Friday, August 2, 2013

Gwyl Awst/Lughnasadh

The Feast of August!  The beginning of the Harvest festivals.
    This ancient holiday is traditionally celebrated on July 31st- Aug 1st. Mid-point between Summer solstice/Midsummer and the Autumn equinox/Mabon. Unless you strictly follow astronomical calculations for your celebrations. This year (2013) August 7th will be the astronomical mid-point.
     The Welsh call this day Gwyl awst or Calan awst, feast of August.
     The Celtic call this day Lughnasadh named for Lugus.
     In Ireland Lughnasadh is celebrated with festivals of skill and craft. Some historical Irish traditions include, trading, making contracts, and matchmaking.
     Wiccan call this day Lammas, meaning "loaf mass", or Lughnasadh, Wicca celebrations vary including aspects of multiple harvest traditions. For many this is a time of handfastings.
     Many families use this time of year to hold reunions. Fortifying traditions and also sharing and learning new skills. T-shirts, games, and activities. Always fun!
    Harvesting grain, fruits, and berries is the tradition of this holiday.
Baking bread from your first grain harvest is a commonality of many. This holiday is a time of giving thanks, a time when we see the ripening of the crops over which we have labored, reaping what we have sown.               We honor the cycles, giving thanks for the life which the Sun and Earth provide; as all of the ancient celebrations do.
     During harvest we contemplate the end of one cycle bringing life to another. Start gathering seed for the next years planting.
    As we break our bread giving thanks for this cornucopia brought forth from working with the cycles, this is also a good time to reflect on what we have sown into our life's. What we have sown into the lives of others. What skills would we like to improve on? Are the seeds we're sowing and "growing" helping us to reach our goals?
      What will you "harvest" from your "soul crop"?

~Shine Boldly~