The Bad Witch’s Guide to Lughnasadh

August, 2018

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Lughnasadh

Lammas and Lughnasadh get a bit of a bad rap. The biggest issue is the dating. When the shift from old to Gregorian calendars happened in 1782 the year lost 11 days. So we have two dates 31 of July and August 12. The next thing was that instead of celebrating on the day, the church bumped the celebrations to the nearest Sundays or saints’ days.

So what is this celebrating? Who is Lugh? What is a loaf mass anyway?

This is the beginning of harvest. From wild foraging, to gardens and fields full of golden wheat and barley all was about to gathered in. A good harvest can be spoilt with a run of bad weather, a sudden storm or infestation. It is then with all of your food for winter on the line a good idea to get the Gods on side. If it went well it was a time of celebration and merry making.

Lugh of Lughnasadh (the death of Lugh- feast of Lugh) is sometimes interpreted as a storm God or even a sky God in general. He is also the God of skill and many games. Sometimes he is seen as the sun God or God whom dies, much like the grain so the land is fertile. This sacrificial cycle makes sense and the “death” of the grain is part of many other Celtic traditions around Europe. Many harvest rituals of strangers cutting the last of the wheat or throwing the sickle as to avert bad luck come back to the “I don’t want to kill a God” part of the harvest. It is also the time when you will need to figure out what to hold back for next year’s planting, what to sprout for whiskey and beer, and what to keep for bread.

Farming communities would all help each other out, and everyone was expected to help bring in the harvest. This is still why at least in the UK our school holidays happen when they do, because children were also expected to help. “Straw marriages” of a year and a day would happen as the community was already gathered together and likely going to get drunk too!

Bilberry babies” were children conceived at this time. The fact that the wild places and ancient ritual mounds and wells had plenty of bilberries as an excuse to be there didn’t hurt either.

Sacred wells were often dressed with flowers and while Lughnasadh seems all about Lugh it is always a good idea to make sure that the ancestors and Goddesses were happy too. Ireland and Britain have a huge number of sacred wells. Water was seen as the connection to the Otherworld. Offering from swords to cauldrons, flowers and butter were left. Much like our wishing wells. Wells usually had a sacred tree nearby and a sacred hill. The deosil (anti-clockwise) route was usually taken to properly visit all three. Women in particular were to wash and/or drink from the well and then tie a strip of cloth to the tree, then maybe rub the standing stone or lie on a stone on the hill to help conception.

Lammas then? Loaf mass was exactly that. A Christian mass to celebrate the return of grain and fruit. I think this is always why I prefer Lughnasadh as a name. It is more complex and odd but it speaks of something older. It is important to understand something of the Celtic mind set to understand the wheel of the year properly. Celts celebrate death. A good death is important. Even now an average wake could last up to four days in more rural parts of Ireland. It isn’t morbid as such more that death is a necessary part of life. Community celebrations strengthened the bonds between them and created the future (in a real and Bilberry baby sort of way!) and gave an opportunity for the old songs to be sung and those lost to be remembered. Sure they WENT to the loaf mass. They made the bread, beer and whiskey, but they also went to the wilds, to the wells, and the ancient trees. They went up the Reek and watched the sunrise.

So what does this mean to you? What is your harvest? What is in a fragile state and requires gentle tending and an extra bit of luck? What food matters to you? Where does your food come from? Be it grain, bean or berry; what you put into your body now and later matters.

So how to celebrate Lughnasadh? It is a time to gather, food and people. To sit in the dark with a fire and sing the ancient songs. The sad songs, the old songs, the bawdy songs. To twist wildflowers in the hair. To whisper your sweet nothings under the stars and beside the standing stones. If you are alone for Lughnasadh you could have a fire, or make bread or cake. You could go and “pick your own” or give a little offer to Lugh before you harvest your own garden. It is an excellent time to mindfully harvest your herbs and flowers for the coming year.

You could go to a well, river or spring and decorate it with flowers. You could also go give to a food bank or homeless shelter. Or clean up a local cemetery or wild space of rubbish. Cleanse if you need to, be it at a sacred site or your bathroom.

Go outside, go to the wilds if you can. You are not separate from this sacred earth, not immune to its seasons. Plant something, scatter some seeds. Tie some cotton to a tree and make a wish.

For as you sow so shall you reap. I would advise listening to some folk songs, John Barleycorn in particular. Or maybe some Jethro Tull, and enjoying the poppies red and roses filled with summer rain.

Crystal Connections

August, 2017

Cleansing and Charging


Crystals absorb and hold the energy from their surroundings. Each time you or someone else comes in contact with your crystals they retain some of the energy from that interaction. After each use you should take time to clear away the energy that they’ve taken on as well as recharging to make sure that your minerals intent is restored. This ensures that your crystals are ready to use when needed.


There are a few different ways to cleanse and recharge your crystals and minerals. Below are some of the different techniques that I’ve used.


Smudging – I use white sage and palo santo wood. I will either hold the stones in the smoke or using my feather I will wave the smoke over them.



Full Moon – I normally set them on my window sill during the three day/night cycle of the full moon.


Sun – As with the moon, you can place them on your window sill or in front of a window. Just be aware that some minerals may fade if exposed to the sunlight for extended periods of time.



Water – I’ve only used this a handful of times but you can bathe them in lukewarm water. Make sure that your crystal isn’t water soluble like Selenite!


Earth – You can bury them in soil whether it be in your garden or a potted plant in your home, again I would make sure that the crystals you have aren’t water soluble.



Energy – I’ve also used visual cleansing, while holding the stones or crystals I will ground myself then visualize golden light entering my crown chakra and as it runs its course through my body, I visualize it washing over the crystal as well.


Crystals – Some minerals naturally cleanse so I have a lot of small pieces of hematite just for this purpose. There are also a few crystals that never need to be cleansed or recharged and hematite is one of them.


My preferred method of cleansing and recharging is the Energy method. I really like being touchy feely with my minerals and I feel that having a physical and visual connectedness with them strengthens our bond so to speak. That isn’t to say that it’s the best method, it’s just what works for me. Which method or technique speaks to you? Do you have one that you use or prefer over the others? Or do you do something completely different? If so, let me know I’d love to hear what works or doesn’t work for you.


January, 2012

Cleanse, Restore, Renew

It’s once again another new year upon us!  Some believe this year, 2012, to be special…in a myriad of ways.  The great thing about this spell below, is that it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are concerning what 2012 might bring.  It is NEVER a bad time to cleanse yourself spiritually, emotionally and mentally and restore and find that renewed sense of vigor and vitality.

I hope 2012 brings us all much peace, much abundance and much love.  Enjoy this spell and may you start 2012 on a spiritually clean slate to welcome in all that the Universe has for you!

Items needed:  2 white candles; picture of yourself; incense (optional); tea (optional)

  • Although not necessary, it is a good idea to bathe before this ritual/prayer to do a ‘symbolic’ cleansing.  Use a refreshing scent (peppermint is a nice choice) to stimulate your senses. Focus on the things you wish to release and picture your spiritual self in a cleansed and pure state.  Then quiet your mind and if desired, have a cup of calming (but not sedating) tea.
  • Cast a circle, call the guardians, if you normally do or desire.  However, it is always good to ask for protection during any prayer/spell.
  • Get 2 white candles (4” spell candles are fine.)
  • Place them equi-distance away from each other on the center of your altar or place of prayer.
  • Lay a picture of yourself in the center on your altar just in front and in between the 2 white candles; laying face up.
  • Light some incense as you desire (something refreshing is a good choice)
  • You should have already done some focusing on the things you wish to release.  Now, thinking of those things, light the white candle on the left.  We are using a white candle instead of a black candle for this as we are not ‘banishing’ anything but instead we are focusing on ‘cleansing ourselves from the past things that no longer serve us and gratefully releasing those things.’
  • Focus on purifying yourself as you release each unwanted thing from your life.  These unwanted or undesired things can be physical items; habits, thoughts, traits, relationships, etc… anything that you wish to no longer maintain or have in this coming year.  With NO ILL THOUGHTS OR WISHES, GLADLY release these things as you focus on the candle on your left.
  • Now, glance at your picture of yourself on the altar and thank yourself for letting those things go.  Thank Spirit for helping you in do so.  Let the candle on the left burn.
  • As you glace now at the white candle on your right, light this candle and focus on those things that you wish to bring forth INTO your life.  Again, whatever you wish to have in your life in the new year, physical, emotional or otherwise….focus on these.  Take time to drink in the flame.  Thank Spirit, thank yourself thank all the good that is helping you in achieving these manifestations.  Belief is crucial.  Belief manifests reality.  Believe with all you can muster that what you desire will come to pass.  Make sure your thoughts, wishes and desires are as pure and “good for all concerned” as possible.  When you feel ready, you can release any circle if you cast one and thank your guardians, Spirit and close as you see fit.
  • You may carefully lift the candle on the right and slide the picture of yourself under that burning candle (if safe to do so – don’t do anything that could be a fire hazard.)
  • As this candle now burns, KNOW that these things are on your way.  That the cries of your heart have been cast now to the spirit winds and are going to manifest as you have prayed.

Keep a diary/journal/log of the things you have asked for/prayed for in this spell-ritual-prayer.  Update it throughout the year as things come to pass.  Use it in your next New Year’s ritual.

Happy New Year and until next month,