Lughnasadh started yesterday for me. Weretoad had to work but I still wanted and needed to attend Muin Mound Grove. I had committed myself to make the main offering - a doll of Tailtiu, Lugh's foster mother. It is because of her that we celebrate Lughnasadh. The story goes that she cleared the fields for agriculture and, after that, died*. Lugh declared Lughnasadh as a feast day in her honor. It was a day when the tribes gathered, judgements were made, and games played.
Because Weretoad worked, I drove all by myself to East Syracuse. I'd never done that alone before. It was a harrowing experience for me. I even managed to get lost and called my husband, sobbing out of fear. Pathetic, I know. Worry not! I reached my destination alive and well**! I made it to the business meeting (where I was officially elected to be the new secretary) and played some games with the other ladies***. I won the contest of strength but that's only because I was able to hold a yoga pose for a long time. Candee was the ultimate champion, however, because she was able to accurately answer the most riddles and toss a nice, if modified, caber.
The ritual went well. It felt faster than usual, but that was probably because we had such a small turnout. Tailtiu was placed in the sacred fire and we all grew quiet as she burned. It's always very moving to watch as a piece of art is willingly given to the Gods, but this is the first time that I sacrificed a piece of my really elaborate art. I put a lot of work into her and everyone thought she was lovely, for which I was grateful. I'm really proud of how she came out.
I had to leave shortly after the ritual to make it to Watertown in time to fetch Weretoad, so no yummy potluck. Hubby and I came home pretty late and crashed into bed.
Today was very relaxing. To celebrate Lughnasadh, we had a picnic lunch under a couple trees followed by a short nature walk. We studied the local plants and observed some lovely insects. I later went out by myself and took a short trek in the forest. I left an offering for the local spirits, gathered some small pine cones, a few rocks, and some sticks to practice carving. I also found this lovely specimen. It looks like a variety of fly agaric, perhaps amanita formosa or amanita guessowii. I have always wanted to find fly agaric in the wild, and to find it when my interest has been most intense and on a high day was truly a blessing. I felt little guilt taking this one as it was half-eaten and unlikely to reach maturity as a result. I wanted to bring it in, properly identify it, and sketch it in my journal. I'm pretty certain it is fly agaric, but being that I have next to no experience in mycology, and have not done enough research on using it in trance, I only sketched it before putting it back outside as an offering. I am so grateful for the opportunity to see a fresh fly agaric in person. I've been able to look at some dry specimens before, but this was a real treat. After I dug it up, I left a small offering to its spirit and built a little dolmen in the area where I found it. There are likely to be more and I would love to take a photo of a fully formed mushroom (if it isn't devoured by the slugs first...)
So I think I had a very blessed Lughnasadh indeed! I hope all of my readers had a lovely, fruitful day.
*As much as a deity dies, of course. ;)
** The experienced must have really upset me, though, because shortly after getting there, I had a coughing attack.
*** Strangely, no men came to the ritual. Skip was away at a meeting, so it was just us hens! There was something strangely witchy and gratifying about an all female ritual...
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