Observing the Wheel of the Year is one of the most wonderful parts of my spiritual practice. It seems that every six weeks (give or take), I have a brand new reason to celebrate. The fact that Pagans (in general) have the freedom to create their own unique understanding of each sacred day allows for rich and ever-evolving traditions, which we can adapt and infuse into our everyday lives.
Today, many of us are celebrating Lughnasadh, which is the first of three harvest festivals. There are many resources where you can learn about the Sun Deity Lugh, who is the master of all trades, and his Mother Tailtiu, to whom Lugh dedicated this festival.
In my personal practice, I see this holy day as the first of three Thanksgiving celebrations. It is a time for me to get my kitchen in order, bake, harvest fresh summer berries and take notice of the blessings that we don't always notice ~ for example, the farmers who grow the grain to make the flour in my bread, and the bees who pollinate the blossoms of the raspberries in my basket.
But abundance and harvest aren't only measured in money and food. It could manifest as opportunities that have grown out of "seeds" that I planted earlier in the year, an increase in health due to better lifestyle habits, or simply an appreciation for the good friends and family that surround me.
To celebrate, there need not be an elaborate ritual or ceremony -
although it must be said that I do love my private rituals on the holy days. Here are a few ideas of simple ways to observe Lughnasadh:
• bake bread or biscuits, or cook a meal from scratch using fresh, in-season ingredients.
• pick food from your garden or a u-pick farm.
• meet with friends for a good laugh and a tea.
• go for a walk in nature, and enjoy the warmth of the summer sunshine
• learn a new skill, and create something with it
• go on a farm tour or learn more about where your food comes from
• donate supplies to a homeless shelter
• visit a farmer's market
• host a dinner party
• play games and engage in friendly competition
• enjoy making, listening to or dancing to music
• scatter seeds for bee-friendly plants
• collect wildflowers and make arrangements to give away to people you love
• donate to, or volunteer for a food bank or soup kitchen
• donate supplies to an animal shelter
• make a list of your blessings (hint: you'll never be able to count them all)
Lughnasadh blessings upon you and yours!