Lammas, or Lughnasadh, is just around the corner for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Taking place on August 1st, Lammas has long been celebrated as the ‘First Harvest’ of the year and is generally the time that the first crops that were sown in the Spring are ready to be reaped. Traditionally, this is a time to be grateful for all that the Universe has provided and to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
In many cultures, festivals were held to celebrate grain gods and goddesses during Lammas. Offerings of wheat, corn, and barley were very common among communities, and rituals were held to show thanks for an abundant crop and to ask for an even heftier yield for the second harvest that happens during Mabon. Lammas is also the time when harvested crops were stowed away to prepare for the cold winter months that often came with a scarcity of food.
One extremely common and sacred ritual for Lammas that has been around for centuries is the act of baking bread. There are so many spiritual aspects that go into preparing and baking bread. The energy and intent that goes into the stirring and kneading makes bread one of the most magickal foods you can make! Add in some freshly harvested herbs and veggies for flavor and you have yourself a loaf that makes for the perfect Lammas offering.
In true kitchen witch fashion, baking bread is one of my favorite ways to practice kitchen magick, especially on Lammas. Today I want to share with you my very own Focaccia bread recipe and the ritual workings that I partake in while preparing this yummy dish. In this recipe, I like to use fresh herbs and vegetables harvested from my own garden but if you don’t have a garden of your own then buying local is perfectly fine. Try to buy organic if you can!
First Harvest Focaccia Bread for Gratitude
½ Cup Olive Oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 Cup warm water
1 packet of Active Dry Yeast
¼ teaspoon honey
2 ½ Cup Flour
½ Teaspoon salt
Fresh veggies of choosing
Yellow or orange candle
Dried rosemary and basil
Start by energetically cleansing your kitchen. You can do this by smoke cleansing, using sounds, or another method of your choosing. Make sure to clear and dedicate a space to set up an altar for your offering.
Once you’ve cleansed and set up an area for your altar space, get a small bowl and combine the olive oil, fresh herbs and minced garlic and set aside
In a separate bowl, combine the cup of warm water, honey, and yeast. Stir until just combined then let sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
Next, stir in 1 cup of flour and half of the oil mixture you made at the beginning and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
Add in the remaining flour and salt, then mix together until a dough ball is formed. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth. As you’re kneading, begin listing the things in your life that you are bringing to harvest. You can choose to say them aloud and ‘speak’ them into the dough, or lift them up in thoughts to the Universe. Whatever works for you is magick.
Get a large bowl and drizzle a bit of olive oil into it and evenly spread the oil all over the inside of the bowl. With your finger, draw a pentacle into the oil at the bottom of the bowl. Place the dough ball in the bowl and cover with a warm towel to let sit for 1 hour. Envision the protective energies from the pentacle encasing the dough ball, sealing in your gratitude that was kneaded in earlier.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. While you wait, gather your dried rosemary and basil and mix together on a small plate. Next, take your candle and apply a bit of olive oil all around the outside. Then roll your candle in the dried herbs until a generous amount is stuck to the candle.
Take your dressed candle and set it in the center of your altar along with the fire safe bowl placed in front of it. On your piece of paper, write a short paragraph about gratitude and what it means to you. Make the last sentence about what you would like returned to you for your show of gratitude and appreciation.
Feel free to adorn the rest of your altar space with items that correspond to Lammas such as crystals, dried grains, statues or pictures of deities, or anything else that resonates with you this time of year.
Next, cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil with olive oil. Toss the dough ball on the pan and spread out the dough using your fingers until the dough is evenly spread to roughly ½ an inch thick. Then take your fingers and push down on the surface of the dough to create dimples all throughout the dough. As you’re doing this, envision it as an act of ‘planting’ your desires that you want to sow for the next harvest.
Slice your veggies thin and decorate your dough with them along with any remaining herbs. I personally like to do this in the shape of a rune or sigil that corresponds with my intent. A word works just as well!
Brush remaining oil mixture on top and let rest for 20 minutes then bake for 15 minutes and let cool.
Take your bread and cut off a slice (sizing is up to you - follow your intuition!) and take it over to your altar space. Place the bread in front of the fire safe bowl, then take your paper and fold it into a square. Light the paper on fire, dropping it into the bowl to burn. As you’re doing this, state your intentions and desires out loud - or in your head if you prefer - letting it be known that the slice of bread is to serve as an offering of gratitude for all that has been provided to you for this first harvest.
For the remaining bread, you can choose to eat it throughout the week to preserve its magickal properties within you, or you may leave it outside for woodland creatures and other wildlife to enjoy.
We'd love to hear how your Lammas Loaf turns out! Let us know in the comments below 🍞