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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Chaff from the Harvest

When you harvest most items, there’s always something you discard whether it’s the vines or the stalks.  I’ve been seeing all these ads about summer only has so many weekends and it is coming to a close.

It’s made me think of what I’m harvesting from my summer.  What have I accomplished this summer?  What do I need to keep in my life and keep going with?  What do I need to let go of?  

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Lammas: Don't Fear the Reaper

The grain harvest is being collected in the fields around my home. The usually still and silent evening air is filled with the sound of combine harvesters, accentuated every now and then with the hoot of a tawny owl. Lammas is upon us.

Standing on a footpath that divides two large fields, one side filled with barley just reaped, the other with wheat standing pale golden in the sun, I raise my hands to the blue sky and give my thanks for all that nourishes us. I walk a ways into the cut field, the harsh stubs of barley amid the dry, sandy earth and place my hands upon the soil. Thank you for your blessing, may the land be nourished even as it nourishes us. Hail and thanks be to the goddess. I then move to stand on the edge of the wheat field, allowing its song of potential to flow through me. I brush the bent heads filled with seed and say another prayer of thanks. 

This is a wonderful time of year, when the songs of the ancestors flow through the rural heartlands of Britain.  Though the way we harvest is different, still there is that cycle of growth, of planting and harvesting. After the long hot days of midsummer, the lengthening evenings are welcome, bringing cooler air. Though the dog days may still lie ahead of us, there is something different in the air at this time of year.  The scents have changed, the leaves are dark green and heavy, the foliage beginning to choke out and fall back.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you, Joanna. This is beautifully expressed. I really like your statement, expressed in other writings, that death is not the
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Hi Ted - thank you for your continued support. Yes, birth and death are an action, an event. Life is simply a constant flow of man

 

Many Pagans, Wiccans, Polythesists, and others today mark Lughnasadh (pronounced LOO-nuh-sah or loo-NAH-suh; also sometimes called Lammas from the Christianized "loaf mass") on August 1 or August 2 in the northern hemisphere and on February 1-2 in the southern. Some eclectic traditions mark Lughnasadh according to the full Moon that is closest to August 1.Others celebrate it on the nearest weekend for convenience, especially if doing group or public ritual.

The roots of Lughnasadh come from old Celtic traditions, i.e., the Irish, Scot, Manx, Cornish, Welsh, and Breton peoples and probably from those of the Isle of Man as well. Many celebrants today follow traditional agricultural markers (based on extant records, folklore, etc.) rather than calendar dates when timing celebrations. Those practicing Celtic reconstructionist Druidism may locate Lughnasadh according to the appearance of the first late summer fruits or the first grain harvest in their home area. Here in the Pacific northwest, modern CRs use the blackberries to time agricultural Lughnasadh, while CRs on the east coast tend to use blueberries. For most modern practitioners, the emphasis is most often on the rhythms of life in one’s home area rather than on the calendar. For instance, rather than marking Beltaine on May 1, many CRs celebrate it once the hawthorn—or the appropriate local white-flowering tree—blooms. In CR practices, the sacred and mundane are not separate, and the most mundane daily activity is every bit as sacred as the carefully planned “high ritual.” Daily life is a form of spiritual practice, and hospitality is one of the most highly valued of these expressions.

According to Irish mythos, Lughnasadh marks a funeral celebration and feast thrown by the God Lugh (pronounced LOO) in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu. Legend claims that she cleared much of Ireland’s plains to allow for farms to be started, after which she collapsed and died. (Yeah—I’d be tired, too.) The funeral games were subsequently called the Tailtin/Tailtiun games in her honor. Interestingly, because so many healthy, vigorous young people appeared for the games, Lughnasadh also became known as a prime time to make matches-- of the romantic rather than the gaming time-- with many handfastings following.

In folkloric terms—and those of traditional calendar customs—Lughnasadh more or less always marks the harvest of the local berries and of the first ripening grains.

Traditionalists may celebrate Lughnasadh in several ways, including some or all of the following:

1. The celebration is invariably communal. It was typical of the ancient Celtic peoples to gather as communities or even come from great distances for major celebrations, and this was often especially true at Lughnasadh as the weather tended to be better in summer than at the other cross-quarter holidays (although, the needs of one’s farm or animals always limited some from long periods of travel). The celebrations included feasting, games and tourneys (especially horse racing), and ritual fires.

2. The ancient Gods are appeased and thanked with offerings from the first harvest and with ritual. Lugh and Tailtiu, in particular, are often honored honored. Danu, the Irish mother goddess, is often mentioned at Lughnasadh as a benefactress.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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Miriam Dyak (Seattle, WA) All my life is poetry. Close to 60 years of writing poems, journals, books and not about to stop. I am a Social Artist, Voice Dialogue facilitator and teacher, dream weaver, gardener of souls. 

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Welcome to the 2016 Midsummer/Lammas Tarot Blog Hop.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Chloe
    Chloe says #
    Funny, I'd never thought of the World as being burdened with knowledge before. Ready to end one cycle and begin another, yes. Bu
  • Boglarka Kiss
    Boglarka Kiss says #
    What you have written about, Arwen, it fully resonates with me. This is also how I see these two cards and their symbols, the Fool
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Thank you so very much, Boglarka!
  • Aisling
    Aisling says #
    I love this, because I have been teaching a class for over 5 years called "Tarot: The Fool's Journey"....we really ought to compar
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Aisling, I'd love to compare notes. I think that would be so much fun.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Colors of Lunasa

What are the colors of Lunasa?

Green and gold, one might think: the unripe grain, and the ripe.

And so it is. But these are the Lunasa of the fields, the Lunasa of Earth.

And there are other Lunasas.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Lammas

Most people are familiar with the Celtic name for August 1st, Lughnasadh. Across the water it's known as Lammas Day.

From Leechdom, Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England, a compendium of wonderful folk knowledge of early Anglo-Saxon England, here's a fragment of a charm using bread [hláf] hallowed on 'hláfmæsse-dæg' the traditional grain harvest day:

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  • Chathol-linn
    Chathol-linn says #
    Oh, one more thing. I went to the supermarket today looking for some appropriate flowers for the Lammas table. The local Wegman'
  • Chathol-linn
    Chathol-linn says #
    Hello. I am relatively new to Pagans and Witches. I’m glad I picked Lammas Day to join. My modest celebration of this cross quart

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