Lammas 2018 Sabbat Box Theme Release • Shamanic Connection 1
• 2018 LAMMAS - LUGHNASADH SABBAT BOX THEME • SHAMANIC CONNECTION •
“Shamanism has been defined as the first religion. It existed prior to the earliest civilizations, before our ancestors took the first steps down the long journey to the present. Prior to this time, the shamans were the medicine people, the power wielders, male and female. They wrought magick and spoke to the spirits of nature” — Scott Cunningham, Chapter 1: Wicca and Shamanism, from the book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.
Rolling storms and blazing, humid days. The sweat dripping from your temple and the distorted waves of heat rising from the scorched pavement. In the spring, the seeds were planted. Through the summer, we toiled over the crops. As the fields of corn and wheat glisten in the searing August sun, their stalks ripe with grain, they await their final goal: The first harvest of August Eve.
Also known as Lughnasadh or Lammas, this holiday is ripe with history. Lughnasadh is a Gaelic festival and feast said to have been started by the god Lugh. A celebration of the funeral of his mother Tailtiu who died clearing the Irish fields for crops, athletic games were competed in her honor. The festival would also include trial marriages of a year and a day, and massive dinners of the first harvest’s grains and berries would be enjoyed by all. Also associated with August Eve is the English and Scottish holiday of Lammas. Known as the Gule of August in medieval times, Lammas Day was a festival marking the annual wheat and corn harvest. Loaves were blessed and broken into four parts to protect harvested grain in barns while fresh stalks of wheat were gifted to landlords and friends.
Contemporary August Eve celebrations rely heavily on wheat and corn, crops pinnacle to modern civilization. Loaves of bread grace our holiday feasts while corn dolls are made from the husks of the first harvest. As a harvest holiday, we reap what we sow: Goals set in the beginning of the year are coming to realization. We take inventory of our lives and find gratitude in the path we’ve traveled, paved by our ancestors before us. In fact, the ancestral land, the earth, is a quintessential part of Lammas. Without it, we would have no agriculture, no crops and no harvest. Life as we know it would not exist. We owe everything to the earth and those who came before us.
For this year’s Lammas Sabbat Box, we wanted to highlight this reliance on the earth by focusing on the original human-spirit connection method: shamanism. While the most familiar picture of shamanism for many refers to the indigenous peoples of North America, shamans have existed under different titles and names in every part of the globe from the beginning of human history. These early practitioners were the medicine people, the advisors, the knowing members of their group or tribe who were revered and honored highly in those cultures. Shamanism at the core of its meaning generally refers to practicing higher states of consciousness as a means of connecting to the Otherworld or Divine. Shamans would enter altered states of consciousness through many trance inducing methods, reaching a state referred to as ecstasy, which would in turn help to divine messages for the shaman which further helped to provide guidance for their people. Dancing, singing, drumming, storytelling, and ritual reenactments of important events were just some of what ancient (and modern) shamans throughout the world have done in their practice, both in celebration or reverence of the earth and divine, and to also promote higher states of consciousness.
Shamans were also the first spiritual practitioners who incorporated ritual tools and objects from the earth into their practice, the drum for example (made of animal hide and wood) being one of the original, or herbs, which were dried and then burnt as offering being another. We at Sabbat Box are committed to introducing and providing inspiration to modern-day practitioners while revering and seeking to honor the traditions of those who came before us with this year’s Lammas Sabbat Box theme: Shamanic Connection.
The inspiration behind this year’s Lammas box theme was to curate a box of products that are physically “of or from the earth.” In essence, gifts provided to us that we could use and implement into our own practices…the same way a “Shaman” or any of the original “earth based spiritual practitioners” would have. We did this in a symbolic effort to tie in the connection between the “gifts” of the harvest, and to also tie in the connection of our general ancestral roots as well.
Much like the gifts of sustenance the earth provides us during harvest season, the earth alone can lend us all that we need to allow us to further strengthen our bond with it, to further nourish our spirit, and bring us closer the divine.
*NOTE: The items that are found within this year's Lammas box are not intended to teach anyone how to be a "shaman," nor are they intended to teach any specific spiritual practice that coincides with Indigenous tribes or cultures. We wish to provide items that are inspired by the original spiritual practitioners who would use these gifts of the earth and to incorporate these gifts into your own spiritual practices. At this time of year, with our focus on the gifts of the earth and our place in it, we hope that this year’s Lammas Sabbat Box might bring you a little closer to the earliest roots of spiritual practice and the Earth on which we live.