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Lammas Recipes

Boxty* (Potato Griddle Cakes)

If you have mashed potatoes left over, you can turn them into another traditional Irish dish. Makes12 x 3-inch pancakes (4 to 6 servings)

1 cup hot unseasoned mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated unpeeled raw potatoes
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup milk


Butter or margarine, for frying In large bowl mix together mashed potatoes and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in eggs and grated potatoes, then the flour, baking powder, salt, caraway seeds and pepper. Blend in milk. Heat 1 tablespoon butter to sizzling in large nonstick skillet. Drop potato mixture, about 2 1/2 tablespoons at a time, into skillet to form patties. Flatten slightly. Fry over medium-high heat until crisp and browned, turning once.
 
Repeat with remaining potato mixture, adding butter to skillet as needed. Serve hot.

An old rhyme goes:
Boxty on the griddle,
boxty in the pan,
if you can't make boxty,
you'll never get a man.



*Gaelic Coffee*

1 servings-- A wonderful way to end a meal!

Black coffee; freshly made
Scotch whiskey
Demerara (raw brown) sugar
Double (heavy) cream; whipped until slightly thick
 
 
Pour the coffee into a warmed glass. Add the whisky and the sugar to taste. Stir well.

Pour some lightly whipped cream into the glass over the back of a teaspoon.


*Noodles in Faery Butter*

4 hard-boiled egg yolks
2 tablespoons orange flower water (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet butter, softened
1 lb. noodles (any kind), cooked
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
1 orange, sliced (garnish)

Beat the egg yolks, sugar, butter, thyme, basil, and orange water in a small bowl until smooth. Mix enough of the butter with the hot noodles to coat the noodles with a golden-yellow color. Garnish with orange slices.
Yield: 8 Servings

*Beef Tenderloin with Blackberry Port Wine*

1 large shallot or small onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries, divided
2 cups port wine 1 tsp. sugar
2 cups beef stock
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
 
 
In a saucepan bring diced shallot, 3/4 cup blackberries, wine and sugar to boil. Boil gently to reduce wine to 1/2 cup. Strain and set liquid aside. Boil beef stock in separate pan to reduce by half. This will take approximately 15 min. Grill steaks or pan broil in a skillet 3-4 min. per side. Whisk blackberry and port wine reduction into reduced beef stock. If sauce is too thin, dissolve 1 tsp.  cornstarch in water, then sir into sauce and bring to boil. Whisk in 1 Tbsp. softened butter. Serve steaks with sauce and garnish with remaining blackberries. Serving Suggestion: Garlic-Horseradish Mashed Potatoes & Zucchini with Thyme. Serves 4.


*Green Dragon Walnut Meatballs*

For the meatballs:

1 large green pepper
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
3 oz weight chopped walnuts
1 tbl tomato paste/puree
1 tbl soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
3-4 pinches chili powder
1 tbl sugar (can be omitted)
oil for frying

For the sauce:
1 1/2 tbl soy sauce
4 1/2 tbl water
3 tsp wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
4-5 spring/green onions, finely chopped

Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds and pith. Bring a smallpan of salted water to a boil and put in the pepper halves. Cook until soft (6-8 minutes). Drain and chop finely. Put all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well. With wet hands, formthe mixture into small balls. Fry until browned all over. Transfer to a serving dish with a slotted spoon. Pour most of the fat out of the pan, but don't wash it yet. Add all the ingredients for the sauce except the onions. Bubble fiercely for a minute or two, until you have a thick, dark, syrupy sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the onions. Spoon over meatballs and serve at once.


*Perfect Corn Bread*

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup yellow corn meal
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening


Sift flour with sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir in cornmeal. Add eggs, milk, and shortening. Beat with rotary or electric beater till just smooth. (Do not over beat.) Pour into greased 9x9x2 inch pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Corn Sticks: Spoon batter into greased corn-stick pans, filling 2/3 full. Bake in hot oven (425) 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 18.



*Oatmeal Bread*

1 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup nuts
3 medium apples, chopped
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1-1/2 cups rolled oats
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla or orange

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



*Brigid's Blackberry Pie*

(Makes one 9 inch pie)
4 cups of fresh blackberries (thawed frozen berries are ok)
11/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a deep pie dish with the pie crust or purchase a commercially-made one. Set aside. Mix all other ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. If it appears too "wet," mix in a little
more flour (about 2 tablespoons). Turn the fruit into the pie shell and dot with butter or margarine. You can bake the pie as is, or cover it with another pie crust. Then score the top several times with a sharp knife. Bake
for 1 hour, or until the top crust is a golden brown.

*Wild berry Cheesecake*

Vegetable cooking spray
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup apple juice with vitamin C Filling:
2 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water
2 cups 1% fat cottage cheese
1 cup nonfat ricotta cheese
1 package (8-oz.) lite cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup mixed fruit puree


For crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9" spring form pan with cooking spray and set aside. In medium bowl, stir crumbs and apple juice until well combined. With back of spoon press crumb mixture evenly into prepared pan. Bake 5 minutes. Cool.

For filling: In small saucepan sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Cook over low heat until dissolved, stirring often. Set aside.

In food processor or blender process gelatin mixture and next 5 ingredients until smooth. Stir in fruit puree. Pour into prepared crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.


*Scottish Raspberry Cheesecake Dessert *

6 servings

BASE:
4 oz Butter
1 tbl Scotch whiskey
8 oz Digestive (graham) biscuits crushed

FILLING:
8 oz Cream cheese
2 oz Caster (granulated) sugar
10 fl Double (heavy) cream
1 tbl Scotch whiskey
 
TOPPING:
8 oz Raspberries
2 tbl Honey
3 fl Scotch whiskey
3 ts Arrowroot
1 ts Caster (granulated) sugar
5 fl Whipping cream
1 tbl Scotch whiskey

First, make the base:
 
Melt butter and add the tablespoon of Scotch whisky and the crushed biscuits. Press mixture well down into a greased loose-bottomed 8-inch cake tin. Chill for 30 minutes in fridge.


To make the filling:Beat cream cheese and caster sugar together until smooth. Whip double cream and whisky until softly stiff and fold into cream cheese mixture. Spoon over biscuit base and chill well.

For the topping:Soak the raspberries in honey and whisky. Leave for 30 minutes, then strain raspberries, leaving  approximately 4 fluid oz juice (top up with whisky if necessary). Make a paste with 2 tablespoons of juice blended with arrowroot.


Heat remaining juice with caster sugar until almost boiling. Stir in arrowroot paste and return to a very low heat, continually stirring until glaze is thick. Stir raspberries into glaze, and then leave until cool. Spoon
raspberry glaze over cheesecake.


Decorate: Whip cream with a tablespoon of whisky until softly stiff and use this to decorate the cheesecake.


Sprinkle with malt whisky before serving.


*Rich Whiskey Shortbread*
(Scottish Cookies)

1 batch
 
4 oz Butter
1 1/2 tbl Single malt scotch whiskey
3 oz Caster (granulated) sugar
1 1/2 oz Almonds; blanched
1 oz Mixed peel; chopped
6 oz Plain (all-purpose) flour
2 oz Rice flour

Cut the butter into small pieces. Place in a bowl together with a tablespoon of whisky and the sugar. Cream the mixture until fluffy. Chop two-thirds of the almonds finely and add to the mixture. Stir in the peel and the flours (sieved together). Draw the mixture together and press into a buttered 8-inch sandwich tin. Prick well all over and pinch up the edges decoratively. Halve the remaining almonds and place these on top of the shortbread. Bake at 325º F for 30-40 minutes, until the shortbread is golden in colour. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with the remaining whisky and a little caster sugar. Leave to cool in the tin.

Run a knife carefully around the edge of the shortbread and invert onto a plate. Store wrapped in greaseproof paper in an airtight tin.


  APRICOT WINE

1 pound Dried Apricots
4 quarts Warm Water
6 1/2 cups Sugar
2 1/4 cups Brown Sugar
1 1/2 cups Raisins
1 Tablespoon Ginger, minced
2 each Lemons, thinly sliced
2 each Oranges, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Yeast

 
Wash the apricots in several batches of water and then dry them and cut in halves. Place in a large crock and pour on the warm water, reserving 1/2 cup of it in which to dissolve the yeast cake. Stir in the sugars, fruit, raisins and ginger. Then add the dissolved yeast and mix well. Cover with top of the crock and let stand for thirty days, stirring the mixture every other day. After thirty days strain the mixture and bottle.
 
  IRISH BUTTERMILK BANNOCK
4 cups All purpose/bread flour
3 teaspoons Baking powder
1 teaspoon Salt to taste
3/4 teaspoon Baking soda
1 cup Raisins
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Buttermilk

 
Stir flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and raisins together. Separately, fork-blend eggs and buttermilk, then add to dry ingredients. Stir until sticky batter is formed. Scrape batter onto well floured surface and knead lightly. Shape batter into ball, then place in round non-stick casserole that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Mark a cross in the center, using a sharp knife. Bake uncovered in preheated 350 degree oven for about 1 1/4 hours.
 
Wait 10-15 minutes before attempting to remove bread from casserole, then cool on wire rack. If desired, cut loaf into quarters and then slice thinly. 
 
BLACKBERRY COBBLER
4 cups fresh Blackberries
3/4 cups Sugar
3 Tablespoons Flour
1 1/2 cups Water
1 Tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice

   2 Tablespoons melted Butter
   Pastry:
1 3/4 cups All-purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Shortening
6 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping cream
6 Tablespoons Buttermilk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Place fresh berries in a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Combine sugar and flour; add water and lemon juice, mixing well. Pour this mixture over berries; bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes while preparing the pastry. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.

Pastry: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; stir in whipping cream and buttermilk. Knead dough 4 or 5 times; roll to about 1/4" thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough to fit baking dish. Place the pastry over hot berries; then brush with melted butter. Cut a few vents in the top of pastry with knife. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Serve cobbler warm with vanilla ice cream Servings: 8
 
 
CORN PUDDING
2 cups young, fresh corn
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt

 
Melt butter into 12 X 12 glass baking dish. Beat eggs and other ingredients. Mix thoroughly and pour into dish. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Bake for 1 hour, or until firm. A small pan of water in the bottom of the oven prevent drying. Serves 4 - 6 
 
 
GAME HENS WITH ROSEMARY AND GARLIC  
3 Cornish Game Hens, halved
3/4 cup Olive oil
4 Garlic cloves, crushed
3 Tablespoons Dry sherry
1 Tablespoon Fine chopped fresh rosemary
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
 
Split each bird in half. Set aside.
 
Using a very large bowl mix the remaining ingredients together. Marinate the bird halves in this mixture for 1 hour, turning often. Broil in oven 7 or 8 minutes on a side, or on a charcoal barbecue. I prefer the charcoal, but be sure the coals are not too hot. Cook to your liking.
 
 
PITCAITHLY BANNOCK (Scottish) 8 ounces Flour
4 ounces Butter
2 ounces Caster Sugar
1 ounce Chopped Almonds
1 ounce Mixed Candied Peel

 
Set Oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet. Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the sugar and butter and rub in to form a dough. Add the almonds and mix in the peel, making sure they are evenly distributed.
Form into a thick round on a lightly floured surface and prick all over with a fork. Place on the sheet and bake for about 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool and serve sliced thinly and buttered. 
POTATO, ARTICHOKE & LEEK SOUP
2 Tablespoons Butter Or Margarine
1/2 cup Chopped Onion
1 1/2 cups whole leeks, chopped (whites only)
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 quart Chicken Broth
13 3/4 ounces Can Artichoke Hearts, rinsed & drained, cut into quarters
2 1/2 cups Peeled And Cubed Baking Potatoes
2 small Sprigs Thyme
1 1/2 cups Milk
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco Pepper Sauce
Salt To Taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Chopped Fresh Parsley

 
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sautÈ the onion and leeks, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Uncover and cook until the leeks are very soft, about 5 minutes, adding the garlic for the last minute. Add the broth, artichokes, potatoes and thyme; simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the milk and Tabasco sauce; simmer for 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and discard the thyme. In a food processor or blender, puree the soup until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold, garnished with parsley. 
 
 
BROWN RICE WITH PINE NUTS
1 1/2 cups Long-Grain Brown Rice
3 cups Water
1 medium Onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
Black Pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, minced
1/4 cup Pine Nuts

 
Soak brown rice in water at least 2 hours, or overnight. Heat oil in a heavy skillet with tight-fitting lid. Add chopped onion and sautÈ until golden brown and limp. Add rice and soaking water along with cumin and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Cook at a simmer for about 20 minutes. Rice should be tender and water should be absorbed. When rice is done, add chopped parsley and pine nuts.    

SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

 
Mix butter and sugar until well blended. Work in the flour and salt. If the dough is too dry, add 1 to 2 Tablespoons (30 ml). more butter. Roll 1/2 inch thick on a slightly floured board. Cut into rectangles approx. 3/4 inch by 2 inch. Prick each rectangle twice with the tines of a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Makes 30 cookies.
   REAL IRISH STEW

1 1/2 pounds Mutton, cut into pieces
Parsley sprigs
6 Carrots, sliced
2 pounds Potatoes
Salt and pepper
1 pound Onions

 
Place meat and vegetables in saucepan and cover with cold water. Add salt and pepper as required and flavor with a few parsley sprigs and add carrot slices. Slowly bring to a boil and skim off the top. Simmer over a very low heat for approximately 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Note: You can probably substitute lamb for the mutton and not need to cook as long.
 
 
SOURCES
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A Simple Lammas Ritual for the Busy Domestic Witch

From The Modern Pagan

By Ms. B

For many domestic witches, finding time to celebrate the sabbats can be a challenge, even in the summer months. Between keeping the little witchlets busy and out of trouble, or schlepping them to camps and activities, or just trying to find the time to do all the usual things we have to do between work and home, finding time to fit in a sabbat ritual can be tough!

Many times we forget that honoring the seasons and deity do not have to be a huge celebration, full of casting circles, fancy rituals and huge feasts. Of course the sabbats can be one or all of those things, but do they have to be? Of course not. Honoring the change of season can be as simple as a candle lit, a prayer said, and a toast made. Just 5 minutes out of your day to reconnect with your beliefs, your deity and the earth.

For Lammas, I created a simple ritual that can be done alone or with family or friends, with minimal fuss, and in just a few minutes. Of course, feel free to use and/or change the words for your own private use.

Supplies you’ll need:

Bread (Home baked, store bought, heck, a cookie will do in a pinch)


Wine (or beer, mead, fruit juice – you know you have a juice box in there somewhere!)
 

A candle (A summer color is appropriate: gold or yellow, though white always works. Also appropriate? 

Anything that smells like baked goods – cinnamon, sugar cookie, etc..)
 

Optional: anything season that you’d like to set out, such as summer flowers, things harvested from your garden, a corn dolly, etc.), an appropriate incense.

Find a quiet place to sit for a moment, or gather around your table if sharing the ritual with others. Have your bread, wine and candle in front of you (don’t forget something to light the candle with). Take a quick moment to think about what Lammas means to you, and what it has meant to those who have followed the season through times past. It’s the first harvest, time to offer bread in thanks for the prosperity of the crops.

Light your candle (and incense if you are using it). Take a bite of the bread and a sip of the wine.

Say these words (or others, as you like):

On this first day of August, I light a candle to celebrate the harvest.
As the wheel of the year turns and the days start to grow shorter, I honor the Lord and Lady (or the seasons, or your specific deity) and thank them for the blessings and prosperity they have brought to me this year.
I honor those who came before me, and all things living on this earth.

Eat more of the bread, drink more of the wine, being sure to save the last bits as a sacrifice to the earth. Later pour them outside, in your garden, under a tree or into a potted plant.

If you have the time, sit for a few minutes and meditate before snuffing the candle. As you go about your day, keep negative thoughts at bay and try to mentally tally all the wonderful things that have come into your life this year.

Have a wonderful Lammas, however you choose to celebrate!
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Lammas

From LAMMAS

Lammas marks the middle of summer and beginning of the harvest season. Lammas is considered a time of thanksgiving and is the first of the three Pagan harvest festivals. The Sun's strength begins to wane and the plants of spring begin to wither and drop their fruits or seeds for our use as well as to ensure future crops. At this time, we become conscious of the sacrifice the Sun God is preparing to make. We experience a sense of abundance at the same time we begin to feel an urgency to prepare for the death of winter. First grains and fruits of the Earth are cut and stored for the dark winter months.

Lammas also represents the culmination of the marriage between the Goddess and the God that took place on Beltane. The God now becomes the product of that blessed union - the bountiful fruits and grains - and must be sacrificed. He is the personification of the crops that must be harvested for the survival of the people.

Underneath the symbolism of sacrifice is the theme of rebirth. The Corn God must die, and He has to do so in order to return. Without the sacrifice, the cycle stops. Although His strength is waning, His essence is still palpable as His energies begin to merge with the harvested crops. It is at this time that the Sun King has reached the autumn of His years, and His rival (or dark self) has just reached puberty. The Sun God has reigned supreme over the ripening grain during the hot summer months. His dedication, perseverance, and action in tending the seeds sown in spring brings a ripe and fruitful bounty.

Although Lammas is the first of the harvest festivals, fertility imagery may still be found, as there are still crops in the field continuing to grow and livestock and game that have yet to be killed. As the God is honored for His harvest, so the Goddess is honored for bringing forth the first fruits, much as a new mother is honored.
Lammas is also known as Lughnasadh, Lammastide, and First Harvest Festival.

Correspondences

Symbolism: First harvest festival; aging of the Deities, honoring of Sun Gods

Symbols: Corn dollies, cornucopia, grains, the Sun

Foods: Breads, grains, potatoes, summer squash, cider, blackberry pies and jellies, berries, apples, roasted lamb, elderberry wine, meadowsweet tea

Plants & herbs: Ash, camphor, caraway, fern, geranium, juniper, mandrake, marjoram, thyme, sunflowers, wheat

Incense and oils: Allspice, carnation, rosemary, vanilla, sandalwood, aloe, rose

Colors: Red, gold, yellow, orange

Stones: Aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx

Animals and mythical beasts: Roosters, calves, the Phoenix, griffins, basilisk, centaurs

Some appropriate Goddesses: all grain, agriculture, and mother Goddesses; Alphito (Greek), Ashnan (Sumerian), Bast (Egyptian), Bau (Assyro-Babylonian), Ceres (Roman), Demeter (Greek), Gaia (Greek), Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian), Isis (Egyptian), Libera (Roman), Persephone (Greek), Rhiannon (Welsh), Robigo (Roman), Tailtiu (Irish)

Some appropriate Gods: all grain, agriculture, Sun, and father Gods; Cernunnos (Celtic), Dagon (Babylonian), Lahar (Sumerian), Liber (Roman), Llew (Welsh), Lugh (Irish), Neper (Egyptian), Ningirsu/Ninurta (Assyro-Babylonian), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian)

Decorations: Corn, hay, gourds, corn dollies, shafts of grain, sun wheels

Activities: games, country fairs, making corn dollies, baking bread, gathering fruits, visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells.

Spell/ritual work: Offering thanks, honoring fathers, prosperity, abundance, generosity, continued success, connectedness

Lammas: The First Harvest

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...

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, occurring 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 align 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 commentators 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!
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Lughnasadh (August 1st)

Lore

It is appropiate to plant the seeds from the fruit consumed in ritual. If they prout, grown the plant with love and as a symbol of your connection with the Goddess and God.

Wheat weaving (the making of corn dollies, etc) is an appropiate activity for Lughanasadh. Visits to fields, orchads, lakes and wells are alsto traditional. The foods of Lughanasadh include bread, blackberries, and all berries, acorns, crab apples, all grains and locally ripe products. A cake is sometimes baked and cider is used in place of wine.

If you do make a figure of the God from bread, it can be used for the Simple Feast.



Ritual 

Place upon the altar sheaves of wheat, barley or oats, fruits and breads, perhaps a loaf fashioned in the figure of the Sun or a man to represent the God. Corn dollies, symbolic of the Goddess, can be present there as well.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.

Recite the Blessing Chant
May the powers of The One,
the source of all creation;
all-pervasive, omnipotent, eternal;
may the Goddess,
the Lady of the Moon;
and the God,
Horned Hunter of the Sun;
may the powers of the Spirits of the Stones,
rulers of the elemental realms;
may the powers of the stars above and the Earth below,
bless this place, and this time, and I who am with You. 


Invocation of the Goddess and God

Stand before the altar, holding aloft the sheaves of grain, saying these or similar words:

Now is the time of the First Harvest
when the bounties of nature give of themselves
so that we may survive
O God of the ripening fields, Lord of the Grain,
gramt me the understanding ot sacrifice as you
prepare to deliver yourself under the sicke of the
Goddess and journey to the lands of eternal summer
O Goddess of the Dark Moon
teach me the secrets of rebirth
as the Sun loses its strength and the nights grow cold.

Rub the heads of the wheat with your fingers so that the grains fall onto the altar. Lift a piece of fruit and bite it, savoring its flavor, and say:
 
I partake of the first harvest, mixing its energies with mine 
that I may continue my quest for the starry wisdom of perfection
O Lady of the Moon and Lord of the Sun,
gracious ones before Whom the stars halt their courses,
I offer my thanks for the continuing fertility of the Earth.
May the nodding grain loose its seeds to be buried in
the Mother's breast, ensuring rebirth in the warmth
of the coming Spring



FROM, "WICCA" by Scott Cunningham
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