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July 31, 2018
Lammas, aka Lughanasadh in Gaelic, marks the beginning of the harvest season in Wiccan and Pagan traditions. It occurs August 1 as rough halfway point between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere, though Old Lammas was said to occur when the Sun reached 15 degrees Leo. Whether you honor the mid-point or astrological date, this special holiday celebrates the mystery and magic of the spirit of the grain.
The name Lammas comes from old English meaning “loaf mass,” as it originated from celebrations of harvest time. Historically in Pagan and Wiccan traditions there were three harvests each year with corresponding holidays honoring each. Lammas was the first harvest with grain, the second Mabon (September 21 through September 29 this year) was fruit, and then finally near Samhain (October 31-November 1 this year) was nuts and berries.
At Lammas the goddess becomes embodied as the agricultural archetypes of the Grain Mother, Harvest Mother, Earth Mother, and Ceres (our word “cereal” comes from her). This powerful symbolism connects us to the Earth as a reminder of the process of life that includes the full cycle of seed to harvest and then the quiet of winter. Around the world the Spirit of the Grain has a place in ritual and also has associations with corn, honey, and onions.
In Gaelic and Pre-Christian times, the holiday Lughanasadh, also spelled Lughnasa, refers to the Irish Sun God Lugh and August was his sacred month. During this time there would be religious gatherings as well as what were called the Tailteann games. These athletic contests acknowledged the aging Lugh god and his waning presence in the sky as autumn comes closer. As he fades, it was believed he transferred his powers to the grain that was being harvested. Hence why Lughanasadh was such an important celebration that helped us hold onto the sunlight with fewer daylight hours on the horizon.
Traditional celebrations of this holiday had feasts, songs, and games and of course included grain. Below are some everyday ritual suggestions for greeting the grain this Lammas:
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June 13, 2019
What an excellent and abundant Full Moon! The Sun and the Moon are making their monthly opposition to one another in the opposite signs of Gemini and Sagittarius. Both representing ideas, communication, expansion. But Sagittarius is more prone to filtering out the noise and trying to expand the BIG PICTURE. Sagittarians are natural born story tellers. So what’s your story? This is a time to really sit down and ask yourself; what is it you want? Who or what do you want to be? What do you believe in? Where is your life heading? Your answer may be very far off from where you stand now, and that’s ok. If you’ve been spinning your wheels, and are ready to make some changes now is the time....
As with many aspects of the esoteric and occult and even mainstream religion, magic is composed of dualities. The most obvious divide is that of black ("bad") magic and white ("good") magic. From time to time, when acquaintances find out that I mess with the craft, they immediately ask "but you're doing the good kind of magic, right?" So, I personally prefer the Latin terms Maleficium and Beneficium. These better encapsulate the difference between working with ill intentions (malice) and working to heal (benefit). Although something of a trope, a sort of stereotype rooted more in both folklore and mass media than in how real magic is done in the world, this duality still helps classify our knowledge of the magical arts.
June 06, 2019