Seasons & Cycles : From Lughnasa to Star Wars with a dose of Moon Medicine
“Dancing as if language had surrendered to movement - as if this ritual, this wordless ceremony, was now the way to speak, to whisper private and sacred things, to be in touch with some otherness. Dancing as if the very heart of life and all its hopes might be found in those assuaging notes and those hushed rhythms and in those silent and hypnotic movements. Dancing as if language no longer existed because words were no longer necessary...”
Brian Friel , Dancing at Lughnasa
Dear Blazers of Trails
Greetings from the west coast of Ireland where I have been on my own rewilding adventure exploring the lunar limestone landscape of The Burren and swimming in the wild Atlantic Ocean. We are now crossing the threshold into the festival of Lughnasa, Ireland’s ancient harvest festival. As the summer starts to draw to a close this is time to come together to celebrate the bounty of the earth and dance….
Lughnasa is associated with the fruition and completion of the agricultural year and opens a space for us to consider our achievements so that they may sustain us through this season of life. This is a time for reflection and thanksgiving for past abundance and a time to recognise that a new period of life is beginning to unfold as the Celtic Wheel turns. In folk circles Lughnasa was said to correspond with the third stage in life, when it is time to reflect on maturity, achievement, and fruition.
The festival takes its name from Lugh, the sun god in Celtic mythology. His father was of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the supernatural race of people who excelled in the Arts, Sciences and Medicine. His mother was of Formorian race, demi-gods who celebrated chaos and wildness.The couple’s marriage was forged through the need for a coalition and so Lugh was born. As he grew older, Lugh joined with King Nuada of the Tuatha Dé Danann to defeat the Formorians and their evil leader Balor, during the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh at Tara. Lugh’s foster mother was Tailtiu, a fertility goddess who died of exhaustion after clearing the rugged and barren landscape and preparing the fields of Ireland for the sowing of crops. The grieving Lugh held athletic games in her honour culminating in a funeral pyre at the harvest’s end. This fair used to take place in Tailtu (Teltown, Co. Meath) and the crowds were so great in 1168 that the Annals of the Four Masters recorded the line of horses and vehicles was six miles long.
The abundance of Lughnasa was celebrated at the full moon between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox, with market festivals, music, dancing, horse races, and ‘handfastings’ – trial marriages under Brehon Law that would last a year and a day with the option of making the union permanent or ending the partnership amicably. While many of these traditions have died out, some still live on in various forms including the old custom of climbing hills in celebration. Probably the best known of these is “Reek Sunday” a day on which hundreds of people from all across the country make their way to county Mayo to climb (often on their hands and knees) to the summit of steep Croagh Patrick.
May the Force be with you
Celtic mythology centred on the dance of opposing forces – light and dark, good and evil, birth and death, planting and harvest. When the crops were mature, they were cut down, dying so that the people might survive. Lugh, who personified the conflict in opposing forces, has symbolised harvest throughout Celtic history. The story of Lugh is an archetypal myth that has cropped up in many modern stories; probably the best known version around today is the original Star Wars film. George Lucas, was inspired by these opposing forces in Celtic mythology and morphed the Sword-of-Light-wielding Celtic warrior Lugh into the light-saber-wielding Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker.
Dancing at Lughnasa
George Lucas is not the only writer who has been inspired by the importance of Lugh in Irish folk tradition. On April 24, 1990, Dancing at Lughnasa premiered at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Written by Brian Friel, the play summons back the memories of the end of the summer of 1936 on the eve of the celebration of Lugh, the god of light and fire and music and dance, the women of the house share strong bonds of love and courage in moments of joy as well as loss that the memory of them. When Dancing at Lughnasa was produced on Broadway in 1992, it won the Tony award for best play. In 1998, the play was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep as the eldest sister.
Our next Moon Medicine gathering takes place on Wednesday Aug 14 with host Kathy Scott and guest luminaries Laura Murphy (IMBAS) , Melanie Lynch (HerStory) and Susie Q (Singer/Songwriter) to illuminate the pathways and practices of the great priestesses, queens and sovereign women throughout Irish Mysticism and Mythology.Together we will explore how this rich legacy can help us to reclaim our sovereignty and queendom in our contemporary lives today. This Full Moon gathering weaves a range of potent teachings with energy medicine, astro insights, movement, meditation, live music and nourishing self care practices We really hope you can join us and bring your sisters, mothers, daughters, grandmothers and girlfriends. To book your spot simply click here.
Moon Medicine is a monthly mystery gathering for women that illuminates the magical gifts of the Moon. This is a special invitation for women who are ready to harness their inner power and reclaim their wild feminine nature. In a world where women can feel increasingly disconnected from their inner selves and the world around them, Moon Medicine offers a path to reconnection. Guided by the natural rhythm and cycles of the Moon you will learn how to activate the creative life force of the empowered feminine and shape your destiny.
Wishing a bountiful Lughnasa Season to you all
We look forward to blazing bright and beautiful trails with you in the near future.
PS: To receive your copy of A Trailblazer's Guide to the Universe click here