The First Harvest

Marco Visconti
2 min readJul 30


Lammas Day (Old English hlfmaesse, “loaf-mass”), also known as Loaf Mass Day, is a Pre Christian feast observed on August 1 in certain English-speaking nations in the Northern Hemisphere. The term is derived from the words “loaf” to refer to bread and “Mass” to allude to the Eucharist. It is a liturgical celebration commemorating the blessing of the First Fruits of the Harvest, with a loaf of bread being delivered to the church for this purpose.

It is usual to deliver to a Christian church on Loaf Mass Day a loaf prepared from the fresh crop, which began to be gathered at Lammastide, which comes midway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn September Equinox.

This tradition made its way into folklore and song, most notably with “John Barleycorn Must Die”, which became a worldwide hit thanks to the rendition by Traffic.

Steve Winwood in 2012 e.v.

In Ireland, this day was known as Lughnasadh. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In Modern Irish it is called Lúnasa, in Scottish Gaelic: Lùnastal, and in Manx: Luanistyn.

The Lughnasadh festival is claimed to have been founded by the Sun god Lugh as a funeral feast and athletic competition in memory of his mother or foster-mother Tailtiu.

She was reported to have died of weariness after clearing the Irish plains for farming. Tailtiu might have been an earth goddess who represented the fading plants that provided food for humanity.

You may have noticed that there are several themes present here that strongly relate to Thelema. These include the presence of a Sun God, the practice of the Eucharist, and the idea of embracing Death as a necessary step towards Rebirth.

Alongside the fact Lammas / Lughnasadh also falls during the Dog Days of Summer, traditionally related to the star Sirius or Sothis, one can start to get a glimpse of why this period of the year is particularly bountiful for the Servants of the Star and the Snake.

Image: Victoria Musson

And so, may your crops be full and your first harvest bring you all you need!



Marco Visconti

⟁ “The Aleister Crowley Manual: Thelemic Magick for Modern Times” out now.