MUIN LIGHT

The newsletter of

Muin Mound Grove, ADF

7188 Minoa Bridgeport Road

East Syracuse, NY 13057-9601

Lúghnasadh 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Lúghnasadh

From "The Wheel of the Year at Muin Mound Grove, ADF" by Skip Ellison

 

This is another of the festivals known by many names and with many spellings of the main name of Lúghnasadh. Various spellings include, Lughnasa (Modern Irish), Lugnasad (Old Irish), Lúnasa (Reformed Modern Irish), Lúnasdain, Lúnasdal, Lunasduinn (Scots Gaelic) and Laa Luanisdyn or Laa Luanys (in Manx). It is also called Lammas Day, Garland Day, Domnash Chrom Dubh, Crom Dubh Sunday, Billberry Sunday (also known as Domthnach na bhFraochóga in Ireland), Fraugham Sunday, Cornucopia (Strega), and Thingtide (Teutonic).[1]

 

This fire festival marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. This festival was traditionally up to a month long, being held between July 15 and August 15. Nowadays, it is usually celebrated on or near August 1. British Witches often refer to the astrological date of August 6th as Old Lammas, and folklorists call it Lammas O.S. ('Old Style'). This date has long been considered a 'power point' of the Zodiac, and is symbolized by the Lion, one of the 'tetramorph' figures found on the Tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune (the other three figures being the Bull, the Eagle, and the Spirit). Astrologers know these four figures as the symbols of the four 'fixed' signs of the Zodiac, and these naturally align with the four Greater Sabbats of modern day Witchcraft. Christians have adopted the same iconography to represent the four gos­pel‑writers.[2]

 

For the Irish, this was a feast to commemorate the funeral games of the Goidelic sun god Lúgh. At first glance, it may seem that we are cel­ebrating the death of Lúgh, but the God of Light does not really die (mythically) until the autumnal equinox. It is not Lúgh's death that is being celebrated, but the funeral games that Lúgh hosted to commemorate the death of his foster‑ mother, Tailtiu. Miranda Green, who suggests that this festival may have been held to celebrate Lúgh's marriage, suggests an alternative reason for the holiday.[3]

 

As well as being held in Telltown in modern County Meath, this festival was celebrate at three other main centers in Ireland, Emain Macha in Ulster, Carman in Leinster and at Tara for the whole of Ireland. Some of the tales tell us that at this time, legal and political matters were settled and games and feasting was held.[4] However, from a poem preserved in a medieval manuscript, we learn that at Carmen, deeds of violence, abductions, the repudiation of husband or wife and the levying of debts were all prohibited. The penalties ascribed by this poem are severe - "Whoever transgresses the law of the King Berén prescribed firmly for ever that he should not thrive in his tribe, but should die for his mortal sin."[5] From looking at the other stories and customs that have come down from this festival, this appears to be a later addition to the games.

 

One common feature of the Games were the 'Tailltean Marriages,' a rather informal marriage that lasted for only 'a year and a day' or until the next Lammas. At that time, the couple would return to the place of the ceremony and decide whether to continue the arrangement if it pleased them, or to stand back to back facing north and south and walk away from one another, thus bringing the Tailltean marriage to a formal close (or divorce). These trial marriages are why the Lammas cel­ebrations in Ireland are often called the 'Tailltean Games'. Such trial marriages (obviously related to the Wiccan 'Handfasting') were quite common even into the 1500's, although the Church didn't recognize them. It is said that at Kirkland in the Orkneys, there was a Lammas Fair custom where young men and women would choose 'Lammas' brother or sisters for themselves and spend the night with them on an improvised bed of sheaves.[6]

 

Lammas was the medieval Christian name for the holiday which comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'hlaf-maes', and it means 'loaf feast or loaf mass', referring to the loaves that were baked from the first grain harvested, blessed by the Clergy (and later by a Christian priest) and then distributed to the members and/or congregation. It was a day representative of first fruits and early harvest. Lammas occurs between the hay harvest and the wheat harvest. Ancient peoples viewed the grain as a manifestation of the divine force ... personified as the 'green man,' a resilient god figure, growing sturdy and solid through spring and summer, cut down by the harvest's scythe, sleeping through the cold winter in the bosom of the Earth Mother, and returning once again, as a reborn infant, clothed in green with spring.[7] In later days, this became the story of 'John Barleycorn'. Bread and brew - products of the grain harvest - represent the mystery of transformation, the metamorphosis of the grain by fire and fermentation.

 

Along with the feast from the first harvest, there were numerous rituals associated with continuing the fertility of the fields. According to Nigel Pennick, one of the deities honored at this time was Annona, the goddess of the harvest.[8] Flowers paid a great part in the rituals and were burned at the end to show the end of summer. The cutting of the first sheaf of wheat was as highly ritualized, as the cutting of the last sheaf would be at Mabon.[9] Even in the Scottish Highland today, there are many customs associated with this.

 

It is also said, that at this time of the gathering of all the tribes, the whole mythological and chronological past of the tribes was conjured into the present by the skill of the shanachies. There is a fuller list of the stories told and other happenings at the festival, especially of the feast at Tara, on pages 169 to 172 in Celtic Heritage by Alwyn and Brinley Rees.

 

Lammastide was also the traditional time of year for craft festivals. The medieval guilds would create elaborate displays of their wares, decorating

their shops and themselves in bright colors and ribbons, marching in parades, and performing strange, ceremonial plays and dances for the entranced onlookers. This was the time of the year when apprentices would be moved up to journeyman status and would show people their skill. It was also the time when new apprentices would be hired. The atmosphere must have been quite similar to the modern day Renaissance Festivals or Green Corn Dance festivals of the Native Americans.

 

The games held would include horse racing and contests of strength and martial skills. One of the contests that we are told was held involved throwing a weight for distance. A chariot wheel on the end of an axle was the weight thrown! This was know as the 'wheel feat' and was one the Cú Chulainn was said to excel at.[10]

 

A ceremonial highlight of such festivals was the 'Catherine wheel'. Although the Roman Catholic Church moved St. Catherine's Feast day all around the calendar with bewildering frequency, its most popular date was Lammas. They also kept trying to expel this much‑loved saint from the ranks of the blessed because she was mythical rather than historical, and because her worship gave rise to the heretical sect known as the Cathari. During the merry making, a large wagon wheel was taken to the top of a near‑by hill, covered with tar, set aflame, and ceremoniously rolled down the hill. Some mythologists see in this ritual the remnants of a Pagan rite symbolizing the end of summer, the flaming disk representing the sun god in his decline. And just as the sun king has now reached the autumn of his years, his rival or dark self has just reached puberty.[11]

 

The days now grow visibly shorter and by the time we've reached autumn's end (Oct 31st), we will have run the gamut of temperature from the heat of August to the cold and (sometimes) snow of November. Lammas is also known as a new-wine festival and a kick-off feast for the hard working harvest season, encompassing other chores such as candle making, replacing curtains, tablecloths, and rugs, and preparing and preserving food for the winter months. It is also the time for weaning the calves and lambs.

 

 

Senior Druid's Report

 

Our Summer Solstice ritual went well. It was our second ritual done in a Norse format and balanced out the first one done last Yule. The Norse rituals have been an interesting change from our normal Celtic ones. There is a different feel to the energy flow. Our thanks to Rick for putting both rituals together!

Work has progressed on the road leading out to the fields. At the business meeting before the Summer Solstice ritual, the Grove approved buying three loads of stone for the roadwork. Sharon and I spent the good part of a week working on the road until the stone and underlying material ran out. It completed to past the path leading into the showers and we'll work on it again when we can get some more stone.

I've been busy attending festivals, Wiccan Fest in Ontario and Free Spirit Gathering in Maryland so far, and I'm leaving for Sirius Risings and Starwood as this goes to the printers. It's been wonderful being able to meet so many wonderful people. ADF has but on the main rituals at both Wiccan Fest and Free Spirit and did a wonderful job on both! Many people have expressed an interest in joining the organization because of it. I'd like to see more people from the Grove attending festivals. Most times, I go there alone, so if you need a ride, just ask!

 

WORK PARTIES

 

We'll be getting the land ready for Muin Mound Madness, so we'll be having work parties on Wednesday evenings from 5:00 PM till dark. Swimming and hot tubing will follow them! Some of the jobs that need to be done include: trimming the brush along the road going to the fields, trimming the brush in the maze, cutting firewood, putting the tarps up over the stage and rebuilding one of the wood storage units in the field.

Work parties will be held on 7/26, 8/2, 8/9, 8/16 & 8/23. Attending 3 out of the 5 work parties counts for FREE ADMISSION to Muin Mound Madness!!

 

 

MUIN MOUND MADNESS X

 

This year's event will be a slack fest! No scheduled programming, just come to meet other Druids and party! We'll be playing Role Playing Games, swimming and hot tubing. We'll have the archery and spear range open for those interested and we'll have out an assortment of "bopper weapons" for those that like to add a little more violence to their playing. This year the price has been reduced to $30 for the weekend or $15/day. The fields will be open for camping starting Friday afternoon. The dates are from 8/25 to 8/27.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Muin Mound Grove

Calendar of Events

 

Event

Date

Time

Comments

Sirius Rising

7/10/00 to 7/16/00

 

Brushwood's festival. Smaller than Starwood but very nice.

For more information, contact Brushwood Folklore Center at: 8881 Bailey Hill Road, Sherman, NY 14781

or at the web site at www.brushwood.com

STARWOOD!

7/18/00 to 7/23/00

 

Biggest and best festival in the East! Come and camp with the Druids in Druid Heights. For more information, contact ACE, 1643 Led Rd., #9, Cleveland Hts., OH 44118 or visit the web site at http://www.rosencomet.com/sw20/index.html

Work Party

7/26/00

5:00 till Dark

Dress for working in the brush! There is poison ivy, so be prepared!

Business Meeting

7/29/00

5:00 PM

Normal business.

Lúghnasadh

7/29/00

8:00 PM

Fields open for camping. Please bring a dish to share and a can of food for our food drive.

Work Party

8/2/00

5:00 till Dark

Dress for working in the brush! There is poison ivy, so be prepared!

Work Party

8/9/00

5:00 till Dark

Dress for working in the brush! There is poison ivy, so be prepared!

Work Party

8/16/00

5:00 till Dark

Dress for working in the brush! There is poison ivy, so be prepared!

Work Party

8/23/00

5:00 till Dark

Dress for working in the brush! There is poison ivy, so be prepared!

 

OTHER EVENTS

Shinning Lakes Lugh Fest

8/4/00

to

8/6/00

 

Put on by Shinning Lakes Grove in Ann Arbor, MI. This is always a nice festival. For more information, contact SLG at: POB 15585, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-5585 or visit their web site at: http://www.msen.com/~robh/slg/

Summerlands Festival

8/18/00

to

8/20/00

 

This is put on by Triskele River Grove and will be held in Yellow Springs, OH. It looks like they have a wonderful site and they should have a large turn out! For more information, email Summerland@coolmail.net.

Muin Mound Madness X

8/25/00 to 8/27/00

 

Our own festival. This year it will be a slack fest/party festival. No scheduled programming! More information will be available when we get closer to it.

 

As always, we welcome your contributions: stories, articles, artwork, poems...whatever your creativity brings to mind. You can get them to us by mailing to MUIN MOUND GROVE, ADF, 7188 Minoa Bridgeport Road, East Syracuse, NY 13057-9601 or via e-mail at sellison@twcny.rr.com (preferred method).

Up to the minute information about the Grove can always be found on our web site at: http://home.twcny.rr.com/muinmoundgrove

Need to contact the Grove directly? For more information, call 656-8681.

 

 


 

 



[1] MacKillop, James. Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1998. Page 274.

[2] Wolfe, KiaMarie. The Wheel Of The Year. Forthcoming.

[3] Green, Miranda J. Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend. London: Thames and Hudson. 1992. Page 136.

[4] Green, Miranda J. Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend. London: Thames and Hudson. 1992. Page 136.

[5] Rees, Alwyn & Brinley. Celtic Heritage. New York: Thames and Hudson. 1978. Page 168.

[6] Rutherford, Ward. Celtic Lore. London: Aquarian Press. 1993. Page 95.

[7] Wolfe, KiaMarie. The Wheel Of The Year. Forthcoming.

[8] Pennick, Nigel. The Sacred World of the Celts. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International. 1997. Page 109.

[9] Kondratiev, Alexei. The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual. Cork: The Collins Press. 1998. Pages 187 & 188.

[10] Rutherford, Ward. Celtic Lore. London: Aquarian Press. 1993. Page 94.

[11] Wolfe, KiaMarie. The Wheel Of The Year. Forthcoming.