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PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Meaning of Lammas

 

The Wheel of the Year is widely honored by we Wiccans, along with Druids, and many other NeoPagans. The eight Sabbats arranged along the Wheel are divided into universal solar cycles celebrating the solstices and equinoxes and four place-specific ones representing the agricultural cycles of planting, growth, harvest, and death.  The Wheel’s symbolism is beautifully adapted to illustrate profound insights in regions with four seasons because both cycles are coordinated, but its basic insights are true everywhere.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Five-Minute Rule

It's right up there in the pantheon of the good things that life gives us, along with good food, good sex, and good ritual.

Good conversation.

Singer-songwriter Sparky T. Rabbit (1954-2014) was one of the most brilliant conversationalists that I've ever met.

He strictly adhered to what I'll call the Five-Minute Rule.

If you've been talking for five minutes, it's time to shut up and listen.

One of the things that made Sparky such a supple and engaging conversationalist is that he was an active listener. While you were talking, he gave you his full attention, and he was thinking about what you said.

I try to be a good listener. Gods help me, I try.

That's how I've come to realize that much of what passes for conversation isn't actually conversation at all.

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  • WiseCrone
    WiseCrone says #
    I love this! Makes me want to look up more about Sparky T. Rabbit. Thanks for sharing about him.
Lughnasadh Ritual and Vision of Tailtiu, Irish Earth Goddess

Tailtiu herself taught me this ritual way of honoring her several years ago, as I prepared for a Lughnasadh celebration with a druid grove. Do your own research, and you will discover several analogous rituals on varying dates throughout Europe.


There is no clean land in all of Ireland, no fields not blood-soaked nor polluted by tears and death, for the Great War had raged across the land for ages. The war and its reasons, the dead and their Kings, their celebrated champions no longer matter. One royal husband slain and the victor wed, and Tailtiu, still Queen of Ireland, never took part in the fighting.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What Magic Women Want

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
What is your Lammas Harvest?

It is traditional to bake a Lammas loaf at this time of year, although many may wait to celebrate next weekend, closer to the cross-quarter day.  But there are harvests and harvests. Lammas or Lunasa as we have it in Ireland, is the time when there is a pause in the silage making and hay cutting. There are plenty of festivals around the country and in yesteryear this would be the time for fairs and all that they include - drinking, fighting, wooing, some horse trading.

From Ballycastle's Auld Lammas Fair up in Country Antrim where you can get your dulse and yellow man (a really hard candle that might extract your fillings) down to County Kerry where they crown the goat at Puck Fair, this was the pause for revelry. Many gatherings happened at holy wells and there are numerous accounts of priests having to ban nude bathing of both sexes (together, imagine!) at these sacred sites rededicated to the Virgin Mary.  There were 'faction fights' - supposedly playful, but often they got ugly. My local holy well was contaminated by blood spilt in it at a Lunasa fairy. (All is well; it has been renovated, re-dedicated and the local priest lifted the curse on it back in August 2014.)

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Here is my Harvest Poem, in answer to our question. Blessed Be, Tasha My Harvest My harvest is not from a field or meadow It is n

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Gods Helped Me Find My Way

I was trying to navigate to a new destination, where I was planning to present gifts. Gifts are holy in heathenry. So, although outwardly I was just driving to a party, spiritually I was traveling on my path as a gythia. When I arrived at the point where public street met private street, I had an adventure.

Gifts have spiritual significance in all sects of heathenry, not only the gifts presented to gods but also gifts given to other human beings. Gifts that have special significance for life events and for important occasions within the culture also have special spiritual significance, both in heathenry generally, and in American Celebration style Asatru as we practice in my kindred, in particular. This occasion was for three co-occurring special life events for the recipient. The gifts I had made included a bottle of my home grown lavender brew dedicated to Sigyn, so this gift also had a special significance for the goddess as well. The recipient had recently participated in a ritual I had led honoring Sigyn, and this gift was meant to help her deepen her relationship with the goddess.  

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Lammas, Lugh and the Miracle of the Harvest

Though the heat of Summer still burns bright and strong, the sunlit hours wane with every passing day. Now is the time of Lammas, the pagan Sabbat of the early harvest. Lugh, the Celtic God of light, waits for you on the summit of a hill, ready to guide you in the mysteries of life and rebirth held within the living land and your living body.

The sun has begun is downward arc toward the horizon, and a panoramic view of golden fields, ripe for the early harvest, spreads out before you.

“Behold the great exchange of life,” Lugh says, “the mysteries of sunlight turned into grain to feed the hungry bellies of this world.  But there is a price for this miracle: something must die to nourish the living, and for something new to be born. Everything has its season. One cycle ends so another can begin.”

With a wave of His hand, the scene shifts, revealing the elemental forces that underlie the golden fields.  All is not well.  The earth is parched and barren. The air is filled with contaminants. The fire heat of the sun is too harsh. The water in the nearby stream is clouded with murky sludge.

“Like the turning of Nature’s cycle of light and life at Lammas, humanity is also coming to the end of a cycle,” Lugh says, “For too long, your kind has forgotten the ways and rhythms of the Mother Earth.  You have taken, and taken, and taken, despoiling the air, water and land that sustain you. This imbalance has come to an end point, and a reckoning is upon you.”

Lugh is grave and silent, leaving you to consider the import of His words. The stark evidence of humanity’s environmental excesses and disregard surrounds you. The Mother Earth is weighted down and weary, with Her fragile, precious systems stressed and failing.

“I don’t share these things to burden you with a vision of despair,” Lugh continues, “Look to Nature as your guide, with its Lammas teaching of the miracle of the harvest. Within everything is the seed of a new season, with its promise of a fresh beginning and future harvest.

“You too have come to the end of a cycle,” Lugh says, “and your personal healing and evolution are intimately intertwined with that of humanity and the Earth.

“The imbalance you see before you is also inside of you, side by side with your personal imbalances and discontent, and those of your human society. And the seeds of the new are there as well, within your living body and life story.  With these seeds, you can mend and renew your life and this world.

“But there is a price to be paid for this miracle. Something must die, must be sacrificed, for something new to be reborn. You must be willing to change in profound ways.”

Lugh turns toward you, His face suffused with compassion and love. He places His warm, golden-skinned hand on your midbody, sending His deep wisdom into your very core.

“You must ask yourself: what is ready to be harvested and cut away in my life in service of my soul work, and a more sustainable, life-serving exchange between myself and the Mother Earth? What lessons must I ingest to aid my transformation? What am I willing to sacrifice for new seeds to take root in my life and the greater world?”

The sun now dips below the horizon, bringing on the chill of impending darkness. Your time with Lugh is ending. As His light dims, He leaves you with one last gift of illuminating wisdom.

“Remember that the seeds of the new are held within the body of the living. Everything you need to heal, grow and transform yourself and your world is present in this now moment, in the golden field that is your life story. Be brave. Be wise. Be guided by the profound endings and new beginnings arising within you.”

As Lugh and His hilltop vision fade away, know that a time of reckoning has indeed arrived; we must make sacrifices and change if we are to preserve the beauty and abundance of our Earth home.  Some things must end, must die, for something new to be reborn. Within each of our lives are the seeds, the miracles, of the new season and harvest to come.

Photo Credit: Emma Van Sant on UnSplash

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