Happy Lammas everyone! Lammas is also known as Lughnasadh (LOO-nah-sah or LOO-nah-sahd) and is the festival of the first harvest. This Sabbat takes place on August 1 or 2 every year. At the beginning of August, corn, wheat, barley, and most other grains are ready to be picked from the fields. As such, the festival of Lammas is primarily a grain festival and a celebration of bounty and the deities celebrated at this time are not only solar deities (because the Sabbats are solar holidays) but also those of the fields, grains, bounty, growth, and the hearth and home. This post is a very short collection of the popular deities honored primarily on Lammas.
Ceres: Roman goddess of grains and the harvest. She is mainly the counterpart to Greek Demeter, and the two perform basically the same functions.
Cronus: Greek god of the harvest and former father of the universe (before Zeus took over). Often shown with a sickle in hand, Cronus was long considered a patron of the harvest even though this is not what he is most well-known for. He had his own holiday, called the Kronia, when the Greeks celebrated the harvest. It was held in the month of Hekatombaion, with equates roughly to July/August.
Danu: Celtic mother goddess. She is associated with the land as well as creation.
Demeter: Greek goddess of grains, especially wheat, and the harvest. She comes into prominence in this festival for her role as a harvest goddess. She plays a part in a number of Sabbats not only for her role as a goddess of growing things and harvests, but also because of her role in the Persephone myth, when she essentially created winter.
Hestia: Greek goddess of the hearth. Protector goddess and guardian of the homes of mortals who honored her as well as the hearth fire of Olympus. Lammas, like all Sabbats, is based on the sun’s movements and changing of the seasons. So gods and goddesses associated with fire come into some measure of prominence at these times, even if the main celebration of the holiday isn’t on the sun.
Lugh: This one is fairly obvious, as the holiday is named after him. Celtic god of light and many other things. He is in some ways similar to Apollo in terms of popularity and role in his myths. Tradition says that Lugh created the festival of Lughnasadh in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu.
Renenutet: Egyptian goddess of nourishment, the harvest, and fertility. Also goddess of the soul’s true name. Sometimes considered the wife of Sobek.
Saturn: Roman god of the harvest and agriculture. Also a god of justice and strength. Although Saturn has his own festival (the Saturnalia) in December, he can be honored at any of the harvest Sabbats for his role in agriculture. He’s often considered the counterpart to Greek Cronus and was also the father god before Jupiter took over.
Sobek: Egyptian crocodile god, he was also the god of the Nile. In Egypt, the flooding of the Nile is the primary source of essential nutrients and minerals to the fields, so if the Nile does not flood or has a poor flood in a given year, it can cause a bad harvest. Sobek would be important around this time of year as they people would want to thank him for a good harvest. Also a protective god and a creator god.
Tailtiu: Foster mother of Lugh. Celtic mythological figure, though not necessarily a deity. She is honored at this festival because she is mostly responsible for the introduction of agriculture to Ireland.
Vesta: Roman goddess of the hearth and home. Protector goddess and guardian of the sacred fire.