Some thoughts on Lughnassadh

Lughnassadh was the first ritual I led as a public ritual many years ago when I was studying what was called at the time Eclectic Celtic Wicca. Like Imbolc, Lughnassadh seems a bit slippery to think about, beyond the obvious connection to Lugh.

According to various sources around the web, in Irish legend the hero Lugh instituted this feast commemorating his victory over Outsiders who would have despoiled his Tuath’s harvest, and also in honor of his foster mother Tailtiu, the last queen of the Fir Bolg.  I see on Wikipedia that Tailtiu was supposed to have plowed the length and breadth of Ireland, making the land suitable for agriculture (and exhausting herself unto death in the process).

In my previous wheel of the year mythology, this holiday had a lot to do with John Barleycorn and the myth of the sacrificed and reborn King of the Grain. I had conflated this with Lugh, so I have a lot of research to do before I’m ready to write a proper essay on this holiday!

I’ve another consideration as well. My current home climate is much more like a Mediterranean one than an Irish one.  I’m considering a Roman or Celtic/Roman hearth culture blend, in part to get the seasonal holidays to match up a little better. Where I live, August is the hot, barren time when we rest in between crops. I think as I study Roman and Continental Celtic cultures, my perspective of this time of year and this feast will change.

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