Merry we meet  -  Merry we meet  -  Merry we meet


Welcome to





The Sabbats

Sabbats in History and Mythology /  Samhain (October 31st)  /  Yule (December 21st)  /  Imbolc (February 2nd)  /  Ostara (March 21st)  /  Beltane (April 30th)  /  Litha (June 21st)  /  Lughnasadh (August 1st)  /  Mabon (September 21st)

Written and compiled by George Knowles


The Hay Wain by John Constable (1821)

Lammas is one of the greater Sabbats of the Witches calendar and in the Northern Hemisphere is celebrated on the 1st August (in the Southern Hemisphere the equivalent Sabbat is Imbolc).  Traditionally Lammas is a celebration of the first fruits and first corn harvest of the year, when as a result of the union between the Goddess and God the land gives up its bounty.  As summer turns to autumn and the plantings from spring begin to wither and die, they drop their produce for our use and seeds for a future harvest.

In the mythology of the Sabbats as daylight decreases and nights grow longer, God grows old and his strength becomes weaker.  The Goddess looks on in sorrow and watches God dying, but knows he lives on inside her, a child to be re-born again at Yule in the never-ending cycle of life, death and re-birth. 

Lammas is commonly known by several other names:  Lughnasadh (named for the Celtic sun god Lugh), August Eve, Feast of Bread and Harvest Home.  The name Lammas comes from an old Christianised Saxon term “hlaf maesse” meaning “loaf mass”, which reflects the importance of bread at this time.  When Christianity arrived many Pagan traditions were incorporated and adapted for use in their churches.  One such was Lammas.  On the first Sunday of August homegrown produce and baskets of fruit were donated to local churches, and loaves of bread made from the first corn harvest placed on the alter to be blessed and consecrated.  After the service the food was distributed among the old folk and the homeless, or given to hospitals and other charitable organisations.


Common bread products

Lammas is the first of three autumnal festivals each year, the others being Mabon (21st Sept) and Samhain (31st Oct).  Corn, grain and barley, including wheat in the UK, oats in Scotland and Ireland, and maize in the USA, as well as fruit, berries and grapes, are all crops harvested at this time of the year.  As bread was one of the main staple diets of our ancestors, and with the success of the harvest being so important to the survival of the people, so the preparation and making of the first loaves of breads was often followed by ceremonies and sacrificial offerings to ensure the re-growth of crops for the following year.

While the hottest days of summer are still upon us and temperatures remain high, the climate slowly changes as we enter the harvest time.  Each day as the shadows grow longer, squirrels and other small animals of the woods get busy gathering and storing food for the winter to come.  Likewise for the people, this was a time to start canning and preserving goods ready to sustain them while the land recovers and nature sleeps.

In a continuation of the theme from the Summer Solstice, when the Holly King defeated God in his guise as the Oak King, at Lammas he takes on the guise of the sacrificial “Corn King”.  As the earth’s bounty is reaped and cleared for the harvest, so his death is necessary for the rebirth of the land.  The Corn King is also known by many other names such as:  “John Barleycorn”, the “Green Man” and the “Wicker Man”, whose spirit having sustained the crops through growth to maturity are now sacrificed to ensure that new growth will return in the spring.


Harvesting a field of wheat

In some traditions Corn dollies would be made from the last cut sheaves of corn and fashioned into stick like figures representative of the “Spirit of the Corn”.  These would be used as attractive table decorations at banquets and feasts, then saved until the following spring.  Many believed that with the cutting of the last sheaves of corn, the “Spirit of the Corn” retreated into the soil, there to sleep throughout the winter.  At the start of the new planting season, the Corn Dollies would be returned to the fields, burned and mixed with the new seed being ploughed into the ground.  It was hoped that the “Spirit of the Corn” would then awaken and ensure the next harvest.

After the labour intensive work of bringing in the harvest, then preserving, packing and storing enough stocks to last through winter, it was time to relax and take a break.  Lammas was traditionally a time for family re-unions, and a perfect time to arrange handfastings (marriages) aimed at strengthening links and alliances with neighbouring clans and their families.  With the prosperity afforded by a successful harvest, many attended Markets, Craft Fairs and Festivals to show off their wares and party.

During the day Marching bands and Morris dancers led parades around the villages followed by giant effigies of “John Barleycorn”, the “Green Man” or the “Wicker Man”.  Younger members of the family would compete in games designed to show off skills needed for working farms and raising livestock, thus proving their abilities to provide food, shelter and protection.  Women folk also competed showing off their skills in cooking and sewing, hoping to impress prospective mates.


Morris Dancers

The highlight of many such festivals was the lighting of a bonfire in tribute to the fading powers of the Sun, during which the giant effigies paraded earlier would be burned in a symbolic sacrifice of the Corn King.  To finish the celebrations a large wagon wheel (Catherine wheel) would be taken to the top of a near-by hill, smeared with tar and set alight, then ceremoniously rolled down the hill in a representation of the Sun’s decline into the autumn of its year.  Remnants from the bonfire would later be taken home and kept throughout the winter as protection against storms and fires caused by lightning.


Similar to Lammas is Lughnasadh a Celtic tradition named after the Sun God “Lugh”, which incorporates many of the old English Lammas practices.  Lugh is known as the “Lord of Light” and the “God of all Skills”.  In mythology due to his skill and ability with a spear and sling, he became a hero and high chieftain of the Tuatha de Danaan.  After the death of his foster-mother Tailtiu, he dedicated his festival “Lughnasadh” to her memory.  Lugh was also honored as the deity of Storms and Lightning, especially those occurring in late summer, during which if it rained gently on the day of his festival it was taken as his presence bestowing blessings on the event.

In Celtic mythology Tailtiu was a revered Goddess of the Land, the last Queen or chieftain of the Fir Bolg who had been defeated during the invasion of the Tuatha de Danaan.  After the invasion Tailtiu was placed in bondage and became the surrogate foster-mother of Lugh.  But shortly after the invasion her people suffered a bad harvest, and famine spread quickly throughout the lands.  Seeing her people suffering Tailtiu took up an axe and began to clear a great forest, by doing so she enabled the land to be re-cultivated and planted with grain, the harvest of which saved the people from starvation.  However the effort put too great a strain on Tailtiu’s heart and she died from exhaustion.  Lugh then instituted the “Óenach Tailtenn“ or “Tailtiu Games” in her honour at the festival of Lughnasadh in August.

As a favoured chieftain of the Tuatha de Danaan, Lugh’s festival quickly evolved into an annual gathering of the clans and tribes, which was attended by all their major chieftains.  Peace reigned over the games while assembles were held and differences discussed, laws passed and handfastings/marriages arranged in efforts to strengthen alliances.  A feature of the festival was sporting prowess, and competitions were held to test the courage, strength and skill in battle of the competitors.

Held on the 1st of August the date of his foster-mothers death after her battle with the land and the first harvest.  The common people ascended on the games to trade and display their wares, to sell food, animals, crafts and clothing.  Actor’s re-enacted the Tailtiu drama and Bards told their stories, musicians played music while singers sang and dancers danced, and everyone else joined in and made merry.

The old town of Tailtiu (now Teltown, between Navan and Kells) in County Meath was named in her honour, and is where the festival of Lughnassadh was traditionally held in early times.  The Lughnasadh games continue to be celebrated in Ireland, but more today in recognition of the skills needed to raise livestock and farm a successful harvest.


Microsoft® Encarta® 2006. © 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. 

Cunningham's Encyclopedia Of Magical Herbs - By Scott Cunningham 

A Witches Bible  -  by Stewart and Janet Farrar

Plus others to many too mention 


Written and compiled on the 04th July 2008  ©  George Knowles


Best wishes and Blessed Be


Site Contents - Links to all Pages


Home Page


A Universal Message:


Let there be peace in the world  -   Where have all the flowers gone?


About me:

My Personal PageMy Place in England / My Family Tree (Ancestry)


Wicca & Witchcraft


Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is Wicca What is Magick


Traditional Writings:


The Wiccan Rede Charge of the Goddess Charge of the God  /  The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) /  The Witches Chant The Witches Creed Descent of the Goddess Drawing Down the Moon The Great Rite Invocation Invocation of the Horned GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of Chivalry A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality


Correspondence Tables:


IncenseCandlesColours Magickal Days Stones and Gems Elements and Elementals




Traditions Part 1  -  Alexandrian Wicca /  Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) /  Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) /  Blue Star Wicca /  British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) /  Celtic Wicca /  Ceremonial Magic /  Chaos Magic /  Church and School of Wicca /  Circle Sanctuary /  Covenant of the Goddess (COG) /  Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) /  Cyber Wicca /  Dianic Wicca /  Eclectic Wicca /  Feri Wicca /


Traditions Part 2 Gardnerian Wicca /  Georgian Tradition /  Henge of Keltria /  Hereditary Witchcraft /  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) /  Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) /  Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition /  Nordic Paganism /  Pagan Federation /  Pectic-Wita /  Seax-Wica /  Shamanism /  Solitary /  Strega /  Sylvan Tradition /  Vodoun or Voodoo /  Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /


Other things of interest:


Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) /  Esbats & Full Moons Links to Personal Friends & Resources Wicca/Witchcraft Resources What's a spell? Circle Casting and Sacred Space  Pentagram - Pentacle Marks of a Witch The Witches Power The Witches Hat An esoteric guide to visiting London SatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  Part 2  /  Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Native American Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection)  The History of ThanksgivingAuras  - Part 1 and Part 2 Doreen Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /   


Sabbats and Festivals:


The Sabbats in History and Mythology /  Samhain (October 31st)  /  Yule (December 21st)  /  Imbolc (February 2nd)  /  Ostara (March 21st)  /  Beltane (April 30th)  /  Litha (June 21st)  /  Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st)  /  Mabon (September 21st)


Rituals contributed by Crone:


Samhain / Yule Imbolc Ostara /  Beltane Litha Lammas Mabon




Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron Magick Mirror Gazing




Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar and Totem Animals) /  AntelopeBatsCrow Fox Frog and Toads Goat / HoneybeeKangarooLion OwlPhoenix Rabbits and HaresRaven Robin RedbreastSheep Spider SquirrelSwansUnicornWild Boar Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat /  Rats /  Unicorn




In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar.  For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following:  Birch /  Rowan / Ash /  Alder /  Willow Hawthorn /  Oak /  Holly /  Hazel /  Vine /  Ivy /  Reed /  Elder


Sacred Sites:


Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /


Rocks and Stones:


Stones - History, Myths and Lore


Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:


Apophyllite  / Amber Amethyst Aquamarine Aragonite Aventurine Black Tourmaline Bloodstone Calcite Carnelian Celestite Citrine Chrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / Fluorite Garnet /  Hematite Herkimer Diamond Labradorite Lapis Lazuli Malachite Moonstone Obsidian Opal Pyrite Quartz (Rock Crystal) Rose Quartz Ruby Selenite Seraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodalite Sunstone ThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble


Wisdom and Inspiration:


Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakening The Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /


Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:


Murdered by Witchcraft The Fairy Witch of Clonmel A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) /  Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-Lantern The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark


Old Masters of Academia:


Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras





A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)


Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)


Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Abramelin the Mage /  Agrippa Aidan A KellyAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /   Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda MetteyyaAllan Kardec (Spiritism) /  Alphonsus de SpinaAmber KAnn Moura /  Anna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman SpareBalthasar Bekker /  Biddy EarlyBarbara Vickers /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristopher PenczakChristina Oakley Harrington Cornelius Loos /  Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-NowickiDonald Michael Kraig Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edain McCoy /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne /   Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia Friedrich von Spee /  Francis Barrett /  Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft /  Gwydion Pendderwen Hans HolzerHelen Duncan /   Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Heinrich KramerIsaac Bonewits Israel RegardieIvo Domínguez Jr. /  Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJean Bodin Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer  / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /   Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim  -  the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John Score /  Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /   Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceLodovico Maria Sinistrari Ludwig LavaterMadeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMichael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" /  Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” /  Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMartin Antoine Del Rio Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /   Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /  Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillOlivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis /  Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsus /  Patricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPaul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school /  Peter Binsfeld /  Philip HeseltonRaven GrimassiRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Richard BaxterRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Rossell Hope Robbins /   Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir Francis Dashwood /  Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough"S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  Starhawk /  Stewart Farrar /  Sybil LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWalter Ernest ButlerWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest /  



Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)



While I have taken due care and diligence to credit all sources where possible, this website may contain copyrighted material which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.  My use of making such material available here is done so in my efforts to advance our understanding of religious discrimination, the environmental and social justice issues etc.   If you wish to use copyrighted material from this website for purposes of your own then you must obtain permission from the relevant copyright owner yourself.

Any queries please contact me at email -


My online email discussion group:


Dove of Peace

Help send a message of peace around the world!  The Dove of Peace flies from site to site, through as many countries as possible.  It does not belong to ANY belief system.  Please help make a line around the globe by taking it with you to your site, by giving it to someone for their site, by passing it on to another continent or to the conflict areas of the world.  May trouble and strife be vanquished in it's path.