In the same way that Beltaine was a festival of sacred fire so shall Lughnasad be a festival of sacred water. Let the tuath use this day to dress a well in thanksgiving, to make offerings to the Mother Goddess river of their region and to bathe themselves and their farm animals in “wild water”, a stream or a river, a lake, a pond, or the sea. In every case shall offerings and prayers of thanksgiving be made to sacred water.
Then shall the people make offerings to standing stones, dressing them with wreaths of new grain and flowers and placing first fruits at their feet. And let them cut a sheaf of new grain and set it alight in the ancient manner, burning off the husks with fire. Then let them grind the grain in a quern or a mill and bake a bannock from it saying;
On the feast say of Lugh and of Danu,
I cut a handful of the new corn,
I purified it by fire,
And rubbed it sharply from the husk with my own hand.
I ground it in a quern,
I baked it on a fan of sheepskin,
I toasted it to a fire of rowan,
And I shared it round my people.
I went sunwise round my dwelling
In the names of Lugh and Danu
Who have preserved me,
Who are preserving me,
And who will preserve me,
In peace, in flocks
In strength of heart,
In labor, in love,
In wisdom and mercy,
until the day of my death.
Then the people shall carry the bannock three times sunwise round their dwelling. Then shall they stop before their field or garden and break the bannock. Each member of the household shall take one piece of bannock and throw it behind them naming a thing they wish to appease, whether blight, disease, worry, the fox, the crow, or any other influence that interferes with their good life.
Likewise shall Lughnasad be a festival of the High Places. After bathing in sacred water and appeasing the forces of chaos shall the people visit a mountain top or a hill top, and better it be a mountaintop or a hilltop where there is also sacred water. And if there be water there let them honor the water with offerings and prayers of thanks. And let them also honor the Sun that gives energy to the crops, the Moon who makes the crops grow with Her juices, the lightening who purifies the air and the winds that bring good weather. Likewise the good soil that nourishes all beings.
Then let them feast and play games, pick berries and make merry as they please.
Copyright 1999, Ellen Evert Hopman