In last year’s article, I went through the history of Lughnasadh and how we can celebrate it today. On the modern Neopagan Wheel of the Year, the terms Lughnasadh and Lammas are used interchangeably. But did you know they come from completely different sources? Today, we will be discussing the origins of Lammas and what it means.
What is Lammas?
The word Lammas is Ango-Saxon for Loaf Mass Day and, as “Mass” suggests, a Christian holiday. When the Christians converted the pagans of the time, they replaced the traditional pagan holiday, Lughnasadh, with their own holiday, giving the new converts something different to celebrate on the same day. For many of us of European descent, our ancestors probably truly did celebrate this holiday.
On the first day of August, the first loaves of bread were consecrated at the altar of the church. Traditionally, the first sheaf of grain was ceremonially cut and made into bread, symbolizing the grain’s sacrifice to sustain our lives. This was a form of tithing practiced by the early church. Before money was considered the primary form of abundance, prosperity was dependent on the fertility of the fields.
If you’re a Christian Witch, this is great news for you! Pagan traditions are so woven into the fabric of Abrahamic religions it is easy to combine the two. If you’re Wiccan or another Neopagan religion and connect to Lammas more than Lughnasadh, this spell is a great way to take back this tradition and reclaim it for yourself.
Using Bread For Spellwork
No matter how you celebrate it, baking bread is an important part of this sabbat! Agriculturally speaking, in the Northern Hemisphere this was the time the first harvest of grain was ready to be cut so bread would be a part of the feast if the fields were fertile. For our spell, we will be using the bread baking process to manifest our intentions.
You can use your favorite bread recipe for this, but don’t forget corn is also a grain that would be ready to harvest around this time so cornbread is another option! Baking the bread in the oven represents the intentions coming to fruition. The spellcraft part of this process happens right before we put it in the oven. We will be using food coloring to etch our intentions into the dough with sigils and symbols. But first, let’s make some natural food coloring for you to use!
Make Your Own Food Coloring
The reason we are using food coloring is to add color magick to the intention of your spell. All you need to do is pulse the listed ingredient in a food processor or blender and strain the pulp so that you have juice. You can also cook them down to half their volume first for a stronger color. If you have a juicer, feel free to use this instead!
- Spinach for green: prosperity, luck, fertility
- Beets for red: passion, love, courage
- Blueberries for purple: spirituality and wisdom
- Carrot for orange: confidence, authority, success
A Recipe For Success
Once you have your colored juice of choice, choose for example a rune, a pentagram, a sigil you created, or all of the above based on your intention for this spell. If you want to do this spell but can’t think of an intention, protection magick is always good to do at this point in the Wheel of the Year since we are heading into the darker half. Drizzle the food coloring in that shape on the top of the bread, focusing on your intention. Then transfer to the oven and bake like normal, trusting the process of the bread becoming edible and nourishing is bringing your intention to fullness.
The window to work with the fae folk is still open but this is the last sabbat where the fairies are active in our realm until Beltane. If you work with the fae, once your bread has been baked and cooled you can offer the first slice of your bread to them, or you can offer it to whichever deities you work with on your altar. Since most of us don’t actually harvest our own grain, the first cut of bread symbolizes the sacrificial first cutting of the grain.
Traditional Protection Spell
Another option for protection is an old Anglo-Saxon tradition. Break the first cut into four pieces and bury or crumble it in the four corners of your property. This was a popular home protection spell done for Lammas that also invited blessings on your home.
The rest of the loaf can be eaten, or better yet, shared with friends who you wish to bless. Traditionally, the first bread baked from the ceremonially cut sheaf of wheat was taken into the village and shared with the community. Sharing your intentional loaf of bread is a modern way to honor this tradition!
How do you plan to celebrate Lammas? Share with us in the comments below.
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