Lughnasadh Festival

Lughnasadh is the beginning of the harvest season. It’s when the first grains and fruits are ready to be picked, consumed, and preserved. This usually takes place around August 1st but does vary from different regions based on culture and beliefs. In the past it was even a month long event.

This festival can be traced to Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, as well as throughout Northern Europe.

Lughnasadh is also referred to as Lammas; which means “Loaf Mass.” Which makes sense being that the grains are harvested, ground, and baked into loafs.

With this turn in seasons, it’s only natural to get together with the tribe, village, or community to celebrate. These celebrations also served as helping one another out with harvesting and preserving. After all, many hands make light work.

Along with celebration, comes spiritual beliefs. Being thankful for the land and weather for good crops, means life. Another year at surviving. Who can they thank? Their gods and goddesses of course. And along with that comes the stories told from generation to generation. Stories of might, bravery, perseverance, heroic deeds, and magic. These qualities were needed for their survival and their stories helped with instilling that in the people as well as fostering their imagination.

This time was the perfect time for gatherings, religious ceremonies, athletic contests, feasting, match making, and trading. So it was a happy time indeed.

Lughnasadh is named after the Irish sun god, Lugh and nasadh means assembly. The stories say that Lugh started this celebration in remembrance of this his foster mother, Tailtiu. Since Lugh is associated with skill in all things, the funeral games are a popular activity during this celebration. Some stories say this was started because of Lugh’s wedding also.

Who is right? Does that really matter? It’s time to get out in the warm sun and pick the fruits of your labor. It’s time to get together with the community in good companionship and help one another for the big job ahead. And why not thank momma earth, the gods, nature spirits, and the ancestors for the gifts and blessings received.

Have a picnic, feast, do some match making, start a trail marriage, do some trading for more supplies, have a wedding, and enjoy some good natured athletic contests. Soon, the dark time will be upon us once more.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lughnasadh

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lugh

http://www.druidry.org/druid-way/teaching-and-practice/druid-festivals/lughnasadh/deeper-lughnasadh

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Summer Solstice Ritual 2017

June 24, 2017

This was my second Summer Solstice Ritual with Northern Rivers ADF. It was held at the yoga center in Adams, NY in a little clearing not far from the house. There were seats for all and and a fire going in the fire pit.

We had pre-ritual where our senior druid explained what was going to happen and asked for volunteers for small ritual parts. We had a very short break and met outside where we gathered for the procession.

It is a thrilling feeling walking with your grove singing the processional song to the ritual area. You can feel the kindreds there with you, especially the ancestors. Its a nice feeling carrying on the tradition of celebrating the Wheel of the Year.

I had the honor of helping the senior druid with the purification by being in charge of the water. I really liked the feeling and felt like this was very natural and somehow I have done this before. I remember looking into a member eyes as I came to her and it was like looking into my own happy eyes. Our eyes locked and I saw such joy emitting from them; the same as I was feeling.

I also had the honor of welcoming the Earth Mother. I welcomed her in a virtual meeting and this was the second time in person. I think that it went much better and felt more natural. I actually wrote the invitation in my own words and it was inspired by an oracle card that I drew a few weeks back. It took a few rewrites and by then it was my own heartfelt invitation.

I paid close attention to how the cosmos was recreated and it made more sense and I guess I’m right on track with that in my own weekly rituals. Things are making more sense as far as understanding the ADF Core Ritual.

In the magical working a member gave her dedicational oath. It was so heartfelt and it was good to see a young person take an oath with such meaning and emotion.

Our Deity of the occasion was Manannan Mac Lir. He is usually our gatekeeper and it was interesting to hear about the sea god and he became more real to me. We decorated a wreath which symbolized the wheel that was lit on fire in times past and rolled on down to the water. The grove decorated the “wheel” with yellow flowers. Some of us crafted flowers out of yarn and paper to use as decorations. We burned the “wheel” in the “sacred fire” and it was a good offering to our sea god.

After the ritual, we had our dinner with simple picnic foods. The only thing that would have made the ritual better, is if two of my friends would have been able to come.

Photo Source: Michele O’Donnell

 

Sun Appreciation

On my days off from work I like to go sit outside to drink my coffee and commune with Mother Earth. I talk to her and Danu and share my coffee with them and sit and contemplate on whatever comes up.

This morning it was badly needed as I had a difficult week dealing with things. I badly needed the sun to heal me and let the light in.

After my short sun mediation, I got to thinking about the ancients and how they worshiped the sun. Not specifically, but generally. I realize the significance now of such things. It kept them grounded to the earth energy and helped them appreciate the life giving energy that we receive on a daily basis.

By turning attention to the sun (and other things), you begin to have a very deep appreciation for these things that we just take for granted everyday. The sun is there for us everyday doing it’s job no matter if we think of it or not. No matter if we are appreciative or hurting our earth. It just does it’s job and waits for us to finally get it. We don’t have to earn it or be worthy of it.

This is a lesson for us to have patience for others. It’s very hard to realize things and have to deal with others who are not there yet. We can’t beat them over the head for them to get it. We cannot withhold our kindness and get angry with them. Also, we don’t have to earn and be worthy of basic human rights like food, housing, safety, education, kindness and respect. So this is my lesson for the trails of last week. We never cease to learn and it’s by paying attention to nature that we learn it. Let’s hope I can put this into practice.

Having appreciation sparks a feeling of protection also. We begin to protect our earth and the vegetation as well as the nature spirits. This is badly needed today. We need to protect our earth for future generations otherwise where would they live. We will be an endangered species.

So how did the ancients pay attention to the sun. I’m sure they greeted the sun every morning. The had their community festivals with their customs and stories. These customs helped bring the community together with a common goal and a deep connection to their ancestors. The stories sparked imagination and inspiration and helped them remember life lessons from generation to generation. Imagination and inspiration are the building blocks of creation. Let’s use them for building a better world. Let’s learn from our mistakes, from the past, and our ancestors. Let’s learn from the lessons of Mother Earth herself.

In modern times we take things for granted and do not think of the sun, moon, dirt, etc as being alive. But alive they are and emitting energy. Life saving energy. Yes, life is busy and full of strife. But lets slow down and concentrate on what really matters. What matters is not things. It’s not about how big and nice your house is. It’s not about how successful you become in business. It’s about people. Being kind, sharing, and compassionate to family and friends. It’s about happiness without harming others. That is what is going to matter at the end of life.

Perhaps by turning our attention to these objects we will once again become aligned with the earth energy and become kinder and more appreciative of others. So yes!! Go outside and greet the sun, talk to the sun, and thank the sun.

Photo Source: Michele O’Donnell