Vila's Cottage Crafts
The Festival of Bread celebrated the gifts of the land and the first harvest of grain with competitions between livestock, arts and crafts, culinary delights and athletic/animal exhibitions. Its modern day equivalent is the county fair.
The first loaves of bread were made with the harvested grain but this festival was also known as The Corn Festival when corn, beans, squash and tomatoes were ready to be picked.
One common feature of this festival was the "Tailltean marriages", a rather informal marriage that lasted for only a year-and-a-day or until next Lammas. At that time, the couple could decide to continue the arrangement if it pleased them, or to stand back to back and walk away from one another, thus bringing the Tailltean marriage to a formal close. Such trial marriages (obviously related to the Wiccan handfasting) were quite common even into the 1500s, although it was something one "didn't bother the parish priest about". Indeed, such ceremonies were usually solemnized by a poet, bard, or shanachie (or, it may be guessed, by a priest or priestess of the Old Religion).
Lammastide was also the traditional time of year for craft festivals. The medieval guilds would create elaborate displays of their wares, decorating their shops and themselves in bright colors and ribbons, marching in parades, and performing strange, ceremonial plays and dances for the entranced onlookers. The atmosphere must have been quite similar to our modern-day Renaissance festivals.
A ceremonial highlight of such festivals was the Catherine wheel. Although the Roman Church moved St. Catherine's feast day all around the calendar with bewildering frequency, its most popular date was Lammas. (They also kept trying to expel this much-loved saint from the ranks of the blessed because she was mythical rather than historical, and because her worship gave rise to the heretical sect known as the Cathari.) A large wagon wheel was taken to the top of a nearby hill, covered with tar, set aflame, and ceremoniously rolled down the hill.
Symbols and Decorations
The Catherine Wheel
Yellow, green and brown
Flower of Power
- Sunflower - fertility, wishes, health and wisdom
- Cornflower -
- Passion Flower - peace, sleep and friendships
- Chamomile - money, sleep, love and purification
- Chickweed - ‘the flower of prediction', if the flower opens fully there will be no rain for four hours, but if the flowers remain shut you will need a raincoat
All herbs and all grains (wheat, rice, oats, etc.)
- Wheat - fertility, money
- Rain - protection, rain, money, fertility
- Oats - money
- Corn - protection, luck, divination
Incense and Oils
- Copal - used by the Mayans and Aztecs for spiritual purposes and purification
- Sandalwood - spirituality, meditation, sex and healing
- Frankincense - heightened awareness of spiritual realm
- Heather - protection, rain-making, luck
- Yarrow - courage, love, psychic powers and exorcism, associated with ceremonial magick for centuries and considered sacred because of its spiritual qualities
- Hazelwood - luck, fertility, anti-lightning, protection, wishes
Stones of Power
- Aventurine - strong connection to the devic kingdom (home of the nature spirits) and is
used to grid houses and gardens against geopathic stress (the subtle emanations and
energy disturbances from underground power and water lines and negative Earth
energy lines (ley lines - subtle energy lines, straight or spiral, that connect ancient sites
or prominent points in the landscape)
- Citrine - absorbs, transmutes, dissipates and grounds negative energy and is therefore
extremely protective of the environment
- Tiger's Eye - combines earth energies with the energies of the sun creating a high
vibrational state that grounds spiritual energies to the Earth