Lammas, also called Lughnasadh by neopagans or Loaf Mass Day by Christians, is a celebration of the firstfruits. Lammas is one of three harvest sabbats, and is traditionally the time for the first grain harvest of the season. As such, it carries focals around gratitude and abundance, rejoicing in the plentiful yield of corn and wheat, or seasonal gems like apples—and for less agriculturally inclined participants, a feeling of thankfulness for what has grown thus far in the year. Secondary themes of Lammas also include sacrifice and protection, as the bounty of crops was the determinant of wellbeing for the families reliant on them.
I have only been observing the sabbats for a few years, and there are already many lovely articles from all different backgrounds explaining the full history of Lammas and Lughnasadh, as well as correspondences and celebration ideas. I could not write one of them more eloquently than they’ve already been written, so find your recipes for your Lammas loaf or crabapple strudel elsewhere, and while that’s in the oven we’ll chat about the first harvest themes of gratitude, abundance and sacrifice.
There are few strangers to the most notable gratitude practices: gratitude boards, gratitude lists, gratitude jars, gratitude journals, every visualization or scripting technique known to man for expressing gratitude. Gratitude and abundance are thought to correlate, with the idea being that the more we express gratitude for what we have, the more abundance that will be heaped upon us and then we’ll have even more to be grateful for—an eternal cycle of increase. And so when we create our gratitude lists or journals, our instinct is to rapidly fire off all of the things we’re fond of, or all of the areas in which our needs are being met. I’m grateful for my home, my loved ones, my pets, rainbows, butterflies, chocolate chip cookies, etc., until we’ve written a lengthy spiel and we are satisfied to sit back and watch the abundance roll in.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the lists are a good start. The reason abundance can come from gratitude is because a focus is created on the things we love and the moments we want more of, and we are effectively wallpapering our minds with the ways that life can be precious to us. That kind of mental saturation is the birthplace of all manifestations, but that might not be a state you’re really inhabiting while writing the lists or while walking in your everyday life.
Gratitude is one of those buzzwords that overtakes spiritual, self-help, and motivational circles until it begins to lose its meaning altogether, and our gratitude lists become a melted amalgamation of all the things we know we should say. But “should say” does not a life of abundance make; so instead, try asking “what do I appreciate?”, “what do I prize?”, or “what is dear to my heart?”. Who and what do you treasure, and what would your life look like on a day to day basis if there was an active effort in making that known?
From here, take a moment of quiet time to sit and reflect on all the things in your life that have your adoration and regard, and soon you may be able to piece together a more earnest list (although steeping in that moment is more than enough). You may experience here a reverence for something greater than yourself, or a feeling of gracious humility towards the sources of joy in your life that you may be prone to overlook. That is gratitude, and taking a present step each day to recognize these things is what rewires your brain to seek out positives and create abundance.
Another aspect to the state of abundance is generosity or a willingness to give. In ancient times, the first pick of the crop may be set aside as a special sacrifice for the divine. Firstfruits may be offered up as a request for further provision, protection, or blessings, or as an act of obedience or thanks. The point of the firstfruits is to say, “this is the best of what I have, and I have so much trust that there will be more than enough that I am willing to offer it up”. Generosity can be a practice of abundance because it declares expectation for further blessings and gifts. When we fear scarcity, we hoard, but we can give when we trust that we have enough to do so—when we declare abundance over ourselves.
Generosity may not always come in the form of money; it may also come in the form of offering up time, patience, or other resources. It might be trusting that you have enough energy to lend help where it is needed, or enough joy to cheer someone’s day. You are practicing the energy of abundance any time you give with enough security to focus on the difference your gift will be able to make, instead of worrying about how letting go of that ration may impact you.
As you look back over your harvest, you may also find that there are seeds that did not bear fruit; projects that you thought would have taken off by now, places you had loosely planned to visit, notions of people that you had envisioned you would have met or become. As we notice what opportunities that were granted to us, we may feel a certain tenderness about the doors that did not open, and wonder if we are being left out in the hall. This is where a moment of sacrifice may arrive. Take this time to ask what may need to be released to see the bigger picture, acknowledging that the answer could be that there is something greater on the horizon entirely than the specific idea you have been fixated on. Sometimes, we are asked to release our doubts or fears and trust in the cosmic downstream, and other times we are asked to release people or circumstances that are physical anchors for our outdated trains of thought. There are also moments where the answer is to practice trust and patience, and to know that the timing of your life is perfect and it’s all unraveling for you. Whatever message you receive, or whatever you must grieve to find clarity, it will all return to gratitude in the end.
Time to check on that Lammas loaf.
Happy (first) Harvest,