Lughnasa 1st August- 19th September
On Tuesday at the feast of the rise of the sun
And the back of the ear of the corn to the East
I will go forth with my sickle down
While the fruitful ear is in my grasp
I will raise mine eye upwards
I will turn on my heel quickly.
Rightway as travels the sun
From the direction of the East to the West
From the direction of the North with motion slow
To the very core of the direction of the South.
I will give thanks to the King of Grace
For the growing crops of the ground
He will give food to ourselves and to the flocks
According as He disposeth me.
Traditional Reaping blessing translated by Alexander Carmichael.
The above Gaelic blessing illustrates a connection to the land. In the book of the Dun Cow written around 1100 it is clearly a legal obligation to gather for the festivals so all that partake in the harvest also partake in the work needed and the celebration of the fecundity of the land.
The word Lughnasa can be translated as the fair or assembly of Lugh, a deity who is said to be the master of all craft. When he fought the Fomhoire, the terms spoken between Lugh and Bres were very much about the best way to work the land. However as with many of the old traditions it is to the Goddess we must turn to honour.
Lugh is holding this feast to honour his foster-mother, the goddess Tailtiu who died after spending a year clearing a great plain to feed the people. The foster-mother in Celtic society was held in great esteem and importance.
The Goddess Brighit known as the foster-mother of Jesus in her form as a Christian Saint.
The festival of Lughnasa is therefore to honour the sacrifice of the goddess of the land to feed the people.
Light a candle to honour the Mother earth who gives to us all without any reward; reflect on your actions this year, have you helped be a caretaker of the sacred land or have you taken without care? What can you give back to earth, how can you lessen your impact? Meditate on the beauty of nature and the role you play in her cycle.
If you would like to learn more about the traditions of the land you may wish to enrol on our Woodland Bard Course.
Poetry of flowers
Join me to explore the flora of the British Isles on this blog. My intention is to attempt to capture the unique quality and beauty of each species of flower, tree or shrub. For every species featured I will be growing many more wildflowers to celebrate the joy of their existence, their intrinsic conservation value and bewildering array of uses. For nearly 30 years I have noted, studied and explored wildflowers in the field much to the patience of the walker beside me. To share this passion is a heartfelt plea to respect, preserve and care for all British Wildflowers no matter how common they seem.