Lammas, Lughnassadh, August Cross-Quarter

by Cayelin K Castell

The August Cross-Quarter or Lammas, also known as Lughnassadh: (pronounced Loo-nuh-suh) meaning harvest and victory is usually celebrated on August 1 or 2 but the actual zodiacal cross-quarter is August 7 when the Sun reaches 15 Leo.

The August Cross-Quarter marks the half-way point between the June Solstice and the September EquinoxIn ancient times, the Cross-Quarter dates between the Equinoxes and Solstices were celebrated as the “in-between time” or the mid-point between two seasons. This was a time for gaining insight and/or inspiration “in-between” realities. Said another way this is excellent time for divination, meditation, journeying and connecting with other forms of guidance.

The Eye of the Lion
Currently the August Cross-Quarter is located within about 3 degrees of the fixed star Alterf (18 Leo 07) in the constellation of the Lion. The exactly Sun passes this star on August 10.

Alterf is from the Arabic word At-Tarf or “the glance” of the Lion’s eye, although on modern maps the star lies in the open mouth of the lion. This is where Ptolemy located it suggesting there may have been another star originally associated with the name.

The Lion’s mouth suggests this star is about communication, the Lion’s eye suggests this about what we perceive. So, perhaps this is about what the Lion sees and then is willing to communicate?

These questions may help with your cross-quarter inquiry. What are you seeing or not seeing? What are you only glancing at and not really seeing clearly? How can you look more closely as what is really there and then how do you communicate that?


Solar Feminine
Before the patriarchy this Cross-Quarter celebrated the Sun Goddess thanking her for the abundance of the ripened grain. As the Solar Feminine was diminished during patriarchal times this festival celebrated the Sun God. The Irish called him Lugh (Light). Lugh’s festival focused on celebrating the skills of the warrior and the craftsmen with less emphasis on the ripened grain or bounty of the mother as a gift from the Solar Feminine.

It is true that the Solar Feminine is returning to our awareness in many ways now. So it seems appropriate that the cross-quarter points are a time for remembering the original Solar Feminine festivals and their intent.

For example:

  • The February Cross-Quarter celebrated the Mother’s (Solar Feminine) power to give life including the life giving light of the lengthening days.
  • The May Cross-Quarter celebrated the Solar Feminine in her passion for intimate pleasure and the beauty of life in great abundance.
  • The August Cross-Quarter celebrated the Solar Feminine for her abundant life giving gifts of Food and sustenance for the coming winter season .
  • The November Cross-Quarter celebrated the Solar Feminine power to live through death and be reborn to a new life.

The returning strength and power of the Solar Feminine is a reminder to honor and celebrate the gifts of life-giving nourishment that we all enjoy. If you feel inspired by this you might use the first week of August as a time to give daily gratitude for the Earth and all that she gives us everyday.

At the Turning of the Ages we might ask: What are the new emerging ceremonies and celebrations that are relevant now?

When we consider this was a time of gratitude for the bounty of the Earth and a time for sharing the fruits and grains of the first harvest – then we can imagine that this is a time to find new ways to express gratitude for the gifts that support and sustain our physical bodies.

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