Celebrated on August 1 in the Northern Hemisphere (or February 1 in the Southern Hemisphere), Lammas is the first harvest Sabbat of the year having traditionally marked the reaping of the crops that had been tended to in the previous months. While many of us may not be actively harvesting crops these days, we can still celebrate Lammas by noting what can be metaphorically harvested in our personal lives.
The folks at Feeding Our Flamingos have a great and simple bread recipe that’s a wonderful addition to your Lammas celebration. Known colloquially as “poor man’s bread”, this recipe costs less than a dollar to create. For this celebration, we’ll use this bread to honor the harvest time as well as our ancestors. But first--the loaf must be intentionally created in the name of Lammas. In working magic or performing pagan ceremonies, intention is incredibly important to focus the energy one is utilizing in such a practice. Spirited Enterprise gives a simple explanation behind what it means to be intentional in one’s work.
All of your ingredients should be gathered in your workspace. Using white sage or another type of smudge stick, the area as well as your materials will need to be cleansed. Beginning at your feet and working your way to your head, circle the lit bundle of white sage around yourself in a counterclockwise motion while saying,
I offer this blessed and pure smoke to the bountiful harvest. May this smoke cleanse me of all that no longer serves me. May it cast aside my doubts and fears so that I may have more space within for the light of the abundance and the love of the creation.
The counterclockwise motion aids in release and letting go. Once completed, you’ll circle the sage in a clockwise motion starting with your head and working your way back down to your feet while saying,
May this smoke fill me with the abundance of the harvest. May it bless me with a sense of gratitude for all that exists within my life. May I be filled with hope, wisdom, and nurturance. May I have enough space within my heart to embrace the positive energy of this harvest season.
Now that you are energetically cleared, you can begin work on cleansing your materials as well as the space you’re working in. Again, you’ll want to start in a counterclockwise motion before working your way to a clockwise motion. You can tweak the above messages to fit each purpose. If your practice involves drawing the quarters or casting a circle, you may do so now. More information on how to do this can be found in my previous article, The Esbats: A Wiccan Celebration.
Think of everything that has been blooming in your own life and pour the energy of that into your work. As you begin to create the bread, hold each ingredient individually in your hand and either say aloud or think:
I bless this item with the love of the harvest. I am grateful for the bounty with which the Earth has graced me. I have reaped that which has been growing over the course of the last few months and today, I turn this energy into abundance.
Now you can complete the steps of the recipe and bake a loaf of bread!
Once the bread has cooled, you can begin to consecrate it. If you work in a group or coven, then it’s best to have the high priest or priestess handle this portion of the ceremony. If you’re a solitary practitioner, then you can be the one to handle this rite. Holding the loaf of bread in your hands, say aloud or think:
I give thanks to our Earth for the bounty of this bread. I am grateful for the harvest of this year--in both grain and in the energy that I’ve accumulated in my life. I offer this loaf to the god and goddess to show my endless gratitude for all of the abundance in my life. May it be blessed with the love and light of the harvest, and of the Earth.
Break off a piece of bread for yourself, eating it with the intention of absorbing the energy you’ve bestowed upon the loaf. If you’re working in a group, pass around the loaf so that each member may take a piece. This process is similar to the traditional rite of cakes and ale in Pagan/Wiccan ceremonies, but with a Lammas twist. Once finished, break the loaf into four pieces. As a solitary practitioner, you may bury these pieces in the corners surrounding your home to protect the abundance you’ve harvested. As a group, you may bury each piece in the corners surrounding your working space. (Remember that if you’ve cast a circle, it must be undone before leaving your initial working space and can be redrawn as you migrate elsewhere!) As you complete this process, say,
I offer this to the Earth in thanks for her bounty. May the Earth continue to grow strong--may I continue to grow strong--and together, let us continue to reap the abundance of the harvest.
Over the course of the next few weeks, pay special attention to the abundance in your life and remember to practice gratitude for all that you have. By burying the pieces of bread, you’ve metaphorically planted the intentions your poured within the loaf. The belief is that in Wiccan work, everything you cast out comes back to you threefold. The Earth will have heard your calls and you may notice even more bountiful positivity needing to be reaped for the following harvest Sabbat, Mabon. Blessed be!
- Richelle Moore