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The Festival Lammas & Hekate

Lammas is the festival which is sometimes forgotten or overlooked - maybe because we celebrate it during the summer school holidays here in Europe? Or maybe it is not sexy enough! Either way, if you work with the Wheel of the Year and want to adapt it to fit the Goddess Hekate, while holding onto some of the traditional leanings of Wicca or Druidry, then this blog is for you!


The Wheel of the Year is a modern set of festivals, created by Gerald Gardner and Ross Nichols (founders of Gardnerian Wicca and OBOD Druidry respectively) circa the 1950s, the idea of celebrating the changing seasons is of course ancient. These festivals were part of the necessary cycle of work and labour undertaken by almost everyone to ensure that food would be available throughout the year - it was an essential activity.


In the anthology Hekate: Her Sacred Fires the Priestess Amelia Ounsted shared information and insights on how she adapted, with the help of friends, the Wheel of the Year, to be centred on the Goddess Hekate. It is not traditional, but it is an interesting perspective (and one that works) for those who work with the Wheel of the Year and who want to celebrate Hekate throughout. This is the extract (with permission) for the Lammas is from Amelia's article "A Goddess for All Seasons".


The Festival of Lammas:

Lammas (usually 1st August) is the first of three harvest festivals celebrated on the Wheel of the Year. As the harvest of grain this is the time in the journey of the God when he is cut down, sacrificed so he may be born again as the child of promise at the Winter Solstice. It is the Sabbat at which we prepare to reap the seeds that we have sown at Imbolc/Spring Equinox and we recognise that to do we must sometimes be prepared to make a sacrifice. In much the same way that we might really want that new job but we must sacrifice our old one to get it (and the pay packet for a more stimulating role or ease of travel and so on).
Think about making a sacrifice to Hekate as part of your devotion; perhaps giving up something that you like, in order for her to bestow her blessings. This is also a time when we can give thanks for our personal harvest from the year. If our Harvest is not quite what we hoped for it is worth remembering the words of Hesiod: "For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favour according to custom, he calls upon Hekate. Great honour comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favourably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her". We can make offerings to Her to encourage our own harvest. I would not recommend the sacrifices of sheep or dogs which were common in Greece, but we know that eggs, honey and garlic are all acceptable sacrifices to the goddess. We could also consider using the bounty of the harvest to prepare a meal for friends in the manner of a Hekate supper. For me the strain of cooking is quite enough of a sacrifice as it is (as eating the results may be for others!). As Hekate suppers were arguably a form of charitable giving we may wish to make a financial sacrifice as well.
At this time of fruitful harvest we can see Hekate as the dark mother who separates the wheat from the chaff and cuts away that which is unnecessary from our lives. If we have the courage we can work with Hekate as the goddess of transformation. This act of transformation whilst painful is reward in itself as we must transform and change in order to grow. This act of transformation was something that devotes of the ancient Mysteries at Eleusis appeared to have been striving for. A tomb stone of one initiate suggests that after death she would be transformed into Hekate herself.
Lammas is also a traditional time for fairs where people would meet to display and sell the wealth that the harvest had brought them. At these fairs as well it was common to play games and this often forms a part of our festivities when we celebrate Lammas today. It is worth remembering Hesiod's point about Hekate in relation to games and sports: "Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents." In August is frequently a time for summer holidays so it would be appropriate to invoke Hekate in her role as protector of travellers when you embark on your journey.

I hope you have enjoyed this - Amelia's full article is in the book, which is available both as a large A4ish size paperback or as a Kindle eBook from Amazon.



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Vlad
Vlad
Feb 21
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you! Cool article! I am writing a dissertation in philosophy on this topic, so I am collecting such high-quality material. But to be sure of the result, I want to use an online service that I recently came across on the educational forum https://www.phdresearchproposal.org/ when I was looking for recommendations on structuring a doctoral dissertation. The platform offers useful tools and resources for developing compelling research proposals. The provided templates and examples made the difficult task of communicating my research intentions much easier.

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Sandra Maria
Sandra Maria
Jan 26
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Again a very beautiful text connecting our beloved Hekate with the wheel of the year. <3

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Bendis
Bendis
Aug 06, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you! In my work with Hekate's Tribe, I hae not yet created a Lammas Ritual for Hekate! Now I have some great ideas!

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