Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘The Wheel of The Year’

     Updated 29/07/2014

     Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-na-sah) is one of eight festivals celebrated on the ancient Wheel Of The Year seasonal calendar.  It marks the midpoint between The Summer Solstice and The Autumn Equinox.  It was once observed when the first sheaf of corn was cut and now, most commonly, on 1st August.

     The First Harvest is named for the Irish Sun God, Lugh, who also lends his name to the Modern Irish name for August.  In Gaelic Mythology Lugh held a funeral and athletic games to honour his foster-mother, Tailtiu who died of exhaustion after clearing the land for agriculture.  Tailtiu represents an earth or harvest deity whose labours feed and nurture the people.

     At Lughnasadh tribal people throughout Western Europe and The Northern Hemisphere gave thanks for their grain and cereal harvest and sought blessings for next year’s crop.  The birth, death and rebirth of the cornfield was symbolic of the eternal cycle of all life.

     The Anglo-Saxons referred to The First Harvest as Hlaef-mass, meaning “loaf mass”.  Loaves would be baked in the shape of a corn god then broken and consumed to represent the blessings of his sacrifice.  The practice was adopted by modern Christians who refer to this festival as Lammas.

     Corn dollies, or spirit cages, are traditionally crafted at Lughnasadh to lure and capture crop spirits.  Combine this with the often misconstrued concept of sacrifice and you have the plot for The Wicker Man!

     It was common in agrarian societies for a god and goddess to marry at Beltane (1st May) and conceive a child to represent the new year and it’s harvest cycle.  In Folklore the father god “John Barleycorn” is “sacrificed” at Lughnasadh to nourish the bountiful goddess, her child and the people.  This is still reenacted today via the burning of a cornstalk effigy (not Edward Woodward).  Sometimes a bull would be sacrificed in the fields for a celebratory feast. 

     Today the people of Ireland still honour Lugh’s prowess by climbing closer to the sun, at the summit of Croagh Patrick in County Mayo, to gather bilberries for celebration foods and wine. 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

     Updated for 2015

     Imbolc (pronounced i-MOLK meaning “in the belly”) is one of eight seasonal festivals marked on the ancient calendar known as The Wheel Of The Year.  Imbolc is observed on 1st February each year.

     Imbolc heralds the first stirrings of  Spring as it lies halfway between The Winter Solstice (Yule) and The Spring Equinox (Ostara).  It is a time when days lengthen, new buds and shoots appear and the first lambs are born.

     Imbolc was originally observed by the Gaelic (Irish, Scottish and Manx) people as a vital indicator of a new agricultural year.

     The festival was deemed sacred to the Gaelic goddess Brighid (pronounced breed) the midwife of the year and protector of women, children and newborns. 

     Hearthfire celebrations involved the baking of bannocks; the origin of Pancake Day.

     Corn Dollies and Brighid’s crosses would be made from dried stalks, reeds and rushes to bless the coming season.

     Imbolc was a time for weather forecasting.  Watching for snakes or badgers to emerge precedes the North American tradition of Groundhog Day.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: