Thursday, July 29, 2010
Lughnasadh or Lammas
Colors: Gray, green, gold, yellow
Symbols: All grains, breads, threshing tools, athame
Date: Occurs 1/4 of a year after Beltaine. True astrological point is 15 degrees Leo, but tradition has set August 1st as the day it is typically celebrated. Since the Ancient Celts passed their days from sundown to sundown, the celebration would usually begin the night before on July 31st.
The turning of the wheel now brings us to Lughnasadh (LOO-nus-uh), also known by its medieval Christian name of Lammas, named in honor of the Celtic god Lugh, a name which means “light” or “shining.” Although somewhat confusing, we are not celebrating the death of Lugh (the God of light does not mythically die until the autumn equinox), but rather the funeral games that Lugh hosted to commemorate the death of his foster mother, Taillte. In Ireland, Lugnasadh is often called the "Tailltean Games". A common feature of the games were the "Tailltean marriages", rather informal and lasting only a year and a day or until next Lammas, at which time the couple would decide to continue the arrangement or stand back to back and walk away, thereby dissolving the marriage. The parish priest was not bothered to perform these trial marriages, they were usually performed by a poet, bard, priest or priestess of the Old Religion, or shanachie, and were very common into the 1500's. It is from this custom that our present-day Handfastings must come.
According to one of his many legends, Lugh was the last great leader of the Tuatha de Dannan. In one of the Tuatha’s victories, Lugh spared the life of Bres, a defeated enemy captain, in exchange for advice on ploughing, sowing, and reaping. He was seen as a multi-talented deity, being capable and quite good at all he undertook. The myths of Lugh include the prevalence of his many skills and the wedding of these skills to the potential or unrealized abundance of the land. According to the writing of Caesar, he was also regarded as the patron of all the arts, traveling, and influence in money and commerce. To the Romans, Lugh was seen as a counterpart to Mercury. Lugh is the son of Arianrhod, who is associated with sacred kingship and Three-fold Death. His wife’s name is Blodeuwedd, also known as the Flower Maiden.
Lughnasadh is the first of the three harvest Sabbats, Mabon and Samhain being the other two, which celebrates the ripening grains and corn. With the harvest so prevalent, Pagans see the theme of the sacrificed god motif emerge. His death is necessary for rebirth of the land to take place. Called by many names, “Green Man,” “Wicker Man,” “Corn Man” or just the “Spirit of Vegetation,” his essence begins to merge with the harvested crops, a sacrifice that will be realized with the new growth in the spring.
In old times, it was the duty of the King to sacrifice himself for the land, an idea that has been seen in the many legends of cultures both new and old, throughout recorded history. The gathering of the first crops of the year is also used to symbolize the success and extent of the power raised from the Beltane rites when the Sacred Marriage of the Lord and Lady took place. The theme of sexuality and reproduction is carried over into Lughnasadh as well to ensure the remainder of a good harvest.
This sabbat is also known as the celebration of bread. As bread was one of the main staples of our ancestors, the ripening of the grain was the cause for great celebration. The reaping, threshing and preparation of these breads spawned great ritual and ceremony to ensure bounty for the following year.
This time of the year finds us with fields to harvest, the first of a bountiful crop that will hold us through the winter months. Even though the hottest days of summer are upon us, we have but to observe to see that fall is just around the corner. Shadows are growing longer as the days slowly become shorter. Squirrels are busily gathering food for the coming winter. It is a time to begin canning produce from the garden, a time to save and preserve.
Some ideas for celebration include:
Sacrifice bad habits and unwanted things from your life by throwing symbols of them into the sabbat fire.
Bake a loaf of bread in the shape of a man and sacrifice him in your ritual. Make him a part of your feast but save a piece to offer the gods.
Take time to actually harvest fruits from your garden with your family. If you don’t have a garden, visit one of the pick-your-own farms in your area.
Include bilberries or blueberries in your feast; these were a traditional fruit, whose abundance was seen as an indicator of the harvest to come.
Gather the tools of your trade and bless them in order to bring a richer harvest next year.
Share your harvest with others who are less fortunate.
Decorate with sickles, scythes, fresh vegetables & fruits, grains, berries, corn dollies, bread. Colors are orange, gold, yellow, red and bronze.
And so the wheel turns.....
note: article borrowed from Mooncrone, and original author unknown to me....
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Building a Daily Practice by Dianne Sylvan
(article copped from my friend wyldechild at LJ)
As busy as we are, how do we find time for all the worthwhile pursuits of the spirit? Most of us like the idea of meditating, of doing devotional rituals, of spending time outdoors--but most days I'm doing well if I make it home from work and collapse on the couch without having killed anyone, and there are a thousand things to do in those few hours we are permitted between work and sleep.
I've been heard to say many times that I wished there was such a thing as a Pagan monastery. If I were filthy rich and could do whatever I wanted with my money, I would buy an island somewhere and create a place where people could come to live a devotional life, and others could come on retreat. I love the idea of living far away from the maddening world, away from commercialism and television and American politics and religious nuts (I've always preferred spiritual fruits), where we would grow all our own food and spend the whole day in reverence with rituals at dawn and dusk, prayers for meals, chants and songs...
Perhaps someday a sack of gold will fall out of the sky and not hit me in the head, and I will be able to live out that monastic dream; in the meantime, like most Wiccans, I live and work in the rat-race world of modern Western civilization, and somehow have to eke out a spiritual life amid the commitments and craziness we all face.
As busy as we are, how do we find time for all the worthwhile pursuits of the spirit? Most of us like the idea of meditating, of doing devotional rituals, of spending time outdoors--but most days I'm doing well if I make it home from work and collapse on the couch without having killed anyone, and there are a thousand things to do in those few hours we are permitted between work and sleep. So many things compete for our attention. Twenty minutes of meditation may seem laughable with the kids tearing the house apart and a new episode of Desperate Housewives on at nine.
Still and all, regular contact with the sacred is absolutely vital to our spiritual growth. If we find a way to nurture that connection, life somehow begins to run more smoothly, and those day to day annoyances like jobs and other humans seem less difficult to deal with. We feel better physically and emotionally and the commonplace begins to take on a new importance, a new beauty. As hard as it is to maintain a dailiy practice, it's more than worth it.
You may discover, for example, that sitting down at your altar to meditate every single day simply doesn't happen. Well, what if you tried for three times a week, or even two? On the other days, find something else that fits in with your life--while I believe we should challenge ourselves and learn spiritual discipline, we also have to be realistic. Anything that is too disruptive to your daily routine you are more likely to give up. Look for places in your day that you can pause a moment and ground, or become aware of the changing seasons. Take your coffee break outside and breathe in the fresh air for a moment. Every little bit helps.
My advice, whether you have four hours of free time a day or five minutes, is this: every day, do something that nourishes your spirit. Anything. Try to find one small thing every day, and make it your practice.
As an exercise in finding what works for you, do this: for the next week, every day try to do one thing that you consider spiritual. It doesn't have to be meditation or ritual per se. There are a great many things we do every day that could easily become a spiritual experience. As you navigate your day, think about the ordinary activities you perform and consider how they could be devoted to the sacred.
Simple Ideas for Daily Devotion
One of the most basic and easy things to start out with is eating mindfully. Everyone eats, or at least everyone healthy does. Every day, at at least one meal, try not to rush. Look at the food in front of you and think about where it came from, the plants and animals whose lives went into it, the humans who labored to bring it to you. Think of the energy of the Goddess and God that infuses every bite. As you eat it, feel yourself taking in that energy which then becomes a part of you.
You can do the same thing with drinking, especially water. Water, as one of our four essential Elements, is the life-giving essence of the Mother; as you drink visualize its energy filling you. Give thanks for the gift that Nature has bestowed upon you that will now help you to become healthier.
At night, as you prepare to go to sleep, take a moment to give thanks to the Goddess and God for three positive things you experienced and then three negative ones you learned from. Another idea, a variation on the "God bless Mommy and Daddy and Fido and..." prayers of our childhood is to devote a few minutes each night to blessing the people in your life one by one; visualize their faces, then visualize the light of Deity surrounding them and giving them strength. Be sure and include yourself.
You might be rushed first thing in the morning, but odds are you have at least a few seconds to pause before you get out of bed and ask a quick blessing on the day or recite an affirmation or statement of intention. Though I'm no fan of St. Patrick, I do like a prayer that was attributed to him, which I reworked in a more Wicca-friendly manner:
I rise today
through the strength of Earth
the wisdom of Air
the passion of Fire
the compassion of Water
and the grace of Goddess and God.
May I and all in my heart be blessed.
I'm always amazed at what a difference it makes to begin the day in a reverent way rather than sprinting out the door with coffee in one hand and my underwear on backwards.
Another easy yet marvelously useful idea is to leave reminders of your beliefs scattered around your home and work, where possible. Print out affirmations, quotes, poetry, pictures that speak to you, and stick them to your bathroom mirror, your fridge, in your office (inside a drawer you open frequently is an option if you don't want everyone asking about your Pagan-tude), in your car. Alternately choose one word, like "breathe" and stick it in random spots, and every time you see it, stop and take one deep, grounding breath, perhaps thinking a quick blessing or affirmation as you do so. Buddhist-inspired mindfulness verses work well here, for example: "Breathing in, I breathe in beauty. Breathing out, I breathe out judgment."
Your daily practice doesn't have to mean blocking out an hour to intone mantras or light candles; it can be anything, no matter how minute-seeming, that brings you back to an awareness of the sacred. The more you do it, the easier it gets; start simple and keep it simple, and you'll find you don't have to be a Pagan monk to enjoy a deepening, ongoing relationship with Deity.
Friday, May 11, 2007
As for other parts of life, well, just plugging along there and trying to keep my head and heart above the sinking line. We're doing okay but not great, financially.
Best part of recent news is we just celebrated (very loose term here) our 20th wedding anniversary! I got my wedding ring repaired and am finally able to wear it after 18 months or so of waiting until I could do it. So, I got tired of waiting and just did it. It looks beautiful, just like new, and the settings are all stronger, so this was a good thing!
Well, that's all for now.....
Monday, December 04, 2006
It is beautiful. I love that I got the call from my boss saying to stay home, since I'm out of town...at least to wait and see, and when I checked in at noon, she agreed there was no point trying to go in today.
The sun is shining (in and out) this afternoon, and it looks lovely on the snow! But it is only about 18 degrees out there, less with wind-chill!
Anyway, what a nice end to the week! Though I am supposed to work at the eye clinic tomorrow--that is, if we can get out... ; )
Happy Winter, Everyone!
Well, at 10:30 last night (Friday December 1) we finally called the Road Commissioner to find out when our road would be plowed. He was still out plowing in another nearby town. Said he'd been out plowing since 3:30 yesterday morning, poor guy. We asked him to try to do our road before 7 this morning so I can get into work, since I missed yesterday, and this would amount to extra income. He came right over, must have been on his way home, and plowed our street by 11 last night. phew.
Well, we noticed the house getting colder but took it in stride, with the space heater and quilts, soup, tea, we'd been okay. We turned up the thermostat to warm the house up before bed, and never did hear it come on. Well, we thought the pilot light must be out. Karl worked on it a bit, kept lighting the pilot, but wouldn't stay lit. It now appears that our thermalcoupling is probably "burnt out" again--this happened 2 years ago, too. Great, frigid cold and no heat.
So, between the thermostat/heater and the problem with my car, I guess I know where my Christmas money from our families is going!
Can you believe it? When it rains, it pours. Or, is that when it snows, it showers! lol
Have a good day and weekend, I couldn't get in to work Saturday, as Karl had to dig out where the plow pushed 4 feet of snow at the end of the driveway. Then when he did try to drive to town, it took 2 hours for a 30 minute trip, and was very slippy-slidey, and dangerous. Now, the plow broke down when he showed up Sunday to plow and so we've only been plowed once... figures....but I must work today (Monday December 4) so we have to try it!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Visit with my Sister, April 2006!
She surprised me with a new printer for an early birthday gift on Thursday. Then, Friday morning my computer crashed and died! We had not even installed or done anything to it except unplug it the night before when the storms started. Well, we tried to install a new hard drive, but THAT was not the (main) problem. Appears it is probably the Motherboard and/or the Power Supply. UGH. We took the new drive back, and my wonderful sister bought me a new computer! I am still in shock, amazement, and very, very grateful for a sweet and generous sister! My sister and I are very much alike, and she insisted on doing this because she knows how much I need my computer, it is my lifeline! I love my sister! I LOVE my sister! : D
My old hard drive is in the shop to see if they can recover data, and I believe they have done it. I'll be picking it up later today, after work. Otherwise, it would mean I lost all my Addresses, my Calendar, and worst of all, my Herbal Grimoire! ack!
One day, then, we will get the old computer in the shop and see if we can repair it. Then get a new drive. I still have a lot of data--almost all my data--on my Zip Disks, and that drive is in the old computer. If we are able to repair it cheaply enough, then we have a 2nd computer for Karl to play on, and perhaps even learn how to surf, etc.
Anyway, that is the news for now. Until I get the disks and confirm that they managed to save my Address book, I have no way to contact anybody. If you need to reach me, or would like to send my your address, please feel free. My address is the same.
Hugs and blessings to you all!
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Blodeuwedd & Emergence
Let's also discuss Blodeuwedd, as we come into emergence...or whichever
Goddess you are personally working with as Maiden. This is the time of
the Maiden. What does that mean for us? For the most part, our
personal maiden times are...ahem...gone by. I know mine sure has! Yet
the Maiden still resides in me. What does she mean to you? What does
the idea of Emergence mean? If we are to flower like the buds on the
trees, what does that mean to you in your life?
As Beltane nears, think about how you'd like to bring these themes into
being in your life, your surroundings. I can't wait to hang all the
flowers garlands that I have prepared...the house practically screams
Beltane by May 1st. Have you ever tied ribbons in the trees for
Beltane? Another fun and beautiful way to keep it.
I think my posts earlier today on my Live Journal and Yahoo!360 were pretty appropriate to Blodeuwedd, spring, and Emergence. I basically said that I am seeing and feeling Spring everywhere. In the new energy that is present, the new life that is emerging, the buds that are soon to spring forth, the leaves that are peeking through, the bunnies bouncing and foraging, and in the way I feel. I am feeling more energetic, especially today after the way I felt the past week--which may have been tied to my unusually heavy period--but I feel like it is time to get moving and get things going. Walk, move, do.
For me, Spring/Emergence is a time of new things coming forth, breaking free of old things, and trying new things. Birth, ideas, beginnings--all these things are what I feel within and without at Springtime.
Blodeuwedd, to me, represents the clean slate upon which we may write. She is a fresh flower, an innocent, a Goddess of freshness, simple pleasures. Yet, at the same time she has a strength of character, and a determination to move forward. She is not stagnant, will not sit still and wait for what is to come, but must be moving, flowing, budding into what will be.
Beltane? I have not made definite plans yet, but I would like to be able to meet with the area Pagan group I met with last summer. Of course, I would also do my own celebration. I have already put the spring flowers, or actually did not take them down...at least one vase. I want to get more garlands to put on my hearthplace and lamp pole, to bring the energy inside. I want to clean really well, too--but that I will be doing this weekend and next, because my sweet sister Marta is coming on April 12-16. ;)
as for the energy around me now..... I felt so energized, and feel so close to the Goddess right now, especially being able to read all the wonderful posts here, that I went in and put on several special pieces of jewelry--my amber & jet Goddess necklace & bracelet, pentacle earrings, and my Mother Goddess ring, and a spiral ring that I also think is a Reiki symbol. I don't often wear jewelry at home except for ritual, but I felt like it today, and boy, oh boy, does it make me feel pretty, young, and happy!!!!! just a little thing like that!
Saturday, April 01, 2006
You know, M, I do use the word "Celtic" when I describe my path to someone. Only because it gives a description of where my heart is. To me, it does not mean I am traditionalist, nor tied only to the past, but it does tell someone that I follow the Celtic pantheon versus, say, the Egyptian. Why do I do this? I suppose it is a little way of giving of myself to someone, without having to go into a great deal of information. You know how I love a long story, and if you get me going, well, watchout. lol
However, to me, Celtic means all that I am in my spirit, a connection to my past, and an encompassing of my present. I suppose that I don't have to do this, and sometimes I wonder when I'm typing it out "Celtic Goddess Hearth Witch" why I have to say it at all. But, I do, and I think this little description I created pretty much says it all--I am a daughter of the Goddess, I am a hearth witch in every sense, and I follow Celtic ways. To me this includes my searching for Avalon, for Bride's well, for the cauldron of Cerridwen, for the birds and forests of Rhiannon, for the rivers and green hills of Danu, for the stars in Arianrhod's wheel, and the spiral of life that is Branwen's wheel. So, I guess that is why I do describe myself as Celtic, and it brings to me a sense of continuity,
Yet, I understand what you mean when you say you realize you needn't do it any longer, also. I think for each of us, we do what feels right at the time, what is meaningful. This is what matters--to do what feels right in your heart, and your spirit.
For me, I have always held trees, spirals, stars, moon and water as sacred. I think my own imagery is mixed up within this. Whether it be a spiral encompassing and hugging all that I am, all that makes up my ancestry, my present, my future....ever expanding and growing, flexing with the pulse of life--or whether it be the Sea, with the tides flowing to-and-fro, washing over me, encompassing me, and cleansing me, uniting me with the ancestral lands overseas, and with the moon through the tidal influences--or perhaps the tree that I have always held so dear, sending her feet into the Earth to ground me, to bring the life force up and into me, so that my body, my mind, my being is nourished and refreshed, tying me to the Earth, but to the Waters of life, to the Air that breezes through my leafy-hair to cleanse my mind and help me see beyond, to touch the sky and the stars, the Moon, and the universe that goes on unseen.