Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Blessings of Lughnassadh

Little Summer Poem Touching the Subject of Faith
by Mary Oliver

Every summer
I listen and look
under the sun’s brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can’t hear

anything, I can’t see anything —
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,

nor the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
And still,
every day,

the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker —
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.

And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing —
I am deaf too
to the tick of the leaves,

the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet —
all of it
beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.

And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hidden in the dirt

swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?

One morning
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn’s beautiful body
is sure to be there.

Blessings of the First Harvest, the Sabbat that marks the half-way point between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox (in the Northern Hemisphere). Named for Lugh, Shining God of the Sun and the Light, this was a time when bonfires were lit, and fertility magic ensured ripening of the crops and a good harvest. At this time, the God gives Himself in sacred sacrifice, so that the land may be renewed — like the crops that must be cut down to feed the people. And in the same way, we know that rebirth and renewal will come once again, in the fullness of time.

On mainland Europe and in Ireland, many people still celebrate this festival with bonfires and dancing. The Christian church has re-invented this day as Lammas, and it is a celebration of blessings upon the fields.

In Irish families, Lughnassadh rites have evolved into August being the traditional time for family reunions and parties. However, due to modern work schedules, these events are sometimes moved to adjacent secular holidays, such as the Fourth of July for Irish descendants that live in the United States.

On August 1, the national holiday of Switzerland, it is traditional to celebrate with bonfires. This practice may be traced back to the Lughnassadh celebrations of the Helvetii, Celtic people of the Iron Age who lived in what is now Switzerland.

Today, bake bread, and feed your loved ones with the grains and first fruits that are now ripening. And give thanks to the Giver of Good, for the abundance in your life.

And Happy Birthday today, to Jerry Garcia, a modern day Lugh if there ever was one.

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  • August 1, 2007, 8:15 pm deborah oak

    oh goddess, thank you for that Mary Oliver poem!!!! The perfect poem for Lammas! You Rock!!