August 1st is Lughnassa, the harvest festival of the ancient Celts, later celebrated as Lammas by the early Christian Saxons. Lughnassa is named after the Irish sun god, Lugh. In Wales, he’s called Lleu.
Sunshine helps nurture the grain until it ripens. Then it’s reaped, prepared, and baked as fresh bread. In the ancient Celtic belief system, Lugh transmitted his power of the sun into the grain, and with the harvesting of the grain, the god was sacrificed.
Nowadays, we get any food we want from the grocery store year-round, so it’s nice to use Lughnassa as an opportunity to connect for a moment to nature and its cycle of seasons. For example:
If you like to cook—include fresh apples, pears, corn, or home-baked bread in one of your meals for the day.
For nature lovers and those that like to get away—take a walk through the woods. In a big city, you can visit an arboretum or a local nature center.
Or if you’re an arts and crafts person—it’s a great time to make corn dollies.
And for romance readers, The Lynx and the Druidess, the final book in my novella series, Druidry And The Beast, is a Lughnassa story. Click Here
Loving a god has its advantages
Lleu, the radiant sun god, crosses between worlds to the Silures village for the fierce and stunning druidess, Wendolyn —a woman worth battling for. He longs to celebrate Lughnasa, the festival that honors him, with her.
Wendolyn is captivated by the striking stranger the moment he wanders into her village. Furthermore, she wants him with a fervor, burning her from within. However, he’s hiding his true identity. When he vows to save her tribe from the Romans marching toward them, everyone, including her dead father in a dream, says he is a coward who has run off.
Lleu is determined to win the love of druidess Wendolyn even if it means fighting the Roman army single-handed—by shapeshifting into his lynx body.
Will her tribe survive the Romans? And, can Wendolyn and Lleu’s relationship survive her tribe’s mistrust of him?
With her heart hammering, Wyndolen stared with wonder at Lleu’s luscious nude body. She only glanced away long enough to pull a white robe, speckled with gold, out of the chest in the corner. She tugged it on, then fastened a plaid cloak over it with a round silver broach and latched her gaze onto Lleu again while he slipped his clothes back on.
They left the roundhouse and walked hand in hand to Cynfor’s home.
She called out to the woodmaker, “It is time.”
Cynfor stepped out, clutching an iron rod and the wheel of the year coated with gooey tar. As the three walked together to the center of the village, men, women, and children gathered around the druidess, muttering, “Lleu,” and “coward.”
Scanning the angry faces in the crowd, Wyndolen sighed. If only they knew the truth about him. But she couldn’t blame them, she was as guilty as they were. She hadn’t recognized he was a god, even after he’d told her. No, he had to show her his magic spear and reveal his dazzling aura. Now the others needed to learn the truth. Tonight, at his festival, she would announce who he really was. But first she had to prepare her tribesmen for the news, to lessen their shock.
She held her palm upward toward the crowd and cleared her throat. “Hear me, I have a surprise for all of you. The presence of the god Lleu is here. You do not see him as he is in the guise of one of us. So, take care of how you treat each other, lest you offend the deity.”
Their expressions shifted from anger to shame as they were now all on their best behavior.
Taking graceful steps, she led all her tribesmen, chief, and Lleu to a cliff. Their chief proudly carried a blazing firebrand, and Cynfor held the sacred wheel with reverent hands. Everyone grew quiet and gazed down the mountain slope.
Wyndolen announced, “We have gathered this Lughnasa to observe the Wheel of the Year as it turns.” She raised her arms to the sky and smiled at Lleu as she chanted, “The sun burns, yet winter nears. The season turns. Summer comes to an end. Sun and earth, life to death the wheel turns, Lughnasa, Lughnasa.”
She took the torque from Corio, handed it to Lleu, and he lit the wheel of year aflame. Cynfor handed Wyndolen the iron rod. Then, the sun god, Lleu, ran beside her, on the other side of the flaming wheel, as she used the rod to roll it down that part of the mountain slope.
She chanted, “God of the sun, the wheel has turned, the yearly end of your reign has come.”
Smoke rose, as flames ate the wood. The wheel reached its end at the foot of the slope and crumbled into ash and burning fragments. The crowd stopped in their tracks and circled the symbol of the dying Lleu.
Happy Lughnassa to everyone!