Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Lughnasadh (LOO-nə-sə,/LOO-na-saad/Loo-nus-uh) takes place from July 31st - August 1st.  
Also known as Lammas, Loaf Mass, Festival of Lugh, Lugh-mass, First Fruits, First Harvest Festival, August Eve, Lammastide, Harvest Home, Lughnasad, Lughnassad, Lughnasa, Lunasa, Ceresalia, Feast of Bread, Sabbat of First Fruits, Festival of Green Corn, Feast of Cardenas, Cornucopia, Thingtide and Elembiuos, Lughnassadh is the first of the harvest festivals. The early Christians called this holiday Lammas “loaf-mass” because the first grains were cut and made into bread at this time of the year. It is a time of giving thanks to the land for all its sacrifices. And to give thanks for all the talents and skills we have been given, and all that we have achieved over the year. This is the time when the God starts to get weaker as the Sun rises farther in the South and the days grow shorter. The Goddess watches in sorrow as well as hope because she sees that the God is dying, but he also lives on inside her as their child. 

Lughnasadh is a time of personal reflection and harvest, of our actions and deeds, events and experiences, our gains and losses. A time when we begin the cycle of reflection of that which is our life. A period for personal fertility magic to ensure the bountiful harvest of life's gifts and experiences, that which we have reaped though trial, tribulation, enjoyment, joy, love and loss.
At Lughnasadh many grains, seeds, herbs and fruits can be harvested and dried for later use through the remaining year. Corn is one of the vital crops harvested at this time. Corn dollies are fashioned in the shape of Goddess and God. In some areas the sacrifice of the corn king (corn dolly) is performed. Death and rebirth are a vital part of the cycle Lugh journeys in his mating with the Earth Goddess, during the waning year.

Songs: Lughnasadh, Corn Rigs, Scarborough Fair, John Barleycorn, Harvest Moon, The Scythe, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Shine On Harvest Moon, Harvest Home, King Harvest (Has Surely Come)
Activities: Bonfires, Processions through the fields, Gathering the first fruits of the harvest, All-night vigil, Singing, Feasting, Studing Astrology, Celebrating, Herb gathering, Handfasting,  Leaping between two fires, Throwing pieces of bread into a bonfire, Women walking naked through gardens to ensure continued fertility, Honoring Mother Nature's richness and abundance, Relaxing, Sacrificing corn dollys, Saving/planting the seeds from the fruits consumed during the feast or ritual, Taking a walk through the woods/forests/fields/orchards/by a river/pond/etc. and reflecting on the generosity and bounty of the Lord and Lady, Holding Sport contests/races, Dancing jigs, Going to craft festivals 
Foods: Loaves of homemade bread, Grains, Blackberries, Wheat, Oats, Lamb, Corn bread, Grapes, Barley cakes, Corn, Potatoes, Summer squash/Zucchini, Nuts, Acorns, Wild berries, Apples, Rice, Pears, Berry pies, Elderberry wine, Crab apples, Turnips, Mead, Crab, Meadowsweet tea, Cider, Hard cider, Beer, Colcannon, Ale, Berry jams/preserves 
Crafts: Bake bread, Cut/make dowsing rods and wands, Wheat weaving, Put garlands of St. John’s Wort over doors/windows and a sprig in the car for protection, Make corn dolls, Make smudge sticks. Make a necklace out of Indian corn
Colors: Red, Orange, Gold, Golden Yellow, Bronze, Green, Light Brown, Gray
 Symbols: Sun, Red/maize/yellow/gold flower, Full Moon, Love amulets, Seashells, Summer fruits & flowers, Feather/flower wreaths, Sun wheel, Fire, Circles of stone, Sun dials, Swords/blades, Feathers, Witches' ladder, Sickles, Scythes, Symbols of  the harvest, Grapes, Vines, Dried grains, Sheafs of wheat/bowls of oats, Corn dolls
Stones: Yellow Diamonds, Aventurine, Citrine, Sardonyx, Peridot
Herbs: Grain, Ginseng, Acacia, Heather, Wheat, Sloe, Cornstalks, Aloe, Cyclamen, Oak leaf, Fenugreek, Frankincense, Hollyhock, Myrtle
Flowers: Sunflowers, Lilies, Oak, Birch, Fir, Rose
Incense: Wood aloes, Rose, Passionflower, Sandalwood , Rose hips, Safflower, Frankincense Rosemary, Chamomile, Eucalyptus
Gods: Lugh, Johnny Barleycorn, Lleu, The Waning God, Crom Dubh
Goddesses: Dana, Demeter, Ceres, The Waxing Goddess, Tailtiu, Persephone, Renenutet, Vesta, Hestia, Brigid
Journey through Lughnasadh in Gratitude:
Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes, put your feet on the floor and breathe into the bottom of your feet, gently calling it into your legs and pelvis. Let the breath pool in the pelvic floor, filling it up with air and then releasing it on the exhale.
Now feel the Earth energy moving up from its core into your feet chakras as you inhale, into the bubbling springs of life, moving through your legs into your Root Chakra and back down into the Earth.
Witness the Earth energy carving and defining its channels, streaming from the bottom of your feet, through your legs, passing the ankle, knee and hip joints; through the Root Chakra and into the Earth again.
Observe and notice how the Earth energy clears stagnant energy from your lower body, taking all things foreign or past-time as it moves out and back into the center of the Earth.
As you exhale, send the unwanted energy down deep into the Mother with great gratitude. She will transmute your dross to gold, giving birth to new and blessed forms, the fruits of your essence. Continue to offer her your dried and dead stalks, slashing and burning, fertilizing and making room for new seedlings of growth.
Breathe in and breathe out, sending gratitude for each cycle of nourishing inspiration and the die-off with expiration.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th Part 3

Today is the Third Friday the 13th this year. If it was 2013 I'd just have to laugh.
What makes these Friday the 13ths even more special is that each of them are 13 weeks apart. Isn't that odd?
Anyway, In case you didn't have a chance to read them yet, here are my posts
Friday the 13th Part 1
Friday the 13th Part 2
This picture is for my fiance... a huge Elvira fan!

I think I have pretty much covered all I can think of for Friday the 13th, so instead I'd like to ask you what you feel about Friday the 13th? Are you afraid of it? Do you think it's bad luck? Or good Luck? Did you realize it was Friday the 13th at all? Tell me your experiences with the day.

Personally I don't think Friday the 13th's are any more special than Saturday the 14th is. But it is fun to do a little celebration because it has become a sort of holiday in recent years.

Though today I did walk under a ladder right before work because some people were doing something to the building ad their ladder was over the door to my workplace. Also a black cat has crossed my path several times today... because I have a cat that is black... So far nothing out of the ordinary has happened, and I don't expect it to. I am not very superstitious about unlucky things. But if you are superstitious then you might want to check out my huge list of Lucky Charms/Symbols.

Have a great day, and enjoy this basket full of kittens!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Planting an Elemental Garden

If you haven't already planted an Elemental Garden, Summer is a great time to do it.
An Elemental Garden is a garden devoted to the Four (sometimes 5 if you include Spirit. This blog will be talking about only 4 elements though) Elements, and having an elemental garden is useful to anyone who works with the elements, or to anyone who likes the beauty and spirituality of them. By connecting different parts of your garden with the four elements, you can add a little bit of magic into your life each year.
It's a great place for you to go out and spend some time communing with the Gods and Goddesses, or doing some spellwork that may need an extra elemental boost.

Some people may prefer to plant their elemental garden in the early spring because that is the traditional time to start gardening, but summer is also a great time because the earth is warm and fertile, and it's easier to dig. The plants are already in full bloom so you can plant something and not have to wait for it to grow in order to start using your elemental garden. Also, it is a nice activity to do outdoors during summer vacation.
You need to figure out where you want your elemental garden to go. Look around the space you have and determine where you want it to be and how big. Ideally, the Elemental Garden should be a circle, but I think you should go with whatever feels right for you. This is your garden, and you should make it with your needs in mind.

Mark off the space (and shape) you want your garden to be in and start tilling the soil until you have a nice soft space to work with.

Using a compass, figure out what direction is North, then start dividing your garden in fourths (so that each direction has it's own section) marking the cross sections with rocks or decorative garden tiles.
The next thing you need to do is figure out what plants or herbs you want to plant to represent each element. Each direction is associated with an element. Earth/North, Air/East, Fire/South, Water/West.
You should go with your heart with what you want to grow in each section, but here are some Examples I found online: Earth is associated with stability and security. Why not plant some herbs there that carry the same associations? Bryony, Cinquefoil, Honeysuckle, and Pennyroyal are all related to earth.
For the east section of your garden, which is tied into the themes of air, use plants connected with inspiration, wisdom and knowledge. Sage, Marjoram, Mugwort and members of the Mint family are perfect for this quarter of the circle. In the south, select plants related to the passionate qualities of fire, such as Basil, Betony, Rosemary, and Rue. Finally, the west quadrant is where your water-related plants should go -- Hyssop, Yarrow, Chamomile and Ivy will do well in this section.
Again, you should go with what feels right for you to grow since it is your garden and you will be the one working in it.
Also, leaving a space in the center of your garden that you can stand or sit inside may be a good idea if you want to use this garden to help you with your spell-work or if you want to be able to sit and reflect or relax or speak to your deities...

While you plant your garden you may what to offer a blessing or a prayer to each plant. Or thank the earth and mother nature as you plant your garden. After all, planting a garden is a magical act in itself. When you are all done planting, you may want to burn some sage and smudge the space to help purify it.
Now that your garden is planted, you may want to add some decorations to help personalize it. A few ideas include:
  • Statues of the gods of your tradition
  • A gazing ball
  • A fountain or other water feature
  • A fire bowl
  • A small altar
  • A bench or chair for meditation
  • Wind chimes or bells
  • A prayer pole or decorative flag
Decorating your garden is entirely up to you, but it may be a good idea to add a symbol or something to represent each element.
If you do not have the space for a garden, you can still do something similar using potted plants. Even in limited space apartments you could have a small potted plant and a symbol for each element, and when you want to sit in your Elemental Garden you could set up the plants in the correct direction and sit in the middle of it. It may not be ideal, but it's a great idea for someone in a temporary housing situation or someone living in an apartment and can not plant a garden.

Now that you have some ideas I hope you go out and enjoy your own Elemental Garden!