Lovely Lughnasadh – Enjoying Abundance

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.

 

 

           Purple Loosestrife

 

Agrimony

 

So many flowers are really making their colours shine out and the air is perfumed  with the scent of both trees and flowers.

 

                                           Wild Carrot

 

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.

Blessings of Lughnasadh to everyone.

Lughnasadh -When Paradise is a Garden

I explained on one of my earier blogs that I had grown up in the north east of England, in an industrial town, in a house like this one.

stockton house

The “garden” at the front  was paved over and I grew up yearning for plants, for the countryside and to make a connection to Nature.

Now, I am very fortunate and so grateful that I have a garden to call my own.  At this time of year, harvest time, or Lughnasadh, the garden is vibrant with colour.

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Here are a couple of apple trees in our tiny orchard.  Such a thrill to be growing apples to eat.  There is something truly magical about apples – no wonder they are associated with the Goddess.

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The vegetable beds are full of kale, onions, squash, salad leaves and Brussel sprouts.

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Parsley gone to seed

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Chamomile ready for harvest

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Flowers!

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Borage!

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Calendula

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Such great bounty to be had at Lughnasadh. Some flowers have passed the peak of their beauty but there are others just reaching theirs.  Seeds are ready for collection and with the autumn light everything seems golden.

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Lughnasadh is Irish for August and marks the beginning of Autumn.  It is a cross quarter day on the Wheel of the Year and is a time dedicated to Lugh the Sun God.

Lugh

He was a Shining Warrior and a Master of All Crafts. In the past, Lughnasadh was celebrated with communal games, crafts, races and feats of strength and in giving thanks to Lugh the Sun God for the abundance of the harvest.

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The garden at  Lughnasadh is also a wonderful place to celebrate, not only the harvest but also all the things that make life wonderful; our loved ones, the security of our homes, our health, the things that make us happy and fulfilled.  It is a good practice to stop for a moment and just think of all we have, of all that we have “harvested”.  I also like to encourage people to think of all the things that they have mastered in life, whether it be playing an instrument, being good at art or at practical crafts, being a good listener, gardening, teaching, being a kind friend.  We are all masters at many things but tend to dismiss our talents through a misguided false modesty.

In my spiritual journey I associate the goddess Airmid with Lughnasadh.  She is the Irish Goddess of Herbalism and with so many herbs in abundance at this time it seems fitting to think of her too.

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Happy Lughnasadh everyone, may the bounty in your life ever increase.