The third great festival of the Celtic year takes place on August 1, known in Ireland as Lughnasadh, "the assembly of Lugh," one of the chief gods of the Tuatha Dé Dannan. It marks the midpoint of the summer half of the year between May and November and is the first of the three autumn months. In the Christian era the festival on August 1 became Lammas, the name derived from hlaf-mæsse (loaf-mass), the Old English name for the feast, when a loaf made from the first ripe grain was taken to church to be consecrated upon the altar. Rosemary ~ an herbe of Lammas
All who come into contact with Rosemary are blessed with the gift of remembrance. Rosemary tones the mental faculties of those of all ages, but of elders in particular, keeping their memories intact. Rosemary is a special ally for elderly storytellers, aiding them in accurately preserving and telling the stories which keep us linked to our heritage and help us understand the weather that have shaped our families.
The wild folk and peasants held that rosemary would only grow well in a house where women were the dominating force. Rosemary was also revered by the Spaniards as one of the bushes that gave shelter to the Virgin Mary.
- jojoba oil or a cold-pressed organic olive oil
- fresh or dried rosemary leaves
When making an infused oil from dried leaves, fill your jar only one-third of the way, as the leaves will draw the olive oil into themselves as they impart their own volatile oils to the matrix. Makes an excellent cooking oil. When steeped in jojoba oil helps hair grow, massage it into the scalp rather than on the hair. Baking Bread ~ a Lammas Ritual
In a large mixing bowl combine:
- 2 cps. milk warm to the touch
- 2 packages dry baking yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cp. honey
- 1/4 cp. dark brown sugar
Cover bowl and set it aside in a warm place until it has doubled (about 1/2 an hour)
Add to this mixture and stir until bubbly:
- 3 tbsp. softened butter
- 2 cps. unbleached white flour
- Sprouted wheat if you wish
Then mix in:
- 1 cp. rye flour
- 2 cps. stone-ground whole wheat flour
With floured hands turn this dough out onto a floured board and gradually knead in more unbleached white flour until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticks to your fingers.
Place this dough in a greased bowl, turning it so that the dough is greased, then cover it with a clean cloth and keep it in a warm place to rise until it is doubled (about an hour). Then punch it down and divide it in half. Shape it into two round, slightly flattened balls, and place it on greased cookie sheets. Cover these and return them to a warm place until they double again.
When the final rising is almost complete, with your athame incise a pentagram on the loaf with words such as:
I invoke thee beloved Spirit of the Grain Be present in this Sacred Loaf.
Beat a whole egg and a tbsp. of water together and brush this over the loaves. Bake the loaves in a 300° oven for about an hour, or until they are done and sound hollow when they are tapped.
Resources Herbal Rituals by Judith Berger Wheel of the Year: Living the Magical Life by Pauline Campanelli Kindling the Celtic Spirit by Mara Freeman
Illustration by: Kathy Crabbe, Lammas Blessings, 2013, watercolor and ink on paper, 8x10”.