Blog changes

In an effort to get this blog back on track I have simplified it, deleted some of the attached one-topic blogs
and focused on Sabbats and Esbats, which was the original intent.
Other writings will be in 'stumbling upon the path of the goddess'
and the Borrowed Book of Charms is still active.
Links in the right hand column.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lughnasadh and Lammas

I started writing a post about Lugh and realized I was repeating myself.  So for those of you who read last year's post on Lughnasadh/Lammas - nothing new here, skip to the last paragraph if you would like a suggestion on your celebration.  If you missed last year's post, enjoy.....

Although they are both celebrated here on August 1 and many of us say "Lughnasadh or Lammas" as if they are one and the same, they are not.
Lughnasadh (don't even try the nuances of the Gaelic pronunciation just stick with LOO-nus-uh) is a harvest feast and games held at the order of the Celtic god Lugh to honor his foster mother Tailtiu. Tailtiu may have been a mother earth goddess.  She died at the harvest and told her followers to remember her by holding games in her honor.  Lugh carried out these wishes and the festivities and competitions that help to celebrate the harvest are named after him. Athletic competitions, music and dance, eating and drinking are all part of Lughnasadh.

Lugh was the god of all skills and arts and honored even today as the patron of blacksmiths.
The earliest mention of him describes him as a King of the Tuatha de Danann and the master of many arts.  Later stories refer to him as the god of all skills and relate many stories about these skills.  Still later, because of the harvest festival and games that were held at his order, he became associated primarily with the harvest.
His heritage, like many of the early Celtic gods, was complicated.  Wikipedia does a good job of condensing it into a few lines:
Much of the early history of Ireland is recorded in the Book of Invasions, which recounts the many times Ireland was conquered by foreign enemies. According to this chronicle, Lugh was the grandson of one of the Fomorians, a monstrous race that were the enemy of the Tuatha de Danann. Lugh's grandfather, Balor of the Evil Eye, had been told he would be murdered by a grandson, so he imprisoned his only daughter in a cave. One of the Tuatha seduced her, and she gave birth to triplets. Balor drowned two of them, but Lugh survived and was raised by a smith. He later led the Tuatha in battle, and indeed killed Balor.

More information on Lugh can be found at Magic of Mythology 
image found at

Lammas, on the other hand, is a Christian celebration of the first wheat harvest.  Farmers would take a loaf of fresh bread made from the current wheat harvest to church to offer as thanks and to ask for a blessing for the rest of the harvest.  It was also called the Feast of the First Fruits and celebrated with bread and apples.  This may a case of  "if you can't beat em, join em" and a way to de-paganize a celebration without causing too much resistance.  But this is primarily an Anglo-Saxon tradition and may only be related to Lughnasadh by coincidence.  All farming cultures celebrate the harvest and these appear to be two separate celebrations by two different cultures at two different times in history.
I don't know how the two terms came to be interchangeable in neo-Pagan circles, but there is a distinct difference in their history.
Nowadays I think we are doing well to remember to celebrate the harvest at all (unless you happen to be a farmer) so I suppose the name is not all that important, but it is nice to know the origins of these things.

Celebrate by offering thanks for our abundant earth.  Light candles of orange and yellow, burn incense of rose or sandalwood.  Prepare a meal of lamb, wheat bread, apples and wine and offer it to Lugh or whichever deity you owe some thanks to.  Don't forget to include some fun in the day including some games or competitions.  photo found here

Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Moon Ritual

The New Moon is Saturday, July 30 at 2:40 pm EDT

I am still doing this repeating New Moon ritual.  I just love it.  To me it is the perfect way to celebrate the cycle of cleansing, renewal and stepping forward.

You will need:

One candle to honor the Goddess in her new moon, blue or white is nice, any color is fine. I have a large pale blue/green candle that I use for all moon rituals.

Incense or sage for cleansing the area.

A small unused notebook and a pen.

Four items to honor the elements.
I sometimes use:
a small bottle of sand for the element of earth
a feather for the element of air
a red candle for the element of fire
a small cup of water for the element of water

When I am in a candle mood I use candles for the elements:
brown or green for earth
yellow or pink for air
red or orange for fire
blue or white for water

Cleanse the area with incense or sage. I create sacred space by simply grounding and centering and visualizing an area around myself filled with energy, closed to random or chaotic spirits and open only to those I invite.

Call the Elements.
I start with Earth. If you are using candles, light them as you call each Element.
Calling them can be as simple as 'I call the Element of Earth to attend and add energy to this sacred space' or as elaborate as you wish.

After calling the Elements, take a moment to honor Goddess, ask her to look favorably on this ritual that you offer up to her and light the candle for her.

Take a few minutes to sit quietly. Reach out to the Elements for additional energy and power. Fill the space around you with their power and energy and reflect on the new moon as an opportunity for new beginnings. An opportunity that we are offered over and over again.

Take your notebook and write something along the lines of:
I will manifest these things that I desire and need in my life and I will do so without harm to anyone else.

Then begin to write down what you need to create in your life. It can be a few things or many. Large or small, tangible or not.

Concentrate on manifesting these things in your life without harming anyone else.

Release the energy that you have created with this work and send it out into the universe to do your bidding.

Thank the Goddess for her presence in your life and put out her candle.

Thank the Elements for loaning you their energy and ask them to return to their own realms, putting out their candles (if any).

Bring yourself back to normal time/space, ground the energy creating your sacred space.

On the full moon take your notebook and cross off any items that have manifested in your life since the new moon. On the next new moon create a new list, leaving off the things that have already arrived. Do not just cross off and add to the old list, each new moon write down the new list.

On her blog Liz has a cleansing ritual bath that would be a wonderful way to prepare for this ritual. Check it out at Lizzie's Logic.

***Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas, is coming up in two days***

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July Full Moon - Mead Moon

July is a time for divination and meditation.  The energy is slowing down, the first harvests are about to begin.  July is an excellent time for prosperity spells and for planning for the immediate future. .

The July Full Moon is dedicated to Mead - the nectar of the Gods.  Mead is a symbol of prosperity and celebration.

Celebrate the abundance in your life and use this time to gain more of what you need.  There is a prosperity spell on the Borrowed Book of Charms page that is short and simple and directs the natural flow of this month's energy, using the Tarot to help direct this spell.
Earth Prosperity Tarot Spell

The July Full Moon is on July 15 at 2:40am EDT


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