Magical Holidays: Lughnasadh

Lughnasadh (Festival of Lugh) is the first of three harvest festivals. In Irish Gaelic, and a slightly different spelling, Lunasa is the word for August. In the Christianized version, it is called Lammas (meaning Loaf-Mass or the Feast of Bread, at which time the first loaves of the season were blessed by the church). The hot days of August are now upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we still know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Apples are beginning to ripen in the trees, our summer vegetables have been picked, corn is tall and green, waiting for us to come gather the bounty of the crop fields. Now is the time to begin enjoying the fruits of our labors, both on the table and in our lives. We honor this holiday to celebrate the first harvest, and the Celtic God Lugh, the sacrificed King of the Grain. Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back nearly to the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. In early Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lughnasadh — it meant that the previous year’s harvest had run out early, and that was a serious failing in agricultural communities. However, on August 1, the first sheafs of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season. Lughnasadh is a day of honoring Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills, and was honored in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe. Lughnasadh is still celebrated in many parts of the world today, and his influence appears in the names of several European towns. In our modern world, it’s often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our ancestors had to endure. For us, if we need a loaf of bread, we simply drive over to the local grocery store and buy a few bags of prepackaged bread. If we run out, it’s no big deal, we just go and get more. When our ancestors lived, hundreds and thousands of years ago, the harvesting and processing of grain was crucial. We honor our ancestors and the hard work they had to do in order to survive. This is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables. As we enjoy nature’s abundance, what can we give in return? Lughnasadh is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings. Because of its association with Lugh, The Many-Skilled One, Lughnasadh is also a time to celebrate talents, skills and craftsmanship. What are your talents and gifts? How can you share those talents and gifts with others? Now is the time of year to work on developing your own talents. Learn a new craft, or get better at an old one. Start a creative project, write a book, play a musical instrument, sing a song, dance, paint. Learn a magickal skill, such as Divination or Herbology. Whatever you choose to do, this is the right season for rebirth and renewal.


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