In Lammas, the first of the three harvest festivals, grain plays a big role. Perhaps that’s no surprise, as Lammas means “loaf mass.” It is also Lughnasadh, celebrating the god Lugh, who was a craftsman. Taking the time to create decoration and food that incorporates grain for this Sabbat honors both the importance of the harvest as well as the god for whom it is named. So how do you bring wheat and oat into your celebrations?
One of the easiest ways to bring these grains into your celebration is to bake with them. You can use the results for altar decoration, offerings to the Goddesses and Gods, or to consume at your Sabbat feast.
There are many different types of bread you can bake for Lammas that feature wheat and oat. A bread man or woman is often used in Lammas harvest rituals and feasts. If you are looking for a stunning centerpiece for your feast table, a multigrain plaited loaf is a striking addition that incorporates several of the grains of the season.
You’ll make a rye dough, a wheat dough, and an oatmeal dough. Let them rest and rise according to their recipes (try and use recipes with similar timings – such as ones that keep the dough in the refrigerator overnight to rise). You’ll roll each dough into its own log for a 3-strand plait, or into 2 logs each for a 6-strand plait. Pinch one end of each strand together and braid (if you’ve never done a 6-strand plait before, there are many videos showing the technique.). Once you complete the braid, pinch the bottoms together and tuck under the loaf. You can also form into a circle for an added aesthetic touch. Rise, bake according to recipe, and you’ve got yourself an amazing Sabbat loaf for the feast. Serve with oil and herbs for dipping, butter for spreading, or alone.
Wheat flour and oats are so easy to bring into desserts, how can you pass up having something summery and delicious on the table? Bring in all the flavors of the season with a triple berry crisp. Simple to make and delicious to eat!
You’ll need 1.5 cups each of fresh blackberries, fresh raspberries, and fresh blueberries. You’ll also need ¼ cup of white sugar. For the topping, you’ll need 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 cups of rolled oats, 1.5 cups packed brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, .5 tsp nutmeg, and 3 sticks of butter (1.5 cups).
Start by preheating the oven to 350°F. Put the berries in a large bowl and coat well with the white sugar. In a second bowl, combine all the topping ingredients except the butter. Once combined, use 2 knives or a pastry blender to cut in the butter until a nice crumble forms. Grease a 9×13 dish, use half the crumble mixture to coat the bottom. Use a measuring cup to pack the topping together well. Cover with the fruit mixture. Cover with the rest of the crips mixture. Bake until fruit is bubbly and topping has a nice golden brown color, about 30 – 40 min. Serve with fresh ice cream or whipped cream!
Gluten intolerant? Don’t worry, you can still celebrate the grain aspect of the sabbat! Use gluten-free flours to bake breads, rolls and desserts that are safe for you to consume. You don’t have to miss out on the Lammas harvest ritual involving a bread person – just make on that is gluten-free!
You might not go straight to wheat or oat stalks when thinking about decorating, but they are quite beautiful and make wonderful decoration in the home – especially during harvest Sabbats. There are a number of ways you can bring these grains into your decorating.
Setting your Altar
If you change your altar decorations to honor the Sabbats, you don’t just have to use the colors of the season. Add dried wheat to your altar as a way to honor the season. You can also make a kitchen altar to keep the fresh breads and foods you are making using the grains of the season.
Wreaths are a great way to bring in the symbols of the season but also create a charm to bless your home in different ways (protection, happiness, etc.). You can purchase pre-made wreaths if you aren’t one for crafting, but given the patron god of Lughnasadh, if you can make your own, it adds a little power and energy. Your wreath can also draw in other symbols of the Sabbat, to fully honor all that we are celebrating.
Around the Home
There are so many ways to display wheat and oat around the home. You can have them alone, together, or in bouquets with dry or fresh flowers. For example, pair some wheat and oat with red, orange, and yellow roses. Add some lavender for a classic French country feel. You can tied bunches with ribbon and leave them loose, setting them down on the mantle. You can use traditional flower vases, or display them in unique ways, such as a ceramic milk jug. Wheat might seem an odd choice to pair with flame, but you can still do it in beautiful, functional, safe ways. Nest a thin cylindrical vase inside a larger vase. Put the candle inside the thin vase. Tie ribbons around the base of the thin vase, to bring in the colors of the season. Surround the thin vase with wheat, oat, dried berries, and more to add the symbols of the season into the decoration. You can also use wheat and oat sheaves as an accent to cornucopias or other table settings.
Tablecloths or runners with grains embroidered on them make a nice base for setting your feast table. Or a simple wheat-colored tablecloth. Obviously the food you make with the grains should have places of honor on your table. Adding a few stalks of wheat tied with raffia around a napkin makes a simple but gorgeous place setting.