Friday Form A Circle – De-Anna Alba’s Solitary Ritual #2

July 24, 2009 at 9:57 am (Circle, Friday, Fun, Lammas, Lughnasadh, Magic, Marriage, pagan, Ritual, Witch)

De-Anna Alba’s Solitary Ritual for Lughnasadh # 2 
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by De-Anna Alba

August 1st is Lughnasadh, the wedding feast of Lugh. At this time in the solar/seasonal cycle the divine marriage occurs. Lugh weds the Earth Goddess, Sovereignty, becoming Her consort and eventual sacrifice. The Christianized name for this holy day is Lammas, loaf-mass and, as such, is a celebration of the beginning of the grain harvesting season. Here it foreshadows the God’s impending death-whether you believe that death is celebrated at Mabon (the Fall Equinox) or Samhain (All Hallows Eve).

This is one of my favorite solitary celebrations because it is so easy to do. I usually celebrate it as Lughnasadh, the wedding feast of Lugh. In this case I attend what came to be known as a Lammas Faire in Britian and Ireland. In this country the annual county fair (or state fair) can often be substituted. If your county fair does not fall on or near August 1st, or should you prefer it, you can attend the nearest Renaissance Fair instead.

I usually prefer the Renaissance Fair. I find it more suited to my aims. Several things happen at a Renaissance Fair that are associated with the wedding feast of Lugh. There are usually a variety of athletic contests, there is lots of food, and there is at least one fortune teller if not two or more. And there is usually a procession of the royal court as well. Some of the athletic contests are put on as a spectacle for the fairgoers. Others are available for your participation.

Like the Olympics, the origin of the Lammas Faire competitions was to choose the representative of the living God who would later join with the presiding Priestess, representing the living Goddess, in the sacred marriage. In later times, after the take-over of Christianity, these contests became a way of choosing the Queen’s Champion. Although he no longer got to make love to her as Goddess, he became her chief defender. He was the one who would defend her honor should she act (or be accused of acting) in a manner inappropriate to a Christian queen (but perhaps entirely appropriate to a Pagan one!).

As a woman I find it extremely easy to watch these contests, putting myself in the place of Priestess/Goddess and enjoying the choosing of my lover/champion. Were I a man, I would find one of the smaller contests in which I could participate and imagine myself vying for the right to join with the Priestess/ Goddess. There is usually a variety of contests in which the fairgoer can participate. The archery shoot strikes me as particularly appropriate to the Lughnasadh theme. You may find other venues, such as wrestling and/or quarterstaff fighting (with padded staves) equally appropriate.

Since the wedding of God and Goddess is obviously an auspicious occasion, I’ve always taken it as a good time to do or get a reading on how things are going in my life, and to take a look ahead to the near future. Fortunately, Renaissance Fairs usually have readers on hand to accommodate me. These readers are often Pagan, by the way. They will probably not say as much, but you’ll probably be able to tell by the way they decorate their booths and/or the clothing and jewelry they have on. Choose the reader that seems right to you and have a reading done. If you have your doubts about the capabilities of readers at such events, have one done anyway in keeping with the spirit of things, and then do your own reading later if you prefer. I often do this if I don’t personally know the readers at the Fair and have no knowledge of their reading reputations.

As mentioned above, this Sabbat is also a celebration of the first harvests-particularly the wheat harvest. Be sure to bear this in mind during your fair experience and celebrate it by partaking of the wonderful foods offered for sale at these events. Be sure to include a bread dish in your selections. Usually, I take some of the bread, and a goblet of whatever it is I’m drinking and walk the perimeter of the grounds in a circular fashion leaving a bit of the bread and a libation of drink at each of the four quarters. You can either be fairly obvious about this, or you can be surreptitious about it, pretending to accidentally drop pieces of bread and spill drink at the appropriate places.

Usually, at some point during the morning and/or afternoon a procession of the court will occur. When it does you can honor the King and Queen as living representatives of the God/dess with a slight bow or a private toast to their health. If their eyes happen to pass over you during the procession, consider it a blessing from the God/dess.

Again, as a celebration of the first harvest, Lughnasadh is viewed as a time to be open-handed and generous. At a Renaissance Fair I interpret this as a chance to be open-handed and generous toward myself and some of the fine artisans that are selling their wares at the Fair. These fairs are an excellent place to find some really wonderful altar accoutrements. There is usually at least one bladesmith there selling knife blades and daggers (for your personal athame) and swords (in case you plan on having a coven some day and would like a sword for group circle casting, etc.). There is also a variety of potters and metalsmiths selling beautiful chalices or goblets, not to mention things that can be used as incense burners, libation bowls, salt and water containers, etc. And I’m just sure you’ll find jewelry aplenty to suit your fancy and your ritual needs. You may even find ritual garb as well. I’ve seen lovely long dresses, capes, and even stag horn headpieces.

If you go to a county or state fair instead, look upon the animal judging-especially the cattle and horse judging–as a way of picking the living representatives of the God/dess in animal form. The Celts in particular honored the mare as a representative of Goddess, and the bull has long been associated with God energy. Toast the winners as a way of honoring them. Some of the games of skill on the midway can substitute for the athletic contests, and you can certainly find plenty to eat and honor the four directions with.

If you just can’t get to either a Renaissance Fair or a county/state fair, or if you feel the above is just too heterosexually focused for you to participate in, here is something else you could do. (Or you could do this in addition to attending the fairs.) You could honor the sacred marriage of wheat, yeast and heat, and honor the grain harvest by baking bread. If you like, bake it in the shape of a God/dess and eat it realizing you are taking God/dess qualities into yourself as you do. Or, bake an ordinary loaf and take it to the woods, a field, or your favorite power spot and break it into bits leaving it as an offering to the spirits of the land that sustains you. Or, you could do the same thing, leaving the offerings at the four quarters of the place.

Again, in keeping with the open-handed theme of the holiday, you could offer to donate bread to the local food pantry, homeless shelter or battered women’s shelter. Perhaps you could take a shift serving a meal there as well. However, you choose to do it, try to spend at least part of the day outside enjoying Her wonderful gifts of warmth, light and abundance.

***I am celebrating Lughnasadh by having a tattoo party at my house : ) And I have chosen to honor the God in a very personal, permanent way, by having a Greenman tattooed on my leg. Here is a picture…

ending 

This was taken when it was completed. Once it has healed, and been touched up, I will put up more pics. The plan is to expand on the leaves and spread them down and around the dragon Big Grin.

dragon1

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