The Celtic cross-quarter festival of Lugh, the “Shining One,” honors his foster mother, Tailtiu, the “Great One of the Earth,” who was probably an aspect of the goddess of the land or the earth mother herself. Since ancient times this festival has been a great communal gathering to celebrate the first harvest of berries and grains and the arts and craftsmanship of the people.
We especially honored Lugh this year in his aspect as “lightning flash,” the summer storms that bring the ripening of the grains to completion. As the bright, divine prototype of human kingship, he represents the successful marriage of King and Goddess of the Land that we celebrated at Beltane, the partnership of divinity with humanity, and the flourishing relationship of people and the earth. When we opened the Directions by dancing Thunder Beings was it with more flare this time? Here is a “flashier”cornbread Lugh!
We danced Hoof and horn, all that dies shall be reborn…. Corn and grain, all that falls shall rise again. Then we purified ourselves in preparation for communion by passing a bowl of rainwater, charged with Lugh’s light and sound from the lightning and thunder of one of our recent storms. We dipped a Brigid’s cross into the water to bless ourselves, because Brigid’s Imbolc and Lugh’s Lughnasa are opposite on the Wheel of the Year and complementary as the first stirrings of the germinating seed at Imbolc grows to become the fruition of the first harvest at Lughnasa. The ritual of communion, breaking cornbread Lugh, represents the archetypal story of the death of the harvest god and his resurrection in our new life. In sharing blueberries we honored our many species of wild, native blueberries.
At Imbolc Brigid provides powerful creative inspiration while at Lughnasa Lugh, the master of all arts, represents the work of fine crafting. With apple juice we toasted our wonderful projects that are maturing, about to be harvested, or will be harvested by Samhain, supporting each other with the energy to complete them.
We danced Oh, Earth Beautiful, honoring the Elements, and Farrunnissa led a rousing Radhe Bolo in which Krishna, divine spirit, dances with Radha, his earthy feminine beloved.
Lughnasa is a time of communal games, so we played our favorite game in which groups collectively write incantations (each person can only see the previous line) then use them to create danced chants. This process was accompanied by a mesmerizing improvisation by Hayat on flute and Farrunnissa on drum. I’m convinced that the magic spell of the music helped weave the magical chants.
We blessed each other with the Sacred Elements in the Celtic Blessing dance. Closing the Directions outside, we thanked the spirits of the land and our loving ancestors with offerings of birdseed, and filled the bird feeder so the seniors who meet at the center could watch the ensuing morning feast!
Here is one group’s lovely incantation:
Planted seeds of light,
Corn tassels flowing over
The hills of the land
Sing to the sky
Why must the sun fall?
That which falls does also rise again!
And thus the world goes ‘round.
Here’s another group’s delightful incantation:
Warmth and ripeness
Peace on earth
Shall embrace everyone
Sacred Earth energy fills the hollows of my bones
Sun and rain bring life to the fields
Dragonflies make razor turns in sunlight beams
And spiral in the moonlight.
Thanks to the delightful dancers and celebrants; to our wonderful musicians Farrunnissa, Hamid, and Hayat; to Libby for arranging this dance space for us; and to Roger for helping to publicize this event by posting the flyers. A special thank you to Hamid for again helping me create these Reflections. May this First Harvest from our earthly and spiritual gardens be nourishing to us and to all beings in our community of life.
In love and light,
Hakima Betty Lou,
Coordinator, Ziraat Circle, Rose Heart Sufi Community