Lughnasad, also known as Lammas and sometimes pronounced as Lughnassadh, is a pagan holiday, as it is one of the eight sabbats on August 1st.
Every sabbat celebrates each seasonal change or turning point, as Lughnasad marks the midway between the summer solstice, Litha, and the autumn equinox, Mabon.
Lughnasad celebrates the grain harvest, as it is essential. Families could starve if the grains were not harvested from the fields on time. Harvesting grains before Lughnasad in early Ireland was a bad idea because farmers were failing their communities since the grains were not ready. Let’s now talk about the traditions and celebrations.
What Are The Traditions And Celebrations For Lughnasad?
Lughnasad honors Lugh, a Celtic god that rules craftsmanship, fighting, and blacksmithing. Some say that the celebration of Lughnasad is because August 1st was the date of Lugh’s wedding feat or that Lugh held a harvest celebration to create a tribute to his foster mother, Tailtiu.
Many pagans celebrate Lughnasad by baking bread as they welcome the early harvests of fruit such as raspberries, black currants, pears, grapes, root vegetables, corn, and wheat. Many also make corn dolls out of husk leaves or wheat sheaves as they hang them around their homes. They use these corn dolls to reach out to Lugh and other deities to bless their efforts to bring a good harvest.
Another thing that many pagans do when celebrating Lughnasad is by going to a farmers market and pick up seasonal fruits and vegetables or grow their own in their gardens. Typically feasts involving harvest foods are held to celebrate the sabbat. Desserts such as pies and cakes, including the grains and fruits associated with the sabbat, are typically enjoyed. In addition to that, pagans set up their altars for Lughnasad.
Decorating A Lughnasad Altar
Part of the Lughnasad celebrations is decorating an altar for the sabbat. If you want to do this, you will want to find an area of your home that you find sacred or quiet to decorate the altar. If you use a cloth, then you will want to use one that contains red, orange, or yellow, which is the color that represents the sun. You can also use earth colors such as brown or green.
As you have your altar base set up, you can layer it with items that mean a lot to you. Some ideas are yellow, orange, or red candles, corn dolls, sunflowers, grapes, honey, grains, and root vegetables. You can also add crystals such as amber, sardonyx, green aventurine, citrine, and carnelian. Remember, there is no right or wrong when decorating the Lughnasad altar, and you want to decorate one that is ideal for you.
You will also want to do a Lughnasad tarot reading to add to the celebration, as I will do a collective Lughnasad reading based on a spread found on Ethony.com.
Lughnasad Tarot Reading
This Lughnasad tarot reading is a five-card spread emphasizing the concepts of the first harvest and using your skills and talents to get where you want to go. The first card indicates the theme for Lughnasad, and you place the card in the middle. The second card is on the left of card one, slightly elevated, and it represents the goals you have and wants to focus on achieving during the seasonal cycle.
The third card is located on the right of card one, slightly elevated, and it indicates inspiration, as what energies you can rely on to help make you your best during this cycle. Card four is on the left of card one, lower and beneath card two, representing the harvest which focuses on what you must be grateful for during this cycle. Finally, card five is on the right of card one and lower, and beneath card three is Lugh’s bread, and the focus is on what you need to release so you can prosper. Now, let’s do a tarot reading for Lughnasad.
Card one: Death
Card two: Two of Wands
Card three: High Priestess
Card four: Ten of Cups
Card five: Star
Let’s now elaborate on each card and what message each one has for you.
Card One: Death
The theme for Lughnasad is Death, which means there will be endings, and you can expect many transformations to happen. You can interpret that in any way that makes the most sense to you, but you will expect significant changes during this season. You may be changing jobs, or something will transform your relationships, whether it is your romantic relationship or friendship. You may be going through significant transformations yourself. Whatever it is, the shifts you will go through are the theme. Transformations are complex, and you will want to give yourself grace for these changes. Let’s look at the next card.
Card Two: Two of Wands
The second card represents your goals and wants that you want to focus on to achieve during this seasonal cycle. The Two of Wands comes up, a card indicating planning and making decisions. It is a card that shows that you should not entirely take action as there are steps you need to focus on before you take any action and make any decision. What this card represents would be relevant to card one. Therefore, whatever transformation you face during this season, your goal is to make plans and decisions around it without taking any action.
Card Three: High Priestess
The third card represents inspiration and what energies you can rely on to make the most of the season. The High Priestess comes up, which means psychic ability, intuition, and secrets. That is a reminder never to doubt your intuition and rely on it because it tells you how to handle your situations best. Reflecting on card one, Death shows that you are undergoing some transformations, which will be challenging. The challenge is to separate your emotions from your intuition and rely on what your heart is telling you. Also, the challenge is not to second-guess yourself about what you feel deep down and go with it.
Card Four: Ten of Cups
Card four represents the harvest and what you should be grateful for this season, and the Ten of Cups comes up. That means focusing on your friends and those you consider family and their support. The Ten of Cups is also the happiness card, meaning you will want to focus on whatever makes you happy and be grateful for it. And that is also a reminder if you are going through some challenging times during this cycle, lean on your family (blood or not) as they are there to help you through any transformations and transitions you face.
Card Five: Star
Card five represents Lugh’s bread which is whatever you need to release during this time so you have the best chance to prosper. The Star comes up, and that may sound counterintuitive that a card representing hopes and aspirations means what you need to release. However, it would be best if you thought hard about whether the fact or not that the hope you have may be something you are clinging to too much. This does not mean not having any hope that things will go well, but it is a message of letting go of the attachment of it and allowing things to unfold as they are meant to unfold. It is okay to hope with detachment as you remain realistic.
My collective reading for Lughnasad indicates that you will undergo major shifts and transformations this season. And the advice is to make plans and decisions around it carefully without taking any unplanned action. Trust your intuition as you do this, and rely on the support of your friends and family as you go through these shifts. Also, be sure to stay realistic and not cling to any fantasies and false hope.
Lughnasad is a sabbat marking the midway point between Litha and Mabon, and it is a time to celebrate the grain harvest, as many traditions happen during this sabbat. Feasts involving grains, root vegetables, and fruits such as raspberries and grapes occur, and the colors to focus on are red, orange, and yellow. When building an altar for Lughnasad, you would utilize those colors. And you may want to do a tarot reading to provide insight into what you are facing during the sabbat. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate Lughnasad. Enjoy the festivities and your celebration of Lughnasad.