Lammas or Lughnasadh is the first autumn festival in the Southern Hemisphere calendar. This year it falls on the 4th of February at 12.40am. I was introduced to this festival when I studied Wicca back in my teens and then was exposed to a celebration of it when I was in my first Wiccan coven in my early 20’s.
Historically its a Celtic festival which celebrates the First Harvest of the Fruits such as apples, grapes, tomatoes, peaches, plums but also celebrates the harvest of the first grain, wheat, oats and corn. Therefore traditionally the fruit gathered is made into preserves and the grains and corn made into bread or cakes.
I grew up with an immigrant Greek family and during this time of year they would make large stores of Passata due to it being used so often in their cooking. My father also made home made moonshine using whatever was abundant and in season as well as his own wine and beer. My mother made Pita from home grown spinach and/or horta and fennel, stuffed vine leaves and also various Greek shortbreads and cakes. They would both share what they made with family and friends as it was common practice where they grew up and brought that tradition here to Australia when they immigrated.
These days I continue a version of their traditions as I infuse store bought wine with homegrown Greek herbs, make passata from the tomatoes out of my garden, as well as bake traditional Greek village bread and Greek biscuits using organic ingredients. I have also used this time for years to make plum jam from my garden’s Victorian heirloom organic plums (due to the trees originally being part of a farm in the area before it was sub-divided into housing). These items created from the seasonal harvest are offered to my Gods, Ancestors and loved ones where appropriate.
Due to been heavily influenced by the way I was raised, my rituals are a mix of honouring my personal Gods, ancestors and also honouring the land I live on. I see this as a perfect blend of personal devotion as someone who works with the Gods, local spirits and venerates her ancestors in a modern way. I don’t have any strong connection to the God Lugh, typically honoured during this time of year, so I personally use it as a harvest festival and honour my household Gods: Hekate with a libation set aside to Hestia. Other Gods which I have honoured during his time include Persephone, Demeter, Mercury and Apollo.
If like me if you honour any of the above Gods, you can make Greek shortbread or cheesecake for Hekate, pomegranate infused cakes or salads for Persephone, honey or sesame biscuits for Demeter, home made wine for Mercury and home made beer for Apollo.
Its also a good time to make and dedicate devotional items you have crafted yourself over the summer. I tend to make and dedicate items to specific Gods utilising items from my garden due to it resonating with the vibe of the season and festival. Growing a lot of herbs, the ones which are in season, I collect preserve and store them for future use in Hekate’s name for various magical purposes. I also collect resin, bark, leaves and branches from some of my trees to be used in items such as incense, waters, oils and magical tools.
I feel magically used crafts such as candles and incense are perfect to infuse with the energies of the season especially if we are able to harness these energies and channel them into the items. I also tend to make preserves which I use in offerings thorough the remainder of the year
Also its a good time to acknowledge the ancestors and leave them some food offerings as a form of ancestor veneration. I usually leave some food they liked in life such as kalamata olives, feta, stuffed vine leaves my mother taught me to make along with some Greek coffee which I can scry and divine with.
So even though the Hekate and Ancestral traditions of spirituality and magick I work, doesn’t sound like it fits exactly within the Lammas/Lughnasadh festival – I make it work for me and you can too as the most important thing I feel is devotion and dedication to your path whatever form that takes.
(c) T. Georgitsis 2020