Well here we are at Lammas, often considered the ‘Forgotten Sabbat’ because it is one of the least celebrated by many witches. This is my first official Sabbat as a witch, as I hadn’t worked up the courage to do a ritual yet at Beltane and at Midsummer, I was only one day off an eleven hour flight from Athens (talk about exhaustion.) As the first of the three harvest feasts, Lammas, August 1, is in many ways the first day of fall, as argued by Mike Nichols in his famous Sabbat essays (http://www.witchessabbats.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16&Itemid=27). Although it still feels like summer, we all know autumn is right around the corner and for many of us, myself very much included, it can’t come soon enough.
Although I had not done a Sabbat ritual yet, I have done them for the full moon and I quickly learned that calling the quarters and waving my hands and all the things a lot of books will tell you are absolutely essential, just aren’t for me. Ceremony is wonderful and I know a lot of people swear by it, but simple suits me. So here is my very simple Lammas ritual, as conducted in my garden this morning:
Well, okay, that was the plan. My poor mom threw her back out yesterday and I couldn’t leave her by herself in the house so I wound up doing the ritual at a window overlooking the garden. Ah, the best laid plans.
Sit or kneel in the garden. Usually I like to do my rituals at night but because Lammas is all about an abundant harvest, sunlight just added to the atmosphere.
Light a white, yellow or gold candle. Meditate on the flame, focusing on both the blessings in your life and the sacrifices you need to or should make. The other aspect of Lammas is one of sacrifice since it does mark the coming barrenness of winter and the ‘sacrifice’ of the harvest to sustain the village, family or individual. This combination of blessing and sacrifice can often easily be found in our own lives.
Take a bite of bread and a sip of wine or tea, alternating until gone. This year I chose to use cornbread, as corn is very much a symbol of the holiday, but zucchini bread would work great as well. I also drank a cup of tea. I had intended to drink local white wine but being that I had to go to fill in at our store… I decided tea was a better idea.
Now, just as I do in my full moon rituals, is when I performed a little bit of magick. We had very unusual rains and cold snaps this year (into June!) so the garden is proving to be a bit of a late bloomer and we have only picked zucchini and a couple of peppers so far. So I devised a blessing to help it along a bit:
First Harvest Garden Blessing
Handwrite a blessing for continued prosperity and positive abundance. Lay a snipped leaf from the garden and a few heads of wheat or a piece of corn husk on the blessing and tie the bundle with a piece of twine. Burn the bundle or bury it in the garden.
Blow out the candle when you are finished, saying Blessed Be.
Have a happy Lammas and an abundant autumn!