Lughnasadh (or Lammas) is the first of the three harvest festivals. It marks the mid point of summer and celebrates the first harvest and the hope for continued fertility throughout the harvest season. Where I am (California) it is a little difficult to get into the celebration of the mid point of summer. When it seems that temperatures are only just starting to get ridiculously hot it is difficult to picture an end to the summer months. But the nights are cool and the crops appear to be in abundance while my plants bring forth new growth once more and it all makes me smile to see the wheel turning.
Some background: The festival is named after the Celtic god Lugh and the games that took place were dedicated to his foster mother Talitiu - who is said to be a linked to the idea of an earth mother goddess. This is the time that signals the beginning of the shift to those shorter days (I see this each morning as I now begin to arise before the sun at my regular time) the sun is still strong but we can really begin to notice the length of days becoming shorter. The general focus of activities at this time of year are on fertility in the coming harvests to ensure a plentiful season and the honoring of the god Lugh. Corn is one of the main crops for this time of year and as such corn dollies can play a role in your celebrations.
As we move into this 'harvest' season we move towards an time of the year for inward reflection. It is the perfect time to consider looking back on what we can 'harvest' from the lessons we've learned this year. It is also a time to reflect on our place in this modern world and the connection that we share with it. It is so easy in these modern times to loose track of the cycles of the season, and especially the idea of the harvest. Unless one is fortunate enough to have their own gardens to tend (which sadly I do not) the importance of working with the land, of the teamwork that comes between us and nature to reap the fruits of the earth, is lost to a modern world of grocery stores. Lughnasadh is a perfect opportunity to take time out and honor the work that goes into producing your food and to try and tune in to the season at hand.
That being said, what are my plans for this Lughnasadh...well my house is currently home to three adult house guests so I've lost all my ritual spaces and I'm also playing hostess, so I think my celebration will be put off until the weekend when I can finally claim my home back and get it feeling like my sacred space again.