The Festivals of Fire and Light
Celebrations of August 1st or 2nd
These Sabbats (Pagan Holidays) are observed on August 1st or 2nd, depending on one’s personal Tradition (spiritual denomination). The early pagans were not blessed with NASA or the Naval Observatory, so their celebrations varied slightly from places to place and Tradition to Tradition. Over time these holidays began to find stability as official calendars become more commonplace throughout Indo-European countries.
Even though many parts of the world transitioned to Solar calendars, Pagans still celebrated their rituals on a Lunar cycle. Thus our holiday observances actually begin at sunset on the evening before the scheduled day of the Sabbat. And that too can depend on where you are in the world.
May Your Season Be Blessed with Abundance and Happiness
Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are still enjoying the warmth of the summer months. Our days are long and Sun is with us into the later hours of the evening. The sun begins to set here on the east coast of the U.S., officially at 8:20pm. Where as in the Southern Hemisphere of Winter sunset is officially at 5:16pm in Sydney. I don’t know about you; but I’ve always enjoyed the fall and winter holidays the most. They start earlier and there’s more time to sing, dance and be merry!
The First Harvest Festival of Lammas
Here in the north it’s a time of Gratitude, Abundance and Fruition. A festival of games and dance, Lammas (also known as Lughnasadh) honors the Celtic hero Lugh the Sun God. Lugh is the solar deity of the Irish Tuatha de Danaan, the Celtic Faeries and this is his festival day that marks the beginning of harvest season.
Without Lugh (the Sun) shining on the fields, there would be no harvest and no food for the family or community during the coming winter months. As a holiday, Lammas represents the time of honoring the summer and sun (embodied in Lugh), giving thankfulness for the start of the harvest season and the bounty it has and will provide.
These are the themes of preparation, getting ready for the waning year and the end of cycle of life. And like the Mid-Summer Festival, it’s also a time to honor and give thanks to the Faeries in your garden who assisted Lugh in the growth, nurturing and care of your crops.
Lammas is a fire festival and it is often celebrated with a bonfire, dancing and singing with family and friends. For some it’s also a time to honor the rain, for without the help of the water faeries our crops could not grow under Lugh’s warm bright light.
Festivals are usually celebrated outside as the sun sets and the cooler temps ease the heat of the day. So get out the grill and celebrate with your favorite picnic fair. I prefer hotdogs and potato salad, and or cole slaw made from the garden. Whatever your favorite early harvest is, incorporate it into your ceremony and dance around the bonfire! Be safe and have fun!
Imbolg The Festival of Light
In the Southern Hemisphere the winter is about to give way to Spring and the seasonal festival of Imbolg (Imbolc, Brigid’s Day or the Festival of Lights). It is a time for Purification, Initiation and Dedication. In Celtic ceremony, Imbolg is the festival of the Maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess. She is the Celtic goddess of poetry (wisdom), the hearth (home/family) and smith craft (fire). As the Maiden Goddess she is also seen as the Goddess of Fertility, nourishment and in some traditions divination. She is also often associated with the innocence of youth and children (a connection to fertility).
Imbolg represents the time of honoring and nurturing the spirit within. Examine your spiritual purpose, or even search for your magikal name. Take stock of your supplies, and put your plans together for the year and start putting them into action. It is a time to express your own creativity through art and craft. From something as simple as crafting a wreath for the season, or something elaborate as a painting or sculpture. The art is an expression of your inner spirit that is being crafted in the illumination of the Divine Universe, or in this case Brighid.
One of my favorite parts of Imbolg is the family feast. Because of Brighid’s connection with nourishment and new life, celebration feasts are always symbolized with milk. Preparing a milk based dish for the table is a must in that case. And yes it should be homemade from scratch. A favorite for my family is Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo or Beef Stroganoff, which is one of my favorites. Both are served with a garden salad or a green veggie of your choosing.
Whatever your season and holiday is, everyone here at Springwolf Reflections and Spring’s Haven extend our wishes to you and yours for a wonderful and joyous celebration of the warmth. Where ever you are in the world, May you and yours have a wonderful and blessed season!