Yesterday, August 1st, was the Celtic harvest festival of Lughnassah. It was also called and celebrated as Lammas by the early Christian Saxons. If you missed it, you can certainly celebrate it today. Lughnassah is named after the Irish sun god, Lugh. In Wales, he’s called Lleu.
Sunshine helps nurture the grain until it ripens. Then it’s reaped, prepared, and baked as fresh bread. In the ancient Celtic belief system, Lugh transmitted his power of the sun into the grain, and with the harvesting of the grain, the god was sacrificed.
Nowadays, we get any food we want from the grocery store year-round, so it’s nice to use Lughnassah as an opportunity to connect for a moment to nature and its cycle of seasons. For example:
- If you like to cook—include fresh apples, pears, corn, or home-baked bread in one of your meals for the day.
- For nature lovers and those that like to get away—take a walk through the woods. In a big city, you can visit an arboretum or local nature center.
- Or if you’re an arts and crafts person—it’s a great time to make corn dollies.
And if you’re a reader, here’s an excerpt from my Celtic Romance/Historical Fantasy novel that will time-travel you back to a Lughnasah celebration in 1stcentury Scotland.
The Warrior and the Druidess
Tanwen tossed a piece of bread into the central hearth. As it burned to a crisp, the smoke curled and rose to the gods. She let her sadness over leaving Sulwen and Rhys—and the death of her family—melt away. This was her new tribe and she loved them.
She led the chief’s household and her two guards in a circle around the central hearth as she chanted, “Earth gave us life. Death returns us to her womb. Unending, the circle runs forevermore. Sun, earth, and grain, all which falls, shall rise again.”
And that is why I’m here, Tanwen realized. She symbolized two great tribes destroyed by Rome. Yet, with Brude, she would make a stand to keep the brutal foreign force from Caledonia’s borders. She and Brude would see to it that no Pict tribe would be annihilated. Her descendants would teach the Celtic ways to those in the future, who, after accepting foreign beliefs, would come to forget their ancestors. In that, she was like the goddess. She carried the seed of rebirth, so that which had fallen would rise again.
If you like reading about other Celtic Festivals, each story in my Druidry and the Beast series is set during a Celtic Festival in the iron age, such as:
The Wolf and the Druidess—Samhain
The Dragon and the Druidess—Beltane
The Bear and the Druidess—The Winter Solstice
I hope you had a Happy Lughnassah.