Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lammas - Lughnasadh

Lammas Day - the first day of August, once observed as the first  harvest festival, during which bread baked from the first crop of wheat was blessed.  Lammas, also known as Celtic Lughnasadh (Day of Lugh) was also a traditional celebration of  the Sun God Lugh.  As such, the celebration often traditionally included many games and feats of strength, among them the famous Highland Games, which included sports  such as log throwing and sword dancing.

The Wicker Man was traditionally related to Lammas ceremony - he represented the God who dies (like in the story of "John Barleycorn") and is ever reborn, the eternal "green man" in the next year, next growing season, next cycle, next turning.  This  ancient and ubiquitous symbol of the  sacrificed and resurrected God, related to both the Sun and the Grain is found in numerous myths and religions, among them  Osiris, the Green Man, Dummuzi the shepherd,  even in Christianity where it is found in the death and ressurection of the Christ - born at the Winter Solstice (often called the "return of the light"), sacrificed, and then reborn at the time of the Spring Equinox.     (See the rendition of the traditional folk song "John Barleycorn Must Die" by Steeleye SPan.) In contemporaryneo-Pagan culture the effigy is often created and loaded with offerings of food, flowers and prayers on paper before it is burned - this tradition is carried on indirectly in the creation of beautiful sculptures that are burned in the closing bonfires of Sirius Rising festival in New York.

Originally the Burning Man festival began as a Lammas festival in the Bay Area of California, with the Burning Man representing the Wicker Man, perhaps in its origins the bright Sun God Lugh.  As Burning Man grew in popularity it had to be relocated to the Nevada desert, and became the arts festival it is today.

Fields of listening, whispering corn
Ripen in the heavy air
Lugh the Golden dancing forth,
Leaves and sheaves in his wild hair.
In perfect circles bow the stalks,
Mark the path where great Lugh walks,
Mark days and seasons, round they go,
As above, so below.

All that dies shall be reborn
All that dies shall be reborn

 Rev. Raven Spirit 2002


Gail said...

Thanks, hope you are having a wonderful time on your travels.

Flossy said...

Nice posting. Happy Lammas/Lughnasahd