August Eve Lore and Ritual

August Eve can also be celebrated as the Sabbat Lammas (or Lammas Day) on August 1st. Lammas Day means loaf-mass day and is a celebration of the wheat harvest. It was customary at one time to bring to church on this day a loaf made from the newly harvested crop.

Wheat, however, isn’t the only scared grain. In Southern climates the sacred grains are usually corn, rice or millet. In Northern climates they are rye, barley or oats. It is in the temperate climates, like those most Wiccans live in, the sacred grain is the wheat.

Wheat and the other sacred grains are usually associated with gods and goddesses of death and resurrection. These deities include Tammuz, Adonis, Demeter/Ceres and Persephone/Proserpina. The death, or rather sacrifice, of the god or goddess is marked by the harvesting of the grain and the beginning of the cold and infertile season. Admittedly, in this area of the world, South Western Ontario, it is hard to believe that the infertile season is coming when we are still sweltering under the hot sun of summer. But, in less then three months time we will likely be experiencing our first snow, and even sooner then that we will see the leaves begin to turn and the ground grow hard with early frosts.

The bread making process has also become attached to the idea of a dying and resurrected god. The harvest of the bread is the death of the god, the grinding of the grain is his destruction, and the shaping and baking of the bread can be seen as his life in the underworld/afterlife. The god’s resurrection is seen in the wheat sprouts, which can also be baked into the ritual Sabbat bread as a way to honour all parts of this cycle.


    The following items should gathered before the start of the ritual:

    • seasonal produce (in South Western Ontario that would be sweet corn, tomatoes, leeks, peppers, and a few other items)
    • sheaves of wheat (if available)
    • sickle
    • round loaf of bread large enough for everyone to have a piece of
    • apples (enough for everyone)

    This ritual is best held outside. If this isn’t possible, mostly because it is too darn hot and smoggy, then it is just fine to celebrate inside. Try to go outside, at least for a little while, some time during the day, to experience the heat of the Sun on your skin.

    Decorate your ritual space and altar with seasonal produce (see list above). This being the first harvest ritual, it is important to have articles from the harvest present. If at all possible, try to have sheaves of wheat around the altar too.

    Begin the ritual with your usual Circle casting. Be sure to state that you are holding your Circle in honour of the August Eve. You could say something like: Today is the day we celebrate August Eve. I have cast my Circle so I might celebrate with the Lord and Lady on this day.

    Since this is a Sabbat every much dedicated to the Lord, I think it is good for the Priest to take the lead in this celebration. The Priest should stand before the altar and say the following words:

    Today we celebrate the first harvest. Our Mother Earth and Father Sun have provided an abundance of food for us, their children. We are blessed with corn, apples, tomatoes, leeks, and much more.

    (As he says these words, he can either lift an example of the item off the altar, or one of the participants can bring it to him so that he may place it on the altar. The latter option would make the ritual much more interactive.)

    The Priest continues:

    But this, the first harvest is special. The Lord has sacrificed Himself in the form of wheat, cut down by our sickles.

    Here the Priest and Priestess should ritual cut the sheaves of wheat decorating the altar or mime the cutting of wheat. The Priest then steps aside, perhaps laying in front of the altar to represent the sacrificed Lord.

    The Priestess then takes up the ritual, saying:

    The Lord’s sacrifice has provided us with bread to eat.

    She picks up the loaf of bread from the altar and tears off a hunk; she then passes the loaf of bread to the other participants so that they can tear off some as well.

    She continues:

    As we eat this bread we take some of Lord into us. We are each, everyone one of us, divine. We morn with our Lady the passing of our Lord, but we also rejoice because His death provides us with sustenance, and drains away the heat of the summer.

    Here the Priestess pauses and everyone eats their piece of bread. As they do so, they should think about what it means to care divinity within themselves.

    When everyone is ready, the Priestess continues:

    But just as the wheat will grow again, and just as the heat of the summer shall return, so shall our Lord be born again to be held in the arms of our Lady.

    The Circe can be closed now with the normal Circle closing method, or the remaining parts of the August Eve celebration can be held within the Circle.