Monday, July 30, 2007

God/dess of the Day


We can see this ‘euhemerization’ clearly in the case of the god Lugh, who gives his name to the Irish summer festival of Lughnasadh. In the earliest Irish myths he is clearly a deity. As such, he offers himself as the saviour of the Tuatha dé Danann, the predecessors of the Milesians or Gaels. Seeking entry at the palace of King Nuada of the Silver Hand, at Tara, he announces each of his skills in turn – ‘Blacksmith, warrior, musician, poet, scholar …’. Each time he is refused entry, until he points out that no one else combines all these skills in one person, as he does.

In the Mabinogion, the main source of British myths, Lugh has become the much more human Lleu Llaw Gyfes, nephew (and possibly son) of the magician Gwydion. He is skilled, and protected by charms, but he is not obviously a god: in fact at one point he appears to be mortal.

Lugh in Myth
The god Lugh was worshipped in Ireland as a deity of the sun. This connection with the sun may explain his name (it means "shining one"), and it also may account for the attributes that he displayed: he was handsome, perpetually youthful, and had a tremendous energy and vitality. This energy manifests itself especially in the number of skills he had, according to legend, mastered. In fact, there was a tale that related Lugh's myriad abilities at arts and crafts.

As told in the Battle of Magh Tuiredh, the god travelled to Tara, and arrived during a tremendous feast for the royal court. Lugh was greeted at the door by the keeper of the gate, and was immediately asked what talent he had - for it was a tradition there that only those who had a special or unique ability could enter the palace. The god offered his reply: "I am a wright". In response, the gate keeper said: "We already have a wright. Your services are not needed here". Still, Lugh, not to be so easily dismissed, continued: "I am a smith". Again, the guard retorted that the court had a smith that was quite adequate; but the god was not to be dissuaded. In short order, he noted that he was also a champion, a harper, a hero, a poet, an historian, a sorcerer, and a craftsman. To this list, the gate keeper merely nodded his head, and stated matter of factly that all of these various trades were represented in the court by other members of the Tuatha de Danaan. "Ah, but you do have an individual who possesses all of these skills simultaneously?", was Lugh's clever and inspired reply. The guard was forced to admit his defeat, and so Lugh was allowed to enter and join the festivities.

According to Celtic mythology, Lugh was the son of Cian and Ethlinn. After the god Nuada was killed in the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh, Lugh became the leader of the Tuatha De Danaan (the term for the gods and goddesses who descended from the goddess Danu).

Cerridwen is one of the Old Ones, one of the great megalithic pre-Christian Goddesses of the Celtic World. Although, in her story, she embodies all three lunar aspects of the Goddess, Maiden, Mother and Crone, she is primarily worshipped in her Crone aspect, by and through her Cauldron of Wisdom, Inspiration, Rebirth and Transformation. The cauldron has an intimate association with femininity, together with the cave, the cup and the chalice, and the association of femininity with justice, wisdom and intelligence goes back to very ancient times.
Cerridwen was originally worshipped by the people of Wales. It is told that she lived on an island, in the middle of Lake Tegid, named after her husband, with her two children, a beautiful daughter, Creidwy, and a very ugly son, Afagdu. To compensate her son for his unfortunate appearance, Cerridwen brewed a magical formula, known as "greal", (is this where the word Grail came from, I wonder?) which would make Afagdu the most brilliant and inspired of men. For a year and a day, she kept six herbs simmering in her magical cauldron, known as "Amen", under the constant care of a boy named Gwion.

One day, while Gwion was stirring the cauldron, a few drops of the bubbling liquid spattered on his hand. Unthinkingly, and in pain, Gwion, sucked his burned hand, and, suddenly, he could hear everything in the world, and understood all the secrets of the past and future. With his newly enchanted foresight, Gwion knew how angry Cerridwen would be when she found he had acquired the inspiration meant for her son.
He ran away, but Cerridwen pursued him. Gwion changed into a hare, and Cerridwen chased him as a greyhound; he changed into a fish, and Cerridwen pursued him as an otter; he became a bird, and she flew after him as a hawk; finally, he changed into a grain of corn, and Cerridwen, triumphant, changed into a hen, and ate him.

When Cerridwen resumed her human form, she conceived Gwion in her womb, and, nine months later, gave birth to an infant son, whom she, in disgust, threw into the water of a rushing stream. He was rescued by a Prince, and grew into the great Celtic bard, Taliesin.

Rebirth and Transformation.

Cerridwen's cauldron is an ancient feminine symbol of renewal, rebirth, transformation and inexhaustible plenty. It is the primary female symbol of the pre-Christian world, and represents the womb of the Great Goddess from which all things are born and reborn again. Like the Greek Goddess, Demeter, and the Egyptian Goddess, Isis, Cerridwen was the great Celtic Goddess of inspiration, intelligence and knowledge, and was invoked as a law-giver and sage dispenser of righteous wisdom, counsel and justice.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lughnasadh - Rituals


Step One: Banish Negativity from your space.
Take the broom and sweep the entire area with a broom working in east to west strokes. (banishing negativity) Cleanse the area by walking each element around your soon-to-be circle in a clock-wise direction saying:
"Element of (name element). In the name of Spirit I cast out all unclean energies, real or imagined. May this area be blessed in the name of Spirit and be filled with the energies of love, joy and truth."

Step Two: Altar blessing & Empowerment:
Pass each of the representations of the elements over your altar 3 times in a clockwise direction. {visualize that you are stirring up positive energies into action and blocking out negativity} Once the third pass is complete place the incense on the east side, candle on the south side, bowl of water ion the west side, and earth (or salt) on the north side of your altar. Dab a scented oil on each corner as well, then dab the center of the altar saying:
"I bless and consecrate thee, O sacred altar, in the name of Spirit (or your deity). May you repel negative energy and collect positive enery from this day forward until the end of time. So mote it be."
Draw an equal armed cross in the air over the altar. Tap the altar 4 time, one for each direction and say:"As above, so below. This altar is sealed. So mote it be!"--Note if you have previously blessed and consecrated your altar..pass the representative of each element over the altar intoning a personal blessing, then tap the altar 5 times -- one for each element and once for Spirit.

Step Three: Light your illuminator candles on your altar. Say: "Oh Ancient Ones, I am here to honor you and preserve the old ways. I have come tonight to celebrate the harvest and consecrate its first fruits. I am here to renew my connection to you and the sacred land. I AM HERE TO HONOR THE GODS!"

: Cast Your Magick Circle - walk the circle in a clockwise direction (anywhere from 1 to 3 rotations).Saying the following Sabbat CircleCasting: *start by standing in front of your altar and say:
"tides of the season, ebb and flow"
(tap altar once - state the name of the Holiday energy to be invoked)
"From spring's first light to autumn's glow"
(Hold hands over the altar.)
"Doesil around from birth to death"
(begin in the north and begin making yuor rounds around circle)
"Legends, myths and love connect."
(you should be back at the notrh)
"Solar fire, sun's bright burning"
(Lift red fire candle from the altar and look skyward)
"Purify the Great Wheel turning"
(return candle to altar)
"Winds of the North to carry the flame"
(Begin walking north to east)
"The mists of eons, call thy name. Lughnasadh."
"East and South, the West inspire"
(pause as you state each of the directions)
"Enjoy the spirals even higher!"
(back at the north)
"The circle rises and marks rebirth"
(Begin the third pass of the circle)
"As seasons change and kiss the earth."
(back at the north)
"From seed and plough to harvest home."
(Hold hands over the altar again.)
"To starry vault and standing stone."
(At north point to the sky.)
"This Sabbat circle, thrice around."
(visualize the bubble sealing as your circle)
"I seal thee now from sky to ground!"
(bring your arm down and stomp your foot.)

Step Five: Light each of the quarter candles, calling the quarters. {remember to visualize an opening in your bubble for the quarters to enter}"Winds of Lughnasadh's Fire(direction), attend, acknowledge, and proclaim!"(once back at the altar raise arms,"Winds of Lughnasadh's Fire Spirit, fill this circle with thy love and protection!"

Step Six: Honor the Earth Mother.
Pour a bit of olive oil on the ground or into the offering bowl. As you pour say:
" As One we join with Her, our Mother. As One we sing to Her our song. As one we touch Her As One we heal Her, Her heart beats with out own as One Earth Mother, I honor You!"

Step Seven: Invocation of Spirit/Deity. Ground and center yourself again in front of your altar. Raise your arms to the heavens in the traditional Goddess pose. I'm using a call to Brigit but you can use a different one if you wish.
"Lady Brigit, first mother. Lady Brigit, I call to you. With the silence in my heart, from your call within my mind, with your kiss upon my lips I call you, I call you, I call you. Lady Brigit, I call to you. Bring me your inspiration. Lend me your honey tongue. O, Lady Brigit, O Lady Brigit, I call you home. I call you here."
You'll also want to call upon Lugh the primary deity of the High Holy Day. Assume the God position and say:
"I call to Lugh, Lugh of the long arm, master of all arts. I ask that you bring your skill to me once again as I ask you here to partake in the first fruits of the harvest. You've shown me how to take care of the grains and how to reap the harvest. Join with me now, Lugh, to eat the breads baked with the harvest! My grain has grown heavy a nd ripe as I've brought back the wheat of our Ancestors. Join with me, Lugh, and accept my offerings! Lugh, be with me tonight!"

Step Eight: Lughnasadh Invocation -
Light a small candle say or sing: (this is from Silver RavenWolf's Solitary Witch ppg 87)
"The King and Queen are wed at last
while summer's kiss turns feilds and grass
to harvest gold, and garden gifts
find sacrifice on earthen lips.

Witches gather hand to hand
power raised along the band
Vortex spiral in its quest
force and form to manifest!

Debts repaid and games of sport,
weather magick -- Thor's retort
blessing babies, baking bread
stocking up for winters stead.

Witches gather hand to hand
power raised along the band
Vortex spiral in its quest
force and form to manifest!

Bonfires, dancing, circle round
fruits and produce from the ground
offer up a feast of praise
while shadows lengthen in the maze.

Witches gather hand to hand
power raised along the band
Vortex spiral in its quest
force and form to manifest!

Witches gather hand to hand
power raised along the band
Vortex spiral in its quest
force and form to manifest!

Dark Lord melts into the night
taking with him summer's light
merging wishes, law, and might
removing evil from our sight.

Witches gather hand to hand
power raised along the band
Vortex spiral in its quest
force and form to manifest!"

August sun turns to bronze
golden children singing songs
fireflies flitter in the dusk
touching all with faery dust.
note: this is the fire of the fire holiday it is sacred fire with healing and purifying properties. As you light the candle, be aware of its power and significance - let it burn out in your cauldron.

Step Nine: Blessings & Wishes:
Earth - Now take up a dish of earth. Bless it in the name of the Goddess. Lay your hands upon it and say:"I bless, consecrate, and set apart this earth, in the name of the Triple Goddess. May this be sacred earth, set apart for magic. For earth is of the Goddess, being her sacred body." Remember that the Goddess is not only of the Moon, but of the Earth and of the farthest stars. She is the Triple Goddess of the Circle of Rebirth, the Mother of All Life. Decorate the dish of earth with flowers.Wands - take a wooden wand and oil it with vegetable oil." I bless it in the name of the Lugh, the Lord of all the arts. Pass it swiftly through the candle flame, the fire in the cauldron, so that it becomes magically imbued, 'charged', with power. Place the wand upon the dish of earth, saying as you hold it there: "As the wand is to the earth, so the male is to the femaleand the Sun to our blossoming world.Joined, they bring happiness. May the God of Life give ___ {something you want, for example, peace on Earth} May Brigit bring it forth!"

Sit quietly for a while, and picture the blossoming of what you have desired in life. The spells and invocations of all of us, all working on themes like these, must eventually bear fruit, because life is on the side of peace. Leave the earth and wand upon the alter.

Step Ten: Spiraling Peacefully. Walk deosil three times around the circle, then spiral into the center. Go evenly, with grace, meditatively. Sit beside the candle flame (cauldron), allowing yourself to feel peaceful. Gaze into the flame. The next part is different depending on whether you are man or woman.
*For a Woman: visualize a red rosebud in your womb. Always your womb is the source of your creative power, whether you are pregnant with a child, an idea, a work of art or an intention. Close your eyes and picture the light from the candle streaming into your womb so that the rosebud blooms, unfolds. Hold the image for a while, feeling the silkiness, smelling the scent, the freshness, seeing the color of the fully open rose within you. Feel the strength and power of your own fully blossomed capabilities. Say:"I am woman,strong to conceive and to create,to give birth and to tend.As I am daughter of the Goddess,and blessed by the God, may I ___"{here name what you wish to bring forth in life. For example bring healing to others or write my book whatever matters to you} {**Do not perform the petal opening visualization if you are pregnant - your body may treat the petal as the cervex and try to open.} Feel the strength and creative force within your womb, the center of your being. See the power being channeled, flowing into the desire you have just voiced. Open your eyes. Always, the rose is within you.
*For a Man: Visualize a bright flame. This burns within your sexual center, a point at the base of the stomach, just above the pubic hairline. It is your own male strength and energy which may rise through your body to be released as giving, fertilizing power, in any form, or may be the potency which impregnates, creating a physical child. It is the force which blesses and bestows, a healing and creative energy, like the shining Sun. Visualize also that you are sitting in a garden and that a rose tree is in front of you, the roses in bud. Say:"I am man,and in my passion is beauty,in my warmth is life.As I am son of the Goddess,and blessed by the God,I offer my strength and vitality to ____ "{name the area of life, the place, activity, or committment you choose}Visualize the light streaming from you to a rose upon the tree causing it to unfold, to blossom. Your flame is lowered by this effort. Much has gone out of you, the flame sinks down. Wait and watch, until a pink light streams from the rose towards your body. At its touch, just above the pubic hairline the flame resurges. It burns highter and stronger than before. Open your eyes. The flame is always within you.

Step Eleven: Perform any spells or additional rituals / meditations you would like.
Pn Lughnasadh I like to do property protections and make any poppets as necessary. Here is the procedure I use for protection...

A) Auric Protection for you.
Sit quietly and close your eyes. Take a few soothing breaths. Try to clear your mind and center into that soothing place deep within you. As you continue takingdeep breaths vitualize inhaling a blue mist - its light and clean. As you exhale visualize you are exhaling a grey smoke more heavy and toxic. (In this visual you are inhaling a soothing peaceful mist and exhaling the negativity and toxins) Once your entire body is full of the blue mist - visualize pushing the mist out through your pores (still inhaling more to keep the body full) Once you are surrounded by the blue mist it hardens into a shell. Thick and strong. To protect your child - have them sit on your lap. After you have pushed the blue mist through your pores visualizeit surrounding yor child. Have it harden/solidify. I check (a quick visualization) each morning to make sure the shell is still there on my kids and re-do the visualization monthly.
B) Protecting your property from negativity. This is another visualization. Once back inside (or on your property) after tossing the flowers in the above spell. Close your eyes, center and a gain ground by finding that peaceful center in your body. Envision the property line as a glowing golden ring. Imagin a golden "force field" (for lack of a better term) rising from the ground and surrounding your home and property in a bubble. Like you would when casting a circle. Havet he golden bubble harden.I also re-visualize this monthly on the full moon.
C) Sealing the property protection with a Witches Bottle
SUPPLIES: A Witch's Bottle(any bottle or jar with a top), Rosemary, Red Wine, Pins or nails, NeedlesMETHOD: Fill a small jar with the rosemary, pins and needles saying all the while the following as you do it:
"Pins needles, rosemary and wineIn the Witch's Bottle of mine;Guard against harm and enemiesThis is my will, so be it!"
When the jar is full pour in the red wine. Put the lid on the jar as tight as possible, Drip wax from a red candle around the seal of the lid.Bury the jar at the farthest corner of your property or place it in an inconspicuous spot in the house.
The Witch's Bottle destroys negativity and evil. The pins and needles impale evil, the wine drowns it and the rosemary sends it far from your home
D) Further Meditation for Charging your room or Home. Sit Straight with palms on lap, take deep breaths, relax, and move into a mental space where you activate your intuitive senses, Imagine a cord of energy from your spine connecting you to the Earth, and channel energy from the Earth through it, Silently ask for divine protection, guidance, and blessing, Direct your psychic sensing outward, and feel lines of force coming out of your aura, Note where the strongest energy is (check out the floor,ceiling, directions, etc), Note spots that feel empty or dead, note places that feel full alive, focus on where you are sitting and how you feel at that particular spot, Imagine a sphere of light and love energy at your heart, feel it pulsing outward with every breath. Feel the radiance increase with every breath, feel your self as a star, continue to breathe deeply and send out the energy, letting it pulsate in the room, When ready, start making power sounds representing the love and light you are channeling; use it to amplify the light you are weaving; and fill the room with the energy, Then shift focus to sending a probe out into the room, and note the differences in the quality of energy and how you feel about it, Repeat if necessary, When done, feel the completeness of the work.

Step Twelve: Take Communion - Hold hands over cup {visualize the energy of the sun feeding the vine growing into a berry, etc} and say:"From the sun to the vine from the vine to the berry from the berry to the wine this brew is blessed in the sacred names of our Lord and Lady. So mote it be." Lower the athame into the cup and say:"As the rod is to the God so the chalice is to the Goddess and together they are one!"{Visualize divine energy pulsating from the blade into the cup, and the entire cup filling up with white light.}Take a drink from the cup visualizing the divine energy entering your body and pushing out any negativity. When finished (do not drink all) say:"May you never thirst."Next hold your hands over the cakes and say:"From the moon to the stalk from the stalk to the grain from the grain to the bread this bread is blessed in the sacred names of our Lord and Lady. So mote it be!"Take a bite of the cake (or eat almost all of it), when finished say:"May you never hunger."**After ritual is complete pour remaining libations outside.

Step Thirteen: Perform offering to the gods (only if outside). This is the fire offering: "Upon the wings of fiery flame I give this offering in Goddess' name." where you pour just a drop of each into the cauldron. Otherwise combine in a libation bowl or dish.

Step Fourteen: Thank and release the quarters (begin in the west if you started in the north and move winddershins-counterclockwise)."Winds of the Spirit of Beltane's Fire, blessings upon you. I release thee upon thy way till next we meet again! Winds of the Beltane's West, blessings upon you! I release thee upon thy way till next we meet again!" (repeat for the South, East & North)

Step Fifteen: Release the magick circle (1 rotation counter clockwise)"O Great Circle of Sabbat Art, attend me no more this day but be released into (usually your athane, rod or wand)."

Step Sixteen: Seal the altar energies by tapping once on the altar and extinguishing illuminator candles.

Step Seventeen: Clean up and offer libations bowl out of doors. Pour on the ground or leave out side saying: "To the Gods."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lughnasadh - Treats



  • 6-8 oz honey (preferably local)
  • 1 gallon white wine
  • 6-7 citrus or spice tea bags
  • large glass stockpot
  • glass bottles or jars


  1. Mix honey, wine, teabags and fruit in large stockpot
  2. Bring to a boil for 1 minute
  3. Simmer for 2-3 minutes
  4. Let cool
  5. Transfer to glass bottles or jars
  6. Refrigerate for 3 days

Melon Sorbet


  • 4 cups melon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup granulates superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • (optional: 1 tsp dark or spiced rum)
  • blender or food processor
  • coarse siece
  • wire whisk


  1. Puree the melon in a blender or food processor and strain through the seive
  2. Combine 1/2 cup of melon with the sugar and bring to a boil, stirring frequently
  3. Remove from the heat and add the remaining melon, lemon jiuce and mix well.
  4. Cover tightly and freeze overnight (If adding the rum do it just as the sorbet is about to feeze)
  5. Spoon into bowls or refrigerated melon rinds. Garnish with berrise and honeyed whipped topping (see next).

Honey Whipped Topping


  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 cup whipped heavy cream
  • wire whisk


  1. Whisk the cream cheese and honey together until smooth
  2. Fold in whipped cream
  3. Refrigerate.

Lughnasadh Pie
Blueberries, also known as fraughans, herts or bilberries, are connected with the ancient festival of Lughnasadh. In later years, the Sabbat came to be known as Garland Sunday, a time when the whole village would gather for a day of singing, dancing, courting, feasting and picking wild blueberries.


1 cup sugar
¼ cup flour
Grated zest of ½ lemon
Salt to taste
5 cups of fresh blueberries
Pastry for 9 inch, 2-crust pie
Juice of one lemon


1 tablespoon butter Combine sugar, flour, lemon zest and salt to taste. Add blueberries, tossing to thoroughly coat fruit. Pour mixture into a pie crust drizzle with lemon juice and dab with butter. Place top of pie crust over pie; seal and flute edges. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove foil and bake for another 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
See also: The Festival of Lughnasadh
*From Celtic Folklore and Cooking by Joanne Asala. Llewellyn Publications. 2001.

Lammas Cookies
These sunny cookies are eaten at feasts honouring the Sun God, Lugh.


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
¼ cup Irish whiskey
¼ cup candied lemon peel
¼ cup of sultanas or golden raisins
¼ cup almonds, chopped


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended. Add flour and Irish whiskey and beat until smooth. Add fruit and nuts and mix well. Drop dough from a tablespoon on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from sheet while cookies are still warm.
*From Celtic Folklore and Cooking by Joanne Asala. Llewellyn Publications. 2001

Monday, July 23, 2007

Shannon's Fav Lughnasadh Crafts

The following are from Magickal Crafts by Kristen Madden & Liz Roberts

Vision Incense

To help your vision be clearer.

  • 1 tsp gum tragacanth or bum arabic
  • glass or bowl of warm water
  • wet cloth
  • 1 part mugwort (artemisia vulgaris)
  • 1 part cinnamon
  • 1 part sage
  • saltpeter (potassium nitrate)
  • 6 parts powdered sandalwood or cedarwood
  • 2 parts powdered benzoin
  • 1 part ground orris root
  • 6-9 drops essential oil (myrrh or sandalwood)
  • waxed paper
  • small kitchen scale
  • ceramic or stoneware bowl
  • food grinder
  • thin wooden skewers
  • Styrofoam square to hold skewers


  1. To make tragacanth gum glue, which you will leter need: Dissolve 1 tsp of the gum in a glass or bowl of the warm water. You may need to whick it a bit to dissolve it completely. {If you plan to make stick incense - which is more difficult than cones or blocks, thin the glue with a bit more water. For blocs or cones it should be almost dough like, but for sticks it should be a bit thinner} Cover with the wet cloth and set aside. If it thickens too much while sitting, just add a little bit more water. {Whatever you don't use will keep for a month}
  2. Prepare your incense Mixture. Grind together 1 part of each: mugwort, cinnamon, sage, to form a powder.
  3. In a bowl mix the wood, benzoin and irris root well. Add essential oils - Mix Well.
  4. Add 4-5 parts incense mixture to the oil mixture.
  5. Weigh and add 10% saltpeper. Do not add more than 10%. Mix Well.
  6. Addgum glue and mix well. Form into blocks or cones on waxed paper For sticks, dip skewers into teh mixture and stick them into syrofoam to dry. You can dip 4-6 times until they are as thick as you want. Allow to dry slightly between dippings.
  7. Allow to dry 2 - 7 days in a warm dry place until thoroughly dry.

Tree Spirit

I know being a Druid I'm most content when surrounded by nature - a forest, plain, whatever. We're all a little bit like "tree huggers". The following is a representation of the Green Man. Remember the Green Man is a tribute to the spirit in every tree or plant. At this time (Lughnassadh or Lammas) you may want to create a representation of the Green Man at his prime to grace your home through the darkest parts of the year to come. Or you can use the colors of harvest to celebrate the ripening and circle of life.


  • large pin or needle
  • polling pin
  • oven
  • baking tray
  • 26 gauge wire, 6 - 8 inches long
  • 2-oz packs of polymer clay: either plain colorless (if you wantt o paint) or in the following colors: chocolate brown, sand, pearl, black, green, leaf green
  • paints (optional)


  1. Mix one pack of chocoate brown clay with one pack of sand-colored clay. Kneed together until the clay is pliable and the two colors swirl together like marble
  2. Form half of the marbled brown clay mix into a flat 4-inch wide circle
  3. Shape a nose from some of the remaining clay and mold it into the center of the circle. I do this by rolling a ball about the size of a golf-ball then after placing it on the circle- I use my thumb and fore-finger to smooth out the nose.
  4. Roll out 2 pearl-colored balls each about the size of a marble
  5. Roll out 2 green-colored balls each about the size of a pea
  6. Roll out 2 black-colored balls each about 1/2 the size of a pea.
  7. Stack the green balls on the pearl balls. Then stack the black balls on the green. Firmly press these 2 stacks onto the 4 inch circle to form the eyes
  8. Shape the teeth by roling out a small sausage of pearl clay. THen flatten it a little before carving lines with the point of a pin to separate individual teeth. Press the teeth into the place of the mouth on the 4 inch circle.
  9. Use the remaining marbled clay to form the chin, lips, cheeks, eyelids and brow.
  10. Marble-mix 2 green colors together as you did the browns.
  11. Roll out the marbled green into a 1/8-inch-thick slab with a rolling pin.
  12. Use the needle or pin to cut out 12 - 12 leaf shapes
  13. Arrange the leaves around the face to form the Green Man's hair and beard. Then attatch each leaf by pressing some part of it firmly in to the face.
  14. I use the needle or pin to incise the veind and variation to each leaf
  15. Push a small hoop into the back (center, top) of the face
  16. Bake according tot he manufacturers instructions
  17. If painting allow the face to cool completely - make sure to schlack it good when finished.
  18. Hang on a wall or your favorite tree

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lughnasadh - Theses and Festivities


First Harvest, Grain Harvest, Sacrifice, THe Celtic God Lugh

Key Activities:

  • Make Corn Dollies
  • Make a wreath out of grain
  • Bless Marriages, Babies and Homes
  • Roast the First Ears of Corn in the Fire
  • Tell stories of Lugh, and Demeter and Persephone
  • Hold games of strength and agility
  • Have an Outdoor Picnic
  • Design an outdoor scavenger hunt (using items to celebrate the season - these can be used in a spellfor ongoing prosperity and health throughout winter)
  • Desplay, barter or sell artwork or crafts
  • Hold a Celtic Bragfest, or storytelling contest
  • Bake Braided Bread
  • Make decorative wheat ornaments
  • Start a harvest quilt, to finish by Yule for a needy family
  • Start some beer, to drink at Imbolg
  • Enact the Sun God transforming nito the Grain God
  • Ask each person (family and friends) "What will your harvest be this year?"

Seasonal Appropriate Foods:

  • Grains
  • Breads
  • Roast Corn on the Cob
  • Cookies
  • Cake
  • Zucchini Bread
  • Braided Bread

Chants and Songs

  • Hoof and Horn
  • Oh Tell My Why
  • Sun King
  • Horned One, Lover, Son

Recepies and Directions for the above will be forthcoming within this coming week.

Lughnassadh - Celebrate the Harvest

Lughnassadh or Lammas Arrives on August 1 or 2 or when the Sun is at 1 degree Leo.


It is the first of the 3 Harvest Festivals celebrating the Earth releasing her bounty to us. Lammas is a contraction of the Anglo-Saxon words for "loaf mass": referring to the honor paid to the first loaf of bread made from the grain of the year's harvest.(1) Since the God was injured at Litha he begins to die in earnest during Lammas. The God sacrifices Himself to rebirth so that he comes back in the way of the harvest to feed his people throughout the upcoming winter. The God's sacrifice (not to be confused with many Christian beliefs that this involves crazy knife-wielding Priests. *giggle*) is sacred, its just a transfer of His energy. When we eat the bread made of the grain of His sacrifice - we are taking a part of him into ourselves...absorbing some of His energy. When we partake of the grain we serve multiple purposes in the Great Cycle of Life (1):
1) We honor the God by eating to survive, our very survival making His sacrifice more sacred.
2) We eat the "seed" of the God in the form of the grain - this will eventually result in magickal pregnancy that will allow the God to be reborn in the Spring.
3) We are taking into ourselves His qualities and responsibilities: We're making a type of oral contract to carry on His work of living in the service of life throughout a harsh Winter.

Therefore, the eating of the Lammas Bread is a sacred act; helping us to reconfirm the sacredness of life, death and rebirth (1).

The Celtics call this High Holy Day Lughnassadh. (LOONA-saad or Loo-NAS-aad). This refers to the games that, acording to folklore, the Celtic Sun God Lugh established in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu(2). These were games of speed and strength: such as races, tosses, and wrestling. We don't know what the original motivation was, but it can be assumed that as the Gods strength began to wane as he died, a last show of strength was called for. Conversely some Celtics believe Lughnassadh celebrates the marriage of Lugh. In ancient Ireland, Lughnassadh was celebrated in Tell-Town (in what is now the Count Meath) and in 3 other locations, Emain acha in Ulster, Carman in Leinster, and at Tara.

Some folk tales tell us Lughnassadh was an occasion for the settling of legal and political matters, such as treaties, while the games and feasting were held. However in a poem preserved in a medieval manuscript, we learn that at Carmen, there weer prohibitions: deeds of violence, abductions, the repudiation of husband or wife, and the levying of debts. The penalties ascribed by this poem for violating those prohibitions were severe - "Whoever transgresses the law of the King Beren prescribed firmly for ever that he should not thrive in his tribe but should die for his mortal sins." (2)

Handfasting was an important part of the Lughnassadh celebration. This was an informal Hand-In-Fist - a marriage without a marriage that lasted a year and a day to the next Lughnassadh. If the bride became pregnant within that time then no wedding or more formal handfasting was required. If conception didn't occur than the formal wedding was held at the next Lughnassadh celebration. If the marriage was not to be re-newed or made more permanent the Bride and Groom would stand back to back facing North and South and walk away from each other. Such trial marriages were common in the 1500's. (2)

Some Traditions begin celebrations at Lammas-Tide (July 31). This is the Celebration of Freyr, the brother of the fertility and Moon Goddess Freya. There are many similarities in Freyr's lore as there are in Lugh's. Just like Lugh, Freyr had many skills as talents - He was said to have possessed a boat that not only could hold up the Gods, but which could also be folded up!

Almost all Pagans who celebrate this first harvest festival create or honor mounds. Corn and grain are often gathered in stooks, or tee-pee shaped bundles. Other crops are sometimes piles into traditional mounds. These can look like the burial mound, and so that is just as they represent - the death of the God and crops at the time of harvest. In the Wiccan Tradition, a grave is a womb, for the Earth is the body of the Goddess. From Her - we and the God - are reborn. Seeds and roots beget their own rebirth, from the Earth, to the Earth. (1) Mounds are also traditional entries to and from the Palaces of the Otherworlds, the land of Youth where the immortal Gods and Fae live. So, we can incorporate them into our rituals or celebrations.

Lammas-Tide is a mystical combination of waning Summer and impending Winter. Though the harvest has stated Summer is still here. But as we see it coming to an end we much hurry to enjoy the time left before the dark time.

(1) Celebrating The Seasons of Life: Beltane to Mabon; by Ashleen O'Gaea ppg 99 - 103.
(2) The Solitary Druid: by Rev Robert Lee (Skip) Ellison ppg 145 - 149

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Celtic Paganism Explained

The following is my synopsis of general Celtic Paganism. I'll write up my 3 sub-catagories of the Celtic Witch: Druidry, Celtic Warriorism & Celtic Shammanism, in additional posts.

What does "Celtic" Mean?

Celtic is an ethnic entity consisting of the Irish, Scottish, British (Great Britain, Gaul, Welsh, Cornish). Celtic Paganism refers to the geographical distinction of the Continental Celts (the Celts of Gaul - early period) and the Insular Celts (the British Isles/Ireland - later period)

What is Celtic Paganism?

Obviously Celtic Witch's follow the Celtic Pantheon - the list of Gods & Goddesses worshipped by the ancient Celts. But to be a Celtic Witch is much more than that. Respecting the history, mythology, traditions and holidays of the ancient Celts - and learning from them, then converting them to fit todays lifestyles are important parts to being a modern Celtic Witch.

Celtic Paganism is based on Earth - meaning almost all the beliefs and practices - and Elemental Spirits - the elements, spirits, psyche. Ancient Celts had a vast knowledge of the magickal properties of herbs and roots and used them in both healing and magickal practices. This allows the Celtic Witch to work magick into every aspect of daily life - from jewlery, to cooking to how they decorate their homes and interact with people.
Celtic Paganism is also Polytheistic - meaning a Celtic Witch believes in many Gods/desses. There is the Great Mother, Danu, who is the most powerful, but all other deities (much like candle colors, gems, scents, etc) have their own magickal associations. Because each deity has their own associations there was not much distinction of importance between male and female deities (Danu excluded), however the female deities often have more accessible associations to daily life - Deities were also believed to appear at any place and any time.

As the most important (powerful) Deity to a Celtic Witch is Danu and the fact that Goddesses were readily available or accessable - women in ancient Celtic societies were revered and treated better than in other ancient societies - for instance women could become warriors and warrior queens as well as mothers. Don't get me wrong, their life was still oppressive, men still ruled the roost, but they didn't treat the women as bad as the Romans or Greeks.

Along with following the general traditions, many modern Celtic Witches also follow this path to becoming an active Celtic Pagan Practitioner - After initiation into Celtic Paganism, one begins a journey to discover their Warrior Self and how that self can aide their spiritual developent. Therefore the Celtic Warrior is equivelant to a beginner to intermediate Celtic Pagan. The Shaman is the second stage of Celtic Paganism. They are the healers anddiviners, learning to use the interconnectedness of the universe fro each persons benefit. Therefore they are teh intermediate to advanced level of Celtic Pagan. Finally, there is the Druid. They are the Priests and Priestesses of the Celtic Pagan Path. They are all of the other two designations (warrior and healer) as well as divinors and teachers. See additional posts for further development into these catagories.

Differences between Wicca and Celtic Paganism?

Quite obviously Celtic Paganism follows the Celtic Pantheon. Where one can be a Wiccan and call upon the Celitc Pantheon - this does NOT make one a Celtic Witch. There are marked differences between Wicca and Celtic Paganism. Some of these differences are:

  • Wicca assigns the sun a male deity - Celtic Paganism has both a male and female deity associated with the sun.
  • Wicca is (mostly) Duotheistic whereas Celtic Paganism is Polytheistic.
  • Most Wiccans set up a permanant sacred space - or use the same space for each ritual. Due to a Celtic Witch's connection to the land their rituals can be performed anywhere.
  • Wicca does not require the understanding of mythological stories or elements in their magickal practices while Celtic Paganism does.* Wicca does not require a connection to ancestors or the land (many Wiccans chose to honor the land and their ancestors, but it is not required).
  • Probably the most important difference between Wiccan and Celtic Paganism is Wicca follows a "An it harm none" Law - Celtic Paganism does not. Instead of this law Celtic Pagans follow a Values System. The Celtic Values are the following:
    Honor (oineach): If you have Honor (personal honor) then people will respect you and you can make a difference in the lives around you.
    Loyalty (tairise): Steadfast. Unchangeable - people can rely on you to always believe and act the same way - also you will not change your mind once you have given an oath. Hospitality (aiocht): Helping people who are not related to you is an important aspect of the Celtic Witch.
    Honesty (indracus): Integrity, openness, guilesness, friendliness in dealing with people.
    Justice (coir): Brehorn Law is the ancient justice system (often ruled by druids) Ancient Celtic laws were all about comparing behavior with a cosmic rightness - you know whats right and wrong.
    Courage (meisnech): Maintaining control no matter the situation; being able to see all sides of an issue, and all solutions.



The warrior self is an essential part of any Celtic Pagans spiritual journey. As Celtic Pagans do not follow the Wiccan Reed, and intead follow the Values system including Honor, Justice and Courage; it is obvious that being able to protect ones loved ones and those under your protection is an important aspect fothe Celtic Pagan. So, Think of the Celtic Warrior as the beginer - to - intermediate manifestation of the Celtic Pagan.

But, Celtic Pagans also believe in the interconnectedness of all aspects of the universe. This being the case there will always be repercussions to descisions. Do you fight to protect ones family to the death - thus causing the death of anothers family member? For the Celtic Warrior Honor and Justice are the most important aspects of the value system. If you take an oath to protect someone - then you are honor bound to defend them even if you do not agree wit the reasons for the battle. So, no Celtic Warrior takes an oath without considering all possible ramifications.

The ancient Celts were a bit kinder to their women - often allowing them to be warriors as well as mothers - for who would defend the home while the men were off hunting or fighting in a war? Also, Ancient Celts had many feminine "Goddesses" who would protect them and lead them in war - which further proves the feminine attributes were not shunned from teh battlefield but honored.

A major portion of the Celtic Warriors persona is sexual freedom - the idea that women are the earth-bound representation of Warrior Goddesses. Again in ancient customs teh Warrior Female would often initiate Warrior Generals and Kings through a sexual rite similar to sacred Pagan practices still performed today. This being the case a Celtic Warriors initiation often involes ritualistic sex as a means of gaining power from the Warrior Goddesses.

While the modern woman may not be called upon in a time of war (unless she is in tharmed services) all women are called upon to defend themselves from harm, their children from danger or even to defend their self-esteem.

Becoming a Celtic Warrior may not have the same physical conotations it had in ancient times, the modern women must still come to terms with being a women. That the very fact that she is a woman - capable of bringing life into the world, her menstration cycle following that of the saced birth, death, rebirth cycle in almosth all Pagan beliefs - is essential in all other aspects of spiritual growth. You can not grow in spirituality if one week a month you are ashamed of your bodily functions.
You cannot allow others, or your self, to make you feel shame - this is the core of the Celtic Warrior. Knowing you are a part of the Goddess.

Therefore you must make your choices based on the cosmic right vs wrong - and follow through with them no matter what.

The Celtic Warriors Dedication Ritual exposes much of what it means to be a Celtic Warrior Woman. There are 11 parts of the dedication: Cleansing of the mind and body. Shielding. Arming both physically and mentally. The naming of Arms. The declaration of Intent. The Sacred Vows. The naming of the Warrior Self. The bestowing of the Torque. Assuming the Warrior's stance. Drinking a Warriors Brew and Consuming the Hero's postion.

The Sacred Vows taken by the Celtic Warrior are written by each woman in the time prior to the dedication. They contain the intent to defend yourself and your family. An acknowledgement of your strength and power as a warrior woman; dedication to the way of the Goddess; a willingness to protect those weaker than yourself.


Shaman's have appeared in many traditions as well as across the ancient world. People are most familiar with Native American tribes' as well as African tribes as having a shaman or a medicine person who connects the energies ofthe realms - but it was also comonin the ancient Celts as well as Asia.

Shamanism is a major portion of being a Celtic Pagan. Think of it as the intermediate to advanced practitioner of the Celtic Pagan. This is the healer, one who spends their time and spirituality in the assistance of others. Some will focus their time and energy on only being a Celtic Shaman while others use a triumverate of power connecting all forms of Celtic Paganism - the Warrior, the Shaman and the Druid.

A shaman is the master of meditation and altered states of consciousness. Once this altered state, or deep meditation, has bee achieved the shaman is able to contact as well as use energies from the Otherworld - this can be used to gain knowledge, heal people or to see the future. Essentially, the shaman is the master of astral projection - believing their soul leaves the body to travel to otehr realms or Otherworlds - where they can obtain the necessary knowledge or power for any given goal.

This is an ancient mystical practice - the shaman may not only travel to Otherworlds but they may communicate directly with the Gods and spirits from this plane of existance and others. This is how they collect power and knowledge - through communication, learning and self-sacrifie - as traveling within the realms is done for the help of others rather than the gaining of power for themselves.

Celtic Shamans believe everything - all aspects of the universe - is interconnected. So by changing one thing one must take into account the ramifications of the change. Healing one might take healing energy away from another, for instance.

Generally, Celtic Shamans are most commonly healers first and mystics or prophets second. They require their patients participate in the healing process - through belief that the techniqus work as well as relying on the shamans experience and knowledge in interpreting the energies and symbols fromthe Otherworlds in solving a problem. Sometimes the shaman will take the believing and practicing patient with them on their astral journeys. If the patient is a non-believer than the shaman will travel alone and try to fit their revelations into a belief mode more comfortable to the patient.

All travel by the Celtic Shaman is along the spiral path or laborynth which is the central axis between Earth (our realm) and the Upperworld and Underworld. A Tree is the cetner of the universe and is often where the Celtic Shaman will convene with guides to gather knowledge.
The Underworld is essentially identical to this plane of existance (Earth) the major difference being all animals, plants and inanimate objects (like stones) are capable of communication - mythical beings are also common in this realm. This realm is usually reached by the Celtic Shaman through a tunnel.

The Upperworld is usually reached by ascending a spiral staircase or a tree. The Upperworld is essentially the land of spirits and th Gods (although the Gods also travel between all the realms in Celtic Pagan beliefs). There are essentilly two halves of the Upperworld - the joyous side where sould are enjoying this time before re-birth; and the gloomy side, where souls are tormented by mistakes in the past - like a murderer driven mad by his klillings. A shaman will travel between both halves of the Upperworld though rarely travels to the gloomy side without the aide of an animal guide, or the empathic nature of the astral travel can be overwhelming.

As I said previously, Celtic Shamans believe everything is connected. This aids in the believe that each person as animal guides and spiritual guides. When in the astral state a Celtic Shaman will often meet up with these guides for learning as well as guidance through the realms.


The Druid was a pivotal person in Ancient Celtic Society. These were the advisor's to Kings, the Priests/Priestesses, Teacher, Bards, Judges, Astronomers, Diviners, Healers, Warriors, etc. These were among the most learned in ancient society - yet they would on occasion fight along side the warrior class. Therefore, it was not a portion of the religion fo Celtic Paganism that was open to the general public - one had to be learned and had to have a desire to immerse themselves i their chosen field for up-to 20 years. The Catholic Church designed its priesthood and seminaries based on the seminaries of the Druidic Order.

There are 3 levels of being a leader as a Druid or an advanced Celtic Pagan - the Bard (poets), the Ovates and the Priests/Priestesses. The common person who followed Celtic Paganism would not work their way up to becoming a druid - although popular and particularly gifted craftsmen were considered the Druidic followers.

The Bard - wore Blue Robes. The Bards job was to teach using rhyme and song. This requires a certain level of creativity as the rhymes are NOT the dark/spark/lark variety but the riveting and soul searching variety. In order to make up the riveting rhymes to teach others the Pagan religion - you need to have an understanding of it yourself. Therefore the Bard classification can last from anywhere from 1 to 10 years based on the skill level of the Druid, and their capability of teaching others.

The Ovate - wore Green Robes. The primary function of the Ovate was to compile knowledge. Think of the Ovate in terms of the Monks of old - transcribing knowledge and soaking it up like a sponge. Again this classification can last from 1 to 5 years based on the Druids level of learning.

In some texts the Ovate and the Bard were further classified together as Filid. The filid are classed with the lords, and the Priestesses are classified with the Kings/Queens. In some translations of Filid or the plural Fili, it means seer, prophet or prophecy, and satire.

The High Priestess/Priest - wore White Robes. This is the diviner, the ancient psychologist, the royal consultant, teacher, diviner, etc. Essentially The Druids and Druidesses formed the professional class in Celtic society. They were often the most educated in the ancient world as knowledge is revered by Druids. The High Priestess was responsible for the people in her area, much like royalty, but her responsibilities included ensuring the fertility of the land, all divination, coronations, weddings, blessings, healings, etc. The Druid was also the Lawyers and Judges of Ancient society - keeping the knowledge of the laws of the land and issuing punishments to the transgressors. The Head (or highest) level of Priestess-hood is the Priestess of the Grove - it requires 20 years of dedication to the Celtic Pagan Path.

Druidic Belief System - There are a few metemorphosis' that take place with the Celtic Pagan Belief structure by the time one is declared a High Priestess/Priest.

The biggest is the Afterlife - all Celtic Pagans believe in re-incarnation. But, the Druid believes the soul is immortal. Once a life ends on this - the mortal plane - it moves onto the Otherworld where it has another life. When this Otherworld Life ends the soul comes back to this plane for re-incarnation. At the births in Ancient Celtic Societies - the Druid Priestess would mourn for the death of the Otherworld self.

Once the soul has learned as much as it can through many rounds of reincarnation, it returns to The Source. This is a private section of the Otherworld. It is the literal source of all - even the Gods were birthed here. Think of it like a flame - sparks that rain down are each a soul - be it God or man, eventually the sparks return to the flame to add energy to the creation of another spark. So, a piece of our soul will be used in the creation of the new.

The way I teach the difference in the Druidic Belief Structure from the Generalized Celtic Pagan Structure is that they become more detailed and specific. The Moral Code, for instance, states in Celtic Paganism that honor and loyalty are of utmost importance - the Druid agrees but expands to include Loyalty and honor even unto the death (as the soul is immortal, who cares if we move onto another plane) and you essentially speak the truth only - nothing but the truth. To falter from the Hospitality, Loyalty, Honor, Truth moral code is a grave offense in the Druid - the soul cannot move on - all it has learned in this reincarnation's rotation has been lost and must be done over. So, breaking the code - even a little - is of grave concern and taken extremely seriously.