Tag Archive | harvest

The Legend of the Sacred King

Father Sun and Mother Earth

A Celtic Tale of Sacrifice and the Blood Moon

In ancient history, many cultures hold tales concerning a Sacred King. Back then a King was a form of deity, or was placed on a throne by Divine hands. As such they were worshiped as much as they were revered and honored. The Sacred King we’re going to talk about comes from the early pagan days of the Celts.

In this tale, the Sacred King is associated with the Sun, and in some variations with the Sun God Lugh who is honored during the 1st Harvest Festival known as Lughnasadh, celebrated on August 1st in Northern Hemisphere.  Elements of this story are scattered through pagan festivals throughout the year, and have been passed on through the generations of practitioners primarily through oral tales. Even today, most Pagans celebrate these events in our modern festivals and rituals, but often as separate events instead of one long story arc. 

In his writings, Sir James George Frazer describes in a book called The Golden Bough (1890–1915); the sacred king represented the spirit of vegetation. He came into being in the spring, reigned during the summer, and ritually died at harvest time, only to be reborn at the winter solstice to wax and rule again. 

Elements of Frazer’s book, document Pagan tales celebrated throughout the cycle of the year in one story. There are elements of the Holy and Oak King, who share governance of the seasons as they wax and wane between summer and winter. There’s the association of the fertile spring equinox when the Great God and Maiden Goddess unite and reign through the summer. And the outcome of that union in the fall, which provides for an abundant harvest season. Continue reading

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Lughnasadh / Imbolg And The Blue Moon

Lammas Blue Moon

Lammas Blue Moon

The Celtic Holiday Of Lugh Under The Blue Moon

Tonight in the Northern Hemisphere many Pagans will be celebrating the 1st harvest festival of the season, Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas. In the Southern Hemisphere Pagans are celebrating Imbog.

This is an exciting time for Pagans. As the sun sets on July 31st Northern Pagans will honor the Sun and his blessings upon the gardens and fields.  Lughnasadh is known as a Fire Festival and celebrates the Celtic hero Lugh as the Sun God who saved Ireland from its oppressors. Freeing the people from slavery and ensuring the land would always be fertile and abundant.

In the Southern Hemisphere, Imbolg can be seen as a celebration of the return of the Sun or “the return of the light from the dark of winter”. It is also associated with the slow return of spring (in this case early spring), when new life is formed. This makes the holiday one of the Fertility festivals for the new season.

But tonight we complement these observances under a special event, the arrival of a Blue Moon!

A Blue Moon occurs when a full moon falls within a single month twice. For July 2015, the first full moon fell on July 1st. Today on July 31st, we’ll once again see the full moon in the evening sky. Technically the Moon hit its full phase at 6:46am eastern U.S. time. In the world of energy, the moon’s effects can be felt 3 days prior to its official phase and 3 days after. And of course the closer you are to the ‘official’ phase time, the stronger the energy will be.

Keep in mind however, that the ancients who lived by the moon didn’t have the luxury of Naval Observatory and precision clocks the way we do today. For them, the official time was sunset when Grandmother Moon bathed Mother Earth with her loving glow.

In some pagan traditions the phases of the moon represent the transition of knowledge within the Triple Goddess. The quarter moons representing the Maiden Goddess, the New Moon the Mother Goddess, the Full Moon the Grand Mother Goddess (which maybe one reason we refer to the moon as “Grandmother Moon”). The Blue Moon then is seen as the transition of the Grandmother or Crone to the Divine level of existence. She becomes an expression of the evolution of wisdom, as well as an example of the circle of life. She moves from a tangible wise old Crone to a spiritual energy within the Divine force of the universe. Continue reading

The History of Mabon – The Feast of Avalon

The Apple Feast

Celebrating The Fall Equinox
By Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D.  🐾

Mabon (May-bawn) is also known as the Feast of Avalon, the Festival of the Wine and the Festival of the Apple Harvest. Celebrated on the Fall Equinox.

To the Celts, Avalon is the mysterious place for the land of the dead and literally means the “land of apples”. Thus this is a holiday for celebrating the bounty of the harvest and the desire for the living to be reunited with their deceased loved ones. But the holiday is also named for the Welsh God Mabon.

Mabon translates to the “great son”, but some say it’s the “great sun” and relates to the waning reign of the Sun in the sky as summer fades and the season changes to beacon the darkness of fall and winter.

From mythology, Mabon the person was the son of Modred who was kidnapped at the age of 3 and later rescued by King Arthur. His life represents the innocence of youth, the strength of survival and the growing wisdom of the elderly. Continue reading

History Of Lughnasadh

The Fire Festival Of The Summer Sun
By Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D.  🐾

Arctic Wolf Fire

“Arctic Wolf Fire”
© Tom-in-Silence

This is the first of the Pagan Harvest Festivals. This is a time where we celebrate the Sun God Lugh, honor the rain and thank the magikal folk of the Tuatha Dé Danann for their help in our own gardens.

As local clans migrated, they took with them their religious and spiritual traditions. Many people believe that during these migrations, names of holidays also changed and Lughnasadh became Lammas. That’s not quite accurate however.

Lammas comes from the Old English word hlafmæsse, which  literally means “loaf mass,”. It was first used in the 15th and 17th centuries by the early Catholic Churches to celebrate the grain provided by the first harvest. In other words, it was another attempt by the early church to co-opt a pagan holiday, make it their own, in order to convert pagans.

Many Anglo-Saxon pagan clans, adopted the name, but still observed the original celebrations of Lugh and the original intent of the holiday. Must pagan purests prefer to ignore the Christianized version of the festival and stick with the early Celtic name of Lughnasadh. As with most things in the world of spirituality, your preferred name should ring true with you. It’s your festival to honor the Sun, the warmth of the summer and their blessings upon the fields. Call it what you feel most connected to, Lughnasadh or Lammas.
Continue reading