Lughnasadh. What is it, how do you say it, and who the heck was Lugh? Wiccan sabbats are based on customs of our Ancient Ones, the ones who lived in times when survival meant depending on the Earth for food and shelter. Agriculture was the prime occupation. Marking the seasonal changes, celebrating planting and harvesting, and preparing for winter involved the whole community. These were the true pagans, when the word "pagan" meant "of the country" or "rural dwellers". The religious observances therefore were primarily to pray for bountiful crops, good stock and sustainable living conditions. Feasts and festivals abound at these times. Music, laughter, celebration.
Today's modern Wiccans observe sabbats to recognize and affirm the power and blessings of the Earth, not so much in agricultural ways, but in the spiritual sense. Symbolism and traditions are important parts of these sabbats. We celebrate the Turning of the Wheel of the Year to mark seasonal changes, and the changes in our own spiritual growth. There is nothing static in our Path. We trust in our Gods and Goddesses to guide, help, bless, protect. It is a cooperative relationship.Honoring the Earth is essential. The Path evolves as we learn, create and live. It is a joyous way to live.
August 1st is the traditional date of Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-nah-saw). This first harvest festival of the Year was named after a Celtic God of Light and Fire named Lugh the Long-Handed. You can find out more about this god in any number of books on the subject. Celebrating Lughnasadh is as simple as taking a trip to a Farmer's Market and buying all kinds of fresh-picked, locally grown produce then enjoying a wonderful meal with family and friends. How about visiting a Renaissance Festival, hosting a barbecue with beautiful corn on the cob as a special part of the dinner? Bake cobblers and pies and tarts from the fruits of the season. Bake a special loaf of bread to be shared in ritual with your loved ones.
This is also a little bit of a bittersweet time. We have already noticed the days are getting a little shorter. The knowledge that Autumn and Winter are approaching means winding down the projects and goals we had set for ourselves in Spring. Preparation for New Seasons begin. Emotionally, spiritually and physically preparing for the dying of the Summer Light as we wait for darker days.
Still, it is only First Harvest. Plenty of time to enjoy summer days and nights. Rituals and Spell Work are wonderful times for outdoors practice. Be happy in the Now. The Wheel is turning and that is a good thing. Blessed Lughnasadh to you and yours.