Lughnasadh has never before mattered to me as first a NeoWiccan, and later just a Celtic Witch. I’ve never felt the need to celebrate it — much like Imbolc, it just occupied a fire festival slot and I sort of went “Eh, whatever,” when it came and went each year. My favored holidays have long been the solstices, Samhain, and Beltaine (wooo sex and death! big surprise, eh?), and the equinoxes, Lughnasadh, and Imbolc have sort of been outside my radar.
Well, the Gods have other ideas, it seems. Usually it seems that way. I’m beginning to think that free will may largely be an illusion.
Anyway, this year was the first I celebrated Imbolc, as Brighid claimed me shortly beforehand. Something sort of similar has happened with Lughnasadh, though I’m not sure if it was Lugh arranging things or just a bunch of events falling into place.
Lughnasadh weekend is also a long weekend here in B.C., because it’s B.C. Day — our province’s birthday. So a bunch of my Pagany-Witchy friends decided to hold a camp-out. At first I wasn’t able to go, but then I lost my job and my time was freed up. Upon hearing that I was coming, I was asked to write and priestess the Lughnasadh evening ritual.
I mean, I’ve priestessed before…once. And I didn’t write the ritual there, it was a spur of the moment thing (I was unanimously elected to be HPs at a coven meeting one night, because our regular HPs couldn’t make it). This…this was something else entirely.
So I was nervous. Most of that nervousness stemmed from the fact that I’d never really celebrated Lughnasadh before and had no idea what the fuck the holiday was about. So I did some research.
And in researching Lugh, He sort of…showed up.
Before the ritual, I spent some time praying. I prayed to Morrigan and Brighid, for strength and in gratitude, and i sent out a prayer to Lugh, saying I’d felt His nudges and would like to get to know Him better.
That was dumb.
He’s a trickster deity, for Someone’s sake. It was like painting a target on my forehead and screaming to the Universe “HEY THERE — DESTROY MY SHIT NOW PLEASE!”
Well. The ritual went well — I adapted from a standard NeoWiccan ritual format, and added and embellished as I saw fit. (You can read the ritual here.) I could have done better in controlling the energy and keeping us on task, but I also could have done a whole lot worse. I think I did remarkably well, considering we had some assholes walking past and making loud, rude joking sounds at us (public campsite — yay). I managed to get everyone to make corn dollies out of raffia, teaching them on the spot. That’s difficult. The corn dollies were to bless our trades and ask for continued bounty and abundance.
I made my corn dolly and visualized my passion of writing when I made it, hoping to be a more prolific writer for the coming year.
Apparently, Lugh thinks it’s funny when my cat destroys said corn dolly. She has done so twice, so I have now soaked the thing in orange oil, which seems to work in repelling her.
This is not the only thing that has gone wrong in the “SO YOU SAID YOU WANTED TO KNOW ME BETTER HMMMM??” trickster deity sort of way since I’ve come home.
I’m starting to wonder what I’ve gotten myself into.
Lugh’s fuckery aside. Good things that came out of the weekend:
- Beginning to see myself as a priestess. Not just a priestess to myself, as I believe we are all our own spiritual authorities, but a priestess to the community at large — our pagan community is not a Reclaiming one, so people who believe in being their own spiritual authority are thin on the ground. There is a need for priests and priestesses. I may look into taking some formal training.
- Camping. is. fucking. amazing.
- A good time was had by all, even if tensions were running high (many strong personalities + stress of camping + existing fault lines in the friendships = powder keg waiting for a match). Whatever, we played a great drinking game (that I did not participate in fully — I got to beat people
- I sat down and made myself do some actual religious work — I was keeping the flame for Brighid all weekend (as I am doing right now, actually), so I decided it would be a good time to make a set of prayer beads for Her. I also made a set for Morrigan. Manannan’s will come later, when I have the materials. Below you can see pictures of the prayer beads I made; the red ones are garnet, for Morrigan, and the green ones are glass, with a gold four-armed cross-like symbol on it, for Brighid (the symbol is not a Brighid’s cross, but it’s close enough).
And I cannot get those to center no matter how hard I try. Oh well.
Well, I managed to finish this post on my shift, despite WordPress having a lot of trouble last night. Awesome.