Setting Up Your Lammas (Lughnasadh) Altar

Magic spiral works. Witchcraft and wicca altar, pagan religion.
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It's Lammas, or Lughnasadh, the Sabbat where many Pagans choose to celebrate the beginnings of the harvest. This Sabbat is about the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth—the grain god dies, but will be reborn again in the spring. Depending on your tradition, you may also observe this Sabbat as the day of the Celtic craftsman god, Lugh. Either way, you can try some or even all of these ideas—obviously, someone using a bookshelf as an altar will have less flexibility than someone using a table, but use what calls to you most.

Did You Know?

  • Your Lammas altar can include all kinds of produce, grains, bread, and other agricultural symbols.
  • Consider adding items to your altar that represent Lugh, the god of craftsmanship, or other deities of the fields.
  • Use bright autumn leaves, nuts, acorns, and other natural found goodies to accent your altar space.

Colors of the Season

It's the end of summer, and soon the leaves will begin to change. However, the sun is still fiery and hot. Use a combination of summer and fall colors—the yellows, oranges, and reds of the sun can also represent the turning leaves to come. Add some browns and greens to celebrate the fertility of the earth and the crops being harvested. Cover your altar with cloths that symbolize the changing of the season from summer to harvest time, and use candles in deep, rich colors. Reds, burgundies, or other autumn shades are perfect this time of year.

Because Lammas is a grain holiday, representing the first harvest, it's a great time to get yourself into baking bread. Consider adding loaves of freshly baked bread and incorporate them into your harvest rituals and spellwork. If you're not a baker, that's okay! Get some stalks of wheat, barley, or corn, and add those to your altar to represent the bounty of the late summer fields.

Honoring the God Lugh

If your celebrations focus more on the god Lugh, observe the Sabbat from an artisan's point of view. Place symbols of your craft or skill on the altar—a notebook, your special paints for artists, a pen for writers, other tools of your creativity.

Symbols of the Harvest

Box of vegetables
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The harvest is here, and that means it's time to include symbols of the fields on your altar. Sickles and scythes are appropriate, as are baskets. Sheaves of grain, fresh picked fruits and vegetables, a jar of honey, or loaves of bread are perfect for the Lammastide altar. Other symbols of Lammas, or Lughnasadh, that you might wish to use include:

  • Grapes and wine: grapevines are abundant this time of year! Get some fresh grapes in a bowl, add a bottle of wine—local wineries are a great place to visit during this season—or decorate with the wide, green leaves and long pliable vines of the grape plant.
  • Corn dolls: the corn doll is a harvest craft that has been found in societies the world over. Make one of your own using the husks of freshly picked corn. If you live in an agricultural area, many farmers are happy to give you the loose husks once they've harvested their crops.
  • Ears of corn: Use corn in rituals involving growth and transformation. After all, a single kernel brings you a tall stalk full of (you guessed it!) more kernels! You can also associate it with self-sustainability and fertility, both of people and of the land.
  • Iron, such as tools, weaponry, or armor: in many magical traditions, this time of year is associated with protection magic. If you have access to weaponry, think about adding some to your altar. If you're not into weapons, that's no problem—many agricultural tools are made of iron. Find a scythe, sickle, or other iron implement to add to your altar.
  • Fall flowers, such as cornflowers or poppies, are abundant during the late summer and early fall. Put a vase of fresh ones, or even dried blossoms on your altar to celebrate the first harvest of the year.
  • Straw braids are often found at agricultural craft markets, but you can make your own with the detritus from your garden. Braid some grain stalks or straw together to form a braid, representing the three aspects of the land, the sea, and the sky.
  • Onions, carrots, and root vegetables are ready to be harvested soon—grow your own and dig them up for Lammas, or collect fresh ones from a local farmer's market stand, and add them to your altar, either loose or in a bowl.