ga:mine

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wheel of the year | Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1)

“ Harvest Mother
the reaper
feeds us
as the sacred land
lends itself
to nourish us with love
Blessing the harvest
from the depth of the earth
the fruits of the season
apples, plums and peaches
arrive to sustain
our body, mind and spirit
we give thanks
from the depth
of our hearts.”

Lammas and the Harvest by Maria Duncalf-Barber

Lughnasadh is the first in the trilogy of harvest festivals. It marks the beginning of the harvest season, and the decline of Summer into Winter.

Lughnasadh, also called Lammas, is the Celebration of Harvest and begins what is called “the chase of Lugh”. Lugh is the Celtic Sun God and he rains down upon the crops, living within the golden fields. In the mythological story of the Wheel of the Year, the Sun God transfers his power into the grain, and is sacrificed when the grain is harvested. So we have a dying, self-sacrificing and resurrecting god of the harvest, who dies for his people so that they may live. So at this celebration we give thanks to the Earth for its bounty and beauty. It is from these harvests that we eat through the upcoming winter.

Also Lammas is a festival celebrating the first fruits of harvest, the fruits of our labours, and seeing the desires that we had at the start of the year unfold so rituals will be centred around this.

Colours associated with lammas are golds, yellows and orange for the God and red for the Goddess as mother.

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wheel of the year | Beltane (May 1)

“The world’s favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.”
-  Edwin Way Teale

The modern Beltane Fire Festival is inspired by the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane which began on the evening before 1 May and marked the beginning of summer.

This fire festival is celebrated with bonfires, Maypoles, dancing, and lots of good old fashioned sexual energy. The Celts honored the fertility of the gods with gifts and offerings, sometimes including animal or human sacrifice. Cattle were driven through the smoke of the balefires, and blessed with health and fertility for the coming year.

There are many different ways you can celebrate Beltane, but the focus is nearly always on fertility. It’s the time when the earth mother opens up to the fertility god, and their union brings about healthy livestock, strong crops, and new life all around.
Today’s Pagans celebrate Beltane much like their ancestors did. A Beltane ritual usually involves lots of fertility symbols, including the obviously-phallic Maypole dance. The Maypole is a tall pole decorated with flowers and hanging ribbons, which are woven into intricate pattern by a group of dancers. Weaving in and out, the ribbons are eventually knotted together by the time the dancers reach the end.

There are some who believe Beltane is a time for the faeries – the appearance of flowers around this time of year heralds the beginning of summer and shows us that the fae are hard at work. In early folklore, to enter the realm of faeries is a dangerous step – and yet the more helpful deeds of the fae should always be acknowledged and appreciated. If you believe in faeries, Beltane is a good time to leave out food and other treats for them in your garden or yard.

For many contemporary Pagans, Beltane is a time for planting and sowing of seeds – again, the fertility theme appears. The buds and flowers of early May bring to mind the endless cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth that we see in the earth.