Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lughnasadh – Celebrating the First Harvest

In the Northern Hemisphere, it is high summer, for many of us, the hottest time of the year. August 1 or 2 is celebrated as Lughnasadh or Lammas, a celebration of the First Harvest when we reap the fruits of the Earth and celebrate life at its prime.

“Lughnasadh (also called Lammas) is the time of the first harvest, the festival of first fruits when the Sun King fades as the grain is taken from the fields. As god of the harvest and light, Lugh, king of Tuatha de Danann, was the male counterpart to Brigid. His death, according to Edain McCoy, comes from the “belief that a god must eventually bow down to his goddess through whose benevolence he is reborn.”*

Lugh is one of the most celebrated of the Celtic deities often used as the male archetype for those practicing Wicca. However, many Gods can be utilized during this time, include Osiris or Ra.

“In August, the hot, humid weather that bathes the land in a warm haze imposes a slower pace so that plants and animals (including we humans) have time to complete the annual cycle of growth. Roses may be fading, but lavender and chamomile are in their glory. Thunderstorms bring relief from blazing temperatures and raise energy that further nourishes growing plants. Whenever possible, tap into this energy. Rituals performed during storms can be powerful experiences.”*

A ritual for the day might include celebrations of the bounty of the earth, giving thanks for blessings, and preparing for the transition to harvest time, both physical and spiritual. It is a good day to work in the garden, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, bake bread, and enjoy all the Earth gives us.

Personally, I also like to take this day to reflect back on the first half of the year reviewing what went well or failed, setting goals for the rest of the year, and generally taking stock of what I need to change. The bright sun can burn away the past and show us a shining new future.

*Except from “A Year of Ritual” by Sandra Kynes available at left.