Let me preface all of this by saying I am the laziest pagan in the world. My altar hasn’t been gussied up for a sabbat since Yule. I am notoriously bad at forgetting where we are in the moon cycle. My friends remind me when something big is coming up, and that is precisely what happened this year with Lughnasadh, which is totally unfair to a holiday that doesn’t get the same kind of glamorous press as Beltane, Samhain, or Yule. So, I decided to make up for it by sharing some of the mythology and traditions of this day.
What’s it about?
Lughnasadh (also called Lammas) is one of the four Greater Sabbats, which honestly blows my mind because it really isn’t celebrated with as much flash as some lesser holidays on the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. Perhaps, it’s because there aren’t any Hallmark holidays on or near August 1st. It’s a big deal for a good reason, though. It’s a day to recognize Summer’s gradual end and Autumn’s approach. In many areas of the world, this is when farmers harvest grain, and delicious loaves of bread are baked. In fact, Lammas literally means “loaf mass.” So, like most pagan holidays, this is a special day agriculturally speaking. It is also an important day to celebrate two essential deities, Danu and Lugh.
Danu and Lugh
Lughnasadh is said to be in honor of two major deities in the Tuatha de Danaan, Danu, and Lugh. I could spend forever talking about the Tuatha de Danaan, especially regarding Brigid and Dagda (my faves). There’s simply not enough time on a Tuesday evening, and Lughnasadh isn’t about every single Irish god. It’s about Danu and Lugh.
Danu is pretty much the most important Gaelic deity there is. From her, all the rest of the Tuatha de Danaan descended. She is the ultimate mother goddess. She is the one that rulers kneel before, hoping to be blessed. She is the one that bestowed gifts upon the other gods. She is who you look to for power, fertility, and wealth.
Lugh is one of her descendants and an amazing one at that. Lugh is the God of Oaths and keeper of The Spear, which made him impossible to beat in battle. He is a sun god and patron of all craftspeople. He is said to have poured his spirit into the grains that the Irish farmed to help them survive the coming cold months. This was done at the behest of his foster mother Tailte, who laid dying from her efforts to keep her people fed. Lughnasadh is a holy day established by Lugh to hold sporting events and funeral feasts to honor Tailte’s sacrifice.
What do you do on Lughnasadh?
A big thing to do on Lughnasadh is bake bread. Tailte gave her life to make sure we had grains to survive, right? So, honor her sacrifice by being present in the moment as you work the magic of turning grains into something warm and fluffy and nurturing.
Competitive games are also popular. This is actually a great Sabbat for children because these games can be any skill level. It could be anything from hula-hooping contests to Olympic level sports.
How do I feel about Lughnasadh?
It’s a great holiday, an important one, but I struggle with the traditional Wheel of the Year. I’m pagan, not Wiccan. I live in Florida. Paganism is about worshipping and honoring nature. August 1st is hardly the decline of Summer down here. In fact, Autumn will barely be making an appearance where I live. It will be sometime around the end of November when it does. It is hard for me to connect with the idea of gathering up the harvest to prepare for the Winter when Winter doesn’t really happen here…not really.
I’m less about what’s on the calendar and more about the natural rhythm and flow of the world around me. While I personally find a strong attachment to Gaelic deities because of my ancestry, it is my inclination that divinity isn’t something separate from us. It is within us and all around us. We are permeated in it, saturated even.
For me, Florida Summers are more like my ancestors’ Winters. It’s a time to retreat inside, away from the brutal heat and humidity. More plants die in a Florida Summer than in a Florida Winter. So, I honor Summers as a time of introspection and family togetherness. As the pandemic rages hot and heavy in my state, this is more true than ever.
So, Lughnasadh is a beautiful feast day and absolutely deserves to be one of the Greater Sabbats. However, it’s not my day. It belongs to my ancestors. I create my own rituals and traditions, and that has its own magic. That being said, I am down for any excuse to spend a morning baking bread with gratitude. Try it out for yourself with this recipe and spell.
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Princess Eya’s life changes forever with the discovery of the Statue of the Goddess Winds, just as she’s coming of age. The long-overlooked kingdom of Hicares finds itself in a war it isn’t prepared for against the far more powerful empire of Pescel. To survive, Eya must flee her home, losing everything and everyone she loves in the process.
Yet, by leaving behind all she’s ever known, she learns that her sheltered life didn’t prepare her for the real world’s strange and frightening nature. She encounters people, places, and creatures beyond anything she ever imagined, along with sinister enemies from every direction. Perhaps her most surprising revelation is that she is developing terrifying powers of her own. Will Eya be able to find happiness in her new life, or will she continue struggling with the current?
Struggling With the Current is the first book of The Telverin Trilogy, a fantasy war story that takes place between several countries in the world of Telverin.
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Struggling With the Current is the first book in The Telverin Trilogy, a story about an exiled princess who finds herself in a terrifying world with equally frightening powers.