Weekly Features

The Weekly Shaman

During the beginning of August, the ancient Celts held their festival of Lughnasa which they honored their sun god Lugh. This was also the time when the grain began to ripen and was to be harvested. This came after the lean times when the food supplies were beginning to run out and was considered the hungry months. This led to a great celebration that consisted of feasting and playing of games. There were also the racing of houses and all manner of sports. Like many pagan holidays Lughnasa was coopted by the church and given a Christian identity, it became known as Lammas or ‘loaf mass’. A loaf of bread was baked and presented in the church to be blessed and offered. In a sense Lammas was developed into a kind of Thanksgiving like holiday. My own assumption was the appearance of the dog star Sirius in the August skies was a sign of the beginning of the harvest time after the lean time of summer. I have heard that the crops were sometimes blessed by the priests to give Lammas a less pagan and more Christian identity. And so, it goes.