Celebrating the Very First Harvest and Lughnasad

 August 1, 2017 is the Celtic and Old European tradition of Lammas or “Bread Mass”–the welcoming in of the first grains to be winnowed and the first breads to be baked from the earliest harvest. High Summer is the moment of coming into full communion with our most fertile and wild First Natures. This is the yeasty time. This is the glorious moment of gratitude for the bounty which surrounds us, and dwells within us. This is also the beginning of farewell–the long slow leavetaking of the Sun as He begins to release his Beloved, Mother Earth. At the Autumn Equinox, day and night will be equal and the depth of winter will not be far behind.

But for now, the Earth Grain Mother and the Sky Sun Father are joined at the supreme point of their summer love affair. We too, are feeling the expansiveness of summer–fewer clothes, no shoes, flowers burgeoning and summer rains bathing us all. In Ireland this is the Eve of Lughnasad (pronounced loo-na-sah) when John Barleycorn and the first ears of corn are welcomed through the threshold and into the feasting hall. The Harvest shock of corn is carried by the Harvest Mother, representing the Great Goddess of the Grain, as she is drawn on a flower-filled carriage to the celebration. It is important for the community to gather and eat, drink and most of all–to dance the ancient Morris dances, jigs and other old pieces that carry the people into the world of Mystery and Trance as they circle and sing, all night long.

This is also the celebration of Danu, the Mother of the Celts and a manifestation of the Earth Mother. Her son, for whom the festival is named, is Lugh Samildanach who is known in Ireland as “the All-Purpose god.” He represents youth at its most rugged and full of prowess. He is the patron of warriors, smiths, doctors, fiddlers, scholars and craftsmen, to name only a few. He is symbolised as a mighty youth with a shining spear and ravens who honor his abilities with Wisdom and Prophesy.

The name of the Fair Ones, the original “fairies” of ancient Irish mysticism, is Tuatha de Danaanthe Children of Danu. As her most precious son, Lugh was also the crown of Sacred Masculinity. He was the god invoked when men (and women) were seeking High Summer healing Magik. Lugh is the patron of Magicians.


This is the time to gather some brilliantly-colored Indian corn,or newly picked corn and tie a red ribbon around the stalks. Some people fashion a”Corn Dolly” out of the best ears of corn, dressing them in leaf and twig clothing. These can then be taken to a well, stream or river to be blessed with fresh water then left outside overnight in the Late Summer Moon light. You can hang this abundance fetish in your home to beckon a continuing good harvest in work, life and all relationships. Traditionally the corn designs are kept until the sowing of the next year’s crop.

This is also the time to test your strength and push your physical limits. It is the perfect celebration in which to discover the “Lugh” in you—climb a mountain, swim in a cold, swift stream, honor your yoga practice with more vigorous poses. Take a long hike, especially by the light of the moon and let yourself feel the profound pull between Sun, Moon, Earth. Let your powerful body and spirit draw in the Lunar energies and blast off into the new month!

At Lughnasad, Druid tradition honors two special flowers in particular. The magikal properties of Hollyhock and Sunflower are called upon as we place them on our altars or in the center of our Medicine Wheel or labyrinth. It is believed the the Hollyhock may be derived from the words, “holy oak” because the crusaders brought it back to Britain from the Holy Lands and the flower’s green leaves are shaped very much like the oak’s. For Druid practitioners this is a very powerful combination: brilliant flowers which bloom in July and August and leaves which look like those of the Sacred Oak. They symbolize prosperity, attract wealth of all kinds and are the favorites of Fairies. Sunflower symbolizes the Sun and healthy self-worth, a sense of personal meaning, fertility and life-purpose.

If you gather these flowers and are a woman, you can wear one behind your ear to attract a powerful and well-rounded Lover like Lugh. If you are a man, you may offer these in a bouquet to the Goddess of Grain as you request Her support and generosity in all of your life relationships for the coming year.

In the name of Mother Danu and Lugh, the Shining One–may you be filled with the blessings of the first Harvest–and many more to come.


About mtelander

I am here to honor the wild and wonderful First Nature in each of us. To celebrate the embodiment of the living Goddess Within every woman and the Valiant Green Man within every man. I am here to offer support, counsel, meditations, essays, poetry and blogs about the Love of Nature and the Nature of Love. This blog and my 2 websites are offered to you as a virtual garden gathering at www.marcietelander.com and sacred Earth Activism and Spiritual Mystery School at www.earthwisdominstitute.org. I am a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist as well as an award-winning poet, journalist, screenwriter, Master Storyteller, international presenter and a grandmother of the Eco-psychology and Positive Psychology movements. My mission is to assist you in expanding your Passion, Peace and Purpose through a life lived in devotion to Nature--and the Nurturing of your unique voice and creative activities and advocacy NOW. I WOULD BE HONORED IF YOU WOULD VISIT ME AND LEAVE A PRECIOUS COMMENT OR VOICE AT www.earthwisdominstitute.org or www.marcietelander.com. Blessed be, Marcie Telander
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6 Responses to Celebrating the Very First Harvest and Lughnasad

  1. Pat Beck Maitland says:

    This was wonderful to read! Just this evening I was contemplating going into our brook with a small pond. I really felt the urge! Ok. Tomorrow it is.
    I miss you.
    I love where we are, now 3 miles out of town in a sweet house, with brook and river right behind us. Our back yard is all rock but we have big potted veggies in our “Rock Garden”. A big reason we wanted to move here is to grow things. David has been doing some care taking on this man’s property who, get this, invited us to plant his huge garden. He will rent a rototiller and have manure brought in. He has 3 dwellings that he short term rents on his big plot of land. we will invite his guests to gather what they want to eat. The rest is ours to eat and sell next summer. We are planting some winter things right away. Oh, I forgot, also he has a green house we can put up!
    I am blessed!!!!
    Love and a big hug to you! Tell Mark I miss seeing him also.

    • mtelander says:

      Dear Pat and David–

      Thank heavens you have found another heaven on earth–but of course, and so well-deserved. It sounds as if you will be happily farming and gardening and splashing in your pond! Many blessings to you–and I am so pleased that you enjoyed my blog. You might want to check my shamanic healing and Mystery School website: http://www.earthwisdominstitute.org. I would love to meet you there! Marcie

  2. ellen says:

    I loved receiving this from you….thank you.
    We have dance/ exercise 3x a week here at the museum and always celebrate the solstice and other like events together….here’s something else to honor and enjoy!
    I can see you are flourishing in your rocky mountain home and always enjoy hearing from you.
    Best from Ellen (Ratner)

  3. Mary says:

    Marcie dear, thanks for the reminder of what we are embracing. I have just celebrated Aug 1st as swiss day… the sun is shining and lake Leman is delightful for swimming. Hmmmmm sending love Mary

  4. Thank you Marcie for connecting us to Earth and sky awareness in this sacred time! Will follow your wonderful suggestions. Blessings! – Jess

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