Resting on Lughnasadh

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In the Celtic world, tomorrow, August 1st is the festival of Lughnasadh. For those who celebrate the old holidays, Lughnasadh represents the end of summer and the beginning of harvest season. In Ireland, Lughnasadh takes its name from the Sun-god Lugh, who celebrated the first festival in honor of his foster-mother Tailtiu. Tailtiu, according to legend, died of exhaustion after clearing the entire island of Ireland so that it could be used for agriculture. Thus, Lughnasadh has strong and obvious connections to childbirth - the time when the child is "harvested", taken from the dark earth and brought into the light.

Beyond its celebration of the real act of harvesting, Lughnasadh offers a chance for us to reflect on the nature of giving and taking. Tailtiu gave until she literally died from exhaustion. All of us have areas of our life where the balance is shifted too far - where we give until we're exhausted and don't get anything back. Perhaps it is a job, a relationship, a friendship that simply asks too much. Mothers of young children know that they are incapable of returning the time and energy we put into them, although in their small way they enrich our lives beyond measure.

Any farmer knows that harvest is one of the busiest times. But when all her bounty has been collected, brought in and stored for the long winter, the earth rests. And so should we.

Posted by oballard at 9:37 PM  
Elsie Button said...


I have excitedly been harvested hubby's veggies from veg patch - v satisfying indeed!

August 1, 2008 at 8:47 AM  
Sarah said...

It has taken me too long to discover the value of catching one's breath- driven, as I was, by the feeling that I always needed to be doing something.
Lovely post, thank you!

August 9, 2008 at 4:39 AM  

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