Lammas, or Lughnasadh, falls in the middle of the zodiac sign Leo, the sign of fixed fire. The sun is still high in the sky and we see this season as the peak of summer, even though the days have been getting shorter since the Summer Solstice. It is high summer but like all of the cross quarter festivals, Lammas and Leo season bring a change in energy, so that we begin to become aware of the first stirrings of autumn. The fixed fire energy calls us to focus, to stop scattering our energy too widely and pay whole hearted (Leo rules the heart) attention to what we are most passionate about. We begin to gather in our harvests, both inner and outer, and Lammas is a time to celebrate the abundance and resources we have created and nurtured in the active half of the year.
Leo is our inner flame, our strength and vitality and the way we use them. Are we fuelling our inner flame or is it threatening to flicker out? Like all fire, our inner flame needs to be fed with creative nourishment and soul fuel, whatever form that might take for us. Leo is ruled by the Sun and shows us what we need to express to feel alive, to be our fullest, most fulfilled self. It’s time to let our inner sun shine, to get creative, to do what we enjoy and what brings us pleasure. Lammas is a time to make the most of the warmth and sunshine whilst it lasts. We celebrate the achievements of the solar cycle, the ways that the seeds which sparked into being at Winter Solstice have been nurtured and brought into manifestation.
Leo is associated with creativity and with play, reminding us of the importance of doing what feels good, of exploring our abilities and following our passions. This is a time to do what feels good rather than what we feel we “should” be doing, to celebrate what we’ve actually achieved, whether or not it was what we had planned. We can also acknowledge and celebrate the challenges we have faced, the mistakes or missteps we have become aware of and learned from, all of which help us to grow and to reach for our most authentic self, which is the key quest of Leo season.
Traditionally, fairs and games were held at Lammas, allowing folk to show off their skills in public and be recognised for their achievements. Folk with strong Leo energy often seek validation from others and whilst this is rewarding, learning to find this validation within is even more empowering. Leo is associated with pride and Lammas is a time to show off, to take pride in our achievements and the skills and talents we have developed and practised.
In the Irish tradition, Lammas is known as Lughnasadh and is associated with the god Lugh, who is the patron of human skills, reflecting Leo’s focus on our creative talents and abilities. He is the warrior king who both tests and inspires those around him, again both Leo attributes. Lugh declared that the Lammas games would be held each year in honour of his mother Tailtiu, the earth goddess who brought agriculture to Ireland but lost her own life in the process. The games in her honour ensure abundance and celebrate the skills and knowledge needed to transform the gifts of nature into food that nourishes us. Once again there is a parallel with Leo energy here, a reminder that we need to celebrate and honour our creative powers and talents, otherwise they fade and become barren.
In modern as well as ancient pagan tradition, Lammas is often associated with the sacrifice of the divine king, a symbolic cutting down of the masculine energy which reflects the shift from the proactive energy of the first half of the year to the more reflective seasons of autumn and winter. The divine king or queen is also a Leo archetype and can be understood psychologically as the need to sacrifice the ego and the need for external validation and connect with the true or authentic self, a key dynamic of the Leo journey.
Astrological Magic for Lammas
The sign of Leo is ruled by the Sun and making a physical connection with the sun allows us to connect with our inner solar fire. Sit in the sunshine on a warm day, perhaps at noon or alternatively just after sunrise. Bringing yourself into stillness and allowing your breathing to soften, become aware of the sun on your skin. Allow the warmth to move through and around your body, shifting any stagnant energy until you are glowing with golden light. Now bring your awareness to your heart centre, also ruled by Leo and the Sun because the Sun is the heart of our solar system, the bringer of life. Allow the warmth of the sun to move through your heart, so that it begins to shine, shining your light out into the world.
Tending a magical fire
Leo is the sign of fixed fire but of course fire is a moving energy which needs oxygen and fuel to stay alive. Lighting and tending an actual fire is a powerful way to connect with our inner fire, showing us how we can fuel and tend our own divine spark. If you have a safe place, such as a fire pit, build and light a fire as part of your Lammas celebrations. Gather plenty of fuel in advance, dry leaves and small twigs for kindling and larger sticks and even logs for when the fire becomes established. As you build and light your fire, reflect on the sparks of creative inspiration within you and what you need to do to help them get established. As your outer fire gathers strength, reflect on what is burning clearly for you and how it can fuel your growth. You could burn loose incense or herbs on your fire to add power to a magical intention, for example rosemary for clarity or basil for abundance. You can also throw dead petals or leaves on your fire as a banishing spell, naming what you wish to be burned away.
Sometimes it can feel challenging to take pride in our achievements, especially if we were raised to keep our light hidden for fear of seeming arrogant or entitled. And these can be the shadow side of Leo but if we don’t take pride in our own achievements, who will? Challenge yourself to write a list of everything you’ve achieved since Winter Solstice, everything you’ve learned, the gifts and the challenges, the moments of growth, the plans which came into manifestation, the things that happened while the plans were getting ignored. Once you’ve written your list, read it aloud. Perhaps share it with someone you trust, or simply read it alone, standing in the sunlight and speaking to the spirits, to the gods or the Great Mystery. As all witches know, words spoken aloud have power so don’t be afraid to shout it out!
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