August 1st marks the beginning of the festival of Lughnasadh, an ancient Celtic harvest holiday. It was the time to gather ripe grains, especially wheat and oats, and time for berries and apples. Lughnasadh wasn’t all about working the fields and orchards though… celebrations included games and sports akin to the Olympics, fairs that boasted fine artisans and entertainers, the crafting of ritual items and making of magic. Deities were honored – the name of the festival comes from the Celtic sun god Lugh, known as “the shining one,” and patron of craftspeople. The fertile goddess of the earth might also be praised at Lughnasadh. The deities were honored for their life-giving energy, and the abundance they brought to the land.
As we acknowledge the beauty of the seasons today, we might not honor old gods such as Lugh, but we can certainly treat with reverence the gifts of nature. We can enjoy the music of tall grasses and collect the wildflowers of deep summer. We may not gather the grain but we can work grain, flour, and seed into bread. We can create beautiful altars that express our gratitude for what we have been given. And we can certainly embrace the heat of August, play games in the sunshine, and for all of us here at 1000 Markets, offer our handcrafted items with spirit and joy!
Sources and further reading: “The Sacred World of the Celts”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0892817011/1000markmindb-20, by Nigel Pennick “Witchcraft Medicine - Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants”: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/08928197..., by Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Christian Ratsch, and Wolf-Dieter Storl The Celtic Book of Days, by Caitlin Matthews Celtic Mythology, by Proinsias MacCana The Celtic Realms, by Myles Dillon and Nora Chadwick