- Lughnasadh 2016
In a cozy forest of New England, surrounded by birch trees, Echinaceas, festive green-men and butterflies that defy the limits of beauty, a group of druids and I joined in celebration to honor the beginning of the harvest season.
Lughnasadh is the Celtic festival in honor of Lugh, the skilled in many arts, who brings fertility, community, and light to the people. For which I think of him as the representation of consciousness. This is one of the four main Celtic season festivals along with Samhain, which celebrates the cycle of death and rebirth, the ancestors, and the moment of placid rest in Winter; Imbolc marks the renewal of life in the beginning of Spring; and Beltane, stands bright to rejoice the smiles of Summer.
We gathered at the home of a welcoming druidess host, who has incessantly dedicated the past 40 years to spread the Druidic lore, and to create community in ritual to honor the earth. This place is home the same to medicinal herbs and fairies, and there was a time when mother bears and their cubs enjoyed strolls around the path. It was no surprise that Brigid of the Tuatha, the daughter of the Dagda and triple deity of Spring, healing, and poetry made herself present in this space. This was our refuge for the weekend.
Five of us set our camps on Friday night, and made our first libation and offerings with smiles, mead and music around a well-tended bonfire. The night kept going with songs of fire that lulled our dreams and welcomed the deep-time.
Dusk or dawn are the best times for ritual for the Celts, for the between and betwixt of nature welcomes the bonding of the spirit, the body, and the mind and makes us more sensitive to the three realms of sky, earth and sea. Our ritual took place at dusk. We left mandala-food-offerings for the fairy world, and as we greeted Manannán, deity of the sea, the path was opened to us to the well of Brigid, and then to the ritual grounds. As we walked the forest, we sprinkled the trail with sounds of Gaeilc and Old Irish, myths and songs of old.
We are the people of the Earth…
Our first station was the stream of Brigid. Unfortunately, the recent drought caused by higher-than-usual temperatures had dried the stream for the first time. We found only the cracked soil and rocks along its thirsty bottom path. We made offerings for the waters to return, and offered a joined meditation as we tied our clooties from the branches of the tree. We continued to find grandfather oak tree and left offerings to his roots, trunk and branches that are vehicles to the realms of life. We continued to the ritual grounds, and our music connected our vibrations to the land. Our fire-tender, brought to life a contained fire that seemed larger than life. The ritual began with the welcoming to the four direction, the center, and the three realms. The fire grew stronger, bursting its power in our hearts.
May we find balance. May we embrace community. May we welcome diversity of being, of thought, of body and of heart. May we set the light in action, and may we grow the love for life. May we realize the idea of separateness is created by a mind in fear, greed, or anger; which can be purified by the openness of heart. May we sense the interconnectedness all over, and the interdependence of all beings. May we realize the other is as beautiful as is the air, the earth, fire and water. May we soothe the pain of others; and may we bring peace, always through the path of justice. May we awaken to the only way to life: Love.
As these words were spoken, a Sidhe, a liminal being of the forest of fairy realms, appeared between the trees, by the stream. It stopped, looked at us, shone its light, and left in a trace of stars.
The runes of divination sung potential fertility, and a change in the status of peace, thus, a possible establishment of peace.
May it be.
After the final food-mandala offering, we thanked the directions and the realms for the love and the guidance, and we headed back home.
We shared in communion for love, and we celebrated and feasted for life.
It rained heavily all night. The following day, the stream was singing its waters again.
Indeed, families are found anywhere, even among the realms, whenever we share an open heart.