Lughnasa 2011

Lughnasa                                                          Waxing Honey Flow Moon

The third cross-quarter holiday in the Celtic calendar, Lughnasa follows Beltain and proceeds Samhain, thus it cuts the once much longer Beltain season, essentially the growing and harvesting season, in half.  It marks the first fruits of the harvest, a time of gathering in and being nourished by the summer’s heat, the plants’ flourishing.  Lughnasa apparently celebrates the god Lugh, a sun-god, though the relation between him and this festival is uncertain.  The Catholics honor this pagan tradition through the feastday, Lammas, when parishioners bring in bread from the first grains harvested.

In the old days these festivals lasted a week or more, with farmers coming into the village from the countryside or meeting at a customary spot to set up a market.  Feasting, drinking, games, searching for a mate or for work blended with the serious task of laying up sufficient stores to survive the winter, foreshadowed now by the earlier setting of the sun.

A remnant of these market fairs continues on in county fairs and state fairs where feasting, drinking, games, searching for a mate or work blends with honoring those who still provide our food.  Yes, we have the grocery store now and no we don’t wonder about surviving the winter, at least many of us don’t, but the old need to come together and crown a Princess Kay of the Milky Way, to sculpt her in butter lingers.

Lughnasa here at Artemis Hives will find the honey harvest joining the tomatoes, the potatoes, beets, carrots, beans and onions.  It also finds us reaping the harvest of new learning:  Latin, Tai Chi, quilting techniques, potting and celebrating family.  The dogs have become a calmer pack thanks to an investment of time over the last few months.  Mark has made some progress towards a job and a healthier future.

Celebrate your harvest, too.  Raise a glass of wine or water, eat a meal with friends and loved ones.  Wear a flower garland and go the state fair or the farmer’s market.  Why?  Because these are things we humans have done for centuries, for millennia, they keep us alive and healthy.

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