Lughnasadh — Lammas

This entry has been rewritten because I mixed up the summer solstice with Lammas in the orignal post.

The Celts divided the year into four parts, marked by the summer and winter solstices and the two equinoxes, which are half way between the solstices. Half way between each of these solar holidays were four other major holidays: Samhain, now Halloween, Imbolc (Candlemas), now Groundhog Day, Beltane, now May Day, and Lughnasadh or Lammas, which has not left a recognizable trace. Because Satanists appropriated the pagan holidays, they are now the major Satanic holidays.

Lughnasadh is named after Lugh, the son of the Sun God and a human mother. In various parts of the Celtic world he was known as Hu, Lew, Lliu, or Llew; nasadh means festival. He was the keeper of knowledge and was capable of miracles, magic, divination, and healing. He was also a traveler, a master of all crafts, music, and trade and he created the rules and laws that governed society.

Lugh decreed that a commemorative feast be held each year at the beginning of the harvest season to honor his foster mother, Tailtiu, who died of exhaustion after clearing the forest for agriculture. Games and athletic competitions were held in her honor. These games live on as summer fairs in Europe and county fairs in the United States.

At this feast, lovers jumped over sacred bonfires to bring good luck, young girls could receive a vision of their future husband, and malevolent spirits were banished. The bonfires were sympathetic magic (as below, so above) ensuring that the sun would remain strong and the crops would grow well until harvest time. When the fires had burned down, cattle were driven through the embers to make them healthy and people sprinkled ashes on the fields and used the coals to relight their kitchen fires.

After the conversion of Europe to Christianity, Lughnasadh was renamed Lammas but remained a harvest celebration. The first of the harvested grain was baked into bread and placed on the altar during Mass. The name Lammas is derived from Anglo-Saxon hlaef-mass, which means “loaf-mass.”

It’s difficult to remember that there is a major Satanic holiday in August because there is no religious or secular celebration to prod your memory. Flashbacks can therefore seem to come from out of the blue and it is hard to prepare yourself for feeling awful. It’s also hard, once you have remembered Lammas is coming up, to keep that knowledge from slipping away.

August Ritual Dates

Many survivors don’t know much about the August holidays, probably because those days have not survived as Christian or secular holidays. I think it’s useful to know some background about them. Perhaps what seems like an obscure bit of information will help explain part of some ritual.

8/1 – 2: Lughnasadh
is named for the Celtic god Lugh, the fire god, and is celebrated with bonfires. Lugh is the son or maybe grandson of Baal; on his mother’s side, he is the grandson of Balor. In Wales, he is called Llew Llaw Gyffes.

Lughnasadh takes place August Eve (July 31) and August first. It is still celebrated in some form in parts of the British Isles as Lunasa (August),  in Ireland as Lunasda, Lunasdal, and Lunasad in Scotland, as Laa Luanys and Luanistyn (August) in the Isle of Man, and as Gwl Awst (August Feast) in Wales.

Games in honor of Lugh’s foster-mother, Taillte, who died clearing forestland for planting, occur on August first. In Ireland, this holiday is still sometimes called the Tailltean Games; year-long unofficial trial marriages arranged on Lughnasadh are called Tailltean marriages. These games were a gathering of the tribes and a mixture of business, horse racing, athletic contests, and ceremonies. They survived Christianity disguised as medieval craft guild festivals. Today, many country fairs take place around this time.

With the coming of Christianity, Lughnasadh became Anglo-Saxon Lughomass (“Lugh’s Mass”) and later Lammas (from Old English hlaf-mas or ‘loaf mass’). Loaves of bread made from the first grain harvested were placed on the altar to be blessed.

August full moon (Lunasa).
Lunasa is the Irish word for August. In Wales, the first August full moon is Arianrhod, “silver wheel.” In Scotland, it is Gealach, the “bright white moon of the seasons.”

8/24 – 8/27: Fundus Mundi seems to be a Greek/Roman mixture of Lammas and Halloween. It means “bottom of the world,” or underworld, in Latin. It’s a time of transition, when the gates of the underworld open for a few days. Mania is a festival in honor of the manes (Latin for ancestors).

Demeter was the goddess of grain and the harvest; she made the crops grow. (The first loaf of bread from the harvest was dedicated to her.) Demeter and Zeus had a daughter, Persephone, who was kidnapped by Hades to be his wife in the underworld. In her sorrow and rage, Demeter laid a curse on the world and made all the plants die.

Now Hades was Zeus’ brother, and thus Persephone’s uncle and Demeter’s brother-in-law. He was the god of wealth and the dead, and he just loved mortals, who increased the number of dead in his kingdom. (Sound familiar? He is sort of Lucifer’s counterpart.)

Zeus had the good sense to try and get Persephone away from Hades. Anybody who eats something in the underworld is not allowed to return, and Persephone had tasted a pomegranate. There was an attempted kidnapping and other drama, and Zeus managed to negotiate to have Persephone spend half her time with Hades, half with Demeter. That’s why we have winter and summer.

8/28: Feast of Nepthys. So how did Nephthys, the Egyptian goddess of death, come into this story? Originally, of course, she didn’t. In the nineteenth century, however,  occultists, as well as the general public, were very interested in mythology of all kinds; Far Eastern, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman. Some abusive groups incorporated as many “dark” gods as possible into their rites and holidays. Such groups are generally referred to as pantheistic cults, (pan meaning all and theist meaning one who believes in God or gods.) And yes, she was married to Set, as in “The Temple of Set.”

The details of the myths are not important; the fact that they were an excuse to perpetrate the most horrible abuses is what counts. It can be helpful, however, to know that these practices came from somewhere and that they have a history.

The same year I figured out I was a survivor, I came across a 1967 book by Richard Cavendish called The Black Arts. It traces the history of numerology, alchemy, astrology, ritual black magic, and satanism in Europe. As I plowed through it, I gradually realized that my experience was not unique, and that my people were not the absolutely worst people in the history of the world. Ritual abuse is an ancient culture, not a rare modern aberration.