Lughnasadh (loo’-na-saw) is the first of three harvest festivals, and usually centers around the harvesting of grain. Lugh is an Irish sun god. He is also known as Lugh of the Long Hand or Long Arm, refering to the long rays of the sun as it begins sinking lower in the sky each day. Lugh is also a god of agricultural fertility. As Lugh begins losing his strength, the days become shorter and the nights longer. Farmers held wakes, as the sun god “died,” to thank him for the harvest and to remember that he would return in the Spring. In an agricultural society, there is great importance in having a good grain harvest — it could mean the difference between life and death in late Winter. This natural holiday (halfway between Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox, August 1 or 2, depending on where you are on the globe) is also called Lammas, a medieval Christian name meaning “festival of bread.”
I enjoy the fact that our county fair is always the first weekend in August — a fitting way to celebrate Lughnasadh. Walking through the halls, smelling all the grains, fruits, vegetables, and flowers harvested from gardens. And all the baked goods! Yum! I didn’t get to bake anything for the holiday this year, but I did harvest blackberries from our yard, and share them with a friend. When I went to a potluck, I took along a basket of “slugs” from Los Bagels in Arcata — they are long sticks/rolls made from bagel dough and covered in spices and herbs (pepper, poppy seeds, garlic and onion bits, etc.) — so yummy and very in keeping with the holiday.
Now is the time of year when we see the results of seeds we’ve planted. It is also a good time to consider what we are reaping in our lives as well as our yards. In Winter we make plans, in Spring we put them into action, and in Summer we work hard to make our goals a reality. Are things going as we hoped? It is also a time to practice patience, because with some projects the rewards still seem so far away. It reminds me of the Seven of Pentacles, where the person has worked so hard, and is exhausted. Yet there is still work to do before the harvest is complete.
Spend some time out in nature while the Summer is still ripe, and before the days get too short. Connect with the cycles of life, think about what you have planned, what you have accomplished, and what still needs to be done. Namaste.