Lughnasadh, or Lammas, is one of the Celtic holidays that I rarely miss. It’s the first of the Harvest Festivals and is said to be the day that Lugh the Long-Armed celebrates his mother, as she died while collecting the harvest.
Lugh the Long-Armed is one of my favorite characters from Irish lore.
Lugh came to the Tuatha de Danaan (who would later dwindle away like Tolkien’s elves to become the shining ones or the fairy folk) and asked to join them, but was told that he must bring some skill that was unique, as everyone had a purpose and must pull their own weight. He went through a lengthy list of all the possible talents a man (or woman) might possess that could be offered as a trade: bard, blacksmith, baker, candlestick maker, that sort of thing.
When he had offered to do every skill imaginable, and each offer had been returned because there was already someone who could do that, he asked if they had someone who could do all of those things, and as there was no one skilled in all of those trades, Lugh the Long-Armed became a member of the Tuatha de Danaan as a Master of All things.
He is the original Jack of all Trades, only he’s actually Master of all of them, too.
That’s not why I like him.
Nor is it why I like this holiday.
This holiday isn’t one of the big ones. I mean, it is one of the main 8 holidays of the Celtic Wheel of the Year, but it’s not one that most people recognize or remember. It’s laidback, and I don’t feel a lot of pressure about it. It’s a time to recognize the beginnings of the harvest season. You’ve sown, and now you get the first glimpse of what you will reap in return.
It’s a time to honor the prosperity that is beginning to come into your life. While the spring is about the toil, this is the first of three festivals that are about the celebration that comes from all the toil.
It’s a celebration of the sun, as Lugh is known as a sun deity, and of the sacred foods today, corn and bilberries (I substitute blue or blackberries) are the two that I favor. I usually make cinnamon cornbread. Actually I make that for a couple of the harvest festivals. Cinnamon representing fire but also because it is supposed to attract money, and corn because it’s in season.
Plus, I’m from the south, and we do like our sweet cornbread…
I also make a blueberry pie. My recipe has a hint of lemon in it and the addition of poppy seeds. So you can’t have my pie and then go take a drug test, but it’s seasonally appropriate, and is always a big hit… although it does tend to be a bit messy.
And I make it every year.
Except this year. (The picture is last year’s pie… consider it an early Throwback Thursday picture.)
This year, I’m faced with this crisis of mine, that I think I have a solution for… if I can just get the tools I need to make it happen. But, I’ve chosen to not let this be a cause for despair. Instead, I’m going to recognize this whole experience as a positive sign that I’m on the path to change.
I was going through some of my old saved links late last night, while I was dwelling on my crisis, and I found one that seemed to be particularly pertinent. It was about the 5 signs that you’re on a hero’s journey.
Anyone who knows me even a little bit, or at least who’s read more than a single post, will know that the Hero’s Journey, as described by Joseph Campbell, is a pretty big deal for me. And here was an article that explained that perhaps my crisis wasn’t just a crisis, but it was my call to adventure.
At the beginning of any good hero story, the status quo is… well, as Dr. Horrible put it, the status is not quo.
Things are falling apart in the land as a whole, and our hero doesn’t realize there’s a problem because that’s all they’ve ever known. Then something comes along and forces them on an adventure, and through their trials and tribulations they become the hero that saves the day and, well, makes the status quo again. Often better than quo!
I know that’s not how that phrase is meant to be used, but I do love me some Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, so… Deal with it.
What this means for me, is that perhaps everything is falling apart because I have to step up and embrace my hero’s journey. I keep coming up to similar struggles, but this time, though, I actually feel like I have the means to solve it.
When my bank account got hacked earlier this year, I could have just stuck my head in the sand like always and ignored the problem. I could have just resigned myself to not having a bank account for years to come again. I hadn’t had a bank account in over 10 years until I had to move a little over 2 years ago. Then I was able to get one, and now I have an account with a better bank because of the account hack.
Well… not because of the hack, but because of how I chose to handle it. I took action and made a grown up decision.
Look at me adulting all over the place!
That is progress, although it’s only small progress since there is still nothing in that bank account, but some progress is better than no progress.
So perhaps the universe is forcing me onto a particular path and a particular course of action, but I feel stronger, more prepared, and that is a good thing!
Then today, while looking for images to use for today’s Lughnasadh/Lammas post, I found this:
If that doesn’t help to uplift you, I don’t know what will.
So for me, this year’s Lughnasadh isn’t about just reaping what’s been sown. It’s about recognizing that hardships can be overcome and that, like the Tower in a tarot deck, sometimes things have to be destroyed in order to be rebuilt. It’s okay to fall down, so long as you get back up again.
May the sun shine upon you and light the darkest corners of your path today. May you share your harvest with friends and family and loved ones. And may your harvest be bountiful now and throughout the harvests still yet to come.