Celtic Fire Festival: Lughnasadh

The Celtic cycle of marking the first days of each season with a fire festival is pre-Christian, and an older pagan ritual also exists in Ireland for the first of August (Crom Dubh day). The four fire festivals are Imbolc (beginning of Spring, February 1st, rebirth after winter) Bealtaine (beginning of Summer, May 1st, planting of the seeds for the harvest) Lughnasadh (beginning of Fall/Autumn, August 1st, reaping of the harvest) and Samhain (beginning of Winter, November 1st, the end of the harvest, symbolic death/endings).

A bonfire would be lit on these nights, marking the beginning of each season, and the end of the season before. More detailed information about these Celtic festivals can be found at www.druidry.org and other sites associated.

The Fire festivals do not follow the solar year, but are more based on the natural rhythms of human life, and the energies or “Gods” in the unseen world that are associated with that rhythm.

The God of the Grain (sometimes also called The Green Man) sacrifices himself at this time so that life prospers on earth. Personally, I am finding that connecting with these rituals and fire ceremonies brings more harmony to my life. If you are interested in doing your own Lughnasadh ceremony, in druidic tradition, ceremonies should start after sunset the night before, until sunset on the day.

Even though the Webster dictionary does not say that Lughnasadh is where the word Lunacy (more related to Luna, the full moon) comes from, it sounds very similar when spoken in Irish.

This festival is a wonderful celebration, a releasing of joy by reaping the gifts of the first harvest, and the end of the growing season or Summer.

The seeds we planted in the spring, are readying for the first harvest. Summer is ending and Fall marks a time of hard work in bringing in the harvest. It’s still warm, the nights are still bright, and dancing under the stars at this time just feels right. This is a time to spend with friends and loved ones, enjoy a meal, celebrate and dance, and release your joy.

Drumming and music, a bonfire, a group of friends singing, talking, dancing, enjoying a meal together, would be a wonderful way to honour Lughnasadh.

On a spiritual level, we can spend time reflecting on the seeds we planted this year. Depending on what your intentions was, a project or work issue, romance, family, money, this is the time of the year when the energy is strongest to access reaping the benefit, the reward of those seeds, or to just give thanks that they are in the process of manifesting in your life. If you are more inclined towards meditation as a way of connecting to the energy of this day, light a candle and reflect on how your seedlings/idea’s/projects are manifesting in your life and give thanks for the abundance and growth you have received.

Lughnasadh Meditation

  1. Light a candle, and burn some sage to clear the energy and space.
  2. Reflect on what your intentions were for the year and what has manifested or is manifesting for you.
  3. Affirm to yourself: ‘I am grateful for all the abundance that has come to me this year. My intentions are manifesting and I am enjoying the fruits of what has manifested in my life. I give thanks by expressing my joy and happiness.’