Tag Archive: lugh


Beautifully written! Whenever I think of Lughnasadh, I not only think of Lugh, but of the Goddess Tailtiu and Her great sacrifice. It was on Her deathbed that Queen Tailtiu asked that funeral games be held annually on the ground that She cleared that ultimately caused Her demise.

“Tailtiu was the last queen of Her kind, a feminine energy that felt the longing of humanity. When the time is right, She gives birth, delivers the sheaves of wheat, then She dies, a need fulfilled….but soon She will rise again.” ~ MXTODIS123

Deanne QuarrieWe are approaching the season of Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas.  This is the first of three harvest festivals.  This one focuses on what we call the “first fruits”, those fruits, vegetables and grains ripening early in the season. The other two are Mabon and Samhain, one celebrating the harvest of the last crops and the next that of the herd animals sacrificed to feed the tribes.

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Goddess Tailtiu

“Demeter” by InertiaK

“Tailtiu’s themes are the first harvest and excelling in a craft or sport. Her symbol is bread.  The Irish Goddess Tailtiu was the foster mother of the god of light, Lugh, whom this date venerates. Lugh held Her in such high regard that he created the Tailtean games, which took place during Lammas (rather like the Olympics). This honor may have also had something to do with Tailtiu’s association as an earth Goddess.

In Wiccan tradition, and in many others, today is a day for preparing food from early ripening fruits like apples. it is also a time for baking bread in honor of the harvest. Combining the two, make applesauce bread. Stir the batter clockwise, focusing on any craft or sport in which you wish to excel. As you stir, chant,

‘Flour from grain, the spell begins, let the power rise within; Apples from trees, now impart, Tailtiu, bring _________ to my heart.’

Fill in the blank with a word that describes the area in which you want to encourage improvements or develop mastery. Eat the bread to internalize the energy.

Time-friendly alternatives here are buying frozen bread and adding diced apples to it, having toast with apple butter or just enjoing a piece of bread and apple anytime during the day. Chant the incatation mentally. Then bite with conviction!”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Lughnasadh” by NicoleSamlinski

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Taillte was “the Goddess of August in ancient Ireland [who] was said to be foster mother of the light, embodied in the god Lugh.  One of the great Irish earth Goddesses, Taillte lived on the magical Hill of Tara, from which She directed the clearing of an immense forest, the wood of Cuan.  It took a month to clear the Plain of Oenach Taillten, where Taillte then built Her palace; it remains on Irish maps today as Teltown, near Kells.

A festival was celebrated annually in Her honor, lasting the whole of August. For generations it was celebrated, complete with mercantile fairs and sporting events; even into the medieval times Taillte’s festivities were held. Eventually, they died out, but in the early part of this century the Tailltean Games – the Irish Olympics – were revived in an attempt to restore Irish culture” (p. 290).

According to a Teltown/Meath tourism site: “The hill of Tailtiu is one of the most celebrated spots in Ireland, for it was here that the celebrated Aonach Tailteann, the Lughnasa Festival was first held.

Tailtiu was the learned daughter of Mag Mor, a distinguished king of Spain, and married to the last great Fir Bolg king, Eochaid mac Eirc, who named his palace after Her, and She was also the foster-mother of the great hero Lugh Lámfhota.  Tailtiu lived in Her palace on Ráth Dubh and She led Her people in the clearing of the forest of County Meath, some of Ireland’s best farmland. But the work of clearing proved so onerous as to break Her heart, in the words of the text.

“Lammas” by Wendy Andrews

Queen Tailtiu took the trouble to select a particular spot in which She wished to be buried. It was located on the side of a hill, covered with dense forest; but because of its sunlit and beautiful situation She had chosen it, and Her husband, in compliance with Her wishes, had it cleared of the timber. It took a host of stalwart men nearly a year to accomplish the task.

In this spot Tailtiu desired Her Leath, or tomb, should be made, Her Cuba, or public lamentations, recited, and Her Nosad, or funeral rites and games, duly celebrated, according to the recognised customs of the country.

On Her deathbed Queen Tailte asked that funeral games be held annually on the cleared ground. King Lugh came from his great palace at Nas (now Naas, in Co. Kildare), and had Tailtiu interred in Her ‘green circle on the distant hills.’ Legend says She was buried in a royal state, with impressive druidical rites, on the side of Caill Cuain (now called Sliabh Caillighe), in what is known now as ‘Cairn T‘.

When summoned by the Ard Righ, or High King, such assemblies were of the greatest national importance, and as such were attended by all the minor kings, chiefs and nobles, as well as by vast multitudes of the people from all parts of the five provinces.  Participants came from all parts of Ireland, Scotland, and further afield, making Tailtiu the equal of Tara, Tlachtga, and Uisnech.

As a national institution, the Aonach fulfilled three important public functions in the lives of the people. Its first objective was to: do honour to the illustrious dead; secondly, to promulgate laws; and, finally, to entertain the people. Presiding at the Tailtiu assembly or fair became the prerogative of the king of Tara.

“Medieval Tournament” by C. L. Doughty

Lugh lead the first funeral games at the time of Lughnasa (1 August; Lammastide, now Lammas), which consisted of hurling, athletic, gymnastic and equestrian contests of various kinds, and included running, long-jumping, high-jumping, hurling, quoit-throwing, spear-casting, sword and-shield contests, wrestling, boxing, handball, swimming, horse-racing, chariot-racing, spear or pole jumping, slinging contests, bow-and-arrow exhibitions, and, in fact, every sort of contest exhibiting physical endurance and skill.   A universal truce was proclaimed in the High King’s name, and all feuds, fights, quarrels and such-like disturbances were strictly forbidden and severely dealt with; and all known criminals were rigorously excluded from both the games and the assembly.

In addition, there were literary, musical, oratorical, and story-telling competitions; singing and dancing competitions, and tournaments of all kinds. Also, competitions for goldsmiths, jewellers, and artificers in the precious metals; for spinners, weavers and dyers; and the makers of shields and weapons of war. The fair lasted for a fortnight.

(At the hill of Tailte is one of the most celebrated spots in Ireland, for it was here in 1420 BCE the celebrated Aonach Tailteann the Lughnasa Festival was first held.)” [2]

“Tailtiu was the last queen of Her kind, a feminine energy that felt the longing of humanity.  When the time is right, She gives birth, delivers the sheaves of wheat, then She dies, a need fulfilled….but soon She will rise again. Over the centuries, with the advent of patriarchy, Divinity began to rise towards the heavens, and Lughnasadh, the feast that was once a funerary fair in honor of Tailtiu, now became a celebration of the Sun God, Lugh.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Meath.ie, “HISTORY & LEGEND ABOUT THE TAILTIU & THE TAILTEANN GAMES (A SNIPPET)“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Taillte”.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Tailtiu“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ancientworlds.net, “Tailtiu and the Tailtian Games“.

Brandon-Evans, Tira. Goddess Alive! Goddess Celebration and Research, Issue No. 18 – Autumn/Winter 2010, “Tailtiu: Harvest Goddess“.  (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!)

Shee-eire.com, “Tailtiu“.

Tuathadebrighid.net, “The Story of Tailtiu“.

Wikipedia, “Tailtiu“.

Goddess Nemetona

“Mother Nature” by Rozairo

“Nemetona’s themes are wishes, protection, joy, fairies, magic, luck and nature. Her symbols are Hawthorn trees (or trees in general).  In Romano-Celtic regions, Nemetona guards groves of trees with a special protective presence that marks the area as a sacred site. Within this space, the soul is hushed and calm, becoming one with nature and the Goddess. Nemetona’s name means ‘shrine’ giving new depth of meaning to William Cullen Bryant’s poetic phrase ‘the groves were God’s first temples.’

Bawming the Thorn‘ is a ritual that takes place around this time of year in Appleton, England. It is an occasion for the community to gather together and decorate a hawthorn tree in the center of town. Local people believe this was a spot of ancient Pagan worship, which is highly likely since hawthorns are sacred to both witches and fairy-kind. In magic traditions, carrying a hawthorn ensures happiness and promotes good luck (not to mention bearing a bit of Nemetona with you). Wherever the oak, ash and thorn grow together is a very magical spot filled with Nemetona’s power and one that will be visited regularly by fairies!”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Queen of Forest” by maillevin

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Nemetona was “the British ‘Goddess of the sacred grove’ as one of the divinities worshiped at Bath, where Sul was honored as patron of the thermal springs.  Nemetona was depicted as a seated queen holding a scepter, surrounded by three hooded figures and a ram” (p. 228).

I found what Sora Nalani wrote to be very informative and inspiring: “A Continental Deity revered during Roman times; Her name may be cognate with the Irish Valkyrie Nemain, and in fact the Romans seem to have regarded Her as having some connection with Mars.” [1]

“Nemetona is a very ancient Goddess of the Celts, specifically those in Gaul (what is now France). As well, She is thought to have been the eponymous deity of the Nemetes, a group of Germano-Celtic people living by the Rhine in an area now called Trier in Germany. The Celts, in general, did not build temples, but rather practiced their spirituality in sacred groves and Nemetona personifies this belief in the sacred land. Her name literally means ‘sacred space’, from the Celtic root ‘nemeto’ which means ‘sacred area’. She is related to the druidic concept of nemeton, the designation of sacred spiritual space.

Nemetona was worshipped primarily in what is now France and Germany, but Her worship extended into England, where there is an altar dedicated to Her in Bath. Her name survives through many place names including Augustonemeton (France), Nemetacum/Nemetocerna Atrebatum (Northern France), Nemetobriga, Nemetodurum (modern Vernantes), Nemetatae (A tribe in Northern Spain), Nemetostatio (England), Vernenetum and Medionemeton (both in England).

Loucetios Celtic God of light

Inscriptions found have shown that the Romans afflicated Nemetona with Mars. In Trier and Altrip, in Germany, inscriptions have been found pairing Her with Mars specifically and in Bath with Loucetios Mars. It is well know that as the Romans spread through the Celtic world that they paired their deities with the local deities, finding commonalities. Loucetios was a storm god, the divine mate of Nemetona, whose name means ‘bright’ or ‘shining one’. It is thought that he may be the original form of Lleu/Lugh, the Welsh god of light. With Lugh figuring as a ‘divine warrior’ in many myths, it makes a certain sense that the Romans would equate Loucetios with their god of war, Mars. Still, the fit is awkward and does little to retain the original power and meaning of both Nemetona and Her consort. As is often the case with the Roman deity overlays, it seems as if there was some breakdown of communication as the Romans tried to fit their war hungry gods over the more shamanistic gods of the Celts.”

Sora Nalani goes on to say: “At first I had found the fit of Nemetona and that of Mars to be almost ridiculous, it just didn’t seem as if it could be. But when I found a pairing of her with the Brythonic God, Mars Rigonemetis ‘King of the sacred grove’, a new picture began to form in my mind, one of a year King associated with the sacred Goddess whose tendrils of energy were inseparable from the land. It is very possible that Rigonemetis was the guardian of the sacred grove, the guardian of the sacred mother and wellspring of life; Nemetona. I then read that the Celtic ‘Mars’ was a god of protection and healing, along with agriculture in addition to the war-like aspects. Even Loucetios, a lightening god, is associated with sacred groves, as the druids associated lightening with sacred trees, in particular oaks. It is very possible the Loucetios would have been associated with ‘drunemeton‘: the sacred oak grove.

It seems a cruel twist of fate that some think She survives on as Nemhain, the Irish Goddess of battle frenzy . While the path from Goddess of the groves to the Goddess of the battlefield is not so farfetched through Her association with Her divine consort who inevitable was linked with Mars, the god of war, the pairing of Nemetona and Nemhain seems little more than a construct of similarity in names rather than an real evolution of Goddess worship.

I could not find many images of Nemetona but in the surviving iconography, She is pictured seated, holding a scepter surrounded by 3 hooded figures and a ram. This portrayal feels more Roman than it does Celtic, it seems more likely to me that her presence would have been found in the spiraling knotwork and the labyrinth iconology of the Celts.

“Nemetona” by Selina Fenech

Nemetona is a difficult Goddess to wrap my mind around. She is somewhat nebulous in my mind, partially because She seems inextricably linked with the land. She is the sacred grove and it is Her. She is sacred space, whether that is found within the majestic trees of a grove or if it is held simply within one’s heart. She is holy breath, the sanctuaries we create, not out of stone and mortar, but out of love and reverence. She is a sacred link between ourselves and the living planet. But in my mind, not in an all-consuming way, such as a deity like Gaia, but in a very personal , intimate way, our link to the land our feet walk on, to the trees our ears hear singing in the wind and the leaves that season with us. She is the animation of the living space around us, a reminder to create that which is sacred within and carry it through all our trials and journeys. She is the circle unto herself and we are within Her circle, found within our relationship with our most intimate and immediate environments. She is the wholeness within each single leaf on the plant that sits beside you, or the moving cells of your body, and the embodiment of all personal spiritual cycles. Simply put, she is sacred space.” [2]

Other names: Nemetonia, Nemetialis

 

 

Sources:

Joelle’s Sacred Grove, “Celtic Gods and Goddesses“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Nemetona”.

Nalani, Sora. Spira, “Nemetona: Goddess of the Sacred Grove“.

Suggested Links:

Druidnetwork.org, “Nemetona“.

Eagle Feather, Lavender. The Simplified Witch, “Goddess Guidance…Nemetona

Nemeton – the Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Nemetona: A Gaulish and Brythonic Goddess (She of the Sacred Grove)“.

The Order of the Sacred Nemeton.

Wikipedia, “Nemetona“.

The Celtic lunar month of Holly is the perfect time to celebrate your achievements and to focus on your future.

As the days shorten after summer solstice and the Moon grows in power, focus on putting bad situations behind you.

The eighth Celtic Moon month ushers in the shortening of days.  The power of the Sun is transferred to Earth, highlighting our practical needs and desires.  The Celtic fire festival of Lammas begins the harvest on August 1, so the month of the Holly Moon is a time to give thanks for the good things in your life.  Focus on your own “harvest” during the month of Holly – on what you wish to achieve and why.

Share Your Successes

Traditionally, the first gain harvested was baked into a loaf that represented the spirit of the crop, or “John Barleycorn” as it is called in England.  This bread was shared in a ceremony to ensure the wealth of community.

Use this month to celebrate your successes with family and friends and to consider sharing your good fortune with others.

 

PROTECTION AND RENEWAL

The holly is magically imbued with powers of protection.  In England, it was believed to protect against witchcraft and to guard homes against being struck by lightning.  Its evergreen leaves symbolize renewal and recovery during the dark half of the year and ward against envy and the misuse of power.

Restoration

The planetary rule of holly is Mars, which bestows upon the tree the ability to restore direction in your life, to rebalance and align energy, and to help you gain a sense of purpose.

In Pagan tradition, men carry sachets of holly leaves and berries, which will enhance their masculinity due to the tree’s restorative and energizing powers.

 

HOLLY MOON MAGIC

Use the magical blessings of the Holly Moon to celebrate and share the good things in your life and to increase your future fortune and success.

 Holly Harvest Loaf

During the Holly Month, invite the blessings of John Barelycron into your home by baking your own magical harvest loaf.  Simply follow the steps below:

1. Prepare some bread dough from flour, yeast, oil, honey, water and salt, and leave it to rise in a warm place for an hour.

2. Sprinkle some seeds and nuts on top of the dough to symbolize each blessing in your life, such as a comfortable home or supportive family.  Focus on these positive things as you knead the dough.

3. Shape the dough into a roundish loaf and place on a baking sheet.

4. Before baking it, place your hands on top of the dough and try to visualize golden light channeling into it.

5. Then say, “John Barleycorn, I give you thanks for all I have received.  Blessed be.”

6. When baked, bury the first slice of the loaf in the ground and whisper your wishes for the future.

7. Share the rest of the loaf with your friends and family and celebrate your abundance.

Holly Money Spell

One the full Moon, hold up some paper money to use the moonlight and recite the spell below.

“Lady Bright, Lady Bright,
Harvest abundant dreams tonight.
Three times three times three
Times three,
Prosperity return to me.”

Give the money to charity, and in return, the positive energy of holly will provide you with the funds you need over the coming months.

 

Time to Reenergize

The spirit of renewal is the month of the Holly Moon makes it an excellent time to reenergize your life.

  • Tune into the energies of your environment by eating-rich seasonal foods, preferably foods that are locally produced.
  • Use holly’s influence to rise to physical challenges and overhaul your personal fitness by joining a gym or taking up a martial art.

Harvest of Friends

Celebrate the harvest of the season and of the things that enrich your life during the Holly Moon by inviting friends to dinner.

Meals to Share

Ask everybody to bring a dish that they have prepared, and cover the table with a gold cloth to signify the wealth in your life.  For the centerpiece, place an arrangement of holly and wheat around a candle to represent the harvest spirit.

 

Harvest Blessings

Once your guests have arrived, give thanks to Mother Earth for the food that She has provided: “Let us eat that none shall know hunger.  Let us drink that none shall know thirst.”  During this meal, discuss what it is that you wish to harvest in your life.

 

 

 

Source:

“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  12.

 

Suggested Links:

The Goddess Tree, “Holly“.

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