Lughnasadh Ritual Under a Sturgeon Moon

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The 1st of August will be without a doubt, one of the most magickal days of the year. We celebrate Lughnasadh, the first of the three great annual harvest festivals, long into the night, and with the wonderous compliment of a full moon. The Sturgeon Moon this year is a supermoon, the second of four consecutive supermoons. The lunar energy is phenomenal this summer, with the expected peak coming at the end of August when we have a Blue Moon, before coming to a close with the Harvest Moon in September.

History shows us that Lughnasadh, was one of the four primary celebration days of our ancestors, where the bounty of the first harvest would be the central focus. Additionally, the God Lugh was honored, athletic competitions were held, as well as matchmaking, trading, and copious amounts of feasting and celebrating. It’s no surprise that Lughnasadh translates as “Commemoration of Lugh.” The youthful warrior, Lugh, the God of Light, is one of the most prominent Gods of the ancient Irish. He was a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, a race of supernatural beings that forged the foundations of civilization.

The night sky will be illuminated by the Sturgeon Moon, which peaks at 12:32 PM, MST, on August 1st. Like most full moon names, the Sturgeon Moon gets its name from Native American tradition, specifically from the territories surrounding the North American Great Lakes. During the month of August, all native tribes within the region would fish for sturgeon which were abundant at this time of the year. These heavy fish would be dried and serve a a key food source during the winter months. This month’s full moon is also known as the Green Corn Moon, the Fruit Moon, the Barley Moon, the Grain Moon, and the Red Moon. Additionally, the Ojibwe called the August full moon the Blueberry Moon, while the Dakota Sioux knew it as The Moon When All Things Ripen.

Lughnasadh with a Full Sturgeon Moon ritual

What You’ll Need For This Lughnasadh Ritual

Quarter Candles (yellow, red, blue, green)
Athame or wand
Large Gold God Candle
Adorn you altar with symbols of the first harvest; bread, seeds, grain, hay, berries, and early vegetables
Loaf of fresh bread, bowl of seeds, sheaf of freshly harvested grain
Food & Drink for a small celebration
Paper and pencils for Sturgeon Moon cleansing
Fire pit or alternative spot to safely burn

Throughout this ritual, any text surrounded by these symbols < > should be considered instructional and not spoken aloud but done in accordance with the directions

Opening Our Ritual Circle

Up above, down below, across the ground and all around, a sacred sphere we gather here! In our hearts we hold the still of time, within this ring our boundary line, there’s no future, present, nor a past, I do decree this circle cast!

<The ritual leader should point their wand/athame in the direction as they speak, having the participants turn and face accordingly>

East
We summon the ancestors from the East, the direction of Lenster, origin of the ancient Kingdoms of Meath, Leinster and Osraige. Look to the sky and feel the connection to the great spirits of Air, the first element of the alchemical tradition, the essence of intuition and learning, the sacred element of the mind. Come gather amongst the faithful, share your wisdom and join in the festivities as we gather to celebrate our history! <light yellow candle>

South
We call out to the ancestors from the South, the direction of Munster, the domain of the Iverni peoples and the Clanna Dedad familial line. Spread your palms to the sky and let them be warmed by the heat of the sun. For this is where the power of Fire originates, the second element of the alchemical tradition, the essence of purification and change, and the element of the will. Step lively and join those who swing the blade and gather the grain! <light red candle>

West
Our chorus of voices shouts to the ancestors from the West, the direction of Connaught, where the great nobles of Uí Fiachrach, Uí Briúin, Uí Maine, Conmhaícne, and Delbhna laid the foundation and tamed the land. Bow your heads in reverence of the great spirits of Water, the third element of the alchemical tradition, the essence of love and fertility, and the element of the emotions. Raise a cup and quench the great thirst as the toil of the day comes to a close. <light blue candle>

North
Now speak with the voice of a thousand voices, and send word to the ancestors of the North, the direction of Ulster, where the masses gathered and the heartbeat of the land did resonate. The unyielding power of Earth originates in the north, the fourth element of the alchemical tradition, the great knowledge of grounding and stability, and the element of balance. As we celebrate the first gifts the land has to offer, we offer the highest of praises and gratitude. <light green candle>

<Ritual leader should raise their arms high in a great praising motion while speaking the following>

We humbly and with all honors, do willingly invoke the God Lugh, the Great High King, the son of Cian (key-in) of the Tuatha De Danann, and Ethniu (et-new) of the Fomorians. We humbly ask for your presence as we celebrate the first grains of the season, knowing that life will c continue for another cycle of the great wheel <light gold God candle>

Introduction

Each year, we celebrate three harvest festivals. Lughnasadh is the first, where we honor the grain. In the traditions of our ancestors, who we know had a much stronger relationship with the land compared to ours today, we take the time to honor the earth and the bounty we receive from it. We do so in the spirit that a plentiful harvest meant the difference between life and death. The first fields of grain would be reaped at this time of the year, as well as forest herbs, berries, and some vegetables. A bountiful harvest was due to a good growing season, one with ample sunlight. Lugh, the Shining One, provided that light, so honoring him on this same day comes naturally.

Lughnasadh ritual

Musical Interlude

Music is one of the most powerful and primitive methods of raising energy. Thunderous drumming and rhythmic chanting stir something deep within each of us, bringing forth the endless energies of our very existence. It’s freeing, stirring, and mesmerizing. As we listen, we release, and as we release, we grow and our thoughts multiply, entwine, and expand. For this month’s ritual, under the glowing light of the full Sturgeon Moon, please enjoy not one, but two lively songs by Faun, the first is called Sonnenreigen (Lughnasad) and the second is Federkleid

With Pure Hearts and Pure Spirits

Each month we cleanse under the light of the full moon, often in preparation for a Sabbat or other significant event. Today, however, we are blessed to have the Sturgeon Moon shining brightly over our heads, so we’ll take a few moments to cleanse and clear before continuing our Lughnasadh celebration. Going forward with pure hearts and pure spirits.

Negative energy saps us of our strength, throws a cloud over our lives, and forces us to exist on a lower vibrational plane. And regardless of the source, baggage is baggage. It’s heavy, cumbersome, and sometimes crippling.  We cannot be free to fly to dizzying heights if the anchors of negativity are chained to our ankles. So now, as the thoughts are flowing and the energy is supportive, I ask each of you to take time to dive deeply into your subconscious and seek out the things that are holding you back. Find the fears, the self-imposed limitations, the energy vampires and manipulators who are trying to run your life for their benefit and not yours. Look for the places that make you sad, the actions that steal your time without any real value, and the moments that lead to your sadness and tears. You know what is in your way. But you also know that you have the power to clear the path. Now, I invite you to write them down and prepare to release them.

<offer paper and pencil to all participants to write down the things they wish to banish from their lives>

The anticipation of the celebration and the wonderous connection we have with land builds our confidence high and our outlook on the future is filled with an amazing sense of wonderment and awe. Let the powerful lunar energy of the full Sturgeon Moon support you from above and the the grounding energy of the land support you from below, and now, before it’s too late, take charge of everything in your realm and step into the future. Now, if you have something you wish to release, then please approach the flames, commit the sheet to the fire, watch it burn away and send it to the skies above in an act of permanent banishment.

As you burn your paper or items, say “I banish that which no longer serves me, now and forever, I choose to be free”.

<allow time for all who wish to participate>

Emerge victorious as the emotional battle within has tested you, but not defeated you. You stand now, cleansed for the moment, but be vigilant, for negativity always lurks in the shadows, awaiting a moment of weakness to once again try to regain its hold on you. The best defense is a good offense. Take the next few days and fill those empty spaces, where negativity once resided, with positive energy. Drink deeply from the lunar energy of the full Sturgeon Moon. Pull the grounding energy of Mother Earth up and into your core. Make new connections, seek new knowledge, and look to the higher plains for guidance. Now, with  a joyous heart, and a clear head, we can celebrate Lughnasadh.

The First Harvest

Lughnasadh is first and foremost, a celebration of the first harvest of the season, mainly focused on the grain. To understand the cycle of the grain, is to understand the cycle of life itself. The harvest meant fresh bread and the first ales of the season, sustaining the villagers for the summer and into fall. The bulk of the harvest would be stored to last through the winter months, assuring no starvation would visit the people. And finally, the seeds would be put away to replant in the spring, completing the circle of life. Each portion of cycle is important, and a bountiful harvest meant all would be realized, and because of that everyone rejoiced.  We honor this great cycle by celebrating each of its parts.

The Grain is the Essence of Life

<the ritual leader should hold up the sheaf of grain>

By the blessings of Lugh, the essence of purity found in the shining light that bathes the land, we raise our arms in praises! Once again, we have the means to put food for our tables, the bread of life to feed our bodies, Once again we have the means to brew the beer and ales that fill our cups and bring all together in great celebrations. And most importantly, we are given hope, a renewed sense of survival, and that does feed our souls.

<hold up the bowl of seeds>

I hold in my hand the seeds of life. Without these seeds, that elated feeling of hope would be nothing more than a false sense of security. For the seed is symbolic of the great renewal. Even as we cut the grain, we do so in reverence, and in harmony. For the earth knows that this gift shall be returned in the spring. Energy given in return for energy shared.

<hold up the loaf of fresh bread>

Our ancestors who tilled the land did so for the reward of bread. Bread was everything, especially if game was scarce and all else failed, bread would keep them alive for the winter. This loaf symbolizes the first loaf baked from the first grain brought in from the fields. The entire community would enjoy an equal fate that depended on the harvest, and by sharing this first loaf, it demonstrated the willingness of everyone to move forward as one.

<pass the loaf and encourage everyone to take a piece, but wait to consume it>

“We are the descendants of those who walked these lands thousands of years ago. And just as they stood as one community on Lughnasadh, we follow in that ancient tradition.  Our circle is infinite, our praises endless, and we are blessed by the God Lugh for providing this first loaf. We ask for blessings in this coming year. Let none gathered be without food, shelter, and companionship. Let none be void of spiritual health and grounding. Let none be stricken with the plight of negativity or melancholy. Let none be overwhelmed by a grief which cannot be soothed. Let the magick of nature bring peace to all and let the power of the lunar energy charge our spirits. Now, with this bread we pledge our love to the God, our love to the land, and our love to one another!”

<consume the bread>

Cakes & Ale

No proper Sabbat ritual is complete without a time of festivities, merriment, food, and libations. Take time to enjoy one another’s company, but remaining in the confines of the circle.

Closing Our Lughnasadh Circle

North
As the hour of closing is upon us, we stand united and turn out gaze again to the North, the direction of Ulster. The mighty power of Earth is illuminated in our hearts and minds, and the many lessons brought forth from it. With each future seed we plant, our minds shall return to this day, and to the great understanding of the grain cycle. <extinguish green candle>

West
Now turn towards Connaught, and the lands to the West. For even though the sun has set and the Sturgeon Moon shines high above, we are reminded that the close of the day is but temporary, and tomorrow a new day shall dawn and the harvest continues. Yet now, even as we linger here, the powerful lunar energy continues to fill us with all things hopeful. <extinguish blue candle>

South
Again we turn to the South, the direction of Munster. Fire remains on our minds, as it has served us well in our ritual this night. Gone now are the collective weights of negativity and those behaviors that sap our strength. We are renewed by the cleansing and shall go forth with a renewed sense of purpose and positivity. <extinguish red candle>

East
And as we come full circle, we again look to the East, the direction of Lenster, and that of the rising sun. As night fades and day appears, our work shall resume in earnest, for there are fields to cut, beer to brew, bread to bake, and stores to fill. <extinguish yellow candle>

Great God Lugh, we, the children of your children’s children gather tonight to commemorate your victories and great reward of freedom for all of our people. With your mighty spear and mighty courage, you taught us by example, to face our enemies and emerge triumphant. Whether those enemies be physical or spiritual, we seek your continued guidance and protection. We ask that you share that courage with each soul gathered here so that we may find peace in our freedom.

I now dissolve this chosen space, return those powers back to space. Our work is finished for this night, we bring to end this sacred rite.

The circle is now open, but remains in our hearts unbroken.

Huzzah !

Additional Resources

2023 Pagan Calendar – Sabbats, Moon Cycles, Zodiac, and More

 

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