I feel the stirrings of Lughnasadh deep within my veins. All though we are going to have a small informal celebration I look forward to Lughnasadh with as much anticipation as I awaited Christmas as a child in a Christian home. The fact that Christmas was a celebration of the birth of Christ never really resonated with me despite my parents attempts to keep our celebrations focused on religion. It was a holiday where a little girl’s dreams came true, all of my desires were beautifully wrapped up in bows and shiny paper under and artificial tree, every table in the house overflowed with cakes, cookies, chocolates and cheese, the family was together, music played, and the house was transformed into a magical winter wonderland.
Lughnasadh holds the same magic for me all though it is not about the gifts I am about to receive, but a celebration of the gifts I have already received. It is a time of deep reverence for nature, and there are no artificial trees. Lughnasadh is the first of the harvest celebrations in my tradition, a time to be mindful of the bounty of this year. But it is also a time of transition, although the sun sits high in the sky, and the days are long we have moved into the dark half of the year.
To honor the balance of the light and the dark we will light a bonfire, as we recite just a few of the many things we have to be thankful for as we make an offering of herbs harvested from the garden. I harvested rosemary bundles today “for remembrance” as Ophelia states in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I also harvested wormwood in preparation of the dark times because my magic is very effected by the seasons, during the summer months most of my energy is focused on my garden, where as during the dark months I focus more inwardly on spiritual works. Wormwood is a great helper in opening ones senses to things usually out of reach in our mundane worlds.
In addition to our bonfire we will have a harvest feast, right now the garden is full of yellow squash and heirloom tomatoes, so I will make a squash casserole and tomato salad both seasoned with herbs from the garden, along with my traditional corn bread men, and a blackberry pie, I just received a couple quarts of the biggest blackberries I have seen from a CSA I belong to.
Two of my fellow witches will come over to help with the preparations of the feast and participate in a small private ritual, then house is open to friends of different faiths, for a night of celebrations regardless if they are aware of what it is they are celebrating. I’d like to think a celebration of thanks, and an acknowledgment of the turning of the seasons resonates with all living beings regardless of faith.