July 2009 Breaking Bread Together:
Lughnasad, The First Harvest
Handfastings.org News and Views
Welcome Officiants!

Newly Listed

This month we welcome Claire Locke, our first officiant listed in Rhode Island and Jennifer and Jeremy Crowe, our first officiants listed in Georgia! 
Rev. Liomsa, handfasting officiant

Handfastings.org also gives a warm welcome to Rev. Ron "Liomsa" Latevola (pictured) from Maine, Court Pellin from Ohio, michelle whichelloand Michelle Whichello, from "Down Under" - Australia (pictured)!  A gracious Merry Meet to all.

Rev. Liomsa

Michelle Whichello
Breaking Bread

May You Never Hunger
The beginning of August is right around the corner.  To Pagans and Wiccans, this means first harvest celebrations will soon be in order.  For those of us who are planning our handfasting during this turn of the Wheel of the Year, this is a wonderful time to think about the symbolic breaking of the bread during the ceremony.  There are many ways that couples can embody this tradition, the most popular of which is feeding one another a piece of the wedding cake.  bread, Lammas, LughnasadThe cake is a symbol of breaking bread; harvest; fertility. But instead of waiting to carry out this custom during the reception, why not break bread during the actual handfasting ceremony, for which this ritual was originally intended?

In a handfasting ceremony where the bride and groom bless one another with each element, they may opt for the symbols of incense for air/East, a lit candle for fire/South, a glass of ale for water/West, and a loaf of bread for earth/North.  When the bride and groom get around to blessing each other with the element of Earth, they may feed one another by breaking the loaf of bread and serving each other a piece while saying, "I bless you with this bread, symbol of the North; element of Earth, for prosperity and fertility; may you never hunger."
As the Wheel Turns
by Shira

The First Harvest - The Celebration of Lughnasad

On the Sacred Wheel, there is no beginning and no end to Life.  It is a continuous cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.  This Sabbat on the Wheel is Lughnasad, when we mark the time of harvesting our first crops of the year.  Also known as Lammas, August Eve, Harvest Home or Feast of Bread, it is during Lughnasad that the blooming plants that we enjoyed in spring are now withering away, planting their seeds into Mother Earth and preparing themselves for the coming harvests.  But today, we enjoy the first vegetation that we've reaped.  And any spells since forgotten that were created around Beltane may begin to take effect now.

Lugh, Lammas, LughnasadLughnasad, named for the God Lugh, a Celtic God of light and fire and God of crafts and skills, is the first harvest of the year, celebrated on or around August 1st (astrologically, this year it may be closer to August 7th).  As is tradition, we give thanks to the Goddess and God of harvest through a ritual celebration of grains, the most noteworthy of which is corn.  Corn has long been a symbol of Life, of sustenance and of fertility in many cultures and religions across the world.  In Wicca, we celebrate this magical plant-food by harvesting it on Lughnasad, using it in our cooking dishes and crafting symbolic talismans with its strong fibers.

So as with the first harvest, comes our first feast!  This is a wonderful time to begin cooking with corn.  Make cornbread, roast some ears over a hot flame, or create a delicious polenta dish.  A hearthwarming tradition in magical cooking is to bake a loaf of bread in the shape of the Corn God or Spiral Goddess.  bread, Lammas, Lughnasad

With corn fibers, you can create talisman figurines such as the corn dolly; while making it, you can direct to it your intentions of fertility (for crops or people) or as a supplication to the gods for sustainability and health.  Some use the husks of corn to craft a Brigid's Cross for protection.   

Happy Harvest!

Lugh statue designed by Paul Borda

Feeling Crafty?

corn dollies, Lammas, Lughnasad

Make a corn dolly!  The dollies you see above are made from ears of corn.  However, another way to make a corn dolly is with - wheat!  Traditionally, the wheat corn dollies are hollow, to allow room for the corn spirit to stay protected while residing inside it during the winter months.  One of my favorite Pagan artists, Robin Wood, blogged about it:


Ritual Note:
For a Lammas ritual using a Greek goddess and god pairing, try Demeter (Goddess of grain) and Dionysius (God of fruit and wine).  
Mouthwatering Munchies

Cornbread Recipe for Lughnasad
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup yellow corn meal
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening

Sift flour with sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir in cornmeal. Add eggs, milk, and shortening. Beat with rotary or electric beater till just smooth. (Do not overbeat.) Pour into greased 9x9x2 inch pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Corn Sticks: Spoon batter into greased corn-stick pans, filling 2/3 full. Bake in hot oven (425) 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 18.

Don't forget to add your magical intention!


Suggested Reading

For your online reading pleasure...

The Meaning of a Handfasting

"Within the symbolic bonds of Handfasting is the acceptance that 'nothing stays the same'; any union between two living energies is constantly evolving, just as are the two individuals themselves, and therefore it will be constantly subjected to changes."

Great article on Witchvox by Eve the Talogwitch of Wales (Allison Beldon-Smith) regarding the fundamental difference between a marriage ceremony and a handfasting ritual:


The Wiccan Rede

"The Wiccan Rede, an ethical tenet or basic spiritual principle of Wiccans, came about logically as a means to put into brief context Wiccans' thoughts and feelings about our moral values and natural way of life. Although the origins of the Wiccan Rede are debatable, the most well known version is the one stated by author and Wiccan High Priestess Doreen Valiente, grandmother to a number of Wiccan traditions, back in the 1960s:

"An It Harm None, Do What Ye Will"

I was honored to have been asked by the editor of The Magical Buffet to write an essay on what the Wiccan Rede means to me.  Here are some of my published thoughts:


tree shaking hands

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Artemisia Shira Tarantino

Joining Hearts in Perfect Love™
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