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lughnasadh

Lughnasadh Poem

August, 2018

Lughnasadh

The scythe is laid to rest

Now hands beat on chest

As all gather to prove

They are the best

The pride, the joy, the champion

The hero, the one, the winner

In each and every new contest.

Each struggle is met with smiles

Tug of war, rock tossing, wrestling

Fleet footed races through ditches and bogs

Peaty feet slipping and caked in

History.

We fly kites, and hunt treasure

20 questions, buzzing with pleasure

Simple joys, still competing

But no conflict. Competition

Without war.

Just, as we think, Lugh’s mother Tailtiu

Would have wanted.

After all, that’s who he made

Lughnasadh for.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Lughnasadh

August, 2018

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Lughnasadh

Lammas and Lughnasadh get a bit of a bad rap. The biggest issue is the dating. When the shift from old to Gregorian calendars happened in 1782 the year lost 11 days. So we have two dates 31 of July and August 12. The next thing was that instead of celebrating on the day, the church bumped the celebrations to the nearest Sundays or saints’ days.

So what is this celebrating? Who is Lugh? What is a loaf mass anyway?

This is the beginning of harvest. From wild foraging, to gardens and fields full of golden wheat and barley all was about to gathered in. A good harvest can be spoilt with a run of bad weather, a sudden storm or infestation. It is then with all of your food for winter on the line a good idea to get the Gods on side. If it went well it was a time of celebration and merry making.

Lugh of Lughnasadh (the death of Lugh- feast of Lugh) is sometimes interpreted as a storm God or even a sky God in general. He is also the God of skill and many games. Sometimes he is seen as the sun God or God whom dies, much like the grain so the land is fertile. This sacrificial cycle makes sense and the “death” of the grain is part of many other Celtic traditions around Europe. Many harvest rituals of strangers cutting the last of the wheat or throwing the sickle as to avert bad luck come back to the “I don’t want to kill a God” part of the harvest. It is also the time when you will need to figure out what to hold back for next year’s planting, what to sprout for whiskey and beer, and what to keep for bread.

Farming communities would all help each other out, and everyone was expected to help bring in the harvest. This is still why at least in the UK our school holidays happen when they do, because children were also expected to help. “Straw marriages” of a year and a day would happen as the community was already gathered together and likely going to get drunk too!

Bilberry babies” were children conceived at this time. The fact that the wild places and ancient ritual mounds and wells had plenty of bilberries as an excuse to be there didn’t hurt either.

Sacred wells were often dressed with flowers and while Lughnasadh seems all about Lugh it is always a good idea to make sure that the ancestors and Goddesses were happy too. Ireland and Britain have a huge number of sacred wells. Water was seen as the connection to the Otherworld. Offering from swords to cauldrons, flowers and butter were left. Much like our wishing wells. Wells usually had a sacred tree nearby and a sacred hill. The deosil (anti-clockwise) route was usually taken to properly visit all three. Women in particular were to wash and/or drink from the well and then tie a strip of cloth to the tree, then maybe rub the standing stone or lie on a stone on the hill to help conception.

Lammas then? Loaf mass was exactly that. A Christian mass to celebrate the return of grain and fruit. I think this is always why I prefer Lughnasadh as a name. It is more complex and odd but it speaks of something older. It is important to understand something of the Celtic mind set to understand the wheel of the year properly. Celts celebrate death. A good death is important. Even now an average wake could last up to four days in more rural parts of Ireland. It isn’t morbid as such more that death is a necessary part of life. Community celebrations strengthened the bonds between them and created the future (in a real and Bilberry baby sort of way!) and gave an opportunity for the old songs to be sung and those lost to be remembered. Sure they WENT to the loaf mass. They made the bread, beer and whiskey, but they also went to the wilds, to the wells, and the ancient trees. They went up the Reek and watched the sunrise.

So what does this mean to you? What is your harvest? What is in a fragile state and requires gentle tending and an extra bit of luck? What food matters to you? Where does your food come from? Be it grain, bean or berry; what you put into your body now and later matters.

So how to celebrate Lughnasadh? It is a time to gather, food and people. To sit in the dark with a fire and sing the ancient songs. The sad songs, the old songs, the bawdy songs. To twist wildflowers in the hair. To whisper your sweet nothings under the stars and beside the standing stones. If you are alone for Lughnasadh you could have a fire, or make bread or cake. You could go and “pick your own” or give a little offer to Lugh before you harvest your own garden. It is an excellent time to mindfully harvest your herbs and flowers for the coming year.

You could go to a well, river or spring and decorate it with flowers. You could also go give to a food bank or homeless shelter. Or clean up a local cemetery or wild space of rubbish. Cleanse if you need to, be it at a sacred site or your bathroom.

Go outside, go to the wilds if you can. You are not separate from this sacred earth, not immune to its seasons. Plant something, scatter some seeds. Tie some cotton to a tree and make a wish.

For as you sow so shall you reap. I would advise listening to some folk songs, John Barleycorn in particular. Or maybe some Jethro Tull, and enjoying the poppies red and roses filled with summer rain.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

August, 2018

August 2018 for Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Bright Blessings!

It has been unusually hot this year, and me, the cats, and my husband are melting! We are thankful for our air conditioner, and we venture out early in the morning or later at night.

The dog is not thrilled, as she likes longer walks, and is immune to extreme weather.

Maybe I will come back as a dog in the next life!

The garden, however, is absolutely thriving. The new rose I planted has tiny red sprouts on it, the cherry tomato is producing abundantly, the marigolds are showing their golden manes proudly, and the zinnias, dear gods, the zinnias are the stars of the garden!

The Wheel of the Year is quickly moving towards first harvest. Already, the days are noticeably shorter, and we are even having a few cool nights. Blackberries, mint, and lavender have already been harvested here, and my cat has diligently been munching on the poor nasturtiums!

First Harvest

Depending on your tradition, you may celebrate Lammas or Lughnassadh. Both celebrate harvests, and celebrate harvest of different things.

In years past, I have written in detail about these ancient harvest celebrations, but this year I am going to focus on a different aspect of the blessings of the Sabbat-respect, and balance.

As we celebrate the things we have begun, and give thanks for the beginnings of what we reap from these sowings, we respectfully acknowledge we did not do it all on our own.

At times, the gods, the spirits, and the ancestors helped, and we give the credit that is due to them. In our rituals, we partake of the powers of these spirits, and also of the land where we draw resources to provide what we need to meet our goals.

In North America, many of us are immigrants from other Nations, and we touch the earth that has been sacred to countless generations of tribal people we do not share genetics with. As Pagans, and magical workers, we pick up on the power of the sacred spaces, and communicate with the spirits, and work with the existing energies.

On one hand, it is very American for non-indigenous people to be fascinated with the indigenous, and have romanticized ideas of their splendor, as if they are a mythical race of beauties. On the other hand, we are still actively benefiting from the forced assimilation, and the Reservation system that keeps indigenous people in poverty today. We do not MEAN such harm, but it is happening.

Then, many in our communities cherry pick what they consider Native American spiritual practices, take Indian names, and declare themselves Indians when they have no proof of ancestry, have had zero exposure to, or participation in Native American communities, and even go so far as to ordain themselves leaders in modern “Native American” groups, and assume they can become instant Indians.

This is called cultural misappropriation, and it is one topic I will pick up later in the article.

Rejuvenation

Healing, and prayers for good health are also part of harvest celebrations. In days past, prayers for enough food were constant, as that was how to ensure survival. Prayers to keep pests off crops, and to keep crops and animals producing were included. Now, we pray for good jobs so we can hit the stores to buy what we need instead of growing our own.

Prayers for good health could be translated as prayers to hold off aging and death- one word for this is rejuvenation.

One of the daily ways we rejuvenate the body is by eating. It is very true that we are what we eat. Food is the first source of medicine for the body, and it either adds or detracts years from our lives.

Pharmaceuticals also can be used to heal the body. We have become more and more aware of the fact that doctors and companies are for-profit, and the side effects from drugs aggressively marketed to the public can cause more harm than good. Furthermore, as we are human beings, and not gods, we are imperfect, and doctors sometimes make mistakes. It is no wonder than many seek out alternative medicine, and mind over matter techniques in hopes the body can heal itself.

Members of our Pagan and New Age communities understand all too well what the medical world refers to as “the placebo affect”. We understand the power of faith to heal. Some even go so far as to believe that if they break their neck, they don’t need to see a doctor, and that all they need to do is order their body to repair itself. We have seen a plethora of news stories where very conservative Xtian parents went to jail for allowing their child to die out of belief medicine is sinful, and their god would heal them if only their faith was strong enough. While we laugh or shake our heads, condemning these Xtians for this, we have plenty of people within our own communities guilty of this same mindset. Many of us fail to see this.

Balance

I cannot tell you how many people have asked me to do a tarot reading to diagnose illness, and I flat out refuse. I am of the mind that prayers, faith, meditation, proper diet and exercise are good for the body, but they do not replace medical intervention when it is necessary. All these things work together, and must be balanced for our health and wellbeing.

As a Wiccan, one of the Tenets I follow is the Tennent of The Balanced Life.

This tenet was written about by the illustrious Sybil Leek in her publication The Complete Art of Witchcraft from 1971. If you do not own a copy of this book, you should run right out and get it. I am 75% finished with it, and I am so glad I am reading it. In her chapter “Leading a Balanced Life”, Leek writes how mental, spiritual, and physical well-being are linked. She wrote of the insane pace of life in modern times, and the push to do more, faster, and better, and how it takes a toll on human beings. This impossibly unhealthy lifestyle exhausts, and stresses human beings to the point of physical ailments. Finding peace within oneself in this hectic lifestyle is very crucial. Work leisure, and rest have to be balanced, or the body is thrown off, and gets sick.

One thing I will add to that, is many folk do not touch the earth. Many live in concrete boxes, and operate in asphalt jungles. Going into nature is considered “getting away from things”, or a vacation. Nature should surround us daily. Science has proven that when you touch the earth, it lowers blood pressure, and walks in the woods clear the lungs of the polluted air from cars and smog. Trees eat the carbon dioxide cars and factories emit. The earth breaks down bodies that are decomposing, and uses them to grow plants. The body benefits from fruits and veggies, and some people (not me), swear they feel better consuming only a plant-based diet.

What I am saying is, one of the ills that plagues modern man, and unbalances us is the disconnection we have from the earth.

One of the memes that makes me very angry is the one that shows a photo of a bottle of pills, and says “This is poison” and shows a photo of a nature trail, and says “This is medicine.”

This shows complete lack of compassion for people who need pharmaceuticals, and also shows the individual who has this belief has never experienced a serious illness.

Medical intervention is required for the human body, but is not a substitute for a balanced life. In the same way, the human body, even if balanced, sometimes needs the help of pharmaceuticals to heal, and rejuvenate itself. Leading a Balanced Life allows us to accept the human body is not an entity that can completely restructure itself. Without proper amounts of water, food, medicine, sunlight, exercise, love, industriousness, rest, or oxygen, the body will die. Combining these things perfectly is key, and neglecting any of them, and doing MORE of one other thing fixes nothing.

The One That Got Away

Recently, I was asked to review a film, and I flat out refused to, because it asserted their psychic counselors and meditation coaches completely replaced medical care. This is a dangerous, and unethical claim. These people do not accept medical insurance, and all counseling sessions and classes have to be paid out of pocket. One hour sessions range from $150-$250 each person. A lot of people simply cannot afford that.

To be fair, some attend groups like this because it makes them happy, which reduces stress, and improves immune functioning. This is healing.

However, if you are having a heart attack, don’t just schedule a meditation appointment. You need a doctor.

If you have a contagious infection which is airbourne, and that can kill people, don’t put up a shield to “protect” people. Stay away from people while you are contagious, and take your medication.

Just because you are unaware of something does not mean it does not exist.

Balance of mental tranquility with taking proper care of the human body’s needs must be maintained, or you aren’t healthy.

Now, you do not HAVE to be healthy. I could stand to lose more than a few pounds, myself, so I am not condemning anybody whose health is not perfect. But to be ignorant, and spread that ignorance to gain customers, and endanger their health, by pulling them away from the medical care they need causes so much harm. It is beyond unethical, and I flat out refused to promote the film. I can’t even remember what it is called at this point.

Calling All Earthlings

Having spoken of these things, I was asked to review another film, and I decided to, although I disliked this film greatly. This is a necessary film for those of us in Pagan and New Age communities, as well as those who seek out alternative medicine, because it demonstrates how gullible we truly are when we allow our fantasies to get the better of us.

 

Movie Trailer

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7ya_2R-eEI[/embedyt]

 

It is a Carpe Stella Production, and here is the website for the film.

http://www.callingallearthlingsmovie.com/

It was cast as a documentary by director Jonathan Berman, and I appreciate the fact nothing is held back. It touches on the topics of government conspiracy, aliens, the system vs. the individual citizen, cultural misappropriation, modern spirituality, and the spectacular natural scenery will make you want to jump in the car and head out for a road trip in the Mojave Desert.

It is shown how one man’s claim that an alien, who he said was over 700 years old taught him rejuvenation techniques for the body, were so well received that the site is still in use today, many years after his death.

Today, you can visit the site, and the team who operate there will book your event, and you can pay $100 plus per person to have a sound bath therapy, which is lying comfortably and enjoying a nice concert of various singing bowls being played. The building is called the Integretron, and the acoustics in the place are awesome. If you can’t make the trip or afford the fee, you can purchase a CD for $15 plus shipping and handling fees.

Various individuals claiming UFO sightings and encounters are also interviewed.

A grandiose story is presented by some of George Van Tassel’s friends and followers of his valiant attempts to create a sanctuary of healing, as ascribed by said alien. They also allege that his attempts to generate wireless electricity were thwarted by the government, and it is suggested the government killed him in the process.

A couple of professors speaking of history and social patterns of alien enthusiasts are interviewed as well, so it’s not like the documentary is 100% one sided. We get to hear from people who say it’s complete balderdash, although almost every speaker is very convinced it’s all true.

The longer we exist, the larger we find out the universe actually is, and we discover more galaxies we previously had not known about. It’s clear we are not the only lifeforms in the solar systems. However, the probability of an alien appearing only to a few select “chosen few” is highly unlikely, and it is asserted in the film by a couple of “Futurists” that aliens appear only to a select few because humanity is not ready yet for contact.

It is also to be noted the site the Integratron is near, Giant Rock, is close by Fort Irwin National Training Center which is a major training facility for the US military. Yes, they have air craft, and it is said they do experiments with new technology there. I wonder how many so-called UFO sightings were actually people observing military aircraft, and exercises? How much of it was actually illusions caused by the crippling desert heat? How much of this is belief creating illusions, and makes some ascribe mundane things to fantastical occurrences?

The thing that stood out to me most of all was how many people kept insisting Giant Rock is positioned on a vortex of great power, and the ancient Native Americans held the place very sacred.

An elder and tribal historian of the Morongo Indians, Ernest Siva, was interviewed for a very short time, disappointingly short- after all- this is supposedly an ancient sacred indigenous site. I strongly feel that he, and other indigenous people, as opposed to New Age business people, and alien enthusiasts should have been given more importance in this. As my hearing is not great, and the website that had the link I reviewed has no subtitles, I was unable to hear much of what he said. He spoke of a tribal story that his people came from another place. I was not sure where the filmmakers were going with that.

I decided to reach out to Mr. Siva, and see what I could learn from him. After a few e-mails, communication completely stopped before deadline, and I was unable to complete the interview.

Cultural Misappropriation Versus Cultural Exchange

One huge issue in our Pagan and New Age communities is misappropriation of Native American culture. How many groups, shops, or New Age or Pagan businesses have we all visited where non Native Americans are selling services based on what was sacred to ancient Native Americans?

I wonder how indigenous people feel about the fact the Reservation system both physically removed indigenous people from their sacred spaces, but also assimilated them into a completely different religion that does not hold such things scared.

Generations of their families journeyed to places like Giant Rock for sacred observances, and very distinctive ways of communicating with the spirits and divinities there were developed over long periods of time. The spirits and divinities got used to that communication at places like Giant Rock, and when places of commerce for the conquerors moves in and takes over, this communication ceases. As noted before, some people are still awake and aware of the voices of those spirits, however, we do not belong to the cultures of people who venerated them, and while we may benefit an adrenaline rush from communication, our methods and intentions are not always respectful.

One individual interviewed for the documentary turned out to be a “medicine woman” who is a blonde haired, blue eyed individual, so I did a bit of research. While I have met plenty of tribal people who are not dark skinned, or are not 100% this or that tribe, I am always suspicious of a very bohemian behaving New Agey white person who claims they are some form of shaman or medicine person. Most especially when I see all their followers are paying clients, and/or their website lists no tribal affiliations, and they list fees for services. It’s not tribal medicine, it’s a business.

She calls herself Valerie Brightheart, and she, like any clergy person facilitates weddings, but also something called snuggle parties.

While I do not know if it was Valerie and her business shown in this video clip from An Idiot Abroad, you can watch it as an example of cuddle/snuggle parties. I have no knowledge of this being a Native American practice.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCf4UlZ22p4[/embedyt]

Valerie’s church is the Oklevueha Native American Church of Soncco Wasi Home of the Heart. To be a member, all you have to do is fill out and send them a form, pay the fee, and you too can belong to this church. You have to commit to use only Native American medicines like Marijuana, peyote, and ayahuasca. I don’t know if that means onsite, or in general. You can pay a $200 lifetime membership fee if you are not Native American. If you are actually Native American, your lifetime fee is $30. If you are a Veteran and are Native American, your lifetime fee is a mere $20.

One thing I will point out is the people practicing on these so-called sacred Native American spaces are non-Native Americans. That is okay in many instances, because tribe does not necessarily go by just birth and race. People marry into tribes, and very few people today can boast 100% ancestry to one single race. Even within Native American families who claim to be all one tribe, over time, tribes have combined, and different families had babies together. So, to assert you can only have a certain DNA to be tribal is ludicrous. The issue is the fascination many non-tribal people have with actual tribal people, and the desire to play Indian for fun outside of the childhood playground is highly disrespectful.

To further make money by impersonating an Indian, or to move into a sacred space using it for income, and drum up public interest because “It was sacred to ancient Indians” is unethical.

Communication with Other People’s Ancestors

On one hand, who owns the ancient power places? Who owns the spirits, and who has the right to speak with them, and tell people what they say back? Does race and ancestry decide that, or do the spirits just want their voices heard, and connection with the living, even if it is not their own descendants?

A Heathen man I once spoke to was perplexed by the idea of churches and sanctuaries. “All the earth is sacred”, he told me. There is great truth in this. But has Giant Rock, and the Integratron become a place that is being poached by white business owners, and like the Black Hills, has it been taken from the indigenous who ought to have it back immediately?

The filmmakers don’t seem to think so. They cast this as a sacred place of healing, where you may contact with other lifeforms, as a place of love, healing, peace, and a place that is greatly misunderstood by the mainstream.

This film is very important for those in the Pagan and New Age communities to watch to remind us that magic is not supernatural, but natural. It harmonizes with the laws of the Universe, science being one reality. We cannot fly on brooms. We cannot turn into cats. We cannot live forever.

We can, however, fly in airplanes, have pet cats, or dress up as a cat in a costume, and we can improve our health, and increase our life expectancy by living a balanced life.

My Neighbors

I am blessed to live next door to some good earth loving folks. It’s a mother and father, and two adorable boys. The mother and her mom are Shawnee. I was able to reach out to them and discuss topics this film raised.

The mother’s mother, Kossia said Native American practices developed in distinctive ways, and it is necessary to use them properly if you want them to work. My Priest has said this same thing many times.

Her daughter, Speaks with Trees, said her concern is not so much that somebody who is not racially Native American sells things used in Native American practices. She said sometimes it is actually easier to go through non-Native business owners to get the herbs and stones she needs to practice. The issue is the fact that Native American people are struggling to have decent places to be together. Many Reservations are not ideal.

On Reservations, households are significantly more likely to have no electricity, no running water, improper sewage removal, incomplete kitchens, and no phones. The public high school graduation rate for Native Americans is lower than any other racial group in the US. The suicide rate of Native American youths is higher than for any other racial group in the US. The unemployment rates are higher. This is devastating poverty.

Speaks with Trees said an issue is that Native American people, who have been forced off land, are struggling to even survive. She said, “If you steal something from somebody, do you give it back? If you harm somebody, and it causes harm to generations of their family, how do you rectify that?”

The Dakota Pipeline is just one sign it’s not being rectified.

Kossia pointed out that intent matters. There are a lot of sacred places where Native Americans don’t have the capacity to use as such anymore. HOW you use the site, and WHY you are there matters.

She also pointed out that there are over 500 distinct Native American groups known, and that does not even include the groups who were not identified by whoever identified the other 500 some. This reminds us that when discussing “Native American spirituality”, the differences are so diverse, we cannot in any way lump them all into one set of practices.

All of these things both ladies said are important to keep in mind when visiting a site sacred to the ancient indigenous Americans. It is also important to keep in mind when attending pow wows, and learning spiritual practices ascribed to Americas indigenous tribal people.

While spirit transcends race, some of us are not Indians. We should find out about who the people we buy goods and services actually are, and check their credentials. Non-Indians impersonating Indians are plentiful, and we don’t need to enable that.

We need not segregate or do only what our ancestors did. Traditions in, and of themselves are living things, which change. Talks with Trees pointed out most of us have lots of different kinds of ancestry, and almost nobody has just one kind. Kossia spoke of the importance of working together, and learning from each other. She also said intent matters. To want to learn is called cultural exchange. We have always migrated, and we learn new things from our new friends who we move in near. We share knowledge and wisdom. Respect is the key.

This Month’s Working

Instead of a traditional Lammas or Lughnassadh working, I’d like to talk about what to do when you detect energy or sacred power at a site you are unfamiliar with, and want to do a working there.

Some people would say to completely avoid working with energy you do not know of. Just because you feel something does not mean you should connect with it.

Many magicians will tell you that spirits can lie, and do, and I have spoken with more than one individual that warns of spirit parasites that possess human beings.

If you are like me, and you are going to communicate despite what people think might go wrong, I can’t criticize you for that.

Technically, to be a witch, or any form of magician, you have to be able to move energy, and some would say, ANY energy you come across. This does not mean you don’t reach out to somebody else for help sometimes. This just means you need to practice reading energies so you can feel what they are, what they do, and whether or not they are best avoided.

There are going to be times you hit the park, find a nice, secluded area, and want to cast circle or do a working, and there are already energies there. Typically, you either banish them, and set up your own energies, or work with and experience what is already there.

I have a different suggestion.

Move them aside temporarily. It is almost like saying “Excuse me for a minute, and let me borrow this space, and then I will go on my way.”

This is the working I will include here. This can be used at any time, and anyplace. Members of all traditions can use this, and it does not entail veneration of any deity. This is respectful of the energies and spirits of a place, but allow you a clean slate to work with before your working begins.

Setting Energy Aside

Stop and ground yourself for a moment before you begin. Then quietly walk around the area you intend to clear. Open your mind to what energies and spirits are there, and pay attention to any messages you get.

Have you got a very string spirit who does not want its space tampered with? Is the whole energy of the place off, and it would take many sessions of clearing to clean it? Did something traumatic happen here, and the imprinting from it will overwhelm you, compromising the possible success of your working? You may decide to move elsewhere. That is okay. Always gauge the space first to see what it is you are moving aside.

If you do, indeed decide to use this space, you don’t need any tools like incense or magic words.

You just need to take deep breaths, and move your hands from the ground up to the sky, as if you are pulling energy, and sending it upward, and gently away.

You will feel with your own energy when you nab the end piece of the energy, and you just gather it up, and release it, with the intent it will stay gone until you finish. Walk the whole space in a circle, doing this same operation. You will be able to feel when it is done. Ensure the whole time, you keep your own energy to yourself, and do not absorb any of the energy you are moving from the site.

You don’t need to call the energies back after you finish. If the energy wants to, it will settle back into place on its own.

That’s it.

Simple, isn’t it?

This can be used anytime you go someplace where you want to lift some energy out. Say you are about to have a meeting in the board room where there was just a heated exchange, and you want the tone light, and stress-free. You can take that energy from previous meeting, and send it off.

If your kids have been spastic all day, and you have sent them off with an auntie for the evening, to have an adult cocktail party in the living area, you can use this operation to send that ty energy off for a more relaxing atmosphere.

If you cried your eyes out in your car after being stood up by a date, use this to get all that sadness out of the car.

The sky is the limit to what this technique can be used for.

Blessed energy working.

Blessed First Harvest.

Blessed Be.

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gael Song

August, 2018

Lughnasa


Lughnasa is my very favorite spirit time of year. The solstice/equinox and cross-quarter days mark the cosmic openings of the eight basic aspects of spirit in all things, shifts that are quite powerful. If you are into feeling energy or spirit, these can easily be felt. The masculine openings occur at sunrise, the feminine at sunset on the eve of each holy day. Early in each year, at Imbolc, this spirit opening feels like a baby, a little Girl. Then comes the Boy of the Vernal Equinox, the Virgin Girl and Boy of Bealtaine and Midsummer, the mother and father of Lughnasa and the Autumnal Equinox, the Grandmother at Samhein, until finally, the Grandfather opens on Midwinter. And all these cosmic aspects of spirit are quite different, with very varied directives in life, plus they open the six-week phase of growth for that inner aspect of the self until the next solstice/equinox portal for everyone. All of us, men and women alike, the cosmos and the earth, too, have these eight parts of our spirits, for this sacred structure interfaces all things. We are not so different after all.

So, on the evening before Aug. 5th, the cosmic Mother spirit opens; within each person, across the globe, and in all the planes of existence. And it is a dramatic change from the world server, strong-willed, action oriented Virgin Male of the preceding six weeks. Everything suddenly slows down. There is a nurturing, comforting presence billowing through the wind and clouds. I often feel the impulse to lie down and rest on the earth’s body, a mother herself. This is Lughnasa. Divine Mother can be particularly felt in the first fruits of the harvest. For this holy day also marks the opening of the action ethers within, which means manifestation into the physical, the specialty of the harvest father, Lugh, for whom even this feminine festival is named. This cosmic mother loves to nourish all her children with foods that delight, manifesting the tastiest blueberries or corn or cucumbers from her soil. The fruits of all the inner work of the previous nine moons of walking one’s path begin to appear at this time as well (the Apple moon is the tenth of the druid year), not just the outer harvest of grains and fruits, for the cosmic Mother wants to manifest all our dreams as well! (Though I have the distinct feeling that foods and recipes that simply cannot be resisted might be her personal favorite.) In my meditations into past lives as a Celt in Scotland over 2,000 years ago, I recalled large tribal celebrations at Lughnasa in honor of the earth mother, with extravagant expressions of gratitude for all the natural resources the earth mother had provided over the passing year, each tribe trying to outdo the others. I saw all priestesses who were mothers circled inside the groves in my visions, too, priestesses in divination meditations, calling out anything they saw that might lay ahead for the tribes, blessings and challenges both. And there were always swans on the lochs, too, the mother totem.

But more than this, Lughnasa falls during the Apple Moon, moon of the Goddess, the White Tara, July 27th-Aug. 19th. And when I do my own Lughnasa ceremony at my altar, calling in my druid guides to facilitate the opening of the mother part of my spirit, I always feel the gentle Presence of the White Tara come in around me as well. “Let Me come very close”,” She says, “I miss you so much, child of My Heart!” And I can sense spirit arms around my shoulders or a gentle head laid, very lightly, on my own with that strong eternal Mother Love pouring into me. And I remember the same thing happening in those ancient lifetimes, too, a personal encounter with the Goddess around the time of Lughnasa in those great tribal crowds, a sweet message of mother love to each and every person there. For myself, I need a space of silence for this intimate interface, not the loud, talking on and on, ceremonies that many prefer. And it’s when I fall asleep later that evening when I often feel Her most closely, spirit fingertips brushing across my temples. Oh, She can become very insistent about learning distressing wisdom lesson of the mother aspect at times across the next six weeks, I’ll grant you that, but not on this one holy day. It brings mother comfort and sweet abiding love, stronger in ways than any other. And then on Aug. 8th, three days past Lughnasa, there is always another personal Goddess message, but this time not a visitation, no, a physical gift of some sort that signifies what else will soon be manifesting during the harvest season. Lughnasa, mother comfort, peace, sweet rest, delicious things to eat, and the hint of fulfillment soon to come. No wonder I love it more than all the rest!

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About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornAlba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to Arthurian Fulfillment

Notes from the Apothecary

July, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Sunflower

 

Despite being used by many Pagans as a symbol of the Summer Solstice, the bright and bold sunflower actually flowers a little later, in the deep heart of summer, during July and August. When the lazy, hot days take over, before the light starts to wane, these great, golden faces nod towards their namesake, spreading sunshine wherever they grow.

Sunflowers range from small, cheeky bright yellow flowers to towering golden giants, yellow and black, resembling great, mutant bumblebees on stalks. There are darks ones, pale ones and even some that seem almost black or purple.

 

The Kitchen Garden

Sunflowers are pretty easy to grow, and the seeds are often given to kids to encourage them to enjoy gardening. Competitions to see who can grow the tallest sunflower are common, and watching the plants soar skywards in the warmer months is a prize in itself.

Although they are named for their resemblance to the sun, sunflowers do actually need a sunny spot to achieve their full potential, along with some well drained soil and good compost. Many sunflowers can be grown for their seeds, which are nutritious and tasty when toasted. The seeds are cultivated commercially for their oil, which is used for so many culinary purposes it would take the whole article to list them here! Sunflower oil is a healthier alternative to many fats, even some types of olive oil. It’s fairly neutral in flavour, which makes it widely popular as it can be used in a diverse range of cuisines. Across Eastern Europe, a crumbly version of the sweet halva is made from a sort of sunflower butter.

 

The Apothecary

Mrs Grieve tells us that the seeds of the sunflower have diuretic properties, meaning they help us pass water more frequently, which can be useful to flush out our kidneys if combined with drinking lots of water. It’s important to remember that when using any diuretic, some important minerals and vitamins can be lost, particularly potassium. Dandelion is a great way to remedy this.

The seeds have also been used as an expectorant, and this application helps with bronchial, larynx and pulmonary issues including whooping cough. Grieve recommends making a medicine with 6oz sugar and 6oz gin! After that much gin, I’m fairly certain that whatever the ailment, you will begin to feel somewhat better… or simply not care that you feel ill!

In other cultures, sunflowers were used to help with snakebites.

 

The Witch’s Kitchen

Klytie, the Okeanid nymph of Greek mythology, fell in love with either Helios or Apollo (Sol, the Sun), but was forsaken for her sister, Leukothoe. After watching the sun and pining for a time, she was transformed into a flower that followed the sun. Originally, this was the heliotrope, but in modern retellings, due to folklore that states that the sunflower follows the sun throughout the sky, Klytie has become the nymph who transformed into the sunflower. This makes the sunflower a little tragic, a symbol of unrequited love, and a reminder to let go of that which does not serve us.

Sunflower oil is one of the few foods that was historically permitted throughout lent, symbolising fasting, spiritual cleansing and self-discipline.

In a very literal sense, the sunflower represents the sun, and therefore fire, south, passion, love and creativity. Use the petals or whole flowers to decorate the southern aspect of your altar or sacred space. They make a useful offering or decoration at Lughnasadh or Lammas (1st August or thereabouts, depending on your tradition), as not only do they represent the sun at its height, but the harvest, food, wealth and well-being.

Cunningham tells us that sunflower seeds have been used by women who wish to conceive, and also as a protection charm against smallpox. Considering smallpox was eradicated many years ago, this use could be expanded to a general health charm, or a general protection charm, perhaps when combined with other magical elements. Cunningham also states that cutting a sunflower at sunset while making a wish, will cause the wish to come true before the next sunset, if the wish is not ‘too grand’. This is a touch vague, but reminds us to be down to earth, realistic, and that sometimes we need to make our own wishes come true!

 

Home and Hearth

If you wish to know the truth of a situation, meditate upon the image of a sunflower, or on an actual plant, either outside or in a pot in your house or sacred space. The sunflower represents an open face, total honesty; revealing all aspects of a situation. If you are able to, cut one of the flowers (with permission, never steal flowers and never cut wild-flowers) and when you go to bed that night, place the flower under your bed, all the while focusing on the situation you wish to know the truth of. Make sure that before you go to bed that night, you put a note pad and pen on your bedside table. You should dream of the situation, and the dream should tell you the truth of the situation. As soon as you awake, write down as many details of the dream as you can remember. If you do it immediately, you will remember more detail, so don’t delay!

Use the details in the dream to establish the truth of your situation. If it makes no sense even after this, it means the truth has been hidden for a reason, and you need to let it go.

 

I Never Knew…

Sunflowers have been used for thousands of years to make dyes for fabrics, in colours ranging from the expected orange and yellow, to brilliant blue!

 

Image credits: Sunflower (Helianthus L.) by Pudelek via Wikimedia Commons; Blütenstand (tellerförmiger Korb) einer Sonnenblume (Helianthus annuus) in Balve-Eisborn by Asio otus via Wikimedia Commons; Photograph showing a field of sun flowers and a sun spot by Thomas Quaritsch via Wikimedia Commons.

 

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About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

 

 

 

 

 

Lughnasadh/Lammas Correspondences

July, 2018

Lughnasadh (Loo-nas-ah)/Lammas

(Lughnasadh ‘s Pentacle – Harvest Magic – Lugh’s Protection handcrafted by YabYum from the shop PaganOdana on Etsy.)

 

Major Sabbat (High Holiday) – Fire Festival August 1, 2

Other Names: Lunasa (meaning August), Lughnasaad, Lughnasa (Celtic),First Harvest, August Eve, Feast of Cardenas, Feast of Bread, Tailltean Games(Irish), Teltain Cornucopia (Strega), Ceresalia (Ancient Roman) Harvest Home, Thingtide (Teutonic), Lammas (Christian). Laa Luanys, Elembious, Festival of Green Corn (Native American)

Animals and Mythical beings: Griffins, Basilisks, Roosters, Calves, Centaurs, Phoenix

Gemstones: aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx, yellow diamonds, citrine

Incense and Oils: wood aloes, rose, rose hips, rosemary, chamomile, eucalyptus, safflower, corn, passionflower, frankincense, sandalwood

Colors: red, orange, golden yellow, green, light brown, gold, bronze, gray

Tools, Symbols, and Decorations: corn, cornucopias, red, yellow flowers, sheaves of grain (wheat, barley, oats), first fruits/vegetables of garden labor, corn dollies, baskets of bread, spear, cauldron, sickle, scythe, threshing tools, sacred loaf of bread, harvested herbs, bonfires, bilberries, God figures made of bread or cookie dough, phallic symbols

Goddesses: The Mother, Dana (Lugh&’s wife & queen ), Tailltiu (Welsh-Scottish), Demeter (Greek), Ceres (Roman grain goddess .. honored at Ceresalia), the Barley Mother, Seelu (Cherokee), Corn Mother, Isis (Her birthday is celebrated about this time), Luna (Roman Moon Goddess), other agricultural Goddesses, the waxing Goddess

Gods: Lugh (Celtic, one of the Tuatha De Danaan), John Barley Corn, Arianrhod’s golden haired son Lleu (Welsh God of the Sun & Corn where corn includes all grains, not just maize), Dagon (Phoenician Grain God), Tammuz/ Dummuzi (Sumerian), Dionysus, plus all sacrificial Gods who willingly shed
blood/give their life that their people/lands may prosper, all vegetation Gods & Tanus (Gaulish Thunder God), Taranis (Romano-Celtic Thunder God), Tina, (Etruscan-Thunder God), the waning God

Essence: fruitfulness, reaping, prosperity, reverence, purification, transformation, change, The Bread of Life, The Chalice of Plenty , The Ever-flowing Cup , the Groaning Board (Table of Plenty)

Meaning: Lugh’s wedding to Mother Earth, Birth of Lugh; Death of Lugh, Celtic Grain Festival

Purpose: Honoring the parent Deities, first harvest festival, first fruits grains & drink to the Goddess in appreciation of Her bounty, offering loaves of sacred bread in the form of the God (this is where the Gingerbread Man originated)

Rituals and Magicks: astrology, prosperity, generosity, continued success, good fortune, abundance, magickal picnic, meditate & visualize yourself completing a project you’ve started

Customs and Activities: games, the traditional riding of poles/staves, country fairs, breaking bread with friends, making corn dollys, harvesting herbs for charms/rituals, Lughnasadh fire with sacred wood & dried herbs, feasting, competitions, lammas towers (fire-building team competitions), spear tossing, gathering flowers for crowns, fencing/swordplay, games of skill, martial sports, chariot races, hand-fastings, trial marriages, dancing ’round a corn mother (doll)

Foods: loaves of homemade wheat, oat, & corn bread, barley cakes, corn, potatoes, summer squash, nuts, acorns, wild berries (any type), apples, rice, pears, berry pies, elderberry wine, crab apples, mead, crab, blackberries, meadowsweet tea, grapes, cider, beer

Herbs: grain, acacia, heather, ginseng, sloe, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, aloes, frankincense, sunflower, hollyhock, oak leaf, wheat, myrtle

Element: Fire

Gender: Female

GoodGod!

August, 2017

Meet the Gods: Barleycorn

Merry meet.

Lughnasadh is celebrated this month – traditionally on the 1st, astrologically on the 7th. It is the first harvest, a festival of grain. While traditionally in Europe, corn meant grain, many Americans have come to think of corn only as maize. Because I know of no fields of rye, oats or barley here in Connecticut, maize has been my go-to grain.

While it’s found its way into my rituals as corn muffins, corn dollies and fry bread – to go with the bounty from my garden – I had never sought to welcome the corn god to my circle. This year I will.

Most cultures have a god of grains, fields or agriculture.

 

(Frey)

In the Norse tradition, Frey was the Corn God, the Lord of the Fields. He rode a great white horse and his hair was the golden color of wheat. Every year, he rode into the field where only the last sheath of grain remained standing. He sacrificed himself as it was cut, dying for the good of all as his blood enriched the field to assure next year’s harvest was bountiful.

 

(Osiris)

In Egyptian mythology, it is Osiris who is associated with grain and its lifecycle. He is represents fertility as each year he is harvested and killed. The dead Osiris is put into the ground as seeds which grow to be grain, bringing him to life again.

 

(Yum Kaaz)

The Maya god of corn and wild vegetation is Yum Kaaz, Lord of the Forest.

He is portrayed as a young man with an ear of corn growing out of his head,” according to AllAboutHistory.org.

 

(Centeotl)

Centeotl is the Aztec God (or Goddess) of Maize. Farmers would offer him fruits and grains from their fields that he might protect their fields from wild animals.

Perhaps the best known corn king and harvest god is John Barleycorn. In the English tradition, August 1 marked the sacrificial death of the Horned God in his incarnations as the Corn King or John Barleycorn whose reign began on the Summer Solstice. He is the personification of the lifecycle of grain – from planting to harvest, then malting to make whiskey and beer, and then to planting again.

There is a ballad sung about him.

 

John Barleycorn is the spirit of the fields that at this time are full crops given life by the sun. And it is in the last sheaf or stalk harvested that his spirit is strongest, so he’s dressed in fine clothing, or formed into the shape of a man and this effigy would be cut and typically burned with much celebrating. His sacrifice for the land, for the people and for the goddess became beer and malt whiskey and bread.

The Druid’s sacrificial burning of a larger-than-life wicker man may have been the inspiration for Burning Man. Both rituals are associated with death and rebirth of the god of the grain.

Lughnasadh is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings. It’s a time of plenty, a time to reap the bounty of your efforts and celebrate abundance that will sustain us as the wheel turns.

After calling the quarters, plan to light a candle shaped like an ear of corn to welcome one or more of these gods. Meanwhile, I would like to know how you’ve worked with them in your practice.

Merry part; and merry meet again.

 

Musings of a Hereditary Witch

August, 2015

Lughnasadh on the Mountain

Some years ago my Druid sister, RhosynTan and I combined our two training groups to celebrate a Lughnasadh camp out on the mountain. Our theme was the funerary games for Lugh’s foster mother.

We secured the site for the weekend and charged our grove members $25 per adult (14 and under Free). This covered the campsite, fees, munchies, dinner and dessert for Saturday night and breakfast, lunch, dinner and more munchies for Sunday.

Lug1

RhosynTan and I worked on the “games” that the men would participate in for over a month. The fun part was taking some traditional games (boar hunt, axe throw, horserace) and modifying them fit the various ages within the group (20’s to 50+). We also wanted a couple of things for the kids to do. The best piece we created was the five-and-a-half foot tall Wickerman.

On Saturday, people were to arrive by 5:00pm to say hellos, set up their tents and go over last minute ritual preparations. Our opening ritual to honor Lugh and Rhosmerta, began just as the last light faded from the sky. For us dinner is part of ritual so there were lots of hearty eating and toasting to our Celtic god family. As part of the meal a loaf of homemade bread was passed around for everyone to tear off a chunk to see who would get the boon coin in his or her chunk of bread. They could use this coin to ask a special favor from Lugh & Rhosmerta.

Lug2

After dinner there were poetry recitations, music and storytelling. The night ended in toasting marshmallows, making Smores and stargazing.

Sunday morning, we greeted the sunrise with hollers and shouts and then made altar offerings and blessing followed by a huge hearty breakfast.

The kids games began mid-morning and consisted of whacking a Sun piñata and ‘feeding’ the Daghdha (a painted picture of the Daghdha on a cardboard box with his mouth cutout for the kids to toss plastic fruit into). They had a blast!

In the afternoon it was time for the ‘Manly Studly Games’ to begin for the men to show off their masculine prowess. For each man who won a game, they were awarded a colored ribbon tied around their bicep. The one with the most ribbons at the end of the games would be crowned as the Sun King. The women were encouraged to shout, clap and make catcalls to the men. The games went as follows:

The Foot Race (sorry but we didn’t have horses available to us) was up a hill where the men had to untie a ribbon from a tree and race back to the finish line.

Next was an Axe throw, closest to the center was the winner. Have to admit there were a few wild throws.

The Stone throw to see who could throw the heavy stone the farthest. This one got a little dangerous, coming to rest against someone’s ankle, but all was good.

The Bow & Arrow shoot. The men had to shoot an arrow though the Yoni of the Sheila-na-Gig.

Lug3

The final contest was the Boar Shoot. Which consisted of a boar drawn on foam core board with the kill shots (heart & eye) drawn on the boar. Each man was given 3 darts. Winner was the one closest to the kill shots.

Before we announced and crowned our Sun King, we held one game for the ladies. We had a ring toss game where the ladies had to toss a ring around the Wickerman’s penis (a large red ear of Indian corn). Now it was time for all the men to hoot and holler and they did!

The winner of the manly games was crowned with a cornhusk crown. He was gifted with an ale tankard and a handmade leather pouch filled with symbolic items He was then given a floral chaplet and told he could choose from any of the women to be his Queen. After strutting around the area, checking out all the women, he opted to crown his girlfriend (in my opinion, a wise choice).

Lug4

We, each in turn, approached the altar and asked blessings from Lugh & Rhosmerta before closing our ritual.

We had our final community meal together, cleaned up the camp, packed our tents and said farewells to each other. What an amazing time we all had.

Blessings of Lughnasadh to all of you.

Lughnasadh Correspondences

August, 2015

(Loo-nas-ah) Major Sabbat (High Holiday) – Fire Festival August 1, 2

Other Names: Lunasa (meaning August), Lughnasaad, Lughnasa Celtic),First Harvest, August Eve, Feast of Cardenas, Feast of Bread, Tailltean Games(Irish), Teltain Cornucopia (Strega), Ceresalia (Ancient Roman) Harvest Home, Thingtide (Teutonic), Lammas (Christian). Laa Luanys, Elembious, Festival of Green Corn (Native American)

Animals and Mythical beings: Griffins, Basilisks, Roosters, Calves, Centaurs, Phoenix

Gemstones: aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx, yellow diamonds, citrine

Incense and Oils: wood aloes, rose, rose hips, rosemary, chamomile, eucalyptus, safflower, corn, passionflower, frankincense, sandalwood

Colors: red, orange, golden yellow, green, light brown, gold, bronze, gray

Tools, Symbols, and Decorations: corn, cornucopias, red, yellow flowers, sheaves of grain (wheat, barley, oats), first fruits/vegetables of garden labor, corn dollies, baskets of bread, spear, cauldron, sickle, scythe, threshing tools, sacred loaf of bread, harvested herbs, bonfires, bilberries, God figures made of bread or cookie dough, phallic symbols

Goddesses: The Mother, Dana (Lugh&’s wife & queen ), Tailltiu (Welsh-Scottish), Demeter (Greek), Ceres (Roman grain goddess .. honored at Ceresalia), the Barley Mother, Seelu (Cherokee), Corn Mother, Isis (Her birthday is celebrated about this time), Luna (Roman Moon Goddess), other agricultural Goddesses, the waxing Goddess

Gods: Lugh (Celtic, one of the Tuatha De Danaan), John Barley Corn, Arianrhod’s golden haired son Lleu (Welsh God of the Sun & Corn where corn includes all grains, not just maize), Dagon (Phoenician Grain God), Tammuz/ Dummuzi (Sumerian), Dionysus, plus all sacrificial Gods who willingly shed
blood/give their life that their people/lands may prosper, all vegetation Gods & Tanus (Gaulish Thunder God), Taranis (Romano-Celtic Thunder God), Tina, (Etruscan-Thunder God), the waning God

Essence: fruitfulness, reaping, prosperity, reverence, purification, transformation, change, The Bread of Life, The Chalice of Plenty , The Ever-flowing Cup , the Groaning Board (Table of Plenty)

Meaning: Lugh’s wedding to Mother Earth, Birth of Lugh; Death of Lugh, Celtic Grain Festival

Purpose: Honoring the parent Deities, first harvest festival, first fruits grains & drink to the Goddess in appreciation of Her bounty, offering loaves of sacred bread in the form of the God (this is where the Gingerbread Man originated)

Rituals and Magicks: astrology, prosperity, generosity, continued success, good fortune, abundance, magickal picnic, meditate & visualize yourself completing a project you’ve started

Customs and Activities: games, the traditional riding of poles/staves, country fairs, breaking bread with friends, making corn dollys, harvesting herbs for charms/rituals, Lughnasadh fire with sacred wood & dried herbs, feasting, competitions, lammas towers (fire-building team competitions), spear tossing, gathering flowers for crowns, fencing/swordplay, games of skill, martial sports, chariot races, hand-fastings, trial marriages, dancing ’round a corn mother (doll)

Foods: loaves of homemade wheat, oat, & corn bread, barley cakes, corn, potatoes, summer squash, nuts, acorns, wild berries (any type), apples, rice, pears, berry pies, elderberry wine, crab apples, mead, crab, blackberries, meadowsweet tea, grapes, cider, beer

Herbs: grain, acacia, heather, ginseng, sloe, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, aloes, frankincense, sunflower, hollyhock, oak leaf, wheat, myrtle

Element: Fire

Gender: Female

– See more at: http://paganpages.org/content/2015/07/lughnasadh-correspondences-7/#sthash.Dkl8fxib.dpuf

Spellcrafting: Spells and rituals

August, 2014

Gratitude ritual

Merry Meet.
Astrological Lughnasadh occurs this year on August 8, as does the cross quarter date. That means if August 1 came and went without an opportunity for a ritual, you still have time to celebrate the first harvest – literally and figuratively.
Two days later is a super full moon in Aquarius. On full moons, I like to give thanks for the abundance and blessings in my life. We are so quick to ask for what it is we need, want and desire, I think we sometimes forget to give equal time to rituals of gratitude and celebrating the gifts we have received. Remember, what has become known as the law of attraction states that we bring about more of whatever we focus on. So why not focus on that for which we are grateful? Here at the beginning of August are two such opportunities practically on top of one another. The suggestions below can be done on their own, or as part of a more formal rite.
A simple gratitude ritual involves writing down all the things for which you are grateful. Perhaps you want to do it in a gratitude journal, or on slips of paper placed in a jar or offering bowl or cauldron. You might want to add herbs, oils or gemstones for success, wishes, prosperity or protection. Holding the jar, the bowl or cauldron, focus your thoughts on your feelings of gratitude. If you like to raise energy by chanting, you might try:
    “I offer gratitude to the Divine,
    All I have asked for is now mine.
    I’m grateful for many blessings received,
    Grateful for all the good given to me.
    I carry this attitude forever with me.
    Thanks to the Goddess and blessed be.”
If you worked with a jar, cap it and put it in a safe place. My offering bowl sits on my altar almost all the time, accepting tokens and symbols of gifts and appreciation.
offering
Another idea is to write one or more thank you notes to people you are especially grateful to have in your life at this time, and then mail them.
To mark Lughnasadh, I typically set up an altar with the bounty from my garden and from nature. Sometimes that altar has been set in nature and left for those who call the area home. Arranging items is done as an expression of gratitude, of giving back to the universe for all it has given me. Sitting before it, I count my blessings, recognizing all that I have received, all that I am thankful for, and all that has come my way. I end by eating some of the seasonal bounty I’ve set aside for that purpose, often making corn pone or corn muffins with my grain of choice, along with munching on cherry tomatoes or blueberries (first offering some to the ground for the deities and fairies). Popcorn also works well. While I like a summer ale at Lughnasadh, mead is always good, as are seasonal beverages such as blueberry, cherry and tomato juice; or lemonade (again, offering some to the ground for the deities and the fairies).
altar
I hope this gave you some ideas.
Merry part.
And merry meet again.

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