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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Lughnasadh

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Home is Where the Harvest is

As you know, I have been travelling. I was in Britain for three weeks, returned home for five days and then set off for New York for almost a week.

All of this at harvest time. Sadness. The grapes were neglected and went to feed the possums and raccoons. There was a huge elderberry harvest but I did very little of it. Because we have two apple trees that bear fruit at different times, the apple harvest has been prolonged.  We filled our little freezer with apples destined for the cider fermenter and there are more in the refrigerator in the vegetable drawers.

Green beans have been plentiful and tomatoes trickle in--perfect, warm globes of brightness. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It is Lughnasad (“Loo-nah-sah”) as I write this, the old Celtic festival of the first fruits of the harvest that takes place during the first two weeks of August. In Christian times the feast was renamed “Lammas” or “Loaf-Mass” when everyone brought the first loaf of bread made from the year’s new grain to church to be placed on the altar and blessed.

I am an herbalist and a Druid and I live in an oak forest in New England. There is very little light here for growing things so I mostly rely on wild-crafted roots, barks, leaves, flowers and berries. Every season brings its own moment of opportunity and late summer is an especially rich time to harvest from nature.

Here are a few cautions that I follow before I pick; “Walk by the first seven, leave the eighth for the animals, and you may take the ninth” is an old Native American saying. Always leave enough plants behind to feed the wild creatures and to make seed for next year’s crop. “Gather 1000 feet from a roadway”; brake linings, car exhaust and other pollutants abound near roadsides. “Act fast, because Nature doesn’t wait”; there is usually just a short window of opportunity for gathering from the wild. “Know your herbs”; be sure you have a good guide or a live teacher to point things out to you, and never pick endangered species in the wild.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • leila
    leila says #
    Yep, took that into consideration. They are only being moved a few miles from their original home and being planted in similar con
  • leila
    leila says #
    Does anyone out there have recipes for devils claw pickles or relish?
  • leila
    leila says #
    If there are enough plants to not do damage , I dig up a few of the smallest ones and transplant them into my yard. Just brought h

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Harvest of the Mother

The blade is sharp
Scythe swings in
Flashing arc as
Sheaf of wheat
And apples fall
The Harvest now begun.

Gather the grain
Leave what you must
Fill carefully woven baskets
With the overflowing bounty.

Consume the energy
Swallow the light
Feel the great
Blessing of living grain’s
Sustaining of all life.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Grain of My Life

Lughnassadh is to me a celebration of legacy. The grain falls and we remember what is important; life, love, survival, and memory. The grain is the blessing of the gods to their people, a chance for the future. On this day, I look at my impact and my legacy. What is the grain of my life? Will my actions sustain my generation and future generations to come?

Although many celebrate the First Harvest as the darkening time of looking back and giving thanks, I like to keep the focus on the work that must still be done. Gratitude is something I weave into my daily practice every day of the year so what is seen as "harvest" is more about looking forward than back, in my work. In western Europe, this is quite a busy time for farmers rushing to get as much done as possible to stretch the crop as long as possible. It is a mad dash to create a legacy of abundance that will last through the truly dark winter months. Nothing "stops."

As a Pagan and spiritual activist, it's important to me that I make an impact with the precious time I have while blessed with this physical body. Lughnassadh reminds me of this. Time is slipping away, but there is still enough to do something, to change something. The average age of death for the majority of men in the United States is currently 75 years old. I just turned 26 which means that if I am to be a statistic, I would be past one-third of my life already! I believe that the work I do right now matters just as much as the work I will do when I am 50 years old or 74 and a half years old. And who knows, I could walk out my door for lunch and get hit by a bus. A witch bows to no one, including time itself. But with that power comes the responsibility of knowing that the time we do have echoes forever onward.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Yggdrasil

Huginn and Muninn, the ravens return,

thought and memory

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Amoret BriarRose
    Amoret BriarRose says #
    Thank you! I thought it might be appropriate for Lammas/Lughnasadh.
  • Laurie Novotny
    Laurie Novotny says #
    I love this!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

The time of Lughnasadh, or Lammas, is nigh. The basic Wiccan definition tells us that this is the celebration of the first harvest, so that the Solar God (Lugh, in this instance), Who has been waning since Litha, is now sacrificed as embodiment of the grain we humans depend upon. The theme is, as all harvest festivals, gratitude for the bounty of Mother Earth and Father Sun.

Because my path is Earth-centered, I believe it is less important to hold to the "traditional" meaning of the sabbats than it is to attune to the energy of the place where you actually live, where (hopefully) your own food is grown. The seasons of Ireland are a far cry from the seasons of the Ozark Mountains. Here, gardens and farms are in the fullness of activity and production (Goddess willing). We have been harvesting many crops for weeks now - including the native Three Sisters: corn, beans and summer squash. August, while indeed a time to harvest, is also a time for planting the fall short-season crops. Therefore, my "locavore" version of Lughnasadh recognizes that this is also a time for renewal: strengthened by the warm soil and full bounty, we can plant new seeds in our lives and communities.

But one thing remains constant for those of us in the northern hemisphere: despite its burning heat, the sun is waning. We must not forget that a harvest festival is also a recognition that sacrifice and death are essential parts of the wheel of life. Wicca, as distinct from most mainstream religions, acknowledges the full cycle of life as sacred. Death and darkness are as important as life and light. There cannot be one without the other.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Harvest Some Fun For Lammas

Lammas, or Lughnassadh can easily be a forgotten Wiccan/Pagan holiday. It is not as showy as Samhain, or as lusty and festive as Beltane. But it remains one of the major sabbats, and should be recognized as such. The harvest is a time to gather: thoughts and blessings. It is about taking stock. We are getting ready for the next big seasonal shift. It is actually quite a powerful time, if you stop to ponder it. What better way to celebrate than to host an intimate gathering, simply to bake and break bread together; to just be? 

I would keep this one at four to five guests, tops. You know the old saying about too many cooks in the kitchen! Assign one person on each bread recipe– I have three that you could try. Have a fourth person on oven-tending and clean-up duty. If you have a fifth, let them set up serving plates and make sure everyone's glass stays filled with one of the following: sparkling apple juice, a hearty locally made craft ale, or a nice fruity barley wine. 

These recipes should provide variety for everyone, but please feel free to play with the flours or ingredients to make one vegan. Note that the Bacon Buttermilk Corn Bread should keep the gluten-free folks happy.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Drive ten kilometres outside our dorpie this time of year and you will find yourself flanked by South Africa’s staple crop: mealies. More commonly known as maize or corn in the US and UK, mealies (pronounced me-lee’s) are the cornerstone of the South African diet and are most commonly eaten in the form of mielie-pap; a dish similar to American grits or Italian polenta. But mealies are more than that, they represent nourishment and abundance and are of importance to Xhosa culture where it’s used to make Umqombothi; a thick, sour beer that is used in cultural ceremonies and as offerings to the ancestors.

 

So with our approach to Lughnasadh here in the Southern Hemisphere, it is only fitting to explore the themes of blessings and thanksgiving by journeying across the South African landscape in search of the humble mealie.

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