Lughnasadh is a seasonal event derived from the funerary celebrations, games of skill and animal trading that the sun god Lugh devised to commemorate his foster mother Tailtu.. She was an ancient Earth or Mother Goddess who had decided to clear the land of rocks and boulders so that the people of ancient Ireland could grow their crops. The hard work that ensued wore out poor Tailtu and she died of exhaustion. Each Lughnasadh we remember Tailtu’s hard work as we enjoy the first harvest.
Here in Ireland agricultural shows take place during August and there are horse shows up and down the country. Connemara is famous for the Connemara Pony Show which attracts visitors from all over the world who come to seee the finest of our regional ponies who are renowned for their intelligence and gentle manner. Many of the other types of summer festivals taking place around the country are the legacy of Lugh’s original games.
Clifden Pony Show
For me, this time of year is especially beautiful. The colours of the flowers in the meadows and hedgerows are so particularly bright, they seem to be saying “..look at me, I’m here for you..” and there are lots of medicinal plants to harvest.
So many flowers are really making their colours shine out and the air is perfumed with the scent of both trees and flowers.
I have been collecting the “weeds” from my garden and from the polytunnel and so far I have made medicine – teas and tinctures – from Meadowsweet, Nettle, Agrimony, Coltsfoot, Dandelion, Lemon Balm, Artemesia, Rosebay Willow Herb and more. If you would like to know more about “weeds”and their healing powers, you can purchase my two books, The Weed Handbook Volume 1” and “The Weed Handbook Volume 2” from this web site.
It is such a relief, as summer draws to a close, knowing that I am well stocked up with herbal teas and tinctures, salves and lotions. Fruit is in the freezer to bring some sweet delights during the dark days and other vegetables are being harvested and dried or blanched and frozen. I could have had more but I have been busy with other demands lately. However, despite those demands, I must return to my garden and finish harvesting and preparing my beds for their rest during winter. This means hoeing and clearing and adding sea weed which will rot down and release lots of much needed minerals.
To celebrate the season of Lughnasadh it is a good thing to practice gratitude. One thing I like to do is write down all the lovely things that I am grateful to Mother Nature for – all those beautiful flowers and trees, warm, long, sunny days and the freedom to be able to enjoy them. If you can break bread with friends, do it consciously with thanks. I remember Tailtu’s great gift to us all.