August, the Eighth Month of the year of our Goddess, 2015

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“Blessed be the Earth for giving birth to this food
Blessed be the Sun for nourishing it
Blessed be the Wind for carrying its seed
Blessed be the Rain for quenching its thirst.
Blessed be the hands that helped to grow this food”

– Lughnasadh Harvest

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AUGUST – WORT MOON

August is the eighth month of the year and named for Augustus Caesar. Its astrological sign is Leo the lion (July 22 – August 21), a fixed fire sign ruled by the Sun. In August we are surrounded by the power and glory of the Goddess. The fields of August bring forth bounty. In nature, yellow and gold dominate with corn, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, and goldenrod brightening the landscape. The month begins with Lammas, or Lughnasadh, the first of the harvest sabbats. Brains are honored now, and breads are always found on the Lammas table. Nowadays, attending a county fair is a pleasant way to observe the harvest season Produce, canned foods, and baked goods are proudly displayed along with prize ribbons. In August you can occasionally feel the breath of autumn. There’s a coolness in the breeze, and a change in the angle of the sunlight, which reminds us summer is not endless. At twilight, the katydid begins scratching its late summer song. The ancient Romans held Diana’s feast day on August 13. It was a time of feasting and enjoying the farmer’s bounty. Many Native Americans celebrated the corn harvest in August. This festival eventually gave August’s Full Moon its name, the Corn Moon (which is referred to on this site as The Wort Moon). Magick for the Corn Moon may focus on health, fertility or abundance.
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THE WORT MOON

The Eighth Esbat or Full Moon after Yule is the Wort Moon. A time of predicting seasonal cycles and transformation, it represents the unmanifested matter from which all creation is manifest. The wort is a type of healing plant or herb, such as pennywort and navelwort. In the brewing of beer, the wort is an infusion of malted barley combined with hops and special grains. The wort is combined with the yeast, springs to life, and eventually transforms into beer.

Wiccan Spell A Night: Spells, Charms, And Potions For The Whole Year
Sirona Knight

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CORRESPONDENCES FOR AUGUST

NATURE SPIRITS: dryads

HERBS: chamomile, St Johns wort, bay, angelica, fennel, rue, orange

COLORS: Gold and Yellow

FLOWERS: Sunflower, marigold

SCENTS: Frankincense, heliotrope

STONES: Cat’s eye, carnelian, jasper, fire agate

TREES: Hazel, alder, cedar

ANIMALS: lion, phoenix, sphinx and the dragon

BIRDS: crane, falcon, eagle

DEITIES: Ganesha, Thoth, Hathor, Diana, Hecate, Nemesis

POWER/ADVICE: Energies should be put into harvesting, gathering vitality and health, also friendships.

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Symbols & Folklore for the Month of August

August’s Sign of the Zodiac
Leo: July 23rd thru August 21
Virgo (from August 23 onwards).

August’s Celtic Tree Astrology
Holly: July 8 – August 4
Hazel: August 5 – September 1

August’s Birthstones
Peridot and Sardonyx

August’s Birth Flower
Gladiolus or Poppy
Meaning: Beauty, strength of character, love, marriage and family

August’s Folklore

“The hottest days of the year are often found in August.”

“Dry August and warm doth harvest no harm.”

“If the first August be warm, then winter will be white and long.”

Folklore from the book, Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year by Mandy Mitchell

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August’s Month Long  Observations

  • American Adventures Month (celebrating vacationing in the Americas)
  • Audio Appreciation Month
  • Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month
  • National Children’s Vision and Learning Month (United States)
  • Digestive Tract Paralysis (DTP) Month
  • Get Ready for Kindergarten Month
  • Happiness Happens Month
  • Month of Philippine Languages (Philippines)
  • National Back to School Month. (United States)
  • National Black Business Month (United States)
  • National Goat Cheese Month. (United States)
  • National Immunization Awareness Month (United States)
  • National Panini Month
  • National Water Quality Month (United States)
  • Neurosurgery Outreach Month
  • Psoriasis Awareness Month
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month
  • What Will Be Your Legacy Month
  • Win with Civility Month

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LAMMAS (LUGHNASADH)

August is a clear example of how we live by the new calendar instead of the old. We look upon August as a time of summer. But it is, in fact, more aligned with the autumn, because the first harvests start this month. The festival of Lammas (loaf mass) is the start of the harvest, when we begin to reap what we have sown. The vegetable plot is abundant with yummy fruits and vegetables, and out in the fields, the golden expanses of wheat and corn are ready to be cut and baled. I have always thought that this is the time when the countryside looks its most alive. It is certainly the time when the roads and lanes are dominated by two new kinds of wildlife— the tractor and the combine harvester! Many an hour has been lost stuck behind one of these trundling machines. I remember one particularly bad August when I lived down a narrow country road and spent most of my time running out of the house to move my car because the harvester couldn’t fit past it!
The first harvest marks the start of abundance and the celebration of the grain we have all come to depend on but tend take for granted as we pop down to the shop to buy a loaf of bread. But the first harvest is also a time of honoring our ancestors. Can you imagine how hard harvest time was for them, when the success of the crops meant the difference between life and death?

Grain is a symbol of death and rebirth, and the story of John Barleycorn is often told at this time. John Barleycorn is the living spirit within the corn. When the corn is cut down, he gives his life so that others may be fed and nourished by the grain. He is consumed in the form of bread and is reborn in the seed that is replanted. The cycle of death and rebirth is present in him.

The first and last sheaves of the harvest carry traditional and magical importance. Traditionally, the first sheaf was cut at dawn, the grain ground to make harvest bread, and the stalks made into beer to share with the community. The last sheaf was made into a corn dolly to be taken to the harvest festival and then kept in the home to ensure good luck and a successful harvest the following year. Often, the corn husks were made into a maiden. But in bad harvest years, it was fashioned as a crone. This corn dolly was always returned to the earth as a symbol of rebirth, either ploughed back into the fields or burned and the ashes scattered, usually when the first ploughing of the fields took place to plant a new crop.

Another name for this Wheel of the Year festival is Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-nas-ad), named for the Celtic god of craftsmanship, Lugh. This is the time of year when craft fairs and festivals still take place, so it is a wonderful time to use your old skills and learn new ones. This amazing time of the first harvest is also a time when we should let go of any regrets or habits we want to leave behind and give thanks for what we have reaped and for what we have. This simple ritual is a good way to combine the symbolic Lugh and his craftsmanship with the ritual release of regrets and with thanksgiving. If you know how to create a corn dolly, use your skill here. If, like me, you can’t, these simple Lammas sticks will work beautifully well.

Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
Mandy Mitchell

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Let The Lammas Magick Begin

Lammas incense
Ingredients:
2 parts frankincense
2 parts sandalwood
1 part pine resin
1/2 part bay
1/2 part cinnamon
1/2 part coriander
1/2 part meadowsweet
1/2 part oregano
1/2 part rosemary
A few drops rose oil
Slightly less oak moss oil
Very little patchouli oil (start with one drop)
Mix well. Burn during Lughnasadh/Lammas rituals.

Lughnasadh Incense
Ingredients:
2 parts Frankincense
1 part Heather
1 part Apple blossoms
1 pinch Blackberry leaves
a few drops Ambergris oil
Burn Lughnasadh Incense during Wiccan rituals on August 1st or 2nd, or at that time to attune with the coming harvest.

Lammas Oil
Ingredients:
2 parts lime oil
2 parts cinnamon oil
2 parts sandalwood oil
1 part clove oil
1 part frankincense oil
Mix well and bottle. Use in Lughnasadh/Lammas rituals.

Lughnasadh Oil
Ingredients:
2 drops peppermint oil
3 drops elder oil
1 drop fir oil
1 drop hazelnut oil
corn oil as base
Mix well and bottle. Use in Lughnasadh/Lammas rituals.

Lughnasadh Milk Bath
Ingredients:
2 cups powdered milk
1/2 cup Epsom salt
1/2 cup baking soda
6 drops frankincense oil
5 drops apple oil
4 drops cypress oil
3 drops patchouli oil
Mix well, use 1 cup per bath. A wonderful thing to add to your bath when cleansing yourself before your Lughnasadh/Lammas ritual.

LAMMAS BREAD PROTECTION SPELL

A book of Anglo-Saxon charms advised the crumbling of the Lammas loaf into four pieces and the burying of them in the four corners of the barn to make it safe for all the grain that would be stored there. You can use this old spellcraft in a protection spell for your home.

Bake a Lammas loaf, and when it is cool break it into four pieces don’t cut it with a knife and take one to each corner of your property with the words:

I call on the spirits
Of north, and south, east and west
Protect this place
Now, at the time of the Blessing.

Leave the bread for the birds to eat or bury the pieces.

—Lammas: Celebrating The Fruits Of The First Harvest
by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason

A Harvest Spell

Set an orange candle on either side of the caldron. On a piece of paper (small)write the things you have harvested over the past year, light the paper from one of the candles and let it burn in the cauldron. After it is done put some corn (or squash) seeds in the cauldron. “Stir” the seeds with your wand visualizing white light coming from the tip of the wand, filling the cauldron and entering the seeds. When you feel the seeds have absorbed their fill stop, put the seeds into another container to be kept on the altar until next year’s planting.

~author unknown

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Lughnasadh Lore

It is appropriate to plant the seeds from the fruit consumed in ritual. If they sprout, grow the plant with love and as a symbol of your connection with the Goddess and God.
Wheat weaving (the making of corn dollies, etc.) is an appropriate priate activity for Lughnasadh. Visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells are also traditional.
The foods of Lughnasadh include bread, blackberries and all berries, acorns (leached of their poisons first), crab apples, all grains and locally ripe produce. A cake is sometimes baked, and cider is used in place of wine.
If you do make a figure of the God from bread, it can be used for the Simple Feast.

 

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Scott Cunningham

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May The Goddess Bless You & Yours With A Bountiful Harvest & Abundant Blessings! Till tomorrow, my sweets….

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Prayer to Lugh

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Prayer to Lugh

Great Lugh!
Master of artisans,
leader of craftsmen,
patron of smiths,
I call upon you and honor you this day.
You of the many skills and talents,
I ask you to shine upon me and
bless me with your gifts.
Give me strength in skill,
make my hands and mind deft,
shine light upon my talents.
O mighty Lugh,
I thank you for your blessings.

So Mote It Be

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Lammas’ Extras

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Lammas’ Extras

 

Lughnasadh Incense
Recipe by Scott Cunningham
2 parts Frankincense
1 part Heather
1 part Apple blossoms
1 pinch Blackberry leaves
a few drops Ambergris oil
Burn Lughnasadh Incense during Wiccan rituals on August 1st or 2nd, or at that time to attune with the coming harvest.
(The above recipe for “Lughnasadh Incense” is quoted directly from Scott Cunningham’s book “The Complete Book of Incenses, Oils & Brews”, page 76, Llewellyn Publications, 1989/1992)

Lughnassadh Oil
Put in soap or annoint candles
5 drops frankincense
5 drops rose
5 drops yarrow
Add a piece of wheat and a blackberry leaf with a cat’s-eye, citrine, and moss agate crystals. Very soothing.

Lammas Ritual Potpourri
Recipe by Gerina Dunwich
20 drops clove bud oil
25 drops sandalwood oil
1 cup oak moss
2 cups dried pink rosebuds
2 cups dried red peony petals
1 cup dried amaranth flowers
1 cup dried heather flowers
Mix the clove bud and sandalwood oils with the oak moss and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.
(The above recipe for “Lammas Ritual Potpourri” is quoted directly from Gerina Dunwich’s book “The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes”, page 163, A Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994/1995)

Lammas Potpourri
20 drops clove bud oil
23 drops sandalwood oil
1 cup oak moss
2 cups dried pink rosebuds
2 cups dried red peony petals
1 cup dried amaranth flowers
1 cup dried heather flowers
½ cup dried cornflowers.

Mix the clove bud and sandalwood oils with the oak moss and then add the remaining
ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.

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Lammas Bounty Spell

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Lammas Bounty Spell

Lamas is also called Lughnasadh; it is a celebration of plenty and optimism, and of nature’s infinite bounty. It is the time of the first harvests, and it marks midsummer’s joyous and fanciful energy. This spirit is celebrated, too, in Shakespeare’s A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream. To tap into this energy, gather a small bundle of long grass or reeds to braid, and light a white candle.

Braid the grass as you speak this verse:
Fairies prancing in the meadow,
Spirits in the corn;
Green Man is flourishing everywhere
On this Midsummer morn.
Grains begin to ripen,
All things bear fruit.
Summer glistens with
possibility,
Blossoms take root.
Fairies whisper secrets,
Powerful blessings to see.
Cycles move and all around,
they share their gifts with me.
Air to fire,
Fire to water,
Water to earth,
Earth to air.
Elements feed spirit,
And the circle glows.
At Lammas, day and night,
We witness Nature’s awesome might.
Growing full
And blessing all,
‘Tis Earth’s celebration Before the chill of fall.
Now braiding this grass,
I mark this day
Protect my hearth,
With the abundance of grain.
The blessings of the Goddess come again;
Place the braid above my door.
Hunger be banished now and then.
Blessings be drawn to this place,
Summer’s energy fill this space.
Air, fire, water, earth unite,
And bless us all this day.

By: Abby Willowroot

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Lammas Ceremony

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Lammas Ceremony

 

Light the right candle and then the left as you say the following:

Right My Lord is the passion, He brings forth the light, The harvest is of his seed.
Left My Lady is the power, She brings forth the life, The harvest is her reward.

Cast the circle and call in the Guardians. Face the altar, and speak the following blessing:

My Lady, I know that naught receives naught,
That I shall reap, that which I have sowed.
On this night, shall I receive accordingly,
For nothing is withheld from those deserving.
Blessed shall be the Goddess,
And blessed shall be the fruits of my labor.

Pick up the four ears of corn. Hold them in offering and ask the following blessing on them:

Corn and grain are of this earth,
With love and work I gave them birth.
Though they were just once small seeds,
Through them I achieved my wishes and needs.

Proceed to offer, and then place the corn at each of the four quadrants. Walk to the East chanting as you go:

As the corn, I am reborn.

Offer the corn to the East. Place it next to the Eastern Quadrant candle. Then proceed to the South. Do the same for the West and the North. Then return to the altar. Say the following blessing, and light the gold pillar candle:

My Lord and Lady you shall provide,
Long after all has withered and died.
Though you have given me life through the land,
What I know hold is the work of my hand. I shall always
remember, just as the corn, That I am ever living, dying, and reborn.
As the corn, I am reborn!

Place the candle in the center of the altar on the pentacle, and invoke the God, and then the Goddess. Take a moment to meditate on the meaning of the ritual and season. At this point, you will want to energize the candle with your own wishes. Place your hands over the candle, express your desire, and then chant the following:

Corn and grain Bring joy and gain!

Pause, and bless the wine and bread through the Rite of Union, and Blessing of the Bread ceremonies. Begin your closing segment of the rite by offering this blessing:

Within my heart is devoted feeling
Vainly should my lips express.
I come before your altar kneeling,
And pray this time and place you bless.

Dismiss the Guardians and extinguish the altar candles, beginning with the left:

Left Blessed be the Maiden, Mother, and Crone
Bring me blessings from your harvest home.
Right Blessed be the King of corn and grain,
As now the season of abundance begins to wane.

Take up the circle and allow the gold candle to burn out. Hang the ears of corn to dry. When the ears of corn have completely dried, save them to make your corn-baba for Autumn Equinox.

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The Legend of John Barleycorn

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The Legend of John Barleycorn

John Barleycorn is a character who symbolizes not only the harvest, but the products made from it as well.

In English folklore, John Barleycorn is a character who represents the crop of barley harvested each autumn. Equally as important, he symbolizes the wonderful drinks which can be made from barley — beer and whiskey — and their effects. In the traditional folksong, John Barleycorn, the character of John Barleycorn endures all kinds of indignities, most of which correspond to the cyclic nature of planting, growing, harvesting, and then death.

Although written versions of the song date back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, there is evidence that it was sung for years before that. There are a number of different versions, but the most well-known one is the Robert Burns version, in which John Barleycorn is portrayed as an almost Christ-like figure, suffering greatly before finally dying so that others may live.

In The Golden Bough, Sir James Frazer cites John Barleycorn as proof that there was once a Pagan cult in England that worshipped a god of vegetation, who was sacrificed in order to bring fertility to the fields. This ties into the related story of the Wicker Man, who is burned in effigy. Ultimately, the character of John Barleycorn is a metaphor for the spirit of grain, grown healthy and hale during the summer, chopped down and slaughtered in his prime, and then processed into beer and whiskey so he can live once more.

The lyrics to the Robert Burns version of the song are as follows:

There was three kings into the east,
three kings both great and high,
and they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn must die.

They took a plough and plough’d him down,
put clods upon his head,
and they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on’
and show’rs began to fall.
John Barleycorn got up again,
and sore surprised them all.

The sultry suns of Summer came,
and he grew thick and strong;
his head well arm’d wi’ pointed spears,
that no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn enter’d mild,
when he grew wan and pale;
his bendin’ joints and drooping head
show’d he began to fail.

His colour sicken’d more and more,
and he faded into age;
and then his enemies began
to show their deadly rage.

They took a weapon, long and sharp,
and cut him by the knee;
they ty’d him fast upon a cart,
like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
and cudgell’d him full sore.
they hung him up before the storm,
and turn’d him o’er and o’er.

They filled up a darksome pit
with water to the brim,
they heav’d in John Barleycorn.
There, let him sink or swim!

They laid him upon the floor,
to work him farther woe;
and still, as signs of life appear’d,
they toss’d him to and fro.

They wasted o’er a scorching flame
the marrow of his bones;
but a miller us’d him worst of all,
for he crush’d him between two stones.

And they hae taen his very hero blood
and drank it round and round;
and still the more and more they drank,
their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
of noble enterprise;
for if you do but taste his blood,
’twill make your courage rise.

‘Twill make a man forget his woe;
’twill heighten all his joy;
’twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
tho the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
each man a glass in hand;
and may his great posterity
ne’er fail in old Scotland!

 

 

Source:
By Patti Wigington

Article found on & owned by About.com

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Lugh, Master of Skills

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Lugh, Master of Skills

Patron of the Arts:

Similar to the Roman god Mercury, Lugh was known as a god of both skill and the distribution of talent. There are countless inscriptions and statues dedicated to Lugh, and Julius Caesar himself commented on this god’s importance to the Celtic people. Although he was not a war god in the same sense as the Roman Mars, Lugh was considered a warrior because to the Celts, skill on the battlefield was a highly

valued ability. In Ireland, which was never invaded by Roman troops, Lugh is called sam ildanach, meaning he was skilled in many arts simultaneously.

Lugh Enters the Hall of Tara:

In one famous legend, Lugh arrives at Tara, the hall of the high kings of Ireland. The guard at the door tells him that only one person will be admitted with a particular skill — one blacksmith, one wheelwright, one bard, etc. Lugh enumerates all the great things he can do, and each time the guard says, “Sorry, we’ve already got someone here who can do that.” Finally Lugh asks, “Ah, but do you have anyone here who can do them ALL?”

At last, Lugh was allowed entrance to Tara.

The Book of Invasions:

Much of the early history of Ireland is recorded in the Book of Invasions, which recounts the many times Ireland was conquered by foreign enemies. According to this chronicle, Lugh was the grandson of one of the Fomorians, a monstrous race that were the enemy of the Tuatha De Danann. Lugh’s grandfather, Balor of the Evil Eye, had been told he would be murdered by a grandson, so he imprisoned his only daughter in a cave. One of the Tuatha seduced her, and she gave birth to triplets. Balor drowned two of them, but Lugh survived and was raised by a smith. He later led the Tuatha in battle, and indeed killed Balor.

Roman Influence:

Julius Caesar believed that most cultures worshipped the same gods and simply called them by different names. In his Gallic War essays, he enumerates the popular deities of the Gauls and refers to them by what he saw as a corresponding Roman name. Thus, references made to Mercury actually are attributed to a god Caesar also calls Lugus — Lugh. This god’s cult was centered in Lugundum, which later became Lyon, France. His festival on August 1 was selected as the day of the Feast of Augustus, by Caesar’s successor, Octavian Augustus Caesar, and it was the most important holiday in all of Gaul.

Weapons and War:

Although not specifically a war god, Lugh was known as a skilled warrior. His weapons included a mighty magic spear, which was so bloodthirsty that it often tried to fight without its owner. In battle, the spear flashed fire and tore through the enemy ranks unchecked. In parts of Ireland, when a thunderstorm rolls in, the locals say that Lugh and Balor are sparring – thus giving Lugh one more role, as a god of storms.

The Many Aspects of Lugh:

According to Peter Beresford Ellis, the Celts held smithcraft in high regard. War was a way of life, and smiths were considered to have magical gifts — after all, they were able to master the element of Fire, and mold the metals of the earth using their strength and skill. Yet in Caesar’s writings, there are no references to a Celtic equivalent of Vulcan, the Roman smith god.

In early Irish mythology, the smith is called Goibhniu, and is accompanied by two brothers to create a triple god-form. The three craftsmen make weaponry and carry out repairs on Lugh’s behalf as the entire host of the Tuatha De Danann prepares for war. In a later Irish tradition, the smith god is seen as a master mason or a great builder. In some legends, Goibhniu is Lugh’s uncle who saves him from Balor and the monstrous Formorians.

One God, Many Names

The Celts had many gods and goddesses, due in part to the fact that each tribe had its own patron deities, and within a region there might be gods associated with particular locations or landmarks. For example, a god who watched over a particular river or mountain might only be recognized by the tribes who lived in that area. Lugh was fairly versatile, and was honored nearly universally by the Celts. The Gaulish Lugos is connected to the Irish Lugh, who in turn is connected to the Welsh Llew Llaw Gyffes.

Celebrating the Harvest of Grain

Lugh came to be associated with grain in Celtic mythology after he held an harvest fair in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu. This day became August 1, and that date ties in with the first grain harvest in agricultural societies in the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, in Irish Gaelic, the word for August is lunasa. Lugh is honored with corn, grains, sheafs of wheat, bread, and other symbols of the harvest. This holiday was called Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NA-sah). Later, in Christian England the date was called Lammas, after the Saxon phrase hlaf maesse, or “loaf mass.”

An Ancient God for Modern Times

For many Pagans and Wiccans, Lugh is honored as the champion of artistry and skills. Many artisans, musicians, bards, and crafters invoke Lugh when they need assistance with creativity. Today Lugh is still honored at the time of harvest, not only as a god of grain but also as a god of late summer storms.

Even today, in Ireland many people celebrate Lughnasadh with dancing, song, and bonfires. The Catholic church also has set this date aside for a ritual blessing of farmers’ fields.

 

Source:

By Patti Wigington

Article found on & owned by About.com

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Lughnasadh


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Lughnasadh

 

The Celtic harvest festival on August 1st takes its name from the Irish god Lugh, one of the chief gods of the Tuatha De Danann, giving us Lughnasadh in Ireland, Lunasdál in Scotland, and Laa Luanys in the Isle of Man. (In Wales, this time is known simply as Gwl Awst, the August Feast.)

Lugh dedicated this festival to his foster-mother, Tailtiu, the last queen of the Fir Bolg, who died from exhaustion after clearing a great forest so that the land could be cultivated. When the men of Ireland gathered at her death-bed, she told them to hold funeral games in her honor. As long as they were held, she prophesied Ireland would not be without song. Tailtiu’s name is from Old Celtic Talantiu, “The Great One of the Earth,” suggesting she may originally have been a personification of the land itself, like so many Irish goddesses. In fact, Lughnasadh has an older name, Brón Trogain, which refers to the painful labor of childbirth. For at this time of year, the earth gives birth to her first fruits so that her children might live.
Tailtiu gives her name to Teltown in County Meath, where the festival was traditionally held in early Ireland. It evolved into a great tribal assembly, attended by the High King, where legal agreements were made, political problems discussed, and huge sporting contests were held on the scale of an early Olympic Games. Artists and entertainers displayed their talents, traders came from far and wide to sell food, farm animals, fine crafts and clothing, and there was much storytelling, music, and high-spirited revelry, according to a medieval eye-witness account:

“Trumpets, harps, hollow-throated horns, pipers, timpanists, unwearied…fiddlers, gleemen, bone-players and bag-pipers, a rude crowd, noisy, profane, roaring and shouting.”
This was also an occasion for handfasting, or trial marriages. Young men and women lined up on either side of a wooden gate in a high wall, in which a hole was carved, large enough for a hand. One by one, girl and boy would grasp a hand in the hole, without being able to see who was on the other side. They were now married, and could live together for year and day to see if it worked out. If not, the couple returned to next year’s gathering and officially separated by standing back to back and walking away from each other.
Throughout the centuries, the grandeur of Teltown dwindled away, but all over Ireland, right up to the middle of this century, country-people have celebrated the harvest at revels, wakes, and fairs – and some still continue today in the liveliest manner. It was usually celebrated on the nearest Sunday to August 1st, so that a whole day could be set aside from work. In later times, the festival of Lughnasadh was christianized as Lammas, from the Anglo-Saxon, hlaf-mas, “Loaf-Mass,” but in rural areas, it was often remembered as “Bilberry Sunday,” for this was the day to climb the nearest “Lughnasadh Hill” and gather the earth’s freely-given gifts of the little black berries, which they might wear as special garlands or gather in baskets to take home for jam.
As of old, people sang and danced jigs and reels to the music of melodeons, fiddles and flutes, and held uproarious sporting contests and races. In some places, a woman-or an effigy of one-was crowned with summer flowers and seated on a throne, with garlands strewn at her feet. Dancers whirled around her, touching her garlands or pulling off a ribbon for good luck. In this way, perhaps, the ancient goddess of the harvest was still remembered with honor.

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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