Lammas, Lughnassadh, whatever you want to call it, this is possibly the Sabbat that has the least fan fare associated with it in modern times. What is it? Lammas, or Loaf-Mass, is the celebration of the first full harvest of the year, and it marks the turning of the wheel to the closing days of Summer. On Lammas-Day people would bring to church a loaf of bread baked from the grains of the first harvest. That loaf was blessed and then taken home, broken into four pieces and one piece placed in each corner of the barn to protect the newly gathered grain.
Bread was, and still is, a staple food for people around the world. it has become a symbol of prosperity and plenty in many different cultures. In Europe the traditional housewarming gifts are salt and bread. Gifting the home owners with these is said to ensure the prosperity and protection of the household.
Why does Lammas suffer from a lack of the kind of hype that Ostara and Yule get? Most of us harvest our fruit and vegetables at the supermarket so I don't know about you, but that tends to make me a little out of sync with some of the seasons. That and modern life tends to force us to stick to the same schedule year round rather than allowing for a natural slowing as the weather grows colder.
With life being as rushed as it can be in the modern age, it can sometimes be hard to see the relevance of the Wheel of the Year and the old festivals. That's when we need to take a step forward and view the turning of the wheel on a personal level rather than on a community level. In the spring at Beltane and Ostara we planned for the coming summer. we planted those dream and goal seeds. Lammas, being the first harvest is the perfect time of year to look back at those goals and dreams. Which of them are bearing fruit? Which of them need more nurturing to be ready to manifest into my life?
Want some old magic to bring the new goals to life? Bread Magic is an ancient Lammas tradition that is as simple (and tasty) as baking a loaf of bread. It doesn't matter what type of bread you bake, what matters is the intention that you put into every single step. When you approach this with gratitude for what has manifest in your life, you add energy to those goals that are still 'cooking'.
Mixing and kneading the dough is in itself a very meditative act. You can add intention to that by meditating on your goals while you knead the bread dough. This will have the effect of empowering your bread with your desire to see your goals achieved. While your bread is baking and your house is filling with that wonderful comforting scent, maybe take some time out to journal about your goals. Which ones have you achieved? Which ones are you still working on? Which ones have you decided aren't actually right for you?
Lammas is the perfect time to take stock of your life and clarify the direction you feel is right for you going forward into winter. Doing that by baking, and eating bread allows you to infuse every single step of the process with your goals and dreams and connect with the traditions of our ancestors as well. Each slice of bread will carry with it love and good wishes for your family and friends, protection for those that live under your roof and the blessing of goals fulfilled.