BLESSED LAMMAS, TRAGICS!
Also known as Lughnasadh, Lammas (from Old English meaning "loaf mass") is the celebration of the first grain harvest and a time to be thankful for the abundance in our lives. In some traditions, Lammas celebrates the Celtic god Lugh, master of skills such as blacksmithing and wheel making and god of the sun.
Lammas allows us to form a deeper connection with the food we eat, a belief deeply intertwined with the practice of Kitchen Witchcraft. Lammas falls on the 1st of February in the Southern Hemisphere so it's time to prepare: here's how you can show your thanks for the harvest this year!
Baking bread perhaps the most notable Lammas tradition. Many European cultures began Lammas celebrations with the cutting of the grains, which would then be divided among the village. The bread made from these grains would then be blessed, and the tradition of preparing, kneading, and baking bread continues today. You should use a recipe that speaks to you but if you’re not sure where to start, here’s a delicious buttermilk bread recipe from The Goddess & The Green Man.
- 3 mugs of strong white flour
- 500 ml of buttermilk (available from the supermarket)
- I teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda
- Lammas ribbon in your choice of colour - gold, orange, yellow
- Sprouted seeds - these represent regeneration. Source from the supermarket or sprout your own if possible.
Place the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda and pour in the buttermilk. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the dough feels springy and then mix in the sprouted seeds. If it feels too sloppy just add a little more flour. Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival.
Place onto a greased baking tray and pop your buttermilk bread into a moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes. Keep and eye on it. When the bread is ready it will change colour and it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, tie it with Lammas ribbon.
Take time to concentrate on the bread you have created and turn the loaf three times saying: "From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Lammas Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless."
Now take your bread and share it with your family and friends and pass on the generous blessings of this bright and bountiful festival. Eat it fresh as soon as it’s ready if you can.
TURN LOCAL PRODUCE INTO A FABULOUS FEAST
When weaving your magick and intentions into your food, being conscious of where each ingredient is sourced will help you achieve your goals and deepen your relationship with your food. Take the opportunity during Lammas to seek out local produce, whether it be at a local fruit and veg shop or at a farmer’s market. Support local business and shop consciously all at once!
If you're someone who has had the space to grow you own produce, now is the time to harvest what's in season and share the bounty with friends and family. Host a BYO dinner so everyone can share their favourite dishes and decorate your table with herbs (sunflowers, calendula, mint, meadowsweet) and colours (harvest green, gold, yellow, orange) of the season.
MAKE A CORN DOLLY
A corn dolly, also known as a grain mother, is a figure made by plaiting straw as a part harvest customs before the advent of mechanisation in farming as well as continuing Pagan traditions, particularly on Lammas and Mabon. They were woven to thank the Great Mother for the harvest and represent luck and fertility: once the first harvest had been reaped on Lammas, a corn dolly would be woven from the last cut sheaf. To source the grain for your dolly, you can use any grain: oat, rye, corn or wheat, whichever is most abundant in your area. One easy material to find is corn husks, which can be stripped and dried when cooking the cobs.
There are many shapes you can use to create a corn doll, we recommend this lovely tutorial by Nitty Gritty Life, which uses corn husks. If you'd prefer to make a corn dolly out of wheat after the tradition in Britain, check out this tutorial by Nurturestore.
Enjoy your bounty, Tragics!