By Lughnasadh, The Sun God has already begun his downward journey, facing now toward the dark frosts of Winter. The Goddess, however, never wanes. She simply changes appearance. At Lughnasadh, She wears a face of exquisite abundance. During the season of high Summer the bounty of our planet is in full swing. We reap the benefits of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. This is a time when most of us experience exceptionally good health and robust living.
Lughnasadh marks the last heyday of the Sun God. Beneath the Barley Moon and Summer stars we, too, enjoy the expiring passions of the season. Marriages are often entered into at Lughnasadh as well as at Midsummer, and as Robert Burns tells us, it is a “happy night” that he spends among the cornfields with his lover. Lughnasadh is a tome when the symbolic aspects of the life-sustaining elements of grain spill over into every part of life.
Lughnasadh marks a turning point in the Earth’s life cycle. Although Summer is hot and bountiful, more visible signs of the Sun’s waning strength lie just around the corner in Autumn’s fallen leaves. During this time of year, Witches use herbs to bring good fortune and abundance in their cooking, healing, potions, and spellwork. All grains, seeds, herbs, and flowers gathered now can be dried for later use during Winter or for decorating the altars of future Sabbats. Like herbs, grains are considered sacred and should be harvested with a magically charged “golden” sickle.
In many regions in the northern hemisphere, Lughnasadh is berry-picking time. In the British Isles, bilberries are particularly plentiful. Gathering bilberries at Lughnasadh is an ancient ritual that has bearing upon the Summertime harvest as a whole. If the bilberries are bountiful, the crops will be plentiful. Just about every herb, flower, and grain reaches its peak of color, flavor, and magical potency in Summer. Garlic is a particularly versatile herb that is used for protection against negative energy and to cleanse and purify the body. Marigold helps us to communicate with Faeries and increase psychic ability. Moss is for financial gain, and at Lughnasadh vervain is used for wealth as well as protection. During this season of marriages, yarrow is a common ingredient in wedding gift philtres and oils for love and union. Hops, used in flavoring beer and ale, favorite Lughnasadh beverages, are also good for sleeping and healing. Witches make healing compresses and teas from comfrey to enhance the healing of broken bones, scrapes, and bruises.
Following is a list of herbs to use in your magic during the Lughnasadh season:
- golden rod
- clover blossom
- Queen Anne’s Lace
- Irish moss
- apple leaf
- raspberry leaf
- strawberry leaf
- bilberry leaf
- blueberry leaf
- grape vine
- black thorn
- bee pollen
Our imaginations can easily be taken in by the magical charms of stones. They are simple enough in themselves, yet we watch and touch and remember, sometimes brooding upon their eternal composition. Witches believe that stones, despite their seeming lack of animation, are objects of wisdom and great positive energy and, like water, are one of the purest of all of Nature’s forms. For untold centuries we have paid attention to the effect of light on form. The geometric forms of crystals reveal fresh new perspectives that aid us in preparing for the future.
At Lughnasadh, as at all the Sabbats, we affirm the time-honored importance of stones as our friends. In addition to prosperity and growth, we seek confidence to face what lies ahead and a strengthening of our bond with Nature. The constancy of each individual stone on Earth centers on a mystical kind of compressed raw energy. Stones contain dynamic qualities and to us they exhibit a magical sensibility seemingly at odds with their concreteness. Within the core of each lies imprisoned, like the Young God himself, the concentrated, exquisite spirit of energy and light. Realizing these truths about about the magic of stones is particularly helpful during this turning point on the Wheel of the Year, when we straddle Lughnasadh’s amazing paradox of abundance and loss.
Following is a list of stones to use in your Lughnasadh magic:
- golden topaz
- moss agate
- clear quartz
(Source: Celebrate the Earth A Year of Holidays in the Pagan Tradition by Laurie Cabot with Jean Mills)