Lammas/Lughnasadh is a holiday that celebrates the first harvest of the year while simultaneously honoring the Celtic god Lugh, master of all skills. It is a feasting holiday that celebrates the first harvest with the fruits of said harvest. It only seems fitting to celebrate the holiday with a home cooked meal that gives homage to the harvest with its ingredients and to Lugh with the skill used in cooking! We're going to talk about the meal first, then take a look at the ritual preparations.
In most Sabbats you make room to give an offering to the gods, and room to ask the gods for something you desire in the coming months I decided to do both with the meal. Enough food will be cooked for all participants plus enough for an offering. The ingredients chosen will correspond to my request from the gods. This little piece of kitchen witchery was inspired by the Grocery Store Magick List on page 118 of Silver RavenWolf's Teen Witch. Unless otherwise noted, all correspondences below are from that list.
Step One: Choose your dish.
First thing to do is choose what you want to cook. What kind of food do you like to eat? What kind of food matches your cooking skill? I've decided to make a stir fry for a few reasons. First, I love stir frying. Second, I got a copper bottomed wok at Goodwill which is an absolute joy to work with. Third, a stir fry allows for a lot of freedom in ingredient selection. You can put just about anything in it, from meat to nuts to fruit. If you're an inexperienced cook, you could make a sandwich instead! You can put almost anything in there, too, and it will taste great.
Another important factor is number of participants. You need to feed everyone who is participating a full meal with enough left over to give to the gods. This ritual is especially fun because most of the setup is in the cooking. Even if you are a solitary with non-magickal friends and family you can still invite them to enjoy your meal! Cooking for yourself is boring; cooking for others is a party. Make sure whatever you choose is easily prepared for the number of people who will be eating. It's generally considered unethical to surprise people with magick food, so be sure to tell them what you are cooking and why before they agree to eat.
Step Two: Choose your ingredients.
You will want to decide what you are asking for from the Gods before you pick your ingredients. Even if you are making a sandwich you can have some interesting correspondences. A BLT, for example, has the following magickal properties:
Bacon – Knowledge (Pigs symbolize knowledge, this correspondence is from personal google research)
Lettuce – Chastity, protection, divinations of love, sleep
Tomato – Prosperity, protection, love
Wheat (in the bread) – Fertility, money. Wheat is also an important part of Lammas so you get extra bang for your buck here, figuratively speaking.
I have decided I want protection and prosperity, both wonderful things to have and common correspondences. I have chosen the following ingredients based on these correspondences:
Money: Wheat pasta, Sesame (in seed and oil form), nuts, beef (Cows are a symbol of wealth—this is not from Silver RavenWolf's list), ginger, cloves, onion, almond.
Protection: Lettuce, garlic, fennel, onion, pepper, salt (Salt is often used in protection—a line of salt, for instance, is protection from spirits. This is not from Silver RavenWolf's list), cinnamon.
Many of those spices come from the Chinese five spice powder I will use for the stir fry. It tastes wonderful and is a potent magickal combination! I will probably add another vegetable or two to provide some more bulk for the stir fry. Taste is just as important as correspondence, because the meal has to make you feel good to project the right energy to the universe.
Step Three: Cooking
The cooking is probably the hardest part. It is a good idea not to go too far above your comfort level with cooking lest you end up with something inedible. If you need to find cooking instructions, google is your friend. There are a multitude of websites that provide basic instructions on technique and recipes which will prove invaluable if you are trying something new. Be sure to do some research if you are using an unfamiliar ingredient so you can make sure to bring out its best flavor when you prepare it.
Charge the ingredients with your intentions as your prepare them. When I smash and chop a clove of garlic I will charge it with protective energy. Every time you touch, taste, smell, or manipulate the ingredient more of your energy will flow into it until you are finished and it is absolutely brimming with the qualities it represents. When all the ingredients are prepared you can mix them together to combine their energies into a powerful concoction. Keep this in mind while you are cooking. While putting the finishing touches on the dish, envision the results of your spell and recite the following words (or words of your own choosing) over the food:
“This dish is my wish:
as my dish is done,
my wish is won.
So mote it be.”
These words will seal the spell into the prepared food. When the food is eaten the spell will be cast and completed! Anyone who eats the food will feel the effects of the spell.
Step One: Setup
The table where you have your meals will be the altar for this ritual. When getting ready for the meal, pay extra attention to cleaning the room. The Lord and Lady are coming to visit, after all! Candles and decorations aren't strictly necessary but can be helpful to remind everyone of the holiday. Harvest colors and summer colors will work. Try a brown or orange table cloth with red and yellow candles to brighten up the meal. Colorful fruits, sheafs of grain, and sickles are good decorations. Determine whether or not you want to call the quarters and cast a circle. If you don't plan on doing so, you will want to acknowledge the elements in you decorations. You can use candles for fire, drink for water, food for earth, and potpourris for air or come up with your own ideas. Even if you do call the quarters it won't hurt to decorate for them, too.
When you set the table set an extra plate for the gods, or two for the Lord and Lady. If you are feeling fancy you can write out name cards for them! During the ritual, you will put food on their plates as an offering. You aren't going to want to get up once the meal is underway so put everything out before it starts.
Step Two: The Meal
It is your choice whether or not you want to cast a circle. It may be better to avoid it if you are dining with people who are uncomfortable with the physical aspects of ritual. Even if you are just with fellow witches you might find the circle casting to be unnecessary anyways as the spell has already been worked and the gods are omnipresent. If you do decide to cast the circle you can use your own quarter calls or use the ones I've written below:
“Earth! Bread and crops and life! We invite you to attend our celebration.”
“Air! Skill and technique and learning! We invite you to attend our celebration.”
“Fire! Stove and heat and passion! We invite you to attend our celebration.”
“Water! Drink and rain and feeling! We invite you to attend our celebration.”
Invite the quarters as friends to your meal, guests at your table. If you invite spirits with the quarters it can't hurt to remind them that both guests and hosts must follow rules of hospitality.
The gods will be evoked in the following meal blessing. Speak to the empty place settings when you bless the food so the Lord and Lady know where to sit.
“Lord and Lady:
We meet at this table to enjoy the fruits of our labor and invite you to do the same. While we eat, we are aware that this bounty is a gift from you as the earth and sky. Thank you for this, for the wishes we will manifest, and for everything.
So mote it be.”
Trace a pentacle over the main course to bless it. Imagine the pentacle glowing a brilliant silver and gold, then see it sinking into the dish. With the food blessed, you can start serving and enjoy your delicious meal! Be sure to serve the Lord and Lady first; they ARE your guests, after all.
When the meal is over, I recommend a good desert. The Lord loves his pumpkin pie, for instance, and I have it on good authority that the Lady finds chocolate heavenly. After everyone is finished eating, politely thank the Lord and Lady for attendance and wish them farewell. Do the same for the quarters if you called them. And that's it! Your ritual is finished!
...of course, you still have to clean up.