Sunday 6 August at an allotment garden in Eastern Ireland - Before and After
The raised beds reappear, some plants are retained and others removed.
Jerusalem artichokes, raspberry and blackcurrant bushes will provide future harvests.
With intentions for friendship and fun as well as giving a helping hand, Lughnasadh 2017 sees local people, who regularly get together as Tara Celebrations, sharing their skills, helping out at an allotment, clearing overgrown plants and generally tidying up, as well as having a fun social gathering.
Thus our theme this year is 'Meitheal' – a practical Irish tradition when folk gather together for mutual co-operation and support. Particularly useful at harvest time when many hands make lighter work of gathering in the crops, nowadays this tends to be applied to any work team of neighbours coming together in the community.
People attending will need outdoor clothes and tools if they have them. And if you can bring food to share that would be great. We will bless the land, bless the people, work and then feast, sharing inspiration and laughter.
Folk unable to attend in person might like to share in the Meitheal energies in a two-fold celebration, one very personal and one not so.
Firstly, have a meal on your own, focusing entirely on the food. No TV, radio, phone, tablet, book or newspaper. Just mindfully prepare and eat the food thinking of what went into producing it: from Mother Nature herself to the people who work in the modern factories that may have produced it, to the folk involved packaging it, transporting it, selling it. Think of the plant /animal involved... kind of focusing on a modern day "harvest". Be grateful to all involved.
Then reflect a bit on you own "harvest"...what have you achieved since the Spring time, if anything? What would you like to achieve NEXT harvest? etc.
Secondly, the other facet of this celebration involves organising and sharing a meal with family / friends. Again, no phones, TV etc. We don't have to tell them the purpose of the get together, just enjoy a meal - the fruits of the harvest - with people close to us and celebrate community, friendship, family. It might also get people to realise that modern technology is not the be all and end all of life today... Plus, it may get people to realise the joy of sharing a meal together; conversation, laughter, sorrow etc.
Then go outside (possibly brightened by the nearly full moon today) and enjoy the long, bright evening hours, because before the next celebration, they'll be gone.
Dia diobh a cairde agus cead mile fáilte go dtí Lughnasadh ar an Buireann.
2.30pm 30 July 2016 at the Burren, Co. Clare
There are four main doorways of the year. Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasadh. This doorway we are about to enter brings us out of summer and into autumn. It is a liminal time of the year with a typical mix of warm sunny days mixed with wet autumnal showers. Flowers have passed their peak and the fruits and berries are ripening. It is the harvest of the first fruits and early grains. In our own existence it corresponds to energies where we start to reap what we have been putting our efforts and time into. It is a time of pilgrimage, putting effort into travelling to holy sites and to be out of our comfort zone and opened to new intriguing possibilities.
Above: Spring Gentian,sea campion ,Wild Thyme on the Burren
This year Tara Celebrations is on pilgrimage to the Bóthar na Mias on the edge of the Burren. I hasten to add this is the holy site and not the housing estate of the same name!
The celebration encompasses a strenuous but meditative walk over broken rocky ground. There will be seven stops for Lughnasadh reflections and then we arrive at the place of ceremony where we will create sacred space, call in the directions, cleanse with the 5 elements, acknowledge and reverently bid adieu to the summer by burying a flower. We then face a new direction(west) and call in the energies of Lugh. We attune ourselves by lying on the vast flat limestone pavements and listening to the story of Lugh. We will use story elements to claim and proclaim our own inner harvest by walking through a door formed with pilgrim staffs and announcing our tallents. We share the harvest grains adding blessings to the handful of grains as they are passed around the circle. There will be of course time for meditation and open heart so do have your party piece ready. Finally we will share in a traditional meal of bread, Barm Brac & holy water from St. Colmans well.
Pat's Shadow, like Lugh, looms over our centre .
Air at the top has some hazel leaves to represent the whisperings of wisdom in our lives, Fire (Right) is represented by the candle flame in the lantern. Water (Bottom ) is represented by holy water from St. Colman's well. Earth is represented by the Tourmaline Crystal. And the Centre is represented by the bell, first fruits, herbs and grain (from a crop circle).
All are welcome to our non denominational, inclusive celebration.
2pm Meeting at the Wild Atlantic Way Filling station on the main road N67,just outside Kinvara. Follow in Convoy about 7K to Eagle Rock car park where we will walk the last 2 miles on foot.
Dress appropriately for the weather and bring strong boots and a walking stick as the ground is both rough and slippery in places.
As you will be in the National Park you should not pick any flowers as some are very rare and many take 7 years to bloom.
If you feel like extending your stay for the Bank Holiday there are B+Bs, a highly recommendable hostel/hotel (Kinvara Guesthouse) and a hotel in Kinvara.Kinvara is a gateway onto the Burren, an ideal overnight location and base to explore.
One of the Orchids on the Burren
Comments from a participant:
A spiritual, mental, physical and emotional energetic pilgrimage which stretched us and enriched us in ways too many to mention.
From meditating in the cave of St Colman to hearing our heartbeat echo in the rocks as we lay on the Burren,
from hearing the legend of Lugh to laughing and dancing like children,
from an inspiring meditation to an equally inspiring walk through a doorway to declare our true selves,
this was a magical, spiritual, holy, fun, physically tough celebration never to be forgotten.
|Landscape of the Lughnasadh Ritual||Liminal landscape rocks|
|Landscape that inspires awe||Clints and grikes|
|Magical Bothar na Mias with imprints of the legendary horses hooves||Hazel, Orchid and Bloody Cranesbill|
|Entrance to the Cave of St. Colman Mac Duagh||St. Colman Mac Duaghs Oratory|
|In contemplation at St. Colman's bed||Pilgrimage treking|
|Lying on the sun baked limestone tuning into Lughnasadh energies|
We took a pilgrimage walk to Bothair na Mias and stoped seven times to contemplate: the soil, the plants, the animals,the insects, the rock, the ancestors, the destination.
Martin’s experience of the day.
I feel that this was a blessed day, a special day, a day when everything just seemed to click. There seemed to be a genuine wholeness that bubbled through everyone and a willingness to enter and hold sacred space.
The location was beautiful and perfectly supportive. What worked (for me) was the meditative walk with 7 stops. It helped frame the proceedings nicely.
We also did a 5 part cleansing using Hazel leaves to cleanse with the air. The Hazel is the tree of wisdom and grows profusely here.
-Flame from the candle to cleanse with fire.
-Water from the holy well to cleanse with water.
-Black tourmaline/schorl to cleanse with earth. This is a favourite self cleansing, hard working, highly electrical crystal.
-And Ether cleansing using the sound of a Tibetan singing bell with a long hum.
We all went into the meditation quickly and the ritual of entering the doorway seemed hauntingly powerful.
At one point a sí-gaoith took my notes and dashed them down a deep grike. Undaunted it quickly became a game of lunacy, fetching the paper with two walking sticks used like chop sticks. This added another aspect of Lughnasadh which was associated with fun and frolics.
However, the highlight for me was the enthusiasm of the dedicated folks that came from Dublin and Meath to take part. It was an honour to host and I hope those who participated (in spirit) will visit again and again in fond memory.
Marta and Dana were in Switzerland
In eastern Ireland Cerys played amongst wildflowers at a lakeside. Such a riot of colour...
and in England bees buzzed around the buddleia.
And a Lughnasadh sunset - looking westwards from the Lia Fail over the Midlands Plain
and the sacred landscape where so many Tara Celebrations gatherings have been held.
Saturday 1st August at Teltown House / Teach Tailteann B & B
The Master of Ceremonies felt we were privileged to be holding it there, on what he would see as the original Lughnasadh site. And indeed we were.
There was a strong Lugh / Tailtiu presence and in closing they were thanked for their support.
A heifer visited and donkeys provided their usual noisy contribution! People walked between 2 bowls of water for a symbolic cleansing of negative energies for the coming year. Blueberries in a bowl in the centre were shared in the harvest.
We also had music and songs at the ceremony and when someone played the tin whistle that was when the donkeys really joined in. Music was part of the ceremony away from the house in case guests were around and we didn't want to disturb them.
The courtyard tea was really nice. Lots of corny jokes popped up, in keeping with the energy of the place.
Many thanks to Renee and Bartle.
Thanks to Anne, Bernadette and Nora for the pictures
Corn Lady handmade by Elaine Lindsay of Something Corny, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Shared as the earth element in our centre.
Long Road (our life)
Home (own accumulated skills/wisdom)
Intro at the gateway –
Walk to site of ceremony –
Connecting to earth meditation –
Welcoming the Directions –
Connecting to Tara and Lugh -
Triquetra walk -
Open heart contributions –
Connecting to Tara landscape:
The legendary route northwards from Tara is Slighe Midluachra, High Kings Road. It extended towards Slane on the Boyne, passing by Rossnaree and near Newgrange, Mellifont, through the Moyry Pass north of Dundalk, and near Armagh, by Emain Macha, and on to Dunseverick on the north coast of Antrim: sections of the modern roads may run along the same route and we stand beside one now on Tara.
|As we gathered by the gate we enjoyed sunshine and warm breeze. And then, the grey storm clouds rolled in. We took to an inside room and rain started falling. Soon we heard thunder rolling across Tara.|
Connecting to Lughnasadh's deity:
The immortals of Lughnasadh are Danu, the prime goddess and mother of gods and humans, and Lugh Samildánach, being many skilled. One legend relates that Lugh came to Tara from Emain Ablach, a mythical island paradise meaning the Island of Apples, a forerunner maybe of the legends of Avalon. It is often regarded as the realm of the sea god Manannán Mac Lir and identified in the physical world with the Isle of Man lying north west of Tara. The Island paradise was his first home, before he matured and came to his home of Tara.
Connecting to our own skills by a journey on the land of Tara:
The Isle of Man (Emain Ablach) symbol is threefold, and in Ireland wisdom is usually expressed in triple form. Hence, in three stages, we walk our Long Road (our life) Home (own accumulated skills/wisdom) discovering what we have created and nourished and what we would wish to harvest in our lives.
Triquetra outlined with oatmeal, making it difficult to discern.
We then walked this uncertain path (a metaphor for life).
Together we weave along the lines, politely helping each other when confused, waiting while others crossed our path, all managing to reach the end comfortably.
By supporting each other we had walked the Long Road Home.
Inside we set up our centre before adding the elements -
which were intuitively placed as :
Water (from Tara Holy Well) in the North
Fire (candle) in the East
Earth (corn dolly) in the South
Air (bell) in the West
The following day the barley, wheat and oats symbol were placed at the entrance to Rath Maeve, on the southern slope of Tara, as a gift and thanks for this year's harvest.
In this gathering, inspired by the many skilled Lugh who travelled to Tara, we connect to our own life skills, which we have harvested in the past or what we can harvest in the future. We shall take a journey home, home in this case being our inner self, our own core, which contains our talents.
We discover our wisdom through what we would wish to harvest from our childhood, our harvest of our mature years and the harvest of our old age.
The three paths of birth to 20 years, 20 to 60 years and 60 to end life drawn on the blank canvas of a plate (our lives) which aided in us recognising the skills from those phases of our lives.
We envisage what we gained from our childhood.
We recall the best times from our mature years, or if not reached yet, what we would wish to gain from them. And we acknowledge what we have already received in our old age and what we would wish to harvest and benefit from in our old age.
And at the end of our journey we reach the place of wisdom, we bring the 3 life phases of harvest together. Inspired by Lugh's life we find our own Emain Ablach, our own inner island paradise. Inspired by Lugh's life we find our own Emain Ablach, our own inner island paradise. All brought together using Brigid's cloth, coloured straws and the unexpected, the flower.
On Saturday we held a Holistic Day at Bective Mill. Driving back towards Dublin the crows were massing in the area around Tara and Dalgan Park.
Sunday ceremony was interesting. The intro on the hill started with talking about coming to Tara and a great big crow circled around us. At the words, 'land on the ground' he did. Right on the word ground! This has happened before at get togethers on Tara. The crows certainly like to 'check us out' and join in.
Thanks to Anne B for this picture of a Lughnasadh sunrise at Glastonbury
At the plan meet in Fourknocks, we felt the call to return there for our Lughnasadh get together. Themes of inner and outer, light and dark, colours, silence, sacred space, ancestors, vibrations and sound, above and below, sending out over the landscape, moon and stars came up during conversations and so we agreed we would meet at Fourknocks at 12 noon, at the mound.
As we say goodbye to summer, and as the southern hemisphere moves out of winter times, all blessings and best wishes, the Lughnasadh team, Anne, John, Nora, Susan & Tom.
|Thanks to Anne, Bernadette and Nora for these photos|
|We had no running order or pre set programme as we felt, on this occasion, we would sense intuitively from the land what to do. It would be timely and of the place, as Fourknocks is greeting us with come in, with tar isteach. A welcome awaits us there to celebrate the Lughnasadh energies. We asked those attending to bring a picnic and something coloured. Otherwise to tune in by lighting a candle.|
After orientating ourselves in the landscape, the Dublin & Wicklow mountains visible to the south and the Mourne Mountains to the far North, we noted Newgrange, invisible other the hillside, and recalled the winter solstice sunrise aligned through Fourknocks through Dublin Bay. Some climbed to the top outside of the mound to get a better view.
A piper played an improvised welcoming melody and we entered the monument. Someone had been called to bring a piece of writing acknowledging the Light, we were led in a meditation inspired by the energies of the moment, another led a four seasons tai chi movement, and another linked above and below. One sang to mother earth, and another played a singing bowl. A different singing bowl was passed around the group. Candles were shared and lit.
29 July 2012
St. Ciaran's Well
11 August 2012
St. Gobnait's Well
Lughnasadh is traditionally the season of communities joining together, helping each other gather the harvest, and the Óenaige, an event that historically included fairs, feasts and games. A famous Óenaige site is Teltown which we visited last year. On 29 July 2012 we travel to St. Ciaran's Well, which has a pattern day on the first Sunday of August. A pattern usually consists of devotional activities at the well, often walking a traditional circuit, seeking spiritual blessings, and an opportunity to meet old friends, eat, drink and be merry.
We hope you will be able to join us to hear about St Ciaran's legends of the miraculous trout, healing rocks and a saint that stole a high cross, then celebrate the Lughnasadh season. Please bring homemade bread / scones / flapjacks, berries, fruits & herbs, to share in the feast. There is a chill in the air as dusk falls and we suggest you wear warmer clothing and shoes suitable for standing on damp grass. All present will be able to voice their inspiration and thoughts in the Open Heart sharing. If unable to come in person join in by lighting a candle or having your own harvest celebration. We would love to hear about your own experiences of this Lughnasadh. Have a wonderful summer (or winter to those in the Southern Hemisphere), Bernadette, Bernie, Eileen, John, Nora and Susan, the Lughnasadh team. (thanks to Bernadette, Susan, Anne and Nora for the photos)
It all began with people getting lost driving to the Well. The crow, trickster, was at work. Or was it that to approach the well one had to take the distant view and circle it before coming closer and asking permission to enter? We started by sitting in the cars for 1/4 hour waiting for the rain to clear. Then stood in a line, facing the Stoneyford stream, and stepped into the Directions of North, South, East and West.
Symbolically a man led some over the right hand bridge and a woman crossed over the left with others, 4 carrying gifts to the well.
Yellow candle, pearl in shell, baskets of fruits & flowers. Gifts to the well.
Eileen made these beautiful rush baskets.
We share the healing waters, harvesting and releasing those things in our lives we do not wish to carry into the darker autumn time.
In gratitude for the harvest bounty John poured the healing waters onto the land and stream, the water washing through the land, transforming and cleansing, The abundant rains have nourished the crops as has the sun – lacking a little this year unfortunately.
Acknowledging the light that nurtures our harvest and our own lives, we made candles
from beeswax then placed them at the centre as we wove a chaotic dance of life, with much laughter.
To share in the generosity of the land and enjoy the fruits of our labours, we feasted on homemade breads, cakes, and seasonal fruits, with appreciation and blessing.
Susan shared these words from Scott Cunningham:
From forest and stream
from mountain and field
from the fertile earth's nourishing yield
we now partake of divine energy
may it lend strength and love to us.
Blessed be the earth for giving birth to this food
blessed be the sun for nourishing it
blessed be the rain for quenching its thirst
blessed be the hands that helped grow this food to bring it to our table
to nourish our minds bodies and spirits
'Spirit plate' gift to earth & thanks for the nourishment we receive at harvest.
As the gathering drew to a close we watched the moon rise, walked back over the 2 bridges and looked westward to the setting sun.
We left some things at the well and next day returned to clear away all non bio-degradeable items. The grass had been cut and it was peaceful, the healing energies beautiful.
The first Cork Celebration is taking place at St. Gobnaits well on Saturday 11th August 2012. All are welcome to attend in this ritual based on Gratitude to Earth and Spirit.
The Ritual will involve Smudging. Honouring the light. Opening the 7 directions, Meditation, Gifting Honey (Sweetness), Water (Life) and Salt (Spice) to Earth and Spirit. Creating and burying the Corn Dolly. Open Heart Contributions. Closing the Directions and Sharing some food.
Thanks to Martin, Tricia and William for a lovely ceremony and to Martin for the photos.
St Gobnait, lady of the bees and the nine white deer. Her monastic site in Ballyvourney is a special place rich in Nature and deep in Peace.
Failte to this celebration of Gratitude for our divine nature in human form. It encompasses our thanks to earth & spirit as we act as spiritual midwives to a world in ascension. This Lughnasadh Celebration links into the spirit of the Earth and honours our inner harvest, uniqueness and regeneration. Join us in an earth ritual to meditate and gift our gratitude to Earth & Spirit. Bring something to share such as food, song or poem.
Our corn dolly started out in a field of harvest barley
Our centre based on the corn dolly a representation of Crom Dubh. Around the edge we have seasonal fruits, crystals, Rock Salt, Honey and Barley
Our Corn Dolly poses for the camera
The corn dolly was burried in a grave and served two purposes. The first to remind the earth how a crop should ripen for next year and secondly it represents the harvest of unwanted energies in our bodies and within the wider world. The Corn dolly is believed to take these concerns to the under world where they are broken down and transformed by the great chemical laboratories of the earth and turned into nourishment for the crops
Pink rock salt was blessed by our heart energies and sprinkled onto the earth in thanks for her constant support
This corn dolly, made during the ceremony, wears a ribbon given to us by the Ballyvourney priest who keeps the wooden statue relic of Gobnait. The ribbon has been 'measured' against the statue and having touched it carries the relic's healing vibrations.
Gentle maiden, Gobnait, warm brightly within my creativity your joy. Shine lightly within my Creativity your vitality. Dance subtly within my creativity your flowering.
Gentle mother, Gobnait, wrap softly within my heart your love. Swathe kindly within my heart your comeliness. Dream sweetly within my heart your serenity.
Gentle crone, Gobnait, rest strongly within my wisdom your trust. Watch calmly within my wisdom your understanding. Remember affectionately within my heart your peace.
Gentle maiden, mother and crone, gentle Gobnait. My heart a door, open and welcome.
Festival of Thanks for the first of the Harvest
Hope you are enjoying this mixed summer weather. Bartle and Renee Clarke have kindly agreed to us holding this celebration in the grounds of their home at Teltown, the traditional site of the Oenach Tailten, the Teltown Games. This is a country house bed and breakfast and working farm, http://www.teltownhouse.webs.com/ , situated on the River Blackwater between Kells and Navan.
Teltown - Teltown is named after the goddess and Fir Bolg queen Tailte, who is said to have cleared the forests and introduced agriculture to Ireland. After this great work she died and her foster son Lugh established the games at the August harvest time in her honour and according to the old tract, Senchas na Relec in Lebor na Huidhre, it was one of the chief burial places in Ireland. Teltown place where the Tuath De lost the battle and were forced under ground, (Macha and Bron Trogain are other important figures connected with this festival) -The Oenach Tailten festival and fair predates the Greek Olympics and the last great oenach was in 1170 with 13000 horsemen camping as far as Lloyd tower beyond Kells. The river Blackwater, abhainn saile, was central to Teltown and huge importance was put in the swimming of horses and cattle in its magically charged waters at Lughnasadh. Tailtean marriages took place here also where the couples were married through hand fasting near the Knockauns and absolved from their marriage a year and a day later by turning their backs on each other at the same site (if they so chose). Loch Lugh was a sacrificial lake and known as the short cut to hell with Laoighres spirit imprisoned in it by St. Patrick. Tailtiu's husband Eochu is a horse god/king and makes Tailtiu an indisputable Great Mare Mother .
Astronomically there is a Lughnasadh alignment with Uisneach and archaeologically there were 50 rocks of adoration mentioned at Teltown. Donaghpatrick church with its sun dial and fortified tower is part of the greater Teltown ritual landscape which includes;an ancient bridge, ford, marriage hollow, holy wells, neolithic rock art, processional mounds, ring forts, standing stones...
Crom Dubh - The outgoing deity at this festival is Crom Dubh, the dark bent one, bull keeper, bringer of grain. According to legend he is defeated by the new order represented by St. Patrick or Lugh who seem to be interchangeable in the stories. Locally there is a Cromwells road which is most likely Crom Dubhs road. As a bull keeper it is interesting to note that Taurus reappears in the August sky.
Coming together for Summer fun, our theme is thanks and blessings for both harvest and the water nurturing our crops and ourselves.
Please bring a sense of humour, ideas of what you are thankful for, a wish, sensible shoes as we will be walking through a field to the river. Our ceremony will include: storytelling, returning a corn cailleach to earth to inspire next year's growth, blessing the river Blackwater with flower petals, expressing our thanks individually, and nurturing our wishes with water, which is so potent at this time.
We pray that our Lughnasadh is full of blessings and joy
We pray that every single request made for our Highest Good is granted
We pray that old habits and faults fall away
and that we are smothered in love and light.
We pray that our health blossoms and our spirit is full
We pray that our family and friends are blessed with hope
We pray that our harvest is bountiful
and our troubles are few.
Thanks to Eileen for these words shared as we buried the Corn Cailleach.
We give thanks for
a glance across a crowded room that touches your heart
a gentle touch that uses no words but speaks volumes
the trust in your babies eyes when they look at you
the peace in our hearts and minds
friendships that brighten the darkest corners of your life
the extra special friend who always manages to ring when you most need
the friends here this evening giving of themselves
the hugs that keep you standing when you think you no longer can
the abundance of each persons individuality
that makes these celebrations extra special
the smile from a complete stranger that brightens your day
the earth that provides for us
the water that nourishes every living thing
the sun that gently warms you through
the gentle breeze that caresses your face
we give thanks for all these blessings and more
that we have received over the past year
and ask for abundance and balance,
for those and any other gifts that we receive for the coming year.
Again, many thanks to Eileen for these words as we gave thanks and blessed the water.
|Donkey knew it was time to bury the corn cailleach and got to work|
We finished with tea, bread, cheese and snacks in the garden at Teach Tailteann.
Those that could not join us on this very special night, lit candles and thanked water for its many gifts to us all.
They included people in Australia, United States, Canada, Italy, Spain, England, Scotland and across Ireland.
Dia daoibh and Lughnasadh Blessings to all
We returned to Port Beach near Clougherhead for a second Lughnasadh - Last year it was at full moon and this year coincided with the dark new moon
After planning at the kitchen table with Tom and Anne, fuelled by a Chinese Take Away and much head scratching, using a large board and measuring sticks,
then practice runs at constructing a "simple" Triskle... naively or foolishly we expected to have one ten times the size of the ones below!
We hoped to construct a triskle pattern of three interlocking spirals to represent universal as well as Irish truisms such as maiden, mother & crone. left, right & middle way, Father, Son & Holy Spirit, Body, mind & soul, Father, mother & child etc etc.
Martin refined the design, and came prepared to choreograph willing helpers in the triskele design
We opened the gathering by acknowledging the elements of earth (3 herbs, plant and 3 eggs), air (3 swan's feathers), water (holy well water from Tara)
and fire (the unlit candle representing the increasing darkness of the coming season)
We welcomed the three supporting energies of land, sea and sky and lit a beautiful sage smudge gifted by an American friend. Everybody chose a colourful glowstick representing their own light and picked an Irish wisdom Triad to share with the group
Amazing what a man, a bucket and piece of string will inspire people to do!
It takes a mehel to come together and plough, sow and reap, and so it was with our Lughnasadh celebration involving participation from all the group
After the silent sacred walking of the finished pattern, food, and a wonderful strawberry crumble made by Marian, then relaxation and summer beach fun!
A couple of us saw the Perseid shooting stars and others created rainbow bubbles
We played on as the tide encroached up the strand
Until finally the triskele pattern was washed away into the sea leaving us with wonderful memories and a big pink glow stick
Strong and full of wisdom,
A shining God of Light,
Lugh, please bless our harvest
As we greet the longer night;
Summer's sun and summer's heat,
shall sadly leave us now,
and with an age-long farewell cheer,
We move into the darkest phase
Of the cycle of the year.
Lughnasadh - season of first fruits harvest is upon us once more and it has long been associated with Holidays since the pre-Celtic times. It may be considered a liminal space between the work of planting and harvest. Patterns were made to the various holy wells such as Kieran well in Carnaross, pilgrimages were made to holy mountains such as Croagh Patrick (whose earlier name was Cruchan Aigli (eagle mountain) and sports, fun and recreation were the order of the season at Tailteann (which were banned by the church for being too boisterous).
The themes of pattern days, pilgrimage and holiday are as relevant today as they have always been.
This Lughnasadh, Tara Celebrations are going to the beach, a liminal space! Come join us to build a labyrinth and thus combine; pattern, pilgrimage and pleasure. We will all be inscribing a labyrinth into the sand and walking it to its centre and back again for as much a sense of fun as for contemplation and insight. We will follow this with a barb-b-q to represent the Lughnasadh fires, and we will be building sand castles to represent how easy it is to signify security and comfort which are Lughnasadh traits. Its also fun!
If you cant join us in person then light a candle and blow up a balloon! Beannachtaí Lughnasadh
the onshore breeze blows through the barley complementing the sound of the surf on the beach photographed on location
The Lughnasadh Labyrinth, a temporary temple
Neon glow stick casts magical light in the labyrinth combining the ancient and modern
Another heart coloured glow stick in the sacred centre
Tom weaving the light fantastic
The evening and the tide drawing in
|First glimpse of the rising full moon dressed in Pink....a magical moment||Full moon shining as bright as day|
|Full moon in an azure blue black sky||Moon observes the washing away of our LUNAsa labyrinth|
When you 'do' ceremony unexpected themes emerge and draw your attention. It is often only in hindsight that we notice the coincidences and synchronicities. We may be 'clutching at straws' and they may or may not be significant to our lives but, they satisfy the human need for pattern making and help to confirm that we are 'on the right path'. These arose in our minds at the time and on the following day – if you tune in and discover others we would love to hear about them....
Number 7 - 7 people were present - 7th ceremony of the year since New Year at Samhain (the glow sticks used had been bought at Samhain) – 7 path labyrinth hence walking the 7 chakras - date: 7 August - 7 lights/boats on the sea
Pink - The moon rose with a pink colour - Sinead, recently returned from South America, was telling us about seeing pink dolphins - pink glowstick next to the feathers: one from crow on Tara (see blue / black) - candle in pink salt rock had been lit at Tara before going to Port - Tara is said to be the heart chakra of Ireland whose colour is green tinged with pink - Archangel Chamael Aura Soma bottle is pink and relates to the 7th ray of angels and also to Tara
Blue/Black - Blue scabious flowers marked where we parked - Everyone was wearing mainly blue/black apart from one red jacket - A blue/black crows feather picked up at Tara represented air for the directions - Going home in the dark people in different vehicles were particularly commenting on the blue bridge over the Boyne at Drogheda
Bridges as portals (liminal places) - Port Beach and Clogherhead are at the eastern geological site of the Iapetus suture in Ireland. This is a bridging place in the earth. The northern lands (originally lying where Canada and US are today) and the southern lands (which lay where Antartica is today) merge here and are stuck together - we were at Port Beach, a port is a place of transition - Bridge at Drogheda transition over the River Boyne (see above) - the labyrinth was mostly on the shelly sand but the eastern edge went into the wave cut ridges of finer grained beach, hence lying across two different areas of the shoreline
North South - See Iapetus info above, we were at the meeting place of north and south - We orientated the labyrinth so that the entrance was in the south and we walked in towards the north.
East West - See Iapetus info above, it runs across the country NE to SW - Connemara marble from the west was used for the directions - skull found during ceremony looks very similar to a dolphins (to be confirmed) – 2 weeks ago some of the group had been to the west to reconnect with the dolphins there
Heron, Lugh, Tara, Labyrinth - As we climbed over the rocks to the beach to the north a heron flew from the land and over the strand. The heron (aka crane in Ireland) is a sacred bird and it used to be taboo to eat it's flesh. The skin would be made into a crane bag by Druids and shaman. In this they carried their spirit objects and treasures. One legend is that Mannanan (we were looking towards his land - the Isle of Man) had a favourite crane and when it died he made the skin into a bag. This bag was passed through the generations, including Lugh Long Arm. It passed to Conaire - 'Comely Conaire slept on the side of Tara of the plains : when the cunning well-made man awoke, the Crane-bag was found about his neck.' The crane dance is known in China, Siberia and Greece and also by the Druids. It is a circling dance imitating the crane's movements, and is in a labyrinth pattern, representing the journey of the soul. The connection from Port Beach labyrinth is thus made to An Tobar where the Monday meditations are held. For at An Tobar cranes nest above the lake and there is a labyrinth. (Go to the bottom of the meditation page for the Crane Stance & dance we did the following Monday)
And the walking sticks bought ages ago, which someone had insisted on buying, had never been used until that night. They were perfect for the job of outlining the labyrinth!!
Tom and Anne caught this picture on the way home of the Boyne Suspension Bridge. It was late, very late as we were having such a relaxed time in the most clement of weather there was no hurry on us to go home. Not a car on the road.
Some seasonal fruits:
Pilgrims saying the Rosary at the LadyWell watched over by the Virgin
The womblike approach to the LadyWell with the Boyne river to the right
'The Rudston Monolith'
Beth and Nigel went to visit the 'The Rudston Monolith' in East Yorkshire wolds,during Lughnasadh. The church was built around it,'rood 'or 'cross and stan' meaning' 'stone', it stands 25 feet 4 inches high, 6ft 1inch wide on the east side,5ft 9inches wide on the west side,2ft 9inches thick on the North side,2ft 3inches thick on the south side.It's made of Grit stone,originally it could have been taller,because it appears that there is a piece missing from the top, it has been capped, so it would have been taller.
There now appears to be a new theory about the monolith, if you look closely you can just make out Dinosaur footprints on one side,perhaps millions of years ago this monolith was just a bank of mud in a river bed,when some animal left its footprint,perhaps this is why this particular piece of stone was chosen to be made into the monolith!!! The area also has many signs of prehistoric life: there are square and round barrows which show evidence of Neolithic and Bronze Age burials.The main street of the village is an ancient track, probably first used in Neolithic times.To the North of the village are 'Argam Dikes,' prehistoric earth banks. There are also strange 'Curcus' believed to be late Neolithic earth banks, which may have been track ways or procession paths. So Rudston must have been of great importance as a religious or perhaps a trading site in prehistoric times.
Below: Beths lughnasadh holiday snap of Rudstone monolith side on
Gate Keeper on Tara: “Who are you?...for none without an art may enter Tara.” Lugh:
“I am Lugh, master of story telling, I am Lugh, master of healing, I am Lugh, master of knowledge, I am Lugh, master of sailing, I am Lugh, master of magic, I am Lugh, master of smithing, I am Lugh, master of carpentry, I am Lugh, master of the Harp, I am Lugh, master of champions, I am Lugh, master of poetry, I am Lugh, master of the battle."
So the story of the arrival of Lugh goes. Lugh was part Tuath de Danann, part Fomorian, the ildánach, master of all arts. Orator, Harper, Healer, Historian, Poet, Cup bearer, Carpenter, Champion, Smith, Magician. The coming of Lugh is a well known Irish story in which Lugh “Samildáanach”(Master of all the arts) presents himself at the gates of Tara, capital of Ireland, and demonstrates his ability to lead. So skilled was he that the High King gave Lugh his throne for a magical 13 days. What is generally over looked is the fact that Lugh came to bring war, death and destruction.
The Tuath de Danaan were being suppressed by the evil Fomorians who were applying harsh taxes on the Tuath de. At their moment of greatest need Lugh names his credentials and enters Tara to lead the Tuath in a crushing defeat of the Fomorians. This fulfilled the ancient prophecy that Balor's own grandson (Lugh) would defeat the Fomorians and Balor himself at the second battle of Mag Tuireadh. But this is not without severe cost to Lugh who sent his father to Ulster to get reinforcements. Unfortunately Lugh looses his father to the sons of Tuireann.
One can see how this story reflects the wisdom of building inner resources and cunning to tackle “that which no longer serves us”. It is the struggle for freedom and justice. It is about facing our inner Fomorian demons with our mastery of life. And about asking for help even though we may be multi-skilled.
One can also see the paralell between this archetypal story and modern day Ireland (after doing so well from European funds) facing the European backlash to Lisbon. Who will be our talented leader to guide the nation at this time of pressure? In the wider world there is much conflict that has not been resolved. Here on Tara we have several large scale battles and massacres which have been perpetrated to people, the landscape and to our cultural psyche. That is why we will be symbolically enacting all the battles that ever took place on the inner and outer realms with our weapons. Every battle that has ever occurred on the planet has had some tangible or intangible level effect on us. The mythological battles, the massacre of the women of Tara, the 1798 croppy boy rebellion, the modern day battles over the motorway, nationalism, unionism, sectarianism, religion, the inner battles over fear, separation, illusion and delusion, ignorance, hate, etc.
We will then transform the weapons of mass destruction in our Healing Cauldron of fire converting swords into plough shares. We will bring death and destruction to battle itself and connect with all the peace making that has ever occurred on the planet, as we are very much part of that too.
Then we become as Lugh, a true Samildánach.This Lughnasadh what fruits are you harvesting to bring into the winter when all there will be to survive are the fruits of your labour? Will you be nourished by your war or your peace?
Only the victorious can melt down their weapons.
Peace be with you - Síochán leat.
Our Lughnasadh Cauldron in which we melted down the waring swords and weapons to produce a symbol of peace in the plough share
Lughnasadh Rose, symbol of accepting the inner beauty even though there may be thorns
We gifted the well some of the flowers used during the ritual meditation
The challenges .....
... hoola hoop Olympics
contemplation sharing an essence of rose water and rose quartz
- the first of the three harvests - grain -
In Derbyshire, England, Liz Kirkham visited a Japanese Garden, Nr. Newark, in Nottinghamshire
and wrote 'A little verse'...
Grass seeds are now ripening
there's fields of golden grain
And birds are singing gaily
for it's harvest time again.
In the Banqueting Hall on Tara we smudged the group and passed around a lantern to connect the external light to the light in our hearts. We acknowledged the cardinal directions. We were reminded of Nelson Mandela's 1994 Inaugural Speech from South Africa, and having remembered that talented man, we named our own talents. We created corn dollies to celebrate the harvest and put popcorn on the fire to allow the fire to spiritualise our gifts for service to the world.
The universe is a masterpiece of abundance and wealth - experience the wonder, joy and bliss of its good nature.... feel its wonder, joy and bliss... Man becomes what he thinks about.....
Page last updated: 26th Sep 2017