Spirit Message of the Moment – Celebrate Summer Solstice

TIME TO CELEBRATE LITHA – MidSummer

“Also known as Summer Solstice, Litha, Alban Hefin, Sun Blessing, Gathering Day, Feill-Sheath246Fairy_Song-main, Whit Sunday, Whitsuntide, Vestalia, Thing-tide, St. John’s Day. In addition to the four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year, there are four lesser holidays as well: the two solstices, and the two equinoxes. In folklore, these are referred to as the four ‘quarter-days’ of the year, and modern Witches call them the four ‘Lesser Sabbats’, or the four ‘Low Holidays’. The Summer Solstice is one of them.

Litha is usually celebrated on June 21st, but varies somewhat from the 20th to the 23rd, dependent upon the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. According to the old folklore calendar, Summer begins on Beltane (May 1st) and ends on Lughnassadh (August 1st), with the Summer Solstice midway between the two, marking MID-Summer. This makes more logical sense than suggesting that Summer begins on the day when the Sun’s power begins to wane and the days grow shorter. The most common other names for this holiday are the Summer Solstice or Midsummer, and it celebrates the arrival of Su481857_555874064427104_2129480533_nmmer, when the hours of daylight are longest. The Sun is now at the highest point before beginning its slide into darkness.

Humanity has been celebrating Litha and the triumph of light since ancient times. On the Wheel of the Year Litha lies directly across from Yule, the shortest day of the calendar year, that cold and dark winter turning when days begin to lengthen and humanity looks wistfully toward warmth, sunlight and growing things. Although Litha and Yule are low holidays or lesser sabbats in the ancient parlance, they are celebrated with more revel and merriment than any other day on the wheel except perhaps Samhain (my own favourite). The joyous rituals of Litha celebrate the verdant Earth in high summer, abundance, fertility, and all th208409_412438415499113_911770147_ne riches of Nature in full bloom. This is a madcap time of strong magic and empowerment, traditionally the time for handfasting or weddings and for communication with the spirits of Nature. At Litha, the veils between the worlds are thin; the portals between “the fields we know” and the worlds beyond stand open. This is an excellent time for rites of divination.

Those who celebrated Litha did so wearing garlands or crowns of flowers, and of course, their millinery always included the yellow blossoms of St. John’s Wort. The Litha rites of the ancients were boisterous communal festivities with morris dancing, singing, storytelling, pageantry and feasting taking place by the village bonfire and torch lit processions through the villages after dark. People believed that the Litha fires possessed great power, and that prospernahimaity and protection for oneself and one’s clan could be earned merely by jumping over the Litha bonfire. It was also common for courting couples joined hands and jump over the embers of the Litha fire three times to ensure a long and happy marriage, financial prosperity and many children. Even the charred embers from the Litha bonfire possessed protective powers – they were charms against injury and bad weather in harvest time, and embers were commonly placed around fields of grain and orchards to protect the crops and ensure an abundant reaping. Other Litha customs included carrying an ember of the Litha fire home and placing it on one’s hearth and decking one’s home with birch, fennel, St. John’s Wort, orpScreen-shot-2013-08-10-at-8.12.55-AMin, and white lilies for blessing and protection.

The Litha Sabbat is a time to celebrate both work and leisure, it is a time for children and childlike play. It is a time to celebrate the ending of the waxing year and the beginning of the waning year, in preparation for the harvest to come. Midsummer is a time to absorb the Sun’s warming rays and it is another fertility Sabbat, not only for humans, but also for crops and animals. Wiccans consider the Goddess to be heavy with pregnancy from the mating at Beltane – honor is given to Her. The Sun God is celebrated as the Sun is at its peak in the sky and we celebrate His approaching fatherhood – honor is also given to Him. The faeries abound at this time and it is customary to leave offerings – such as food or herbs – for them in the evening.

Although Litha may seem at first glance to be a masculine observance and one which focuses on Lugh, the day is also dedicated to the Goddess, and Her flowers are the white blossoms of the elder.”

Today’s excerpts are from twopagans.com

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Spirit Message of the Moment – Celebrate Lammas 2013 – Live With Gentle Grace and Gratitude

LAMMAS SABBAT BLESSINGS TO YOU AND YOURS

“On August 1, it’s time to celebrate Lammas, or Lughnasadh, depending on which one you prefer, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. This summer sabbat marks the season of the grain harvest, and is a time when many people are gathering their crops so they can start preparing for later on. In some traditions, it’s a time to 303911_228507967198413_773530948_nhonor the Celtic craftsman god, Lugh, by celebrating your skills and talents.

If you’re one of our Southern Hemisphere readers, that means you’re gearing up for Imbolc, the season of Brighid, and a celebration of light and fire. Be sure to read the links in the sidebar on the right for Imbolc information and ideas. No matter which of these you may be observing, may you and your family have a beautiful and blessed Sabbat! 

PAGAN LAMMAS HOLIDAY HISTORY:
Welcoming The Harvest
The Beginning of the Harvest
At Lammas, also called Lughnasadh, the hot days of August are upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we still know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Apples are beginning to ripen in the trees, our summer vegetables have been picked, corn is tall and green, waiting for us to come gather the bounty of the crop fields. Now is the time to begin reaping what we have sown, and gathering up the first harvests of grain, wheat, oats, and more. This holiday can be celebrated either as a way to honor the god Lugh, or as a celebration of the harvest.

Celebrating Grain in Ancient Cultures
Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back nearly to the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The Sumerian god Tammuz was slain and his lover Ishtar grieved so heartily that nature stopped producing. Ishtar mWheat bread offeringourned Tammuz, and followed him to the Underworld to bring him back, similar to the story of Demeter and Persephone. In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.

A Feast of Bread
In early Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lammas — it meant that the previous year’s harvest had run out early, and that was a serious failing in agricultural communities. However, on August 1, the first sheafs of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season. The word Lammas derives from the Old English phrase hlaf-maesse, which translates to loaf mass. In early Christian times, the first loaves of the season were blessed by the Church.

Honoring Lugh, the Skillful God
In some Wiccan and modern Pagan traditions, Lammas is also a day 582226_424037830971840_139721484_nof honoring Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills, and was honored in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe. Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah) is still celebrated in many parts of the world today. Lugh’s influence appears in the names of several European towns.

Celebrating Lammas Today
Honoring the Past
In our modern world, it’s often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our ancestors had to endure. For us, if we need a loaf of bread, we simply drive over to the local grocery store and buy a few bags of prepackaged bread. If we run out, it’s no big deal, we just go and get more. When our ancestors lived, hundreds and thousands of years ago, the harvesting and processing of grain was crucial. If crops were left in the fields too long, or the bread not baked in time, families could starve. Taking care of one’s crops meant the difference between life and death.

By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honor our ancestors and the hard work they must have had to do in order to survive. This is Lughnasaa good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables. Lammas is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings.

Symbols of the Season
The Wheel of the Year has turned once more, and you may feel like decorating your house accordingly. While you probably can’t find too many items marked as “Lammas decor” in your local discount store, there are a number of items you can use as decoration for this harvest holiday.

  • Sickles and scythes, as well as other symbols of harvesting
  • Grapes and vines
  • Dried grains — sheafs of wheat, bowls of oats, etc.
  • Corn dolls — you can make these easily using dried husks
  • Early fall vegetables, such as squashes and pumpkins
  • Late summer fruits, like apples, plums and peaches

Crafts, Song and Celebration
Because of its association with Lugh, the skilled god, Lamm73500_479290198797840_338698118_nas (Lughnasadh) is also a time to celebrate talents and craftsmanship. It’s a traditional time of year for craft festivals, and for skilled artisans to peddle their wares. In medieval Europe, guilds would arrange for their members to set up booths around a village green, festooned with bright ribbons and fall colors. Perhaps this is why so many modern Renaissance Festivals begin around this time of year!

Lugh is also known in some traditions as the patron of bards and magicians. Now is a great time of year to work on honing your own talents. Learn a new craft, or get better at an old one. Put on a play, write a story or poem, take up a musical instrument, or sing a song. Whatever you choose to do, this is the right season for rebirth and renewal, so set August 1 as the day to share your new skill with your friends and family.”

Suggested Reading

Elsewhere on the Web

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All Excerpts Above from Author Patti Wigington

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MESSAGE FROM SPIRITBLOGGER
405368_10150500037554734_1317162623_nHappy Lammas 2013 Friends! August is a great month (and precursor to the coming Fall Season; a time for deep spiritual work) to begin our process of self-reflection. Where do we find ourselves? What is our daily reality look like? What experiences have we created for ourselves? It’s an important time to take stock of what we’ve accomplished to date, our goals and aspirations to best determine next steps and needed actions in order to best nurture the life we’ve created for ourselves. It’s a spiritual time of year that gives us the opportunity to integrate our physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental self into one holistic state of being for authentic living.  

Is there one aspect out of synch? Is there opportunity for us to deeper align our inner self with the outer self and world? Take some time to relax, breathe deeply, and close your eyes this month. What is missing; what changes can we make; what is working perfectly in alignment with our highest self, vision, and life purpose? How can we bring more joy, happiness, love, and abundance into our lives? How can we best embody these qualities with our friends, family, career, and the world at large?

MESSAGE FOR YOU
You have a beautiful gift of light, high vibrational energy truth, and essence to share; it’s always available to you if you look within. Allow yourself to make good, positive, and healthy choice601525_10151036368761771_386707568_ns and move forward to create the life you’ve always dreamed of living. What will you next create for yourself? Each moment offers us countless choices and opportunities if we are aware and living consciously with deliberate joy.

Live with gentle grace and gratitude. Live and act with positive intention. Take responsibility for your happiness. Take charge of your life and move forward embracing seasonal changes. Live with Purpose. Choose Life. Choose this moment. Choose to live your life from Love. Bright Lammas Blessings to You & Best Wishes for living a life full of intention and unique purpose.
~Angela

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Article on Spiritual Significance of the Pagan Holiday Lammas
Lammas and the August Moons
“The month of August begins with the new moon July 31st and Lammas or Lughnasadh the first harvest festival, usually celebrated Aug 1st. The Celtic festival called Lughnasadh honoured Lugh, the Celtic god of light; Lammas celebrates the grain and marks the time when summer harvest season gets underway. It’s also a day to celebratelughceltic things that are coming into being in our physical, mental and spiritual lives – it’s a time to look at the progress that we have made since planting seeds of intent in spring.

August new moon is about adjusting to changes. Even positive changes provide stress in our lives. Are you stronger, healthier, more understanding, or compassionate than you were in spring? What has happened to the seeds you planted? Have some kernels of potential flourished while others perhaps didn’t even sprout? Are there some things growing that you’ve forgotten to nourish lately? Or perhaps you have an abundant garden full of thriving fruitful promise. This new moon the chant “She changes everything she touches, and everything she touches changes” is very appropriate.

The August full moon is also known as the Barley Moon as the first grain harvest begins. Each crop that has sprouted and grown now holds the food for harvest and the potential of the next generation within each seed. During the harvest, the seeds that fall into the soil and become buried begin their resting time, knowing that when the last harvest is done, the time for sleep arrives. The first Harvest Moon is time to think about connections in life, to remember all the cycles of life that have gone before and will continue after our personal joLughnasadh 06aurney on this planet. This is a moon to remember the endless connections between all lives here, in all forms.

The first humans birthed the first children, and it continues all the way down to us, to our children, their children, and eons into the future. Each person on earth is related to all the others. Yes, there are many wonderful variations of human beings – how lucky we are to be individuals AND connected! This moon is a time to think about extended family and relationships of all kinds. It’s also a good time to think about the legacy you are creating that will live on after this life cycle is over. It’s a good time to think about business, partnerships, legal matters, what mementos you have and what they represent. It’s about abundance, reward for efforts, celebrating the fullness of summer, personal and spiritual prosperity.

SOME CIRCLE IDEAS

• Wear tan, gold or yellow shades of clothing to celebrate the harvest. You could use altar cloths in these colors too

• Include ears of corn, wheat sheaves, or other grain on the altar

• Burn gold or yellow candles

• Decorate the altar with fresh local flowers

• Use a wheat sheaf, or corn husks to asperge the circle

• Cast the circle with barley, leave it for the wildlife when you finish.

• Serve oatmeal, wheat or other grain crackers, cookies or bread for cakes

• Hold a story circle as an activity, one person begins, the next adds on, and so on around the circle.

• Bring a picture of an ancestor and each person shares what the connection to the person means.

• Make a paper chain, three links per person; write something you are thankful for on each link

• Make a wheat wheel. Make a circle of braided wheat, tie it together and put it in the middle of the circle or on the altar. Give every person a small bundle of wheat, and then ask each individual to put a blessing into their stalks, dance around in a circle each person chanting their blessing. After the energy is released, tie all the strands of wheat onto the circle. Someone can keep the wheat wheel until it gets offered to the fire at Samhain.

• Make bracelets from 2 strands of red, 2 strands of yellow and 1 strand of black and 1 strand of white braided together, it symbolizes the cycles of life.”

Article Author – Dawne Skeye

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Spirit Message of the Day – Justice Will Prevail

THE LADY ALFREDA
“Know you this: that whatsoever you send out, you attract back to the power of three. Intent has energy, as do thoughts, feelings and emotions, and once released, this vibrational thought-field radiates out and attracts back to you that which was sent out. This is the Law of the Threefold Return, an ancient Law that the wise ones have known of for many a year, though many of the humans have refused to listen to its wisdom.”

“So, if you cry out an injustice, and if you are in pain, you must clear the reasons these manifestations of the Law were brought to you, were drawn to you, by you. As you think, so you will live. As you do, others will do unto you. this is the magickal law.”

“Do not be afraid of this truth: see it as a source of freedom. There is no blame in this karmic truth, for all that you send out will return. There is no other place for it to go. Your own underworld initiation is ending soon, and the dark will soon come to be but a place of rest, release, wisdom and deep, ancient knowledge. The Law is the Law. And the Lady’s Law is love unto all. Follow this, and the Threefold Return will work its magicks.”

“Do you not know the truth? Your own underworld is not hell, but your dark time is the cauldron of your experience, your growth, your understanding, your knowledge. Now you have the knowledge of the Law will you work with it, knowing it to be the truth?”

ABOUT THE LADY ALFREDA
“The Lady Alfreda is a Dragonfae-being of wise counsel. She is sister to Melusine, and as such, she understands emotions and water as energies. But her being is about the Law, understanding the Law, and reminding us all that the process of natural Law has its place in all of our lives, throughout all of our lifetimes. She bring justice, and is a karmic ramifications of actions and thoughts, emotions and words, will be felt by all. Do not fear. Know that this draws one phase to a final close, at last.”

MESSAGE FOR YOU
“It is time to get real and own what you have previously blamed on others. This does not mean blaming yourself. Instead, work on shifting your own karmic residue (Dragonfae are wonderful at this!) and understanding the connections between what you have sent out and what you have created. Issues of law, justice and karma. Fearful thoughts around what you see to be the darkness or black magick, not understanding just how the natural Law works, thus this card asks you to look to your own intent. Clear your space; work with your own dark times to understand the lessons. Make friends with your shadow and thank it for the lessons.”

WORKING WITH THE LADY AFREDA
“Make decisions, act in integrity, and keep your word. Be honest and upfront, and expect that from others. You do not need to play games, or be deceived anymore if someone has not acted with integrity. Know that you do not need to act, as the natural laws of this Lady of the Dragonfae will take over, and justice will be realised in due course. Your role is to act with honor, nobility and truth, and keep to that course. Take action regarding matters that must be put to rights. Justice will prevail.”

Today’s guidance is by Lucy Cavendish Oracle of the Dragonfae

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