’t, we do hope that you reap the necessary harvest and give back in thanksgiving and gratitude (Lammas), that you are able to receive all blessings you are due (the balancing act of Autumnal Equinox) and that you have all your needs met throughout the Hallows season and able to spend time reflecting on the year forward. (Hallowmas)
If you wish to write and participate in your own Lammas Sabbat, an excellent book I recommend is “The Sacred Pentagraph” that was published by a mentor of mine: Tarostar. Also, on page 46 you will see a photo inside our Wolfa Coven temple space performing the ritual, “Centering of the Cone.”
Wolfa Coven ready for Lammas Sabbat at the Covenstead!