The Festival of Lughnasadh
Or how a Celtic God honors his foster Mother

The festival of Lughnasadh, now a part of the modern Gregorian calendar on August 1st, was once, in ancient times, more than just a harvest festival. This time acquired the name Lammas or 'Loaf Mass' into the Christian era, however the older festival of Lughnasadh '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.
Celtic spiritual legends say, that the God 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 the regional Goddess of the Land. The association of this festival with the sovereignty of the Land may be why horses figure so prominently at Lughnasadh. Horse races are common, and remind one of the Goddess Macha (Horse Goddess and Sovereignty of the land) who raced against the King's horses while she was pregnant, and gave birth to twins at the finish line as she won. Skill, grace, endurance, stamina and abundance! 
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.
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. The God of many skills teaches us to give thanks, helps us to recognize our strengths and brings us together one last time before the time of great preparation for the long winter.
 In modern days of mindless exploitation of vegetal foods, and of low self-esteem, this festival's time has come again. So, honor your foster mother; Nature, give thanks for the bounty she gives to sustain your body, and remember that you have talents and skills that only you possess, great and good. Show them, test them, and be proud of their accuracy.

ACM Donation Thanks!
Sincere thanks go out to: 
Peter Chapman for the donation of computer equipment capable of holding our now extensive mailing list, printing out labels, and the like.
Our writers cramped hands thank you!

Volunteer Opportunities
Typing in the extensive mailing list is the next task. Any persons interested in accruing volunteer hours towards becoming members of ACM should call the Foundation to schedule time.
Many thanks to the volunteers who have already given their time towards this endeavor. 

Membership News
Active members of the foundation perform a vital role in the foundation and for the community. The  decision making they do and  their implementing of foundation events, newsletter, website, etc, enables us all to enjoy and reclaim our collective culture. Likewise, active members represent the community to the foundation by bringing new visions and particular interests to light.
  After completing their required volunteer hours, the following persons have requested admittance as active members to ACM foundation: 

  • Karen Church
  • Kim Larsen 
  • Thomas Sharkey

In accordance with our bylaws, any person is now granted the opportunity to speak for or against the proposed member(s)  within the coming 30 days.  Please direct any commentary to ACM by mail, phone or email.
Meetings are on the first Saturday of each month at 6pm at Mrs.Thompson's, 1145 Lincoln St. Bring a potluck dish or drink.
An Internet conference system for our meetings is in the works for  people who are unable to attend in person, we will keep you updated.

Many of us have ancestry that goes back to the great Celtic cultures that at one time prevailed throughout most of Europe, however all peoples can appreciate and enjoy the rich gifts that their cultures have given us.
Among these gifts is the summer celebration called Lugnasadh, observed in late July / early August, at which we give thanks for the bounty & fertility of the land, the ripening of the crops and for our own unique skills. It is named after the ancient Celtic deity, Lugh (Lleu in Wales, Lugus in Gaulish France), who is symbolic of the power of light and the value of many skills. We also honor Lughs' step mother, Tailtu, the goddess of the land (now known as Mother Nature!)at this time of year. Lugnasadh is a time of coming together to start the harvest, to re-connect with our neighbors, to trade, to engage in tests of skills such as athletics, storytelling, music, poetry, etc. and to start to prepare for the coming winter. The world - famous Welsh Eisteddfod is a present day version of this, as are many late summer fairs throughout Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, Isle of Mann and Galicia. The American, County Fair idea is the form these festivals took when coming to this country.
In the Gaulish Coligny Calendar of the 1st century BC, the month we now call July was then known in the Celtic Gallic language as "Equeos" the "horse month". 
Another gift that the Celts have given us is their age old affinity with horses & ponies. The horse is an important part of the daily life of Celtic people and is a major part of Celtic mythology, being symbolic of abundance, fertility and of Mother Nature.  We honor horses, ponies and their many contributions to our well-being at Lughnasadh, and give thanks.
In Ireland, the ancient horse goddesses are Macha and Edain Echraider( from which we derive our modern day word "equine") and in Wales, she is Rhiannon. 
In ancient Gaul, the great goddess Epona was the "Divine Horse". She figured influentially in the culture and symbology so much so that Romans in Gaul brought knowledge of her back to Rome, making her the only Celtic goddess to have been honored in Rome. Today, we honor her still by calling our small but big hearted steeds and mares, "ponies".

From Gannas Regarding the ACM Bhealltain Festival
  On behalf of the foundation and the community that were enriched by your presence, I would like to extend our gratitude to Gina McGarry for her exquisite storytelling and transformational workshops, The Men of the Woods for a fabulous evening fire lighting ceremony and Sheila Pierce for teaching us the traditional and invigorating bonfire dance.  The three highland cattle; Neann of Beinn Gorm, little Joe and Mairi Ruah of Beinn Gorm  brought from Washington by Pat Dunn were a joyous and authentic addition.  A special thanks also goes out to musicians Black Patent and harpists David Helfand and John Burridge for helping to make the weekend richer still.   Blessings to the vendors, volunteers, the event co-ordinators and directors of the Foundation. Without you we would not have such marvelous gatherings to be a part of. Thank you for your support and guidance.  To the more than 200 members and friends who attended the weekend; I thank you for your willingness to know and keep the ancient ways and for your contributions toward the ACM Foundation Scholarship Fund. This event and others like it will help to activate the Scholarship grant fund. Thank you for your part in making the dreams of the Foundation and the future grant recipients a reality. 

     Blessings , 

Heather Thompson
Gannas of An Ceangal Mara Foundation

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