Over the years, Lughnasadh has become one of my favorite Sabbats; I love it nearly as much as I love Samhain. I could go in to the mythology behind the Sabbat, tell you all about Lugh and his mother and why this festival was founded, but there are many other writers that do a very good job of that.
Instead, I'd like to share what this festival means to me. Sabbats, as with holidays both secular and of other faiths, hold different meanings to each person. While for the most part we start out in the same place when it comes to celebrating (learning the Mythology, associations, traditional rituals, etc.) as we become more in tune with our individual spiritual path, forge our own unique connections with deity and become comfortable with the cycles of Earth and Heavens in our own geographical location; our ways of observing and celebrating as well as our reasons why, may change. Evolving, if you will, into something more personal and therefore, more meaningful for the individual practitioner.
The harvest season here in the South starts a bit earlier than it does further North, typically with the first harvest happening closer to the Summer Solstice. When I lived in the Northern states, I celebrated Lughnasadh as an agricultural holiday, as well as a day dedicated to the god Lugh. You can imagine then, that my first harvest here was a bit of an adjustment; I'd already been pulling in the bounty for weeks - now what was I supposed to celebrate? Did I just go on with harvesting things as a way to celebrate?
Sure, but there was more than just pulling in goodies from the gardens to this Sabbat. The First Harvest Festival marks the start of the darker half of the year for me; heralding the start of the dying season. I've always been much more comfortable and content, on both physical and spiritual levels, with the part of the year that falls between August and March. This is the time of the year that I really get in to my element and get things done, this is the time of the year where my creativity typically peaks.
As a Harvest Festival, it is also a time of abundance - a time to reap what we have sown in the Spring time. Every Spring I do a cleaning and abundance ritual and so it is that I repeat that ritual once more at Lughnasadh. I clean house, clear out the energies, recharge wards and most importantly, evaluate where I am and how far I've come since Spring. If there's something holding me back or ties that no longer serve me, I use the powerful energy of this day to cut away the cords with an emotional scythe. Reaping and Harvesting isn't all just about bringing in the good stuff, after all. As I'm one to work with balance in mind, I realize that a cutting and burning like this leaves a gap that needs to be filled and so my final act, aside from the card pull I do at every Sabbat and Esbat, is to make an offering up to Lugh - in the form of art that I burn in my cauldron - and ask him to bless my creative practice and call forth what I need in my life.
Today I will celebrate the aspect of the God; Lughnasadh has always been a very masculine day for me - much like Imbolc is a very feminine one. For me, this isn't just a time to celebrate Lugh, but to also honor the Horned One and the God of the Wildwoods. There will be good ale in cold pints, fresh bread and hearty laughter. I will take offers to the edge of the property, where the trees and brambles grow thick between our yard and the next obscuring view and sheltering critters of both fur and feather.
May your Lughnasadh be merry, your blessings bountiful. May you reap that which you most desire and your creative fires be abundant. Happy Sabbat!
P.S. Edited to add photos. Feeling under the weather so celebrated and observed far earlier than usual.