A Ritual for Lughnasadh


A Ritual for Lughnasadh


Celebrate Lughnasadh, a pagan summer harvest festival, with an earth-centered ritual. Enjoy the abundance of late summer and honor the ancestors.

Lughnasadh (pronounced “LOO-nuh-suh”) is an ancient harvest festival usually held around August 1st in the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the beginning of the harvest season, the shift from summer towards fall, and commemorates the move from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to an agricultural one in Celtic mythology.

The Origins of Lughnasadh

This is the feast day of Lugh, a warrior god whose foster mother, the goddess Tailtiu, died while clearing the fields of Ireland to make way for farms and agriculture. While Lughnasadh is a celebration of the abundance and safety that came with the transition to an agricultural lifestyle, it’s also in some ways a day of grief, and a remembrance of the loss of the old ways in order to make space for the new.

This time of year, the peak of summer has just started to wane. We want to appreciate what we have while also honoring what’s already gone. Lughnasadh is overall meant to be a fun holiday, one that’s often spent with others, feasting, drinking, and playing games. One way to mark this holiday is to go to a county fair, a holdover from ancient Lughnasadh celebrations. If you enjoy baking, this is an ideal time to bake bread. Cornbread is traditional around this time, as corn was once the star of the early harvest.

How to Perform a Lughnasadh Ritual

Please gather:

  • A candle

  • Some bread or edible grain (homemade, if you’d like)

  • A local, in-season fruit or vegetable (corn is a great option)

  • Any other items that are meaningful to you around the themes of gratitude and harvest to add to the ritual altar

  • A journal and pen (optional)

Cast a Circle

Start by casting a protective circle around yourself and your ritual items; this can simply be imaginary. Set the intention that this is a safe space where only energies in alignment with the highest good are welcome. Light your candle to signify the start of the ritual.

Consider Your Relationship to the Land and Your Ancestors

Take a moment to consider the earth and the land that you are on, the land that feeds you. Consider your relationship to this particular part of the world, how you and your ancestors (if applicable) got here. If you live in a place that was colonized (which is most places), consider the First Peoples of this land. Name them, if you know their names. Think of them, if they are your ancestors. If your people are not from this land, consider wherever your ancestors were from, living off the land, and now surviving through you into the present day.

Breathe With the Earth

Place your hands on the earth. Breathe into it and allow it to breathe into you. Think of the ancient quality of the earth, its incredible ability to hold life, death, and growth, and to feed those who live on it. Offer your gratitude to the earth for feeding and supporting your body.

Then place your hands over your heart. Consider what feeds your heart and soul. Spend some time in gratitude for those people, places, activities, and whatever else feeds your spirit.

Contemplate Your Harvest Offering

Now consider what you can offer to the world right now. What would you like to give of yourself as we move into the harvest season? Connection, playfulness, art, diligence, fresh-baked bread? What are the natural talents and abilities that you can offer to the world to help share in the spirit of harvest and abundance?

Make a Promise to Yourself

When this contemplation feels complete for you, take the bread or grain into your hands. Hold this abundance from the earth. Make a promise to yourself to both give and receive, and to offer whatever it is you have to the world while gratefully taking in the gifts of the earth, the life you’ve created for yourself, and the people around you. Take a bite of the bread or grain, receiving the gift of the earth and sealing your promise to both give and receive this harvest season.

Feel free to write any of your reflections down in your journal. When this feels complete for you, offer gratitude to the earth, your ritual items, the circle, the candle, and whatever you call Spirit. Consider your ritual complete in alignment with the highest good and extinguish the candle.

Happy Lughnasadh!

Learn more about the spiritual meaning of Lughnasadh.


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A Ritual for Lughnasadh

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