Happy Lughnasadh!

Although some people celebrated Lughnasadh/Lammas on July 31, or perhaps on August 1, some people are celebrating it today and some may have chosen to celebrate it in a few days' time. Well for those of you that have decided to celebrate a bit later this year, I wanted to sympathize with you and say that I myself haven't yet adjusted to this time of year. But we're in luck because, astronomically speaking, Lammas occurs on August 7 this year. Of course, the traditional dates should be taken into consideration, which is why most people celebrate Lammas on the last day of July, or the first day of August. But in my opinion, tradition can sometimes be disregarded.

In this case, the reason for disregarding tradition is astronomy. To elaborate, the dates of most Pagan celebrations are compliant with the movement, or that is to say the position of the Sun in correlation with the Earth. Lughnasadh is celebrated at the midpoint of summer and this day is astronomically marked by the Sun reaching 15° Leo (that is to say, the astronomical date of Lughnasadh is when the Sun reaches 15° Leo). Let me explain further. If you look at this chart, you will notice that the zodiac is actually a circle of 360° which is divided into 12 zodiac signs. Each sign takes up 30° (e.g. Leo is situated between 120° and 150°). Of course, the position of the Sun as well as the position of the stars in correlation with the Earth changes throughout the year. So the Sun "moves" across the signs of the zodiac/the constellations. The day when the Sun "reaches" 15° Leo, the midpoint of summer (Lughnasadh) is celebrated. This year, that date is August 7. So you still have a chance to celebrate if you haven't yet! :D

There several reasons why I postponed my celebration. I expected this summer to be like any other; sunny, a lot of time spent on the beach (since I live near the sea), time spent with friends (since there is not college), plenty of vacations for my working friends and some R&R in general from the rest of the hectic year. It seems like nature is a bit indecisive this year because, at least where I'm from, it starts raining, then the Sun comes out again and it's like being int he desert, and then, before you know it, it starts pouring again. This just goes on and on. In addition to this, a surprising amount of people are still at work, a lot of my friends and colleagues still have to study for autumn finals and I feel as though I personally didn't have enough time to relax up to now. All in all, I'm having trouble getting into the summer mood. This is why I decided to mark the traditional Lughnasadh dates with small things and actually celebrate this Sabbat in a few days.

If you have decided to do the same, or if you're reading this post simply for information, I would like to suggest a few things that you can do for this festival. :)

As Lughnasadh is primarily a harvest festival (more specifically the grain harvest), this is the time to celebrate the crops. Nature sacrifices itself at this time of year so that we may eat its fruits and continue to live. So basically, plants die so we may survive. This is why this festival also has a sacrificial aspect. Pagans celebrate the God who sacrifices himself. At Mabon (the autumn equinox), he returns to the Goddess' womb, dies at Samhain (October 31) and is reborn at Yule (the winter solstice).

The name Lughnasa is translated as the commemoration of Lugh, or as the games/assembly of Lugh. I have already mentioned Lugh in a previous post so I won't go into too much detail here. There are several theories regarding the etymology of this deity's name. Some think that it comes from the Latin word lux (light), others believe it comes from lucus (grove), or perhaps the Celtic word lugio (oath). Recent theories are mostly in favor of the last etymology which points to Lugh being the god or perhaps the patron of oaths, rather than a deity of light and fire as was presumed up to now. This is connected to the meaning of the festival's name. The aforementioned assemblies reflect the old tradition which included the people coming together on this day (it is worth noting that Lughnasa used to be celebrated only in Gaul, Britain and Ireland). During these assemblies, it was customary to resolve any tribal problems, organize business (and therefore enter into contracts, which then implied giving oral oaths rather than signing written documents), race, practice other sports, performs rituals which will ensure a good harvest in the following months, gather the fruits of nature (grain, seafood, different types of berries, apples, or basically any fruit which is ripe at this time of year) and so on.

These meetings were also huge celebrations when fairs were held so that people may show off their products and skills as well as simply socialize. People also gathered in special locations, most notably on hilltops and around sacred wells. They celebrated in many ways; with food, drink, games, competitions and even "trial marriages" that lasted a year and a day were performed on this day (though they could be annulled after this period). People had time to celebrate because most of the crops had been gathered up to this point and the cattle had been taken out into the fields. Finally, the time to enjoy the fruits of labor had arrived. Fests were the most logical result of the huge amounts of food that were stocked up, but they were and have remained the most popular way of celebrating any important event.

So if you have time and are willing to celebrate Lughnasadh in an appropriate way, here are some ideas:
  • celebrate the yield and food that you have (you can even donated some food to those who are less fortunate than you)
  • celebrate harvest deities and especially grain deities
  • meditate on the concept of sacrifice and be thankful for the sacrifice that Nature gives every year in order to keep the natural balance
  • play games and hold contests (especially in sports)
  • gather fruits of the earth such as apples, berries, grain etc. and spend some time in the kitchen (an emphasized part of this Sabbat is the practice of baking bread since this is the what harvest after all)
  • make decorations from what and other gifts of the earth that you can find this time of year; typically, corn dollies are made, or Lughnasadh berry bracelets (although these were usually made by young men who gave them to the women they were courting)
  • light a bonfire; this was a popular custom back in the day, it was usually lit on a hilltop from where everyone could do some stargazing (another nice idea)
  • wish a wish in a wishing well, or basically any well that is of meaning to you, or is an important part of the local history
  • perform an appropriate protection ritual because these are very nice for this time of year
  • organize a picnic or some other kind of nature gathering with your loved ones; Lughnasadh is a holiday after all which, like any other sacred day, is best celebrated in nice company with nice food
There really are many other ways in which you can celebrate this Sabbat, but I will leave further brainstorming to you. If you are having a hard time coming up with ideas, I recommend a book called Lammas, Celebrating the Fruits of the First Harvest by Anne Franklin i Paul Mason and I also give you some wonderful pictures for inspiration. 

I wish you all a happy and blessed Lughnasadh! :)

Wreaths are an appropriate decoration for
any Sabbat; it is just a matter of which
plants you will choose for them
(the one in the picture is made of
lavender and wheat).
Drying herbs (especially spices) is another
normal practice for this time of year when
everyone gathers as much of the earth's gifts
 as they can for the oncoming winter.

You can always try to make a corn dolly. It can
be a simple one like in these drawings...
...or quite a complicated one like this if you
have the time and patience to make it. :)

You can pick fruits (remember, this is also the
beginning of grape season) and enjyo them....
...or bake bread if you feel like carbs. ;)

And you can always have a bit of fun with decorating you altar if you decide to set some time apart for a ritual. :) So here are some ideas:

And here's a nice song to end with...

1 komentar:

  1. I can't believe it... I totally forgot about Lughnasadh... Oh, well, at least I have time now to invoke Toth.... I was trying to do that on Lughanasadh, but now, it's okay to make ritual on 7. 8. :)