What is Lughnasadh?

It’s the dog days of summer, the gardens are full of vegetables, the fields are full of grain, and the harvest is approaching. Take a moment to relax in the heat, and reflect on the upcoming abundance of the fall months. At Lammas, sometimes called Lughnasadh or Loaf Mass, it’s time to begin reaping what we have sown throughout the past few months, and recognize that the bright summer days will soon come to an end.

In Irish mythology, the Lughnasadh festival is said to have been begun by the god Lugh as a funeral feast and sporting competition in commemoration of his foster mother, Tailtiu, who died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. It is the time of the first harvest of soft fruits, vegetables and wheat.

In English folklore, John Barley corn is a character who represents the crop of barley harvested each autumn. He symbolizes the wonderful drinks which can be made from barley—beer and whiskey—and their effects. In the traditional folksong, John Barleycorn, the character endures all kinds of indignities, most of which correspond to the cyclic nature of planting, growing, harvesting, and then death. This also ties into the story of The Wicker Man, a Pagan favorite.

Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back to nearly the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The Sumerian god Tammuz was slain and his lover Ishtar grieved so heartily that nature stopped producing. Ishtar mourned Tammuz, and followed him to the Underworld to bring him back, similar to the Spring story of Goddesses Demeter and Persephone.

Deities of the Harvest





The Crom




John Barleycorn

Lughnasadh Shopping List

  • Harvest color altar cloths
  • Corn dollies
  • Chalices/drinking horns
  • Cauldrons
  • Blades, Scythes or Swords
  • Brooms
  • Oracles (tarot, pendulum, crystal balls)
  • Girfts for friends & family
  • Gemstones (emeralds, peridot, citrine)
  • Colored Candles (orange, yellow, brown, green, red)
  • Hand crafted incense
  • Charcoals
  • God/Goddess statues
  • Essential oils & diffusers

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