Friday, 1 February 2013


Traditionally Lammas is celebrated here in Australia on February 2nd a time when we harvest whatever we have planted, nurtured to fruition, whatever that may be, whether we feel we have accomplished great things or maybe something that we feel we have not freely chosen. It is a time to reflect on how you have changed as a result of your accomplishments.

Think of the things you have gained, goals you have reached, experiences your have had, opportunities you have pursued, healing you have had, friends you have made, gifts you have given then create an attitude of gratitude for all that has been given you. This is something that we all relate to, we may not grow crops in today's society and harvest our own grains but we all have harvested from our input throughout the year of our efforts and labours. It is also a time when we may share and teach our knowledge of things we have achieved. A time to be grateful for all our many blessings and allowing a space of gratitude for things to come. A symbolic harvesting and contemplation of all we have and a time of emotional cleansing of all that no longer serves us. As you allow your higher self to do the necessary inner work to release pains, sorrows, griefs or angers this will lay the foundation for your future harvests as you move along your path to grace.

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It is now high summer and the union of Sun and Earth, of God and Goddess, has produced the First Harvest. Lammas is the celebration of this first, Grain Harvest, a time for gathering in and giving thanks for abundance. At Lammas the Goddess is in Her aspect as Grain Mother, Harvest Mother, Harvest Queen, Earth Mother, Ceres and Demeter. Demeter, as Corn Mother, represents the ripe corn of this year's harvest and Her daughter Kore/Persephone represents the grain - the seed which drops back deep into the dark earth, hidden throughout the winter, and re-appears in the spring as new growth. This is the deep core meaning of Lammas and comes in different guises: it is about the fullness and fulfillment of the present harvest holding at its heart the seed of all future harvest. Honour to the earth mother was given for the fruits of the harvest, the life giving grains, that would keep the people going through the coming winter. The old english name of Hlaf Maesse is the origin of Lammas meaning bread/loaf feast. The first loaf of bread would be baked from the harvest and broken up and shared in the name of the goddess at the Lammas festival. Any bread making crops are celebrated at this festival particularly barley along with ciders, ales, beers and anything brewed. The gathering of seed for the next year’s sowing was also done at Lammas. It is the first of the three harvest festivals of the year.

It is the last of Summer and the Goddess is the Mother of the harvest, as the Sun God slowly starts to disappear. Continuing the cycle of death and rebirth. The earth is still alive with energy but as the energy of the sun begins to fade over the coming months so too does the earth slow. The sun is half way between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Equator on it's way back north.

Corn Dollies were traditionally made from the husks of the first cereals harvested, these dollies were an embodiment of the goddess and kept in the home until spring when they were ploughed back into the earth with the first seeds to increase fertility and continue the cycle of life, death and rebirth.

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The different way this time of year is celebrated around the world is very interesting from

It has long been a time of thanksgiving and revelry in appreciation of nature’s bounty. In Ancient Rome they honoured Saturn, the god of agriculture and the harvest, while in Greece it was Demeter, the goddess of the grain. In Ghana in West Africa they celebrate the harvest festival of Homowo, which means hooting at hunger. It commemorates a devastating famine and the agricultural methods they developed to prevent future ones, and is celebrated with feasting, music and ritual. In China during Chung Yuan, the Hungry Ghost Festival, food is left out to appease the spirits who return at this time, while in the Aztec lands the harvest festival of Tlacaxipehualiztli honoured Xipe Totec, god of vegetation and renewal.

Across the British Isles this first harvest festival was celebrated with feasting, craft fairs, horse markets, games and contests, many in honour of Lugh, the Celtic sun god. Handfastings also took place at these fairs, with people being bound in marriage for a year and a day, and wooden cart wheels were dipped in tar then set alight and ceremonially rolled down a hill to signify the waning of the sun’s – and the sun god’s – power as summer came to an end. He was seen as a sacrifice, going down into the underworld until his resurrection.

In his honour people sacrificed the first sheaf of corn, the first wheat stalk, the first fruits, the first loaf of bread, back to the land and to the earth mother. A libation of mead and an offering of food was part of all their rituals, but at this time of year it became a major part of the proceedings. There are even legends of human sacrifice and death, of kings offering their life in order to return power to the land as it began to waste away and enter the fallow winter period.

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Today is still a time of first harvests. Fruit picking is a popular job for many travellers, with farms all over the country taking on seasonal workers. The grape harvesting and wine making begins, and golden wheat fields cover the paddocks. You can create your own little ceremony by going to a farm and enjoying the first fruits of the season fresh from the vine, absorbing the energy of the earth and the life force that flows through the planet.

Long ago, people used this time to prepare for the coming winter by storing food, making jams, sorting out their possessions, fixing leaking roofs and mending tools and fences. You can also plan ahead, setting things in motion now that will pay off later. Learn a skill you might need, research the next step in your project, or work on letting go of a fear that has been holding you back. Even as the harvest is brought in, the seeds to be sown next year are gathered and stored, in a continual dance of planting, growing and culmination.

We can have a go at making our own corn dollies thanks to who give us step by step instructions.

Things You'll Need
Medium: straws, corn shucks or grass(10 corn husks per doll)
Decorations: including seeds and other natural decorations
Fasteners: including rubber bands, String or ribbon
Markers, glue and yarn or corn silk (if desired for decorating the doll)

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1.Gather together the straw, grass or corn shucks. Stand them on their ends and even out by cutting excess lengths. Choose your fastener and tie it about 2 inches from the top of the medium. This leaves you with a long end below the fastener and a short, stubby one at the top.Around a half inch to and inch below your first knot, do the same.
2.Place the beginnings of your doll on your work surface. Stand the short, stubby section upright and leave the long section arranged so that the pieces are spread out in four even groups for weaving. It is easiest to set the groups in a compass formation of north, south, east and west.
3.Now you will begin weaving. Take the bottom strand of the eastern straw group and pass it beneath the top of the remaining eastern straw group and the north straw group. Now, take the whole material and rotate it a quarter turn clockwise. This will make the direction of the north strand group the new east group. Once again, take the lower east strand and pass it beneath the top of the East and North strands. Again, make a quarter turn clockwise in rotating your material. Keep repeating this action until your work starts to pull up a basket shape around its stubby ends. Continue weaving until the material completely covers the stubby ends. Leave about 4 inches of raw ends if you intend to make a handle.
4.Gather together the raw ends of the basket. Fasten them off using a rubber band, string or ribbon. After tying the material, do some plaiting or twist the material and make a neat braid.

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5.At this point, you have the option to paint your finished product or color it with felt tip or crayon. Personalize your dollies by gluing maple seeds, acorn caps and any other interesting objects you desire. Ask for blessing for your corn dolly. You should ask an agricultural deity. You might say: Goddess of plenty, bless now this image of your fertility.
Decorate with the grape vines, other greenery and the ribbons that represent your celebration or festival. To make the corn dolly representative of a female deity just leave the bottom section to free so that it looks like a dress or skirt.

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The website gives us information on what items and goddesses etc are connected with Lammas

Other Names: Lughnasadh (Loo-nas-ah), Lunasa (meaning August), Lughnasaad, Lughnasa(Celtic),First Harvest, August Eve, Feast of Cardenas, Feast of Bread, Tailltean Games(Irish), Teltain Cornucopia(Strega), Ceresalia(Ancient Roman) Harvest Home, Thingtide(Teutonic), Lammas(Christian). Laa Luanys, Elembious, Festival of Green Corn (Native American).
Animals & Mythical Beings: Griffins, basilisks, roosters, calves, centaurs, phoenix.
Gemstones:Aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx, yellow diamondsand citrine.
Incense/Oil: Wood aloes, rose, rose hips, rosemary, chamomile, eucalyptus, safflower, corn, passionflower, frankincense, sandalwood.
Colors/Candles: Red, orange, golden yellow, green, light brown, gold, bronze, gray.
Tools,Symbols, & Decorations: Corn, cornucopias, red, yellow flowers, sheaves of grain (wheat, barley, oats), first fruits/vegetables of garden labor, corn dollies, baskets of bread, spear, cauldron, sickle, scythe, threshing tools, sacred loaf of bread, harvested herbs, bonfires, bilberries, God figures made of bread or cookie dough, phallic symbols.
Goddesses: The Mother, Dana (Lugh’s wife & queen), Tailltiu(Welsh-Scottish), Demeter(Greek), Ceres( Roman grain goddess..honored at Ceresalia), the Barley Mother, Seelu(Cherokee), Corn Mother, Isis (Her birthday is celebrated about this time), Luna (Roman Moon Goddess), other agricultural Goddesses, the waxing Goddess.
Gods: Lugh(Celtic, one of the Tuatha De Danaan), John Barleycorn, Arianrhod’s golden haired son Lleu ( Welsh God of the Sun & Corn where corn includes all grains, not just maize), Dagon (Phoenician Grain God), Tammuz/ Dummuzi (Sumerian), Dionysus, plus all sacrificial Gods who willingly shed blood/give their life that their people/lands may prosper, all vegetation Gods & Tanus (Gaulish Thunder God), Taranis, (Romano-Celtic Thunder God), Tina, (Etruscan-Thunder God), the waning God.
Essence: Fruitfulness, reaping, prosperity, reverence, purification, transformation, change, The Bread of Life, The Chalice of Plenty , The Ever-flowing Cup , the Groaning Board (Table of Plenty).
Meaning: Lugh’s wedding to Mother Earth, Birth of Lugh; Death of Lugh, Celtic Grain Festival.
Purpose:Honoring the parent Deities, first harvest festival, first fruits grains & drink to the Goddess in appreciation of Her bounty, offering loaves of sacred bread in the form of the God (this is where the Gingerbread Man originated).
Rituals & Magicks: Astrology, prosperity, generosity, continued success, good fortune, abundance,magickal picnic, meditate & visualize yourself completing a project you’ve started.
Customs: Games, the traditional riding of poles/staves, country fairs, breaking bread with friends, making corn dollys, harvesting herbs for charms/rituals, Lughnasadh fire with sacred wood & dried herbs, feasting, competitions, lammas towers (fire-building team competitions), spear tossing, gathering flowers for crowns, fencing/swordplay, games of skill, martial sports, chariot races, hand-fastings, trial marriages, dancing ‘round a corn mother (doll).
Foods: Loaves of homemade wheat, oat, & corn bread, barley cakes, corn, potatoes, summer squash, nuts, acorns, wild berries (any type), apples, rice, pears, berry pies, elderberry wine, crab apples, mead, crab, blackberries, meadowsweet tea, grapes, cider, beer.
Herbs: Grain, acacia, heather, ginseng, sloe, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, aloes, frankincense, sunflower, hollyhock, oak leaf, wheat,myrtle.
Element: Fire
Gender: Female
Threshold: Noon

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