Seasonal Observances

Are celebrated as close as
possible to the traditional lunar reckoning

Bealltuinn 

The word 'Bealltuinn' sometimes spelled 'Beltane' comes from the proper name: Belenos, or Bel; An ancient Celtic personage with an affinity for healing and cattle, who is associated with hot springs, purification, fertility and success. His name means mouth or opening, 'teine' means fire.
The beginning of this time is marked by the setting of the star cluster Pleiades as the year starts it's bright summer half. This is very commonly a time to bless animals, to go to healing wells, to gather yarrow at midsummer in hopes of divining ones future love. Dew if gathered before dawn is said to have magical powers, not least giving beauty to the face washed in it. Farmers often made hilltop offerings at this time, to birds of prey, and wild animals which might otherwise harm their livestock.
It is a time of burgeoning growth and creative powerful expression, when fledgling birds leave the nest to find their own territory. A season to fully engage in projects and plans, when horse fairs and races are held. Initiation, dancing, singing, feuding, warfare and raiding are common. Large fires are ceremonially lit from 9 sticks of 9 different trees by 9 men. The fires are used to purge all life of winter diseases and any misfortunes associated with the dark half of the year.

Lughnasadh

In Ireland in 1169, under the jurisdiction of the last High King, Ruraidh O'Conchobhar, the last Lughnasadh games, feast and fair were held. Lughnasadh or 'Festival of Lugh' was a time of thanksgiving and reverence to the Land for it's sacrifices to us. This was a time to test and give thanks for the skills and talents that we had been given and had achieved. It is said that Lugh (Llew, Lugos, Lugus), Master of All the Arts and Crafts, asked that this festival be held each year in commemoration of his foster mother Tailtu (pronounced tal-cha) who died of exhaustion after clearing plains of land to make them more fertile, thereby better providing for her people. On these plains, (now county Meath, Ireland) Lugh asked that the festival be held each year at this location, in honor of her. In varying regions of Celtic culture, the same commemorative festival is held in honor of other regional agricultural women  The unity and identity of the tribe are re-enforced by bringing together the scattered households. As tempers run hot like the sun, healthy competitions of skill prevent fruitless warring and push youth to discover a strength and a vision of their future, bringing us together one last time before the time of great preparation for the long winter.  A feeling of richness is enjoyed by all as our 'larders' become full from the harvest.

 It is prophesied that, as long as the custom of yearly Lughnasadh Festivals continue, there will be food in every home, there will be peace and there will be good weather for the festival.
 


Samhuinn

The beginning of this time is marked by the rising of the star cluster Pleiades and is the start of the New Year.

 This is a reflective, introspective time when the barriers between human, ancestral, faery and animal realms are thin: a time for Ancestral Communion. All household lights are extinguished and re-lit from the ceremonial bonfire. Small groups (usually families) share stories and sing songs, specifically about and for the Ancestors. It is a time for completions, for honoring and acknowledging teachers, parents, and other guides.

 

La Fheile Brighid

Emerging from the introspection of winter,this is a time of primal  innocence and new beginnings.

Brighid, the ancient one with an affinity for creative activity, rekindles the fire of the earth, preparing it for rebirth. A much venerated personage of prime importance to all Celtic tribes, Brighid's variant names reveal her in many lands. She is the keeper of the sacred flame and healing waters and is said to govern and assist the fire of the poet's heart, of the healer's hands and the fire used by the smith to alchemically change stone to metal, metal to tools and amulets. Household fires and the smith's forge are blessed by a woman who plays the role of Brigantia. It is said that Brigit's snake comes out of its mound in which it hibernates and its behavior is used to determine the length of remaining frost. Agricultural tools are reconsecrated for use and egg and cheese-rolling games are a symbolic reminder of the returning sun. Traditionally feasts are held to welcome Bhride and ask for blessings for the coming year.

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