No matter what is happening in my life, I can look to the changing of the seasons to find touch stones to keep me centred and grounded. One of the reasons I’ve always loved Celtic lore and history is the traditional celebrations they have to mark each passing of the season. It’s a wonderful way to reconnect with the land.
In the Northern hemisphere, the 1st of August (a half way point between the summer solstice and autumn equinox) marks the day when, traditionally, the first harvest would have been reaped. Lughnasadh, also referred to as Lammas, celebrates the god Lugh, a sun god, at the height of the summer season (though you wouldn’t be able to tell here in Scotland, where the sun has been conspicuously absent!).
Spiritual essence of Lughnasadh
This is a time for gathering in and giving thanks for the abundance that we have sown, and that the Earth has provided. Traditionally, August was celebrated with feasting, market fairs, games and bonfire celebrations to celebrate Lugh and his mother Tailtiu. So it’s rather timely that in Edinburgh, we’re rolling into the height of our festival season, a time when people from around the world gather in the city, with an abundance of food and fairs available to suit any taste.
Yet, traditionally, with the celebrations of Lughnasadh came the acknowledgement that the seasons were changing, and that the energy of the sun was waning. The time of full harvest is not long away, and it’s now an opportunity to look back at the year and the seeds we planted to see how well they’ve grown.
Now is a good time to get back in touch with the earth, to spend time outdoors in nature, observing the wilting of the spring flowers, as they drop their seeds to ensure renewal in the year ahead. It’s also a time to look back at the seeds we have sown and consider which are flourishing and which aren’t. Which projects that we started are we proud of, and which do we wish to finish? It is a good time to sit back and express our gratitude for the blessings and gifts we are now receiving.
Some ideas on how to mark Lughnasadh
- Walking through the woods and spending some time meditating in picturesque surroundings is a good way to reconnect with yourself, and also with the earth. Bring your journal with you and write a list of things for which you are grateful, contemplate all the seeds you planted at Imbolc and assess where you are and where you want to go from here.
- If the weather isn’t cooperating for long periods of time spent outside (like it is atthe moment in Edinburgh), set up a sacred space indoors where you can meditateand reconnect with nature. Fruits such as pears and apples are traditionally used at this time, along with grains and berries. Sacred crystals at this time of the year include all yellow and orange stones, such as citrine, honey calcite and carnelian.
- I find cooking a deeply meditative practice, and something that I usually do when I’m feeling positive and happy in life. Given that grain the main harvest celebrated at this time of the year (Lammas means loaf-mass) making bread is a good way to acknowledge the first harvest. I’m a firm believer that you can taste emotion in food, and food cooked with love and gratitude tastes a whole lot better than food that’s thrown together in anger andstress. Why not try meditating on all that you are grateful for as you cook? Even if the bread tastes the same at the end, it’s a nice way to raise your own vibrations and point of attraction.