Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon...(Blessed Lughnasadh!)

It's officially August, folks. In the last week I was nearly unable to start my new class, my jump drive broke with my final on it, my cousin nearly died, and I have contracted a sinus infection in the middle of summer. Do I see this as a sign that the bad juju of August started early? You betcha! lol But I'm still holding out hope...hope that the blue moon coming at the end of this month will somehow spread good vibes into these days typically not known (in my world anyway) for having luck of the good variety. Miracles happen once in a blue moon, right? Well, I am hoping that turns out to be more than a mere expression.
Today in the northern hemisphere Wiccans (most Pagans far as I know) are celebrating both the first full moon of the month and Lammas/Lughnasadh. Technically speaking, this is the half way point between summer and fall. This is the first of three harvest festivals (Lughnasadh, Mabon, and Samhain) and in the days of old it was the festival of Lugh, the Celtic God of the sun. Christians eventually adopted the day and renamed it Lammas. Here is a little more information about the day coming from
 At Lammas, sometimes called Lughnasadh, it's time to celebrate the first harvest of the year, and recognize that the hot summer days will soon come to an end.   The plants of spring wither and drop seeds to ensure future crops. Grains are ready to be harvested and the fruits are ripe for picking.  We can give thanks for the food on our tables.
Lughnasadh means the funeral games of Lugh (pronounced Loo), referring to Lugh, the sun god. However, the funeral is not his own, but the funeral games he hosts in honor of his foster-mother Tailte. For that reason, the traditional Tailtean craft fairs and Tailtean marriages (which last for a year and a day) are also celebrated at this time.

As autumn begins, the Celtic Sun God enters his old age, but is not yet dead. The God symbolically loses some of his strength as the Sun rises farther in the South each day and the nights grow longer.

The Christian religion adopted this theme and called it 'Lammas ', meaning 'loaf-mass ', a time when newly baked loaves of bread are placed on the altar. An alternative date around August 5 (Old Lammas), when the sun reaches 15 degrees Leo, is sometimes employed by Covens. 

Traditional Foods:Apples, Grains, Breads and Berries. 

Herbs and Flowers:All Grains, Grapes, Heather, Blackberries, Sloe, Crab Apples, Pears. 

Incense:Aloes, Rose, Sandalwood. 

Sacred Gemstone:Carnelian. 

Special Activities:As summer passes, many Pagans celebrate this time to remember its warmth and bounty in a celebrated feast shared with family or Coven members. Save and plant the seeds from the fruits consumed during the feast or ritual. If they sprout, grow the plant or tree with love and as a symbol of your connection with the Lord and Lady. Walk through the fields and orchards or spend time along springs, creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes reflecting on the bounty and love of the Lord and Lady. 

So dance, feast, and be merry today. Be grateful for the gifts of the first harvest, whatever form it may take in your life, and look forward to the beautiful season of autumn. If August is usually a bad month for you as it is for me and other people I know, try to smile anyway. Who knows, maybe this year it will surprise us. Have a beautiful week everyone!

The Rigs O'Barley By Robert Burns:
It was upon a Lammas night, 
When corn rigs are bonnie, 
Beneath the moon's unclouded light, 
I held away to Annie: 
The time flew by wi' tentless heed 
Till 'tween the late and early, 
Wi' sma' persuasion, she agreed 
To see me thro' the barley. 
Corn rigs, an' barley rigs, 
An' corn rigs are bonnie: 
I'll ne'er forget that happy night, 
Amang the rigs wi' Annie. 

The sky was blue, the wind was still, 
The moon was shining clearly: 
I set her down, wi' right good will, 
Amang the rigs o' barley: 
I ken't her heart was a' my ain: 
I lov'd her most sincerely; 
I kiss'd her owre and owre again, 
Amang the rigs o' barley. 
Corn rigs an' barley rigs,
An' corn rigs are bonnie:
I'll ne'er forget that happy night,
Amang the rigs wi' Annie.

I lock'd her in my fond embrace; 
Her heart was beating rarely: 
My blessings on that happy place, 
Amang the rigs o' barley! 
But by the moon and stars so bright, 
That shone that hour so clearly! 
She aye shall bless that happy night, 
Amang the rigs o' barley. 
Corn rigs an' barley rigs,
An' corn rigs are bonnie:
I'll ne'er forget that happy night,
Amang the rigs wi' Annie.

I ha'e been blythe wi' comrades dear; 
I ha'e been merry drinkin'; 
I ha'e been joyfu' gatherin' gear; 
I ha'e been happy thinkin': 
But a' the pleasures e'er I saw, 
Tho' three times doubled fairly, 
That happy night was worth then a', 
Amang the rigs o' barley. 
Corn rigs, an' barley rigs,
An' corn rigs are bonnie:
I'll ne'er forget that happy night,
Amang the rigs wi' Annie.

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