The Summer Sun          Lughnassa 1999
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Lughnasadh in the Kitchen: Breadcrafting 
by Deborah O'Dubhain

Harvest Grain       Since Lughnasadh is "first harvest" and some of the things that are ripe and being gathered at that time are wheat and corn, one of the things that I do to celebrate Lughnasadh is to bake lots of breads and do kitchen witchin type of breadcrafts to ensure fertility, abundance, give thanks to the Gods, Goddesses and Land, thanks to the people who have just given their fruits and lives so that our grain bins and bellies can be filled.

       These are very easy to do and you can get really creative with them. For instance:

       For Luck: Bake a horseshoe shaped loaf with a lucky penny/pence in it. Or how about a green bread in the shape of a 4-leaf clover (with a 4-leaf clover cooked into it if you can find one). Eat part, share part with the Gods, but don't break a tooth or swallow the penny!!! You might also consider leaving part for the Sidhe or Gnomes, or other Faery Folk (depending on your particular belief system), since many of them are considered to hold the abundance and prosperity of the Earth in their care.

       For Fertility: Keep in mind that fertility doesn't necessarily mean human baby-making type of fertility. It can also refer to ideas, work, creativity, etc. Bake a football shaped loaf with a slit down the middle and leave a symbol of what you're trying to create "impregnated" inside the bread. Or make a tin can bread (use a regular tin can and let it rise up over the top -- it looks amazingly like a man's penis when it's done rising ). Or shape one like a head with lots of 'ideas' pouring out of it. Pour your ideas, dreams, goals into the bread. Eat part, bury part so that as it decomposes in the earth it 'grows and spreads', leave part as an offering to the Gods.

       For Thanks and Connection: Bake a triple-braided loaf in the shape Breadsof a circle (weave sunwise!). Put whole corn kernels into the bread dough. Sprinkle the top with cornmeal or corn pollen. Use a little beer, mead or ale in the recipe. Be creative with the ingredients and look for things that have just been harvested. When it is done, insert little wheat heads or hops into the bread and decorate with red poppies (silk is fine) to symbolize the blood of the God who is cut down at this time. You could probably also use drops of red food coloring if you don't have silk poppies. Give this as an offering out in the fields. Don't eat any of this one, it's strictly to say thank you to the Gods, the Earth and the ones who have just been harvested.

       You are limited only by your imagination and spirit. Try using whole wheat or making seven grain bread for some of your breadcrafts. Bake cornbread and create spirals on the top of it with red and green food color and a toothpick or small paintbrush.

       Have fun with your baking and let me know what you come up with. I'm always looking for a new idea to add to my bag of goodies!