The summer days are sticky hot, golden fields sway in the warm breeze, and we find ourselves on the cusp of Lughnasadh 2023. Pronounced “LOO-nah-sah,” Lughnasadh derives its name from the Celtic deity Lugh, known as the god of many skills.
This pagan holiday also celebrates the late summer season and is steeped in tradition and spiritual meaning. This sacred celebration is observed annually on the first day of August. It’s also a time of deep reflection and joy, as we come together to honor a bountiful harvest.
Many Pagans, Witches, and those interested in Nature Spirituality celebrate the seasonal cycles. Sometimes referred to as the Wheel of the Year, and consisting of eight celebrations. Four of these festivals (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain) are rooted in Celtic history and origins.
The other four (Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice) represent the sun’s location. I created a complete guide to each season, including history, traditions, symbols, correspondences, ritual ideas, and how you can celebrate.
Please note that I make every effort to ensure this information is correct and accurate through my own experiences and referencing sources throughout AND at the bottom of this article.
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Table of Contents
When is Lughnasadh in 2023?
Lughnasadh 2023 begins once the sun sets on July 31st in the Northern Hemisphere (January 31st in the southern hemisphere), and continues until sunset on August 1st.
Remember, the ancient Gauls celebrated the start of a new day once the sun went down. This has been highlighted by Caesar’s writings about the Gallic Wars.
All the Gauls assert that they are descended from the god Dis, and say that this tradition has been handed down by the Druids.
For that reason they compute the divisions of every season, not by the number of days, but of nights; they keep birthdays and the beginnings of months and years in such an order that the day follows the night.C. Julius Caesar (translated)
However, some spiritual practitioners prefer to celebrate around August 5th or 6th due to the position of the sun; this is often called Old Lammas.
Lughnasadh vs Lammas
Lughnasadh celebrates the halfway point between the summer solstice and autumn equinox and is the first of three Pagan holidays celebrating the summer harvest. This Gaelic festival derives its name from the god Lugh. Lughnasadh literally means Lugh’s Gathering. Wiccan practitioners will often refer to it as a cross-quarter holiday.
Lammas is a Christian holiday celebrated on August 1st that means loaf-mass, which is referencing the bread in holy communion.
In the early English church it was kept as a harvest festival, when loaves of bread made from the new grain were consecrated. Its name was derived from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning “loaf-mass.”
Gule is another name associated with August 1, which is also the date of the festival of St. Peter’s chains and the Celtic festival of Lugnasad.Britannica – Lammas
At the heart of this time-honored tradition lies the sacred ritual of baking Lughnasadh bread, symbolizing the first harvest. This loaf, lovingly crafted and blessed, serves as a sacred representation of our gratitude for the abundance given to us by Mother Nature.
Lughnasadh is a cherished opportunity to connect with nature’s cycles, embracing the connectedness of all living beings and the land we call home. It serves as a reminder of the intricate relationship between humanity and Nature, encouraging us to cherish and protect the sacred balance that sustains life.
It can be easy to overlook the meaning behind Lughnasadh because most of us don’t physically harvest anything much bigger than a garden, so it can be easy to disconnect ourselves from the process. However, take a moment to imagine what it would look like if the harvest did fail. If a natural disaster prevented our food from being shipped to the local markets.
Although the sun is strong and hot, you’ll notice the days are beginning to shorten. This season is lush and abundant, but Nature is already beginning to sense the coming of colder Winter days. So begins the days of preparation: gathering seeds to plant next Spring, harvesting herbs, canning jams and jellies, and baking bread to store for those cold days ahead.
The goals we set this Spring are gaining momentum, and we’re beginning to see the fruits of our labor. Although it is important to rest, this is not the time for laziness or procrastination! Turn to the hot energy from the sun for inspiration. Although its strength is decreasing, it is still radiating fierce bright energy.
Lughnasadh 2023 Ritual Ideas
If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, simply go outside and enjoy the sun. Take a few minutes during your lunch break or over the weekend. It’s okay if it’s not exactly on the holiday of Lughnasadh; remember to enjoy the whole season, not just one day!
Lughnasadh Candle Ritual: Embracing the Harvest’s Glow
Using the color orange or yellow in our Candle Magic ritual, we honor the radiant glow of the sun. You can also use it to represent Lugh or any other deity you worship. By surrounding the central candle with smaller green ones, we honor the earth’s lush gifts.
In this ritual, we connect with the rhythms of Nature and the sacred cycles of life. Embrace the radiant harvest glow and celebrate the timeless spirit of Lughnasadh, where the earth’s blessings and the sun’s brilliance intertwine in harmony.
- One large yellow or orange candle (to represent the sun, creativity, and the bountiful harvest)
- Several small green candles (to symbolize the earth’s abundance and growth)
- Matches or a lighter
- A fireproof holder or plate for the candles (I use this 6 1/2′ cast iron)
- Your Lughnasadh altar or a quiet, sacred space
Prepare Your Sacred Space
- Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed during the ritual
- Set up your Lughnasadh altar or create a sacred area with items that hold significance for you. This may be grains, deities, fruits, flowers, or representations of the sun and the earth.
Cleansing and Centering
- Take a few deep breaths to center yourself. Clear your mind of any distractions and focus on the intent of the ritual
- If you have a favorite cleansing method, perform it to purify the space and yourself
Arranging the Candles
- Place the large orange or yellow candle on the fireproof holder, centering it on your altar or sacred space. This candle represents the radiant glow of the sun and the blessings of the harvest.
- Surround the central candle with the smaller green candles, creating a circle. These candles symbolize the earth’s abundance, fertility, and growth.
State Your Intention
- Light the central orange or yellow candle, envisioning the warm and nurturing energy of the sun filling the space
- Give gratitude and state your intention. Depending on your spiritual practice, you might also call upon the spiritual of Lugh or another deity to bless and guide the ritual
Light the Green Candles
- Starting from the candle closest to the orange or yellow candle, light each green candle one by one, moving clockwise in a circle.
- As you light each green candle, speak aloud your intentions for the coming Lughnasadh season. Express gratitude for the abundance in your life and ask for blessings for growth and prosperity.
Meditation and Reflection
- Take a moment to sit quietly and meditate in the warm glow of the candles. Reflect on the cycles of nature, the beauty of the harvest, and the connectedness of all living things.
- Practice your scrying abilities and look for meanings in the candle flames
- When you feel ready, express your thanks to the deities, spirits, or energies you called at the beginning of the ritual.
- You can let the candles burn down completely or snuff them out in reverse order of lighting. Beginning with the green candles and ending with the central orange or yellow candle.
- Now celebrate the completion of the Lughnasadh ritual. Enjoy a feast, share stories, or spend time outdoors reveling in the blessings of the season.
- Remember, rituals are deeply personal to your spiritual beliefs and practices. Feel free to customize this candle ritual however you like!
Lugh was legendary to the Celts as a god of artistry and talent. He was gifted with many unique skills. Why not use this time to expand on your creative endeavors during these pagan holidays?
- Work on your hobbies or any skill you’re talented at!
- Sketch out something that inspires you! I personally loved to draw mandalas! You could also try your hand at some bind runes or sigils using Elder Futhark Runes or Celtic Oghams!
- Be vulnerable! Try a new hobby that you’ve been hesitant to try. You never know what creative boundaries you might break through!
Create Your Own Wicker Man
Light a bonfire as a tribute to the sun god Lugh and the transformative power of fire. Channel your inner Christopher Lee and craft your own wicker man.
Place any bad habits you’d like to quit inside of him. Burn it safely in a fire pit or fireplace. You may also want to do an egg cleanse, ritual bath, or cord cutting ritual to release any final energetic attachments you have to your bad habit.
**Bonus points for watching The Wicker Man (I prefer the 1973 British folk horror film with Christopher Lee, obviously).
Create a Lughnasadh Altar
Also rememeber to include beautiful seasonal items like fresh flowers, grains, fruits, and candles.
Use the correspondence lists below for ideas! My favorite flower to use for Lughnasadh is sunflowers or lavender! Use this sacred space for meditation, reflection, and offering thanks.
The simplest way to deepen your spiritual practice is to truly be thankful for what you have. This includes every aspect of your life: food, a home, family, friends, lovers, children, personal accomplishments, career goals, health, etc.
Sit down and make a giant list! Add it to your Book of Shadows or Grimoire. I also think it’s lovely to include what you’ve harvested or manifested this year.
You can also set aside moments during the day to express your gratitude for the blessings in your life. Practice mindful reflection and offer thanks for the abundance surrounding you.
Lughnasadh 2023 Correspondences
Lughnasadh correspondences are helpful when creating an altar, doing ritual work, meal planning, or decorating your home for the holiday.
Here are a few ideas to get you started, but do not let this list limit you. Feel free to incorporate ANY correspondences that resonate with you!
- Fruition of goals
- Gathering / Harvesting
- Give / Donate / Share
- Thankful / Grateful
- Light Brown
- Dark Purple
(typically anything locally in season at this time)
- Wheat / Grains / Bread
- Corn on the cob
- Berries (great in jams, pies, or ice cream)
- Squash / Zucchini
Flowers and Trees
- Apple tree
Incense, Candles, and Scents
- The Sun
Crystals, Stones, and Metals
- Tiger’s Eye
Lughnasadh Journal Prompts
It can be tough to find the time to connect with the natural world around us, especially if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Lughnasadh journaling prompts will help you connect with the season, recharge your batteries, and get in touch with your innermost thoughts and feelings.
- Take a moment to engage all five of your senses (taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight) while thinking about what you enjoy this time of year. Also, reflect on what activities you love most right now. Make a reminder to reflect on these wonderful times during the chilly dark days of Winter Solstice.
- During Lughnasadh, the first harvest is typically grain or corn. Do you have any special recipes for either of these you can create during Lughnasadh?
- Write a letter or thank you note to a friend or loved one! This time of year is all about abundance and harvesting what we’ve sown, literally or metaphorically. Take a moment to let those who add joy to your life know how grateful you are!
- Write down any recipes, infusions, or herbal creations you’d like to create with in-season, herbs, flowers, and veggies.
- Press any flowers, herbs, or leaves you may have from your garden or collected on a nature walk and put those in your book. You could also use them as a stamp by painting one side and pressing it onto the journal or grimoire page
- August’s Full Moon is the Sturgeon Moon – talk about the history, meaning, and how you celebrate.
- Channeling the spiritual energy of Lugh, what abilities or skills are you talented at? How can you use them to give back to loved ones or those who need them in your community?
- Reflect and write about how old beliefs and folklores influence modern traditions today
- Contemplate this last year and how you have grown spiritually so far. What goals did you create for yourself during the winter months? Did you accomplish them? Why or why not? What will you do differently next year?
- Write down 3 words that best describe this time of year. Better yet, use them to write a poem!
- What’s an important quote to you right now?
- Take a walk outside and pay attention to nature in her current state. Write about signs you’ve observed indicating Summer is fading, and Autumn is on its way.
- What are your top 3 priorities in life, and how are you putting them first? If you aren’t, how will you start doing so?
- What can you do to develop and deepen your spirituality and take it to the next level?
- Write down any rituals you like to do or participate in for Lughnasadh?
- Now is a great time for a “beach read” fictional book that’s just for fun and pleasure! What’s on your list to read?
- What advice would you give yourself 6 months from now? 12 months?
- What’s one big goal you’d love to accomplish before Autumn is here? What’s standing in your way? What fears do you have about it? How can you overcome your fears to accomplish your dreams?
- Now is a time of prosperity! What do you have in abundance right now you’re grateful for? What can you do to show your gratitude or give back?
- When do you feel most connected to Nature / The Universe / Deity? What can you do to bring more of that into your daily life?
- Write down 5 books you’d like to read to help you develop, grow or educate yourself on a topic you’d love to know more about. Next to each book, note what you are hoping to learn and why. Commit to reading them and write down a realistic goal as to when.
- Summer is closely aligned with the mother phase of the Triple Goddess. Spend time writing, studying, and reflecting on that. What impression comes to your mind with you think of the mother phase? How does it impact you? What deities or goddesses reflect this stage or chapter to you?
How To Celebrate Lughnasadh 2023
Lughnasadh represents a time of physical nourishment, but also a spiritual awakening, as we attune ourselves to the rhythms of the seasons and the changing tides of life.
It’s a moment to recognize the impermanence of all things, acknowledging that just as the grain must be harvested, we must also gather the lessons and experiences that shape our journey. Here are a few ideas to help you celebrate Lughnasadh!
Bake Bread From Scratch
Ok, I know you’re thinking, “That’s not a very original suggestion,” but hear me out. Be creative and mix it up!!
Honor the spirit of the harvest by baking a special loaf of bread, using grains and ingredients that represent the bounty of the season. Share this bread with loved ones as a symbol of gratitude and abundance.
- Try a new recipe from Pinterest (Like this one from The Wondersmith – Goldenrod Cornbread To Hail Harvest Season and Dispel Melancholy)
- Add different herbs or flowers (lavender, rosemary, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, berries, etc.)
- Beer bread mix – my sister-in-law got this for me over the holidays, and it was so easy, fun to make, and tasted yummy! I just added beer!
- Have you ever tried those seafood biscuits from Red Lobster? So yummy! Make your own cheddar garlic drop biscuits at home! So delicious and easy! Try adding different herbs as well! (I use this Cheese Garlic Bisquick recipe)
- Braid your bread
- Make an herbal or honey cinnamon butter to add to your bread
- Muffins (maybe lemon blueberry? Cinnamon apple or peach? Huckleberry, raspberry?)
- Popcorn is a gluten-free option, and there are so many ways to create your own unique flavors and combinations
Don’t have a garden? Shop local at your farmer’s market! A lot of them have bread made from scratch if you aren’t interested in making your own! You could also try visiting a local U-pick farm. Berries and peaches are typically in season this time of year!
I love using Lughnasadh solar energy to make Sun Tea! You could also make fresh lemonade from scratch! Mint, lavender, or lemon balm is really abundant right now and makes for a refreshing addition!
- Go for a walk or a hike! The earliest Lughnasadh pagan celebrations involved the Celts hiking up hills to bring an offering to Lugh. I typically like to do this in the early morning hours before it gets too hot.
- Walk through fields, orchards, or a local park and think about the bounty nature provides to all of us!
- Go for a swim at any nearby water (lake, ocean, creek, pond, etc) or float down a lazy river!
- If I can find a quiet enough spot, I like to bring a blanket and meditate. I focus on feeling and acknowledging the seasonal wheel and how it’s currently turning to a new phase.
- Go camping! The more remote, the better because…..people.
- Stargazing is truly a wonderful way to connect to your spiritual side. It really makes you feel so tiny! Make sure to go somewhere you can avoid the city lights. You can even download an app (my favorite is Star Walk) to help you identify constellations and any planets. Also, watch for meteors or tumbling satellites!
Such a fun way to be involved with what you consume! I love making garlic refrigerated pickles, freezing peaches, making jam, and stocking up on berries! Try making some herbal soup rings!
Now is also a great time to start thinking about Yule and the holidays. Homemade gifts are the best, and some tinctures and infusions take a few months to be ready.
Donate To Your Local Food Bank
A wonderful way to be grateful for all you have is to donate to those who do not. This would also be a wonderful tradition to share with your children! You can also donate time or money to a non-profit or charity you’re passionate about!
Remember to give back to Nature too! Consider planting trees, flowers, or herbs. Engage in eco-friendly practices, such as recycling and reducing waste, to honor the interconnectedness of all living beings.
Have a Picnic Feast
What better way to enjoy all of nature’s bounty than to share it with loved ones? Host a gathering with friends and family to celebrate the bountiful harvest. Prepare a feast using seasonal produce and traditional recipes. Share stories and express gratitude for the gifts of the earth. You could host a picnic in the park or have them over for a meal in your home!
My personal favorite is to have a picnic in our backyard. It’s so fun, and most of the time, it’s just my hubby, me, and our cats. We also have a fire pit (this is a fire festival, after all) if we have company and the party continues into the evening.
I hope this article about Lughnasadh 2023 was helpful! Lots of love to you, and remember, as always…
C. Julius Caesar. Caesar’s Gallic War. Translator. W. A. McDevitte. Translator. W. S. Bohn. 1st Edition. New York. Harper & Brothers. 1869. Harper’s New Classical Library.