Lughnasadh is the first harvest and the first celebration to honor the waning phase of the year. Just like the waning gibbous, this season is a time to reflect, harvest, gather, reap, and allow yourself to come to fruition. The flurry of growth has happened. The peak of summer has come and gone. Though it may still be hot where you are, some “crops” are ready to be harvested, both physically and metaphorically. So, what does this season mean for you, and what does it call you to explore and reflect upon?
This post will discuss the intersection of the first harvest season, Leo season, and Lughnasadh. We’ll explore a bit of history about the Celtic God Lugh and how he fits into all of this. Lastly, I’ll offer a few ways to honor and work with the energy of this season.
Listen to this blog post on my podcast, awen here.
What is Lughnasadh, and is it the same as Lammas?
On the wheel of the year, Lughnasadh is traditionally celebrated on August 1st or the first harvest. It is the midway point between the Summer Solstice and the Fall Equinox. As always, I encourage you to celebrate at a time that’s meaningful for you. For example, if you do garden or farm, it’s fine to wait until you’re actually ready to harvest. Alternatively, if you want to celebrate on the 1st, that’s fine too.
I feel that the Sabbat of Lughnasadh (loo-nah-sah), also called Lammas, is one of the more undervalued seasonal celebrations. I prefer to stick with the name Lughnasadh as it is more in line with my spiritual beliefs and paths (I think its spelling puts many off, but it’s really a quite beautiful name.) The name Lammas comes from the phrase “loaf mass” and is the Christianized version of the original celebration to honor the God Lugh and the first harvest. This is truly one of my favorite times of the year.
The name Lughnasadh comes from the well-documented Celtic warrior and sun God, Lugh. His name actually translates to “light.” Lugh was a skilled craftsman who bore many talents. He created Lughnasadh as a celebration of the first harvest and to honor his foster mother.
Lugh is deeply intertwined with the harvest season because, according to lore, he brought the knowledge of growing and harvesting crops to hunter-gatherer tribes after winning a battle with an old King. Of course, knowing how to grow and harvest crops was life-changing for our ancestors from Northern and Western Europe. This is another reason I prefer to refer to this celebration as Lughnasadh. It honors the triumphs of our ancestors. Our ancestors did not always grow their own crops, but when we did, it changed everything. Thus the first harvest is of incredible importance and something to thank our ancestors for to this day.
On an energetic level, Lugh is a reminder to continue to refine our crafts, learn new skills, and honor our talents both on an individual and collective level. This is a highly celebratory season and, pride is a big theme of Lugh and Lughnasadh.
Leo Season and Lughnasadh
This naturally brings me to Leo season! For Tropical astrology (what I use), Leo season begins on July 23rd and aligns beautifully with Lughnasadh. Leo is ruled by the Sun (we can see another overlap here with the God Lugh.) This is indeed a very sunny time of the year, physically and metaphorically speaking. Now I won’t dive too deep into the astrology of Leo because it’s been covered on this blog more extensively here, but here are a few things to note. Leo, a fixed fire sign, calls each of us to find the inner strength to share our gifts and true selves with the world boldly. Leo connects with strength and the sun in the tarot, again mirroring a need to share your gifts boldly with the world and again connecting Lugh to this season through the sun card.
I’m sure you can now see and perhaps even feel the immense power, strength, and celebratory energy associated with this season and its many components! Not all of our seasonal and zodiac energies align this beautifully, but this one does so beautifully.
Rituals Suggestions for Lughnasadh
How can you harness this potent energy offered by Lughnasadh and Leo season? Here are some coming dates and four considerations for connecting with and honoring the energy of this season. I’ll focus on the themes we’ve already discussed of harvest, pride, and full expression.
First, we have the new moon in Leo from August 8-9 (2021). This will be an ideal time to be open to spirit for new ways to share your gifts with the world and consider being open to new ways to express yourself and your gifts.
Then we have a full moon in Aquarius on August 22nd (2021.) This will be an ideal time to express your truth and focus on themes of harvest and gratitude.
Now some ritual suggestions. Of course, I always like to preface any ritual suggestions with some reminders. First, I view each celebration on the Wheel of the Year as a season. This means you do not have to do all of these things on August 1st. I certainly won’t be and wouldn’t suggest it either (unless you really want to and don’t have twins at home like me!) Space it out, do what you feel called to do when you feel called to do it. Our ancestors did not complete their harvests in one day (in fact, it sprawls three entire seasons), they merely began. I always like to remind you to approach each Sabbat as a season rather than a day. Never discount the power of being aware and sitting in the energy of each season. This in and of itself is a ritual. Lastly, and as always, take what you like and leave the rest.
1. Pride Ritual
So many of us, myself included, rarely celebrate and honor our accomplishments. Seriously, I am so bad at this! I have really work on celebrating all that I’ve accomplished and have friends who keep me in check and remind me often. Now it’s time for you to get clear and honest about this, when was the last time you really celebrated your wins?
In our capitalist-driven world, the primary message we receive is “create, create, and create more.” This is one big reason why working the seasons into your spiritual practice is so valuable. You are not meant to create all the time! Furthermore, you not only need rest and self-care, but you also need time to honor and celebrate how far you’ve come.
This one can be easy, join me. Right now, pause and think about three amazing things you’ve done this year. I don’t care how big or small they are, but I want you to sit in the energy of pride and celebration for yourself. My three are that I took a step back from work to take time off and work less, I started exercising again, and I wrote two books and created a tarot card deck. Sit in it. What does it feel like to celebrate yourself? Does it feel uncomfortable? Are you coming up with all the things you wish you’d accomplished but haven’t yet or all the things you still “need” to do? Kindly ask all of that garbage to step back for a moment while you revel in what you have accomplished. It’s time to harvest your efforts and take in your growth.
If you want to take this a step further, write it down and place it on your altar, maybe light a candle for yourself, so often we light candles for others. When was the last time you lit one for yourself? Consider making or buying yourself a treat to celebrate your accomplishments. This could be as simple as making yourself your favorite dinner or giving yourself time and space to watch a favorite movie. What feels like a beautiful way to celebrate your accomplishments right now?
2. Gratitude Offering for the Mother Earth
With any harvest comes gratitude. This is a theme we’ll see in each of the three harvest seasons (Lughnasadh, the autumn equinox, and Samhain.) I think it’s important to honor the earth for every seasonal celebration, but even more so for our harvest celebrations. Even though most of us do not have an active hand in growing and harvesting the food we eat, these harvest celebrations are what kept many of our ancestors alive. It gives us an opportunity, or reminder, to give thanks to mother earth for all of the nourishment she’s given us throughout the year; if you do harvest around this time of year, even better! You’ll have a tangible way to honor this season and the earth. For those who don’t, here are some ways to consider giving thanks to the earth for the bounty of food you have.
Create an earth offering of flowers, stones, food, or other compostable items you resonate with. I like to do this by going for a walk and collecting different items that catch my eye. Then, I’ll find a location I feel called to set up my offering. This could be a mandala or any arrangement that feels good to you. As you set it up, think about all of the gifts the earth has given your this year, all the food you’ve been nourished with.
You could also take this ritual inside and create another offering on your altar space as a gratitude offering to mother earth.
3. Explore Lugnasadh and Leo in the Tarot
For this one, we’ll be circling back to our Leo energy a bit more. This would be a great ritual to practice anytime during the waxing growth phase of the moon from August 1-22nd, with the intention of tapping into expressing your gifts and focusing again on the theme of harvest.
As I already mentioned, the cards that correspond with Leo in the tarot are the sun and strength. There’s also a perfect card for Lugnasadh too, and that’s the nine of pentacles. I feel like this card embodies the energy of this season soooooo beautifully. Numerologically speaking, nine’s represent fulfillment and fruition. Pentacles are our suit of earth. So the nine of pentacles, in my opinion, is very literally a card of harvest.
There are so many ways to connect with these cards. As I mentioned, the waxing phase or the full moon are great times to work with the energies of these cards. Perhaps, even consider lighting a red or orange candle to focus on the fiery energy of the sun and strength. You could journal with these cards, meditate with them, simply place them on your altar, or draw your own versions of them, as I’ve mentioned in previous rituals. Be open to their lessons and what they have to offer you during this season.
4. Traditional Lughnasadh Rituals and Correspondences
Of course, I can’t leave you without covering some of the more traditional rituals and correspondences for this season. Some we’ve already covered but here’s a list of common correspondences. Most of these come straight out of my new book, “Understanding the Wheel of the Year”.
Colors: Gold, red, orange, purple, tan
Plants and scents: Sunflower, calendula, hops, vervain, rosehips, or anything seasonal where you live
Food: Wheat, corn, bread, beer, berries, or anything seasonal where you live
Crystals: tiger’s eye, red jasper, pyrite, smokey quartz
Traditional Lughnasadh Rituals:
- Bake bread, enjoy bread, leave a brad offering on your altar or in nature
- Make beer, enjoy some beer (only if of age, of course)
- Spend time in nature
- Practice gratitude
- Connect with the God Lugh and Goddess Gaia
- Perform abundance spells. Find a past post with abundance spells here.
- Decorate your home and altar with correspondence suggestions above
That wraps up my formal ritual suggestions. Of course, the best thing you can do for yourself anytime you want to honor celebrations on the Wheel of the Year is to get outside and be in nature. You can come back to this post anytime throughout the season of Lughnasadh for ideas to connect with this season, anytime the inspiration strikes!
If you’d like to dive deeper into this celebration or the Wheel of the Year, my new book “Understanding the Wheel of the Year” is available for preorder and coming out on September 28th, 2021. You can also find a past post by Eryn Johnson here. And, one of my personal all-time favorite books on the Wheel of the Year is “The Magical Year” by Danu Forest. Let the harvest season begin! It’s time to honor and celebrate how far you’ve come.
Cassie Uhl is a published author, artist, intuitive, and founder of Zenned Out. She created Zenned Out in 2012 with the mission to build a brand that normalizes spirituality. In 2018 she self-published her popular and interactive Goddess Discovery Book series. In 2020 her writing and art became more mainstream with Understanding Auras, Understanding Crystals, and Understanding Chakras, published by The Quarto Group. Her writing style and art combine to help marry accessibility with deep spiritual topics. It is her goal to help others understand and live spiritual practices that can change the world. Inspired by her open-minded grandmother, Cassie has been meditating and working with her energy since her teenage years. She received her 200hr YTT in 2012 with a focus on breathwork. Now, her work focuses on energy work, journeying, mediumship, death midwifery, and healing through traditional Celtic shamanic practices.