Image from our Celtic Blessings 2020 wall calendar featuring artwork by Michael J. Green. Click for more info.
Lughnasa or Lughnasadh is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. In Modern Irish it is called Lúnasa, in Scottish Gaelic: Lùnastal, and in Manx: Luanistyn. Traditionally it is celebrated on August 1, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. Lughnasa is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Samhain, Imbolc, and Beltane. It corresponds to other European harvest festivals such as the Welsh Gŵyl Awst and the English Lammas.
Lughnasadh is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and has pagan origins. The festival itself is named after the god Lugh. It involved great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests, feasting, matchmaking, and trading. One of the most prominent gods in Irish mythology, Lugh is portrayed as a warrior, a king, a master craftsman and a savior. He is associated with skill and mastery in multiple disciplines, including the arts. He is also associated with oaths, truth, and the law.
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Spring celebration of Beltane begins tonight!
Beltane (Brilliant Fire) is a celebration of fertility, and the festival of Bel (Bright One) and his táin (fire). May Day is still celebrated in many cultures around the world and is a festival of the green-budding, brightly blossoming new life that arrives each year with such beauty and vitality.
— Jen Delyth, Celtic Folk Soul, Amber Lotus Publishing, 2008
When “need fires” (new fires) were lit at Beltane festival, burning brands were carried to the houses, all domestic fires having previously been extinguished. The new fire brought luck, prosperity, health, increase and protection.
—Donald Mackenzie, excepted from Ancient Man in Britain, 1922
Woodland Fox – Llwynog Coch
Intelligently negotiating the forces and challenges of the Wilde, the elusive fox is aware and adaptable, providing well for her cubs in her carefully hidden den. Both predator and prey, the skillful fox was known to symbolize the struggle of the ordinary common folk against the feudal barons.
Celtic Mandala 2014 Engagement Calendar
Brighid tends the fertilized seed as it divides into life, grows full and journeys out toward the light and air from the watery furnace of the belly of the Mother. She is loved and worshipped throughout the Celtic world and is still honored as the healer goddess of the creative fire of life.
On the Eve of Brighid’s Feast young Celtic women make corn dollies—woven effigies of Brighid called the Brídeóg—by weaving sheaves of corn or husks of wheat, barley or oats into the likeness of a woman. They often weave straw from the sheaves of the last harvest into the new one; continuity and blessings are intricately entwined with the golden crop that embodies the fertile fire of the sun.
In parts of Wales the grain spirit was thought to hop from stalk to stalk as the sheaves were reaped, until she was in the very last sheaf, which was brought into the home, dressed and woven into the form of a woman. Sheltered for the winter, the corn or wheat spirit was then offered back to the land at planting time.
These are the ancient rituals of an agrarian people, continuing from mother to daughter, from father to son through the rhythm of the years, keeping alive the balance of nature and connection between the farmers and the land, between the spirit and the earth.
Excerpted from Celtic Folk Soul, Art, Myth and Symbol by Jen Delyth. Jen is a Welsh artist whose work is founded in her deep connection to her Celtic heritage. She creates intricate paintings and illustrations using traditional egg tempera and contemporary digital techniques. Her original iconographic style is inspired by the Spirit in Nature and expresses our mythic connection to the natural world. Amber Lotus is proud to publish the Celtic Mandala Wall and Engagement Calendars by Jen as well as her Celtic Folk-Soul Card series. www.celticartstudio.com
Celtic Folk Soul – Art, Myth & Symbol