Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Lughnasadh meanderings.

Lughnasadh, or Lunasa if you want to write it as it sounds, is the Celtic fire festival that marks the beginning of the harvest. Time of the first cutting of the corn, the gathering of the fruit, the lighting of hill top fires.  Time for us to reap what we have sown.

Traditionally this festival marked the turning of Summer to Autumn and I always wondered why, thought it was a strange time to celebrate something that would not come for weeks - until this year.

Now the relentless turning of the wheel of the year is much in evidence already, as green turns to yellow and orange to brown.

Leaves are crinkling and falling in crispy spirals through air that is veering bizarrely between warm summer and crisp autumn.  Is this what we have sown? Is it truly the case that summer is already all but over on August 1st?

The summer sun has brought the blackberries to various stages of ripeness, I saw some ENORMOUS, fully, sweetly plump black ones yesterday but didn't have my camera.

Rowan berries are reddening apace, ready for Rowan Jelly and bird battles.  I cannot help but celebrate all the beauty of the turning world whilst I also weep for what feels to me like a season come far too early. How long will winter be? How will those bird battles play out, when all the berries are gone and the snow is still falling?

The green grass of spring has become the golden grass of late summer as it rolls towards autumn. The hay was gathered in weeks ago, there isn't any corn around here to harvest, but I can't help but think about Lughnasadh being the Harvest Festival.  Perhaps when what we think of as ancient traditions were new ideas the seasons were always as short as they have been this year, neatly divided up into four exact quarters, no room for long drawn out summer afternoons after July.

I climbed the tower of a local church recently, and looked out over the patchwork edges of a nearby village.

Out towards the edges and the margins, I was wondering about the view, how much or how little it had changed in the last thousand years since that tall tower was built there, wondering if it would be there, little changed or barely recognisable in another thousand years. Fearing the worst and hoping for the best in a tangle of yearning for wildness, for certainty, for change, for a future free from the constant fear of imminent destruction and also knowing that looking down on the land, reaching downwards into the rooted present, the reality of now, and seeing it laid out among the trees and the fields of our endeavours is a much better place to look for wisdom and a more likely place to find hope than searching amongst the tattered old pages of our society.  History is, in that it is accurate at all, a record of how we got into this mess in the first place.

I heard such a beautiful thing today: I heard a young man say that he had written himself a promise; that he would search deep into himself and far out into the land, to find truth and bring it home to his tribe.

I feel that a future in the hands of men such as this is full of hope, we just need to stop thinking that we know anything much at all, and start listening to our hearts and to the land.

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