Lughnasadh

Our Lughnasadh celebrations represent the midpoint between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox and all of the meanings that go with that.  Within the yearly cycle, Lughnasadh (pronounced LOO-na-sar) stands opposite Imbolc (midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox), and whilst at Imbolc we honour the ‘Goddess’ so at Lughnasadh we honour the ‘God’.

In Irish mythology the festival of Lughnasadh was said to have been initiated by Lugh in honour of his foster-mother Tailtiu.  Peace was declared and warriors returned home to harvest crops.  There were joyous reunions and sad remembrances. The celebrations and commemorations included sporting competitions and contests of skill. In keeping with tradition, here at The Melbourne Grove we typically include some physical testing on the day of our celebration.

Lughnasadh games were typically held on hilltops with people gathering bilberries on the way up.  Here, the equivalent might be kangaroo apples.  There might have been a sacrifice of some of this precious harvest to the Spirit of the Land on this high place; this taking the form of burying the first piece of fruit or ear of grain. We can do that too, with as much faith and gratitude as our ancestors.

Traditionally there would have been a bonfire on the hilltop and then later the ashes would have been used to bless the fields.  We cannot light fires here in January or February because it’s much too dangerous but if we have kept ashes from other sacred fires, we could distribute these now.  Lughnasadh is about gathering, sorting and sharing the blessings of the harvest on every level of our being.

Elkie, 2013