History Witch: Uncovering Magical Antiquity

Want to know about real magic from history? This is the place. Here we explore primary texts and historical accounts from the past.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form


Most people are familiar with the Celtic name for August 1st, Lughnasadh. Across the water it's known as Lammas Day.

From Leechdom, Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England, a compendium of wonderful folk knowledge of early Anglo-Saxon England, here's a fragment of a charm using bread [hláf] hallowed on 'hláfmæsse-dæg' the traditional grain harvest day:

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 09.34.34

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 09.34.47

Although the details of the purpose and what to do next have been lost, we can guess that it's likely -- in the tradition of sympathetic magic -- to bring wealth and health to the barn and all the people who use it. Like the field remedy Æcerbot (An Anglo Saxon Chant) it's meant to encourage fecundity.

This syncretism of what appears to modern eyes as a mixing of pagan and Christian would have been completely normal to the Anglo-Saxons. After all, the bread is the life whichever god brings it. The word for 'lord' -- used for earthly lords as well as for god -- is 'hláford'.

The one who brings the bread is lord.

Last modified on
K. A. Laity is an all-purpose writer, medievalist, journalist, Fulbrighter, social media maven for Broad Universe, and author of ROOK CHANT: COLLECTED WRITINGS ON WITCHCRAFT & PAGANISM, DREAM BOOK, UNQUIET DREAMS, OWL STRETCHING, CHASTITY FLAME, PELZMANTEL, UNIKIRJA, and many more stories, essays, plays and short humour. Find out more at www.kalaity.com and find her on Facebook or Twitter.


  • Chathol-linn
    Chathol-linn Monday, 01 August 2016

    Hello. I am relatively new to Pagans and Witches. I’m glad I picked Lammas Day to join. My modest celebration of this cross quarter day includes three items. First, I changed my garden flag from a summer theme to a harvested fruits theme. My flag today shows an ear of yellow corn in green husks on a field of orange. Beneath it on a field of bright blue are a red tomato, a white onion, a green melon, an orange squash, and some pods of green peas. The flag hangs from a plant holder on the deck. Second, I baked a batch of Appalachian cornbread – totally delicious - using a cast iron pan shaped like corn ears. Third, I’m having a bit of red wine under the trees, waiting until dark when I’ll light three gold candles to the Goddess and the God. Long live Lammas! What are your thoughts? Regards – Chathol-linn

  • Chathol-linn
    Chathol-linn Monday, 01 August 2016

    Oh, one more thing. I went to the supermarket today looking for some appropriate flowers for the Lammas table. The local Wegman's had bouquets of sunflowers and millet. Millet! and sunflowers. I kid you not. Is that a coincidence, or is there an executive buyer at this supermarket chain who understands that Lammas celebrates the sun god and the grain goddess? I hope so.

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Additional information