Southern Hemisphere Lammas/Lugh (Australia)

Lammas aka Lugh is happening the first week of February (February 4th at 6.55pm EST) which makes it the first harvest festival of the new year in the Gregorian calendar in the Southern Hemisphere.  Lammas is all about giving thanks and gratitude for the harvest blessings bestowed upon us.  Although its origins are Irish due to it being a Gaelic festival – its a festival celebrated by various Pagan and Wiccans in the modern day.

Personally I like to observe it, due to being mindful of our season and I tend to offer fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs which are available during this time.  A good way to work out what is seasonal is to check your local grocer/market and note what regional produce is in abundance, which is usually cost effective too.

Australian Seasonal Produce During Lammas/Lugh:

Veggies: tomatoes, corn, avocados, rhubarb, beetroot, cabbage, green beans, asparagus, cucumber, eggplant, leeks, spring onion, peas (all types), silver-beet, zucchini, varieties of greens like lettuce, spinach, water cress, red potatoes, radish, celery, carrot and capsicum.

Fruit: tomatoes, plums, cherries, strawberries,  grapes, apricots, nectarines, berries (blue, black), bananas, mangoes, figs, watermelon, cantaloupe, passion fruit,  lemons, limes,

Herbs: fennel, basil, chillies, chives, coriander, dill, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, mint (all varieties), oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, lavender, sunflower and thyme.

As a practitioner in Australia, the way I like to connect to my heritage whilst honouring the land I live on, is to make food which I can then dedicate to the local land spirits, my personal ancestors and my patron gods.  I do this through making food as offerings. These foods not only connect to my Greek heritage but also to the Australian classics and in recent years I have added indigenous ingredients in order to create a fusion of flavour honouring them all.

I make bread for Lammas as tradition dictates, however I also make Pita and Scones. I also like to make tsatziki, roasted lamb with saltbush, Greek salad with wild purslane and meredith feta, lemon myrtle tea cake with quandong jam, macadamia and beetroot pesto pasta, figs with honey and stuffed vine leaves.  All these items are either grown and gathered from my residence or sourced locally from friends or organic farmers which have specific significance to me and the connection to the land I inhabit as well as my heritage.

I also like to create magical items used in ritual and spell craft to honour the season.

Having a paper bark tree in my front yard, I use the paper the tree gifts me and write what I am thankful for with red ochre sourced from a friend’s central Victorian property which was gathered by a stream running through her property.  I burn incense made from gum leaves/nuts and eucalyptus resin I source from nature locally, ensuring I do not hurt or harm the environment .  I also burn bundles of bay laurel, rosemary and eucalyptus (from my garden) before offerings of bottle-brush, wattle, kangaroo paw and and eucalyptus spray (again from my garden or from my neighbours overhanging trees).

 

I have created a simple ritual you can use for Lammas/Lugh which I have shared below:


Setjataset’s Australian Lammas/Lugh Ritual

1. Start off by giving thanks to the people who came before us.

I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land, the Wurrung and Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) peoples of the Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders, past and present.

2. Create sacred space in whatever manner you are accustomed to.

3. Evoke a God/dess which to you symbolises harvest and home ie Lugh for Celtic tradition, Birrahgnooloo & Gunabibi for Australian Indigenous, Hestia for Greek, Vesta for Roman, Bes for Ancient Egyptian, Frigg for Norse and so on.

4. Burn incense.

5. Leave a food offering and/or libation.

6. Write a petition of gratitude and read it out loud whilst mindfully acknowledging all the blessings bestowed upon you. On the other side of the petition write how you can share some of those blessings with those who would benefit from some assistance from you. It can be something as small as sharing your food to something as big as volunteering your time and energy towards a cause you feel strongly about.

7. Partake in food offering and libation as well as leaving some for the spirits of the land.

8. Thank your God/dess and farewell them.

9. Close and disassemble sacred space in whatever manner you are accustomed to.


Whatever you decide to do for Lugh – remember, its all about the things you are harvesting in your life and giving thanks for those blessings.

 

(C) T. Georgitsis 2020

 

Isis-Seshat 2017 Summer Issue: Summer Festival

The latest issue of Isis Seshat (the journal for the Fellowship of Isis and the like) has just come out and I have an article about a summer festival in the southern hemisphere  – get your copy now: PDFs are available for purchase at $5 USD each; just email me via PayPal at anna dot applegate at yahoo dot com.

Lugh (The First Harvest) and Tina’s Magickal Plum Jam Recipe

Lughnasadh celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere on 1st or 2nd  February is also known as the first harvest due to the land’s plentiful bounty during this time.  For me Lugh is a time to make offerings for what is profusely available, as well as pour a libation in honour of the gods of this season, who give of themselves to allow the land to prosper with fertility and abundance.

The first time I recall participating in a harvest festival, I was a young child visiting relatives in a small remote farming village on an island in Greece (Kontopouli, Lemos).  The main staple is wheat and after the first harvest had been collected all the residents of the village would gather with bundles of chaffless wheat stalks at crossroads and in central meeting points around the village.  There, they would create bonfires in a succession of three in a row where young and old would jump them in order to bring fertility, luck and prosperity into their lives for the rest of the year.  After this, feasting and drinking would occur at the local taverns or in people’s homes which would always consist of what was amply available such as wine, bread, vegetables and fruit. The connection between the first harvest and food was set up for me from a very early age and continues to this day.

For me the first harvest is a time of much working due to my garden being abundant with life. I personally like to preserve olives, plums, apples, lemons but there is a plethora of fruits and vegetables just perfect for pickling, canning and preserving to enjoy during the dark months where the warming energies of the summer produce is appreciated. It’s also a time to gather certain herbs and flowers which richly grow and resonate with the vibrations of summer for use not only in cooking but in crafting items like charms. Whatever you decide to create, you use what it’s in season, ensuring you infuse the energies of Lugh consisting of, prosperity, protection, purification, positive transformation, pure generosity and productive success within your food.

Friends and family absolutely adore the magickal plum jam I make around this time which has the sweetness of strawberry jam and the tartness of marmalade combined and to me it really connects me with the season.  The magickal qualities of plum are those of love and devotion as well as causing the body and mind to relax according to the Greeks and Ancient Egyptians.  Plums are also a fruit which symbolise fertility and can be seen to have a protective element.

When I make my jam, considering this is quite a long process which can take several hours and involves constant stirring, I developed a simple chant I use whilst I continuously send affirmative thoughts into the boiling pot:

“Round and round the boiling pot,

I stir into it positive thought.

Protection, kindness, love and joy,

Made for friends and family to enjoy”

(C) T. Georgitsis 2012

Image

Tina’s Magickal Plum Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2kg plums of choice (I use my home grown organic Victoria Plum variety)
  • 1 litre water
  • 125 ml lemon juice
  • 1.5 kg sugar
  • 1 pkt jam setter (if necessary to set but my suggestion is to add 25ml more lemon juice and keep boiling until it sets to keep it vegan)

Method:

  1. Put a small plate in fridge to test for setting point later.
  2. Cut plums in half, remove stones and any impurities on skin.
  3. In a large pot place plums with 1 litre of water and cover with a lid.
  4. Bring slowly to the boil on a medium heat, ensuring you stir every so often so the plums don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Once the mixture comes to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer with lid off for an hour or until the plums are soft and breaking apart.
  6. Add sugar and lemon and stir until sugar has dissolved.
  7. Bring to the boil on medium heat continuously stirring then reduce to a simmer.
  8. Remove any skum from the surface and continue to simmer until the jam falls through a tilted spoon in thick sheets without watery dripping.
  9. Once the above occurs, test for setting point by putting a little bit of jam on the cold plate in the fridge for a minute, the setting point has been reached when a skin forms on the surface and it wrinkles when pushed.
  10. When ready place into warm clean jars and seal.
  11. Label the jar with date and ingredients.
  12. Store in a cool dark place and refrigerate up to 8-12 weeks after opening

(C) All images, articles and recipes T. Georgitsis 2012 (First appeared in Issue 6 of Spirit & Spell magazine January 2013)

Image