There is an immense spiritual benefit in honoring the seasons of the Earth and in syncing with the rhythms of life and nature.
Celebrating Lughnasadh as one of the 8 seasonal festivals within the ever-turning Wheel of the Year is a wonderful way to do just that!
What is Lughnasadh? (Pronounced Loo-nah-sa)
Lughnasadh, or also called Lammas is the beginning of the harvest season and the midpoint between the Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox.
It is usually celebrated right around August 1st in the Northern Hemisphere when we reach the halfway point (cross-quarter date) between Solstice and Equinox.
This is a seasonal celebration, and so if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, check out my post on Imbolc to learn about the corresponding seasonal celebration for you here.
Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-nah-sa) is an ancient Irish Harvest festival held on August 1st to celebrate the abundance of the Earth, and to acknowledge the passing of time and entrance into the hidden (esoteric) start of Autumn.
It is one of the 4 Celtic Fire festivals and was said to be celebrated from sunset to sunset, so sunset on July 31st to sunset on August 1st. But really… Celebrate sometime around August 1st when it really feels like summer or when the timing is right for you.
Lughnasa (alternate spelling) is also sometimes called Lammas. Lammas comes from the Saxon word Hlaf-mass which means “loaf mass” or “the Feast of Bread”. This name points to one of the key meanings of the festival, which was a celebration of the grain harvest marked by blessing and baking bread with the first grain harvested of the season. More on that soon.
Seasonal Indications of Lughnasadh
At the start of August, Summer is present in full force. The Earth is ripe with abundance and we can feel and witness the full flowering of Summer.
The Sun brightly shines high in the sky and sunflowers bloom, tomatoes are ripe on the vine, and the first of the seasons crops are being harvested.
Metaphysically, in the Spring and Summer Season, the living Earth being (Gaia, Sophia) breathes out her etheric and astral forces. This manifests as plant growth and an abundant outwardly expression of vitality and life.
Our agrarian ancestors would have honored the abundance of the Earth, celebrated a bountiful first harvest and the start of the harvest season, and given thanks to Spirit for many blessings and offerings for bountiful future harvests as well.
With Summer now fully in its peak, we can also honor and notice that this is also a time where the forces of change stir within the Earth. The forces of growth in nature are starting to slow, and the long days of summer are visibly shortening.
This is the hidden and subtle entrance into Autumn. Soon Mother Earth will begin her in-breath of the astral and etheric life forces that manifest so abundantly as rebirth, growth and plant life in the Summer months.
Soon the verdant growth that peaks in Summer will halt, the days will grow darker and colder once again, and the Wheel of the Year will turn from Summer into Fall and then Winter.
The cycle continues on, and yet we can take this time of Lughnasadh to celebrate the beautiful Summer weather, and to celebrate abundance, life, light and to honor Mother Earth as a whole right here and now.
Celebrating the peak and change of the seasons throughout the year is such a beautiful reminder of the power of being present fully in the moment amidst the continued cycles of change…
A beautiful opportunity to be in gratitude, to embrace life and to consciously choose to boldly move forward in acceptance of the present season and openness towards the new with open hearts, light shining bright and very much renewed.
10 Ways to Celebrate Lughnasadh
Lughnasadh is a harvest festival that was observed by agrarian people who were very in touch with the cycles of nature, and the magic of the Earth energies present all around.
They observed and honored these elements in the moment.
In our modern world, people are pretty disconnected from Nature and her natural wisdom and cycles. That makes celebrating this and other Wheel of the Year festivals an excellent opportunity to reconnect with the spiritual forces of nature, to tune into the cycles of change, and to tune in to gratitude for the Earth, and for the many blessings of love, light and abundance in your life.
Lughnasa (alternate spelling) is a time to honor all you are reaping the rewards from in your life, and all that has come to fruition for you to harvest and enjoy.
It’s a time to be fully alive, present and grateful, while being mindful and honoring what has come before, and what path you’re on leading into the future that will come to be.
There are many ways to celebrate Lammas or Lughnasadh, here are a few of my favorite ways:
1. Get Out Into Nature
One of the best ways to honor the Earth and celebrate a seasonal festival like Lughnasa is to simply get outside!
Go for a mindful walk in nature, or find a shady space by a lake, river or the Ocean to swim, relax, and just be present tuning into the natural world.
As you’re mindfully observing nature, become aware of the forces of growth and life present all around you. Tune into the heat and strength of the Sun and sense the changes the Earth is undergoing.
Feel into how stable the warmth and heat of summer is, and yet there is the underlying knowing that it too will soon fade.
What signs of the hidden approach of Autumn do you sense or see?
Do you see any plants or flowers going to seed? Reflect on how this fruition and harvest is also the beginning of that plants journey into decline where they will return into the Earth to rest and lay dormant through Winter before once again being reborn in the Spring.
Feel into nature and into the qualities of the Summer season with all your senses and enjoy connecting with Mother Earth with a sense of reverence and gratitude.
2. Bake Homemade Bread
As I mentioned briefly above, another name for Lughnasadh is Lammas, which translates as “Loaf Mass”.
The name reminds us of the ancient tradition of celebrating the first grain harvest of the season by blessing the grain and baking fresh bread with it.
You can tap into this deeply rooted tradition by mindfully and with intention baking your own Lammas bread to enjoy and share with family and friends.
While you’re mixing the ingredients of your bread together, send/ stir good vibes into the dough infusing your bread with blessings for abundance, joy, love, health, and vitality.
I love making this Gluten Free Buckwheat Bread Recipe which I got from my friend Bridget Nielsen…
Gluten Free Buckwheat Bread
Blend/ Grind together and set aside to thicken:
1/2 Cup Chia Seeds 2 Cups Water 1T Vinegar
Mix Flours Together in a Separate Bowl:
3 Cups Buckwheat Flour 1 Cup Arrowroot Flour 2 Cups Organic Almond flour (Can Substitute Chickpea flour as well) 1.5 T Psyllium Husk Powder 1 tsp Baking Soda Dash of Salt
Mix Blended Chia mixture and 1/2 cup apple sauce in with the Flours.
Add 1- 1.5 Cup Water Mix Well
Pour Into A Prepared (buttered or coconut oiled) Pan and Bake at 375 degrees for one hour.
Baking this healthy Buckwheat Bread makes for a lovely morning Lughnasadh ritual…
But with an hour bake time, if it’s hot where you are, baking bread indoors may seem like the furthest thing from what you’d like to be doing.
If this is the case, I have wonderful news for you!
It’s called Bannock Bread!
Bannock Bread is type of skillet bread that you can make on the stovetop. It has a quick cook time, or you can even make it over campfire!
I love celebrating life with delicious food that’s fresh, healthy and in season…. And so did our ancient ancestors.
For a harvest festival… What better way is there to celebrate than a harvest meal?
For Lughnasadh, why not enjoy the bounties of the season by preparing a crisp and colorful salad (to serve alongside your homemade bread) with fresh herbs and home-grown vegetables harvested from your garden.
If you don’t have a garden of your own to harvest from, stop by a local farmers’ market to purchase what’s fresh and in season…
Alternately you can just pick up fresh, or have delivered, in season produce from a local grocery store like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, peppers, dill, kale, cilantro and carrots.
Really want to make this the perfect Lughnasadh Feast?
Enjoy your meal outdoors in your garden with family and friends, or pack a picnic and bring it with you to enjoy in one of your favorite nature spots.
4. Go Berry Picking or Visit a “You Pick Orchard”
Let’s not forget about all the newly ripened summer fruits like berries, peaches and plums… Oh my!
Check and see if any You Pick Orchards or local berry farms near you are open, or have fruit that’s ready …
Depending on where you live you may be able to go foraging for blackberries, huckleberries or raspberries in the wild. If you do forage, be sure to leave some berries for the birds, bears and bees. And yes I said bears, who yes, love berries too so if you do forage in nature, be bear aware.
You can also just pick up some fresh and in season fruits like peaches, plums, nectarines and berries at the store or local farmers’ market to make a Lughnasa fruit salad, or this healthy and yet still decadent version of berries and cream.
5. Sit Out and Watch the Stars
Our ancient ancestors were captivated by the stars. Today, when we get shut off our phones, turn off the lights, get out of our light polluted cities, and get outside at night to look up at the stars, its easy to see why!
Lughnasa is the perfect opportunity for reconnecting with the night sky amidst the peak of Summertime before it once again is tool cold and chilly at night for such adventures.
A stargazing celebration can be as simple or as elaborate as you want and need.
If you live in a big city, you may need to drive outside of the city limits to find a dark enough area to get a good view of the starry night sky.
Time for a camping trip?
There really is just something so magical and spiritually reconnecting about sitting outside by a campfire gazing up at the stars. Highly recommended.
6. Harvest Seeds
Seeds are incredible. It really is a miracle to plant a seed in the Earth, and with the help of water, and the light of the sun, to watch it grow.
Around Lughnasadh many plants, flowers and vegetables are going to seed, and these seeds can be harvested.
Each tiny seed contains the entire blueprint for the plant it will someday become. This is a beautiful thing to reflect on and contemplate in and of itself.
A seed is both the harvest of the current season as well as the potential for harvests of the future.
Gather seeds from plants in your garden, collecting them carefully and drying them in the sun to plant next spring.
If you have kids be sure to get them involved in this!