Lughnasadh- The Hearth-Keeper’s Guide to 1st Harvest

Lughnasadh- The Hearth-Keeper’s Guide to 1st Harvest

Lughnasadh is the 1st of 3 harvest celebrations on the Wheel of the Year. It marks the beginning of the sun’s descent, with the days growing shorter as the seasons shift back towards winter.

It has historically been a time of feasts and festivals and is still enjoyed in our modern times with bread baking, beer making, and bonfires. Fresh flowers, wheat, and corn decorate homes. There’s a lot of variation in how it is celebrated, and there are many ways to bring the Lughnasadh festivities into your home and hearth-keeping activities.

While Lughnasadhh is often recognized as landing on August 1st in the Northern hemisphere, and February 1st in the Southern, it was historically centered more on the pattern of the sky and lasted for days or weeks. So don’t feel pressured to make Lughnasadh a day on your calendar. Lughnasadh is something that can be embraced all the way until the next harvest if that’s how you’d like to move with nature.

Shine up what you have

This is a time of celebration and gratitude for the fruits of labor. As an inspired hearth-keeper, this is a great time to shine up what you already have. We can become so accustomed to seeing the things around us that we no longer notice or appreciate them. Notice the things that you have chosen to keep in your home and life and give them some love.

These can be simple things, such as noticing your tile. Mine may not be what I’d have chosen, but I know it looks pretty cute when it’s cleaned up. Notice the abundances that you have. Looking at your big screen TV? Use some alcohol spray on a microfiber cloth and give it an appreciative wipe-down. Then move to the other screens in your home and make them like new again.

You are allowed to have nice things. It’s refreshing. When you care for the things you own, the energy of gratitude glows in your space, and it feels good to be there.

A little thinning

It’s wonderful if you’ve taken some time to declutter through the spring seasons, but even if you haven’t, appreciating and caring for the things you’ve chosen can help reveal where there are other things you’d like to release.

Just as you may still be thinning plants in your garden to allow the chosen ones to thrive, you can still benefit from doing it with other areas of your life. In the spirit of Lughnasadh, try doing it from the perspective of what you do have.

As you dust off some things that seemed to disappear into the background, decide to release those things that don’t make the front stage, in gratitude for the abundance you have. As you’re looking at the projects you started from seed, look at what growth you want to keep and then thin out the rest to make space in your life. As you experience gratitude for your beloved people, make the commitment to focus more on blooming and reblooming those relationships, and less time is now available for the time-suck of others.

Offerings

When we celebrate our abundance, we should balance it with gratitude and offering. An offering is also a great opportunity to practice some regenerative practices, such as adding nutrition to the soil that is depleted by growing food. Tend to the pollinators. Put out some bird seed.

This is also a good time of year for fertilizing many gardens, and it’s also when I fertilize my houseplants. This is an offering to the plants that are cleaning your air, feeding your pollinators, growing your food, or making your space beautiful.

Decorating

Bring some of the outdoor abundances inside. It can go on your mantle and altar, on the table, end tables, and counters. Adding some outdoor greenery and flowers is one of my favorite rewards for cleaning a space. It’s that creative, final touch that takes me from content to giddy. It’s also a great way to draw your family or roommate’s eyes to what you just did there, and I’m not afraid to admit I like my work to be noticed and appreciated, especially of the unpaid kind.

Fresh flowers make a home feel cherished. If you don’t have any blooming of your own, you can visit a farmer’s market, pick wildflowers, bring in other forms of nature, and don’t feel you have to write off something that someone else considers a weed. Wheat and corn are other common choices for Lughnasadh observation decorating. Corn dollys are often made and used, in honor of Brigid, and you might like to include that as a part of your personal decorating.

Wreath-making inspiration is everywhere right now. Some Rosemary, wheat, and lavender wreaths are good, sturdy options that offer an earthy, welcoming fragrance to the room or front door. Lavender wands are a simpler, seasonal craft to make or purchase, but add a nice scent and charm around the house.

Fresh herbs and homemade household items

Fresh herbs are probably abundant around you. This adds to your cooking, cleaning, herbal remedies, and magic intention. You can make your household cleaners with enchanted properties, make energy cleansing sprays, protection sprays that will help wipe away any mold and mildew in your windows and doorways, special linen sprays, and so on.

Now is a great time to dry herbs for your herbal remedies. Think of any salves, ointments, and lotions, and teas you want to make. Think of some tea ingredients you might start using and drying now. Calendula, Chamomile, Yarrow, Mullein, Comfrey, and Rose petal is some of my go-to’s at this time.

Preserving for winter use and holiday gifts

It may seem too soon to think about the winter holidays, but it’s a good time to think of preserving things you’d like to have through winter. You can also consider any handmade gifts you’ll want to give, especially if you do those for Yule/Christmas. You may not want to pour candles right now in the midst of a hot, summer harvest time… but you might want some of what’s around you in abundance to do it during the winter. You may like to make your salves and other things then when you’re staying cozy inside.

Now is a good time to put some Rosemary starts into planters if you wanted to give some living Christmas gifts. Lavender can be harvested now and hung upside down to dry. This works best somewhere dry with good airflow, and out of direct sunlight if you want to preserve the color. Lavender buds can go into your salves, as well as being sewn up into sachets, flax seed bags, pet bedding, stuffed animals…and on and on.

And in the spirit of looking ahead, if it interests you, you can create a Meade that you tuck away for a future harvest, the winter holidays, or maybe this time next year in reflection of what you have. Otherwise, enjoy some seasonal beverages that are already made for you. These don’t have to be alcoholic if that doesn’t work for you. (Same goes for other adult harvests depending on your personal choice. Enjoy responsibly).

Lughnasadh Feasts

You can tap into the energy of many others, past and present, by preparing your own versions of Lughnasadh feasts and honoring the harvest. Grains and berries are a common focus. Bread is easy to multiply for sharing if you’ve already got everything out. You can gift some loaves to other families if you aren’t planning to open your house up to entertain, but still want to share the season with others.

As mentioned above, herbs are a great way to honor this season, and they make great mix-ins for bread. You can also incorporate them into many meals, and making compound butter is a great way to enjoy as well as preserve some of the harvests. I like to make large quantities of lemon-dill, garlic-chive, and sage butter. I let it cool enough to roll it into logs in wax paper, and this easily lasts for 4 months (though we end up going through any amount much faster than that.)

Berries are a huge part of Lughnasadh and can of course be made into berries and cobblers and other desserts (blueberry topping on lemon bars). They also make great additions to yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, and pancakes for a breakfast feast.

Berries can be added to savory dishes, too. Bake them right into bread, put them in a salad with edible flowers, put them in chicken salad, or make a glaze for any meat from fish to pork to meatballs. Don’t forget jam for cornbread or rolls.

Corn is a focus of Lughnasadh, and corn on the cob is a great way to add to the feast without heating up the house if you have a grill, or if you can safely cook over the fire. This is a great place for some compound butter. Use any of the ones I already mentioned, or try honey-lime or sage-garlic salt. You can also make some black bean and corn salsa, succotash, or any of your other favorite corn recipes if you want to incorporate them.

For gathering with others

Games go back to ancient times, and corn-hole or water balloons can be a fun addition to a gathering. It’s also fine to enjoy some board games in the air conditioning. Make it your own, if you and your family want to have a Mario Kart tournament, go for it.

Lavender lemonade or sun tea can be a nice festive drink to offer. Just drop a small sachet of lavender buds into the mix to steep for a little bit. You can also infuse your beverages with fresh berries or make any number of cocktails.

If you are able to safely have a fire, you might suggest to your guests that they write down something they’d like to release with the descending sun and offer it to the fire. It’s also a lot of fun to cook parts of your feast on the fire.

Introspection and reflection

Lughnasadh doesn’t need to be all about gathering with others. I think it’s always important to have moments of solitude and reflection as well. If you have journal entries from earlier sabbats, this is a wonderful time to pull them out and reflect on the seeds you planted, literally and figuratively.

Imbolc is my main season of planning, as well as New Years. Then I reflect on them and grow them over the season leading up to Lughnasadh. Even if you haven’t kept journal entries, you can use your memory as best as you can, and it is a wonderful time to start keeping records of your intentions and reflections, at least for these points on the wheel of the year.

As you look back over your past goals and ideas, it isn’t a time to judge yourself harshly for what you didn’t accomplish, but rather a time to look at how the seasons changed for you with curiosity and fascination. This is a time to celebrate the harvest, not just your harvest. Sometimes that means celebrating what others have accomplished and even allowing others to share with you for a time.

Look at the harvest around you, as well as what is still growing. Look at the progress and look at the abundance. Maybe you planted seeds and the wind took things in a different direction, but there is still something to celebrate at this time.

Blessed Be!



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