Lughnasadh is part of the Celtic calendar, celebrated on 1 August or the nearest full moon after this date. It is the ancient harvest festival, giving thanks to the earth for sustaining us and allowing us to grow what we need to survive. Lughnasadh’s celebration of the warm weather which has allowed the harvest to prosper is enriched by the knowledge that winter is now on the fast approach. This weaving together of the sweet and the bitter in life’s tapestry, a theme I have found in much of Celtic tradition, is something I find so powerful. Let us give full-throated thanks for today while we may.
It feels like only yesterday that we marked the solstice, when the sun blazed at the height of the endless heavens
Yet the wheel of the year has turned again
The days ripen.
Though we stand
In the full glow of summer
The corn has ripened in the sun
May our happiness be leavened by the knowledge that this day, too, will pass, as it must
May this lughnasadh sunshine
Remind you of all the fruits, seen and unseen, which you have grown,
Watered – yes, even with your tears –
Which are coming into the time of harvest
We lift our faces to the sun and thank her for growing us
For nurturing what was good
For scorching away what could not prosper
Even as we stand, casting short dark shadows, an end awaits
Can you dance in the sun, not looking behind you to see your own shadow,
Or ahead to see the sun setting soon, so soon, so soon?
This is the gift of lughnasadh
May you, with deep gratitude for the labour of days past,
Now reap the harvest of your life?
Can you offer thanks to yourself, and to life, which has given us so much?
Can you trust that what hasn’t come to fruition may yet?
May we all recognise the source of all our blessings
As we prepare the harvest scythe,
May we take only what we need to fulfill us. To nourish us.
May we put back more than we take
So that future harvests
And future harvesters
May also reap what they require
Danu, first mother, grant us this.