Celebrate the Bounty

The Golden Lions of Lugh

On August 7th, we will reach the halfway point between summer solstice and autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere. This is one of four “cross-quarter” days that occur in our annual trek around the Sun

Many of our ancestors celebrated the harvest at this time of year. The Celtic people in the British Isles paid homage to the Sun God Lugh at this time. The first sheaf of wheat was harvested and ceremoniously ground and baked into bread for the festival of Lughnasadh. Bonfires were lit to honor the fiery energies of the Sun. The fruits of the harvest were celebrated and shared by everyone.

Later in Britain, the festival of Lughnasadh became Lammas Day. The festival of Lammas was held to honor the wheat harvest. The word Lammas comes from the Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas  or  “loaf-mass.”  On the day of Lammas it was customary to bring a loaf of bread made from the new crop to church in celebration and gratitude.

Many centuries before Lugh or Lammas existed, the Goddess Arinna was worshiped by ancient tribes living in the region that is now Turkey (1400 BCE).  Arinna was their main solar deity and her consort was the weather god, Teshub. Arinna was honored for creating the natural abundance of our Earth and making human life possible.

Whether through honoring Arinna, Lugh or Lammas, our ancestors took time to express their gratitude for the bounty of the harvest every year. Their ceremonies were ritualized ways for the community to acknowledge and honor the food that grows when Father Sun unites with Mother Earth. Our ancestors lived closer to the Earth and the cycles of the seasons. They understood that all life on Earth depends on the magical union of sun, seed and earth.

What have you harvested this year? What are you grateful for? During this sacred time, take a few moments to express gratitude for all the abundance in your life.

And take time to thank Mother Earth and Father Sun for life itself.

🌞 🌎

Blessings of Beltane

Life bursts forth
Flowing all around
Tiny green buds
First flowers of spring
Magical new Life.

Ancient dance
Fertile dance
Yin & Yang unite
Life blooms
With natural joy.

☾☽

May Day, or Beltane, is the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. This date marked the beginning of summer for the ancient Celts. It was a day of dance and song – a celebration in gratitude for fertile fields sprouting with new life.

Blessings to our beautiful Earth on this magical Beltane cross-quarter day. So grateful for our original Mama, the planet who birthed us all.

🌍 ❤️

Solstice By Moonlight

‪Full moon in watery Cancer lights up the longest night in the northern hemisphere. This is a traditional time of rest and reflection. Sit in the stillness of winter solstice and breathe with the slow flow of nature in winter. Slow down and enjoy the quiet gifts of the season.

#FullMoon
#SolsticeLight ‬

The Dark Season

“Life’s waters flow from the darkness.
Search the darkness, don’t run from it.”
~Rumi

❤️

Now is the season of tricks and treats
When the veils between the worlds grow thin
And the ancestors walk among us.

We descend into the dark season in the north
A time to reflect, take stock,
Clear the old, make space for the new.

What do you hope for and dream of?
What do you wish to leave behind?
What will you honor with your love and care?

As within, so without
To change your world
Start with you.

❤️

Traditional ritual / celebration days in early November include:

November 1:  Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead –  a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico that focuses on praying for and remembering friends and family members who have died. Rituals are also done to help support the spiritual journey of the departed beyond this reality.

Nov 6:  Tiamat’s birth. Tiamat is the primordial creative force of the Cosmos, the ancient Mesopotamian mother of all the Gods. Tiamat is depicted as a Dragon Goddess who emerges from the Sea and gives birth to all the other deities. She is the  Sacred Feminine itself – fierce,  protective, loving and nurturing. Tiamat is “Ummu-Hubur, who formed all things”.

Nov 7:  Celtic Samhain Cross-Quarter Day falls on the boundary between autumn and winter halfway between autumn equinox and winter solstice (November 7th this year). The light is slowly fading away as our Sun drops lower and lower in the sky and our nights grow longer. This is a potent in-between time. The veils between the worlds grow very thin during this sacred in-between time.  Loved ones who have departed this Earth are believed to be nearby. Samhain is  a time to acknowledge and celebrate the sacred cycles of birth – growth – death – rebirth that are an integral part of Nature.

The Goddess Hekate was also celebrated and honored in ancient Greece at this time of year. Hekate is the guardian of the gateways between the worlds. She is a wisewoman crone Goddess of the Moon and Magick who stands at the crossroads and assists with all kinds of transitions, including birth and death.

Hindu Diwali  or Festival of the Lights is also celebrated at this time of year (November 5-9 this year). This popular festival celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil. In some traditions, the Diwali night’s lights and firecrackers represent a celebratory and symbolic farewell to the departed ancestral souls.

The Equinox has Arrived

Today marks the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere and spring equinox in the south. The equinox marks a time of transition as we move from one season to the next.

This morning our Sun rose directly in the east and tonight it will set due west.  Day and night approach equal length at the equinox as well. This is a time of natural balance.

Take a moment to pause and honor Mother Earth and Father Sky for their sacred dance of light and dark, autumn and spring, yin and yang.  Light a candle in the dark and express your gratitude for the abundance of our sacred planet. Bless the energy of life that pulses both without and within you.

“…Wherever we find ourselves on the spectrum, it is the time of balancing the dark and the light. In the Northern hemisphere, as the days get shorter and the outer light recedes, we move inward to kindle our inner light. In the Southern Hemisphere, as the days grow longer, we we move our way back into the world and bring out our inner light to share with the world.

Everything in nature is constantly giving and receiving. This balance is essential, and it is part of the expressive energies of yin and yang that we are re-balancing as a collective…”

Excerpt from Mysticmamma

Celebrate Harvest

The Corn Harvest by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Now is the time of first harvest in the Northern Hemisphere. Traditionally, our ancestors held festivals at this time of year to celebrate the bounty that Mother Earth and Father Sun create.

Take a few moments to pause and take stock of everything you have accomplished and “harvested” in your life this year. Offer thanks to our Earth and Sun for the life they offer us all.

Celt Mara Freeman shares insights about harvest time below:

It’s high summer – time to celebrate the old Celtic festival known as Lughnasadh in Ireland and Lammas in Britain – the traditional time of pilgrimage in the northern Celtic lands where for centuries people have rejoiced in the endless light-filled days by climbing sacred hills, drinking at holy wells, or voyaging to green islands set like jewels in a sunlit sea.

As we pause in our labours, celebrate the warm weather and enjoy the fruits of our daily work, we have an opportunity to take stock of what the seasons so far have yielded: to reflect upon our hopes and dreams that were sown in the dawn of the year, came to life in the springtime, and are now maybe ready to bear fruit. On the spiritual level, we can ask ourselves what wisdom we have garnered so far this year: What will be the harvest of our souls?

For as the wheel turns, the life-giving triumph of the harvest must give way to death, reminding us that nothing stands still, and that on the human level, for whatever is gained in our lives, there must be an equal giving-away, a sacrifice, so that cosmic balance and order can be maintained. 

~Mara Freeman, Chalice Centre

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And The Shamanic Astrology Mystery School shares details about the astronomical and astrological significance of early August:

Lughnassadh  (pronounced Loo-nuh-suh) refers to harvest and victory and is usually celebrated on August 1 or 2 but the actual zodiacal cross-quarter is August 7 when the Sun reaches 15 Leo.

In 2018 on August 7 the Sun is within a couple of degrees of Retrograde Mercury at 17 Leo adding to this unusual Cross-Quarter Time.

The August Cross-Quarter marks the half-way point between the June Solstice and the September Equinox – an in-between time for gaining insight and/or inspiration. Said another way this is excellent time for divination, meditation, journeying and connecting with other forms of guidance.

~Cayelin Castell, Shamanic AstrologyMystery School