Loving life at Lughnasadh

August 1st is Lughnasadh: the start of the harvest season in Ireland. This ancient festival began long ago in honour of Tailtiu, the irish Goddess of endurance.

From the the ancient Irish annals: ” And he (Lugh) ordered fires to be kindled, and keening to be made, and games and sports to be held in the summer of every year out of respect to her. And the place they were held got its name from her, that is Taillten (Telltown).“*

Tailtiu was the daughter of Mag Mor, which means ‘Great Plain’, so Tailtiu is a daughter of the Land itself. She brought hope after the despair of war.** She sacrificed herself for the survival of her people and died of exhaustion from clearing the Irish plains for farming: ridiculous! Or it it?

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Mythology is a great teacher. Even today, love motivates many mothers to put their children’s needs first (of course) without stopping to reflect on their own needs. Women are often conditioned from a young age to give more. And more. And more…

Many of the parents that I meet are worn out, while other women put so much energy into their careers that fatigue is all they know. Exhaustion is their normal.

Tailtiu’s life ended because of burnout. She was buried by her foster son Lugh (the sun god) who decreed Lughnasadh as a time of celebration. Maybe today, and the next few days, is a chance for us all to find balance in the face of extremes? Celebration is always good, and so too is introspection.

THREE WAYS TO MARK LUGHNASADH

  1. Ponder the past and present

In some ways, humanity has never had it so good. Jot down your thoughts about what has improved in the last 50, 500, or 5000 years. Write about shelter, water, medicine or something that you consider important to people worldwide (not everyone has benefitted, I know). Compare ‘then’ with ‘now‘. Bring your awareness to planetary abundance.

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2. Pause and take stock

This is about what you have achieved on a personal level since Spring. Have you been dealing with a situation, habit, health issue, addiction, work problem, or emotional scar this year? It might have been something major, or perhaps you made a small change. Was the journey slow and diffficult, or was it as easy as 1,2,3 once you made a decision and finally took action? What have the rewards been? What have you learned? Make a note of all this and celebrate it. Some people only talk about making changes but never get there, so congratulate yourself: relish in the feelings of success for a little while.

3. Simple ways to make it special

Cook a special meal, try out a new recipe, make art, bake bread, walk in nature with no phone or distration and enjoy the sensation of the elements. Celebrate with friends or step away from busy environments and take some quite time alone. Soak in a bath, declutter a section of your home, wear something that makes you feel good. There are many simple ways of making Lugnasadh special. Enjoy!

*‘The Battle of Tailltin’ from Gods and Fighting Men‘ by Lady Gregory.

**MacKillop, James (1998) A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology.

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