Since returning from the North Countree, I haven’t had any time to take a machete to the hops at the garden gate. I fought my way past it (them?) in order to pick beets, green beans and cukes in the one dry day last week but since then I’ve been otherwise engaged in my rich and dizzy life.
Also, I don’t have a machete.
In the bridge-times between this meeting and that celebration, I have been thinking about the first of August. As is typical of many Pagans of my age and experience, there come points where you look at things you’ve known or practiced for decades and you think–where did that come from? I’ve shared my saga about 1 February–I have called it Bridnasadh for 30 years and assumed I read that somewhere or one of my teachers taught me that. It seems logical because it is opposite Lughnasadh and it is the festival of Brid.
But when I Google it…the only reference to that word is me writing it in blogs and articles. So, I may have simply dreamed it up.
And that’s where I am with Lughnasadh–the first harvest festival. First, some folks refer to it as Lammas (which I inderstand comes from “loaf-mass” and has Saxon origins)–a time when you cut down poor Barleycorn and make bread and corn dollies and all that early-harvest fun.
Lughnasadh is an Irish (and possibly “Celtic”) fest and is about honoring Lugh’s foster mother Tailtiu with funerary games. Pan-Irish tribal Olympics, is how I think of it. Either way, a time of coming together and offering hospitality, with the added fillip of showing off a bit.
I met with a student last week and we discussed the difference of the two and I told her my version of the foundation myth of Lughnasadh. But afterwards I wondered. Did I make that up? Is that another Bridnasadh tale of creativity and sloppy scholarship?
Happy to report that it was mostly accurate. My research reveals that I must’ve learned that somewhere from a fairly reliable source and it simply stuck with me over the years. O, to be sure, it has been embellished and is told with much arm-waving and eye-rolling but pretty accurate.
I’ll be at White Horse in Black Mountain at the end of the month. I’ll be talking about my book, of course–and hoping to sell some–and I’ll talk about Mother Grove. And I think I’ll try to squeeze in a bit about Tailtiu. Complete with arm-waving and peering seriously over the top of my glasses.