Lammas 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 mourned 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 sheaves 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 of 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.

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 a 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, Lammas (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.

From: http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/LammasFolklore/a/Legends-And-Folklore-Of-Bread.htm

Mabon Rites & Rituals

Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Mabon, the autumn equinox, but typically the focus is on either the second harvest aspect, or the balance between light and dark. This, after all, is the time when there is an equal amount of day and night. While we celebrate the gifts of the earth, we also accept that the soil is dying. We have food to eat, but the crops are brown and going dormant. Warmth is behind us, cold lies ahead. Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying — and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead.

1.  10 Ways to Celebrate Mabon

On or around September 21, for many Pagan, Mabon is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings. It is also a time of balance and reflection, following the theme of equal hours light and dark. Here are some ways you and your family can celebrate this day of bounty and abundance. Read More About 10 Ways to Celebrate Mabon More »

2.  Setting Up Your Mabon Altar

Mabon is the time when many Pagans and Wiccans celebrate the second part of the harvest. This Sabbat is about the balance between light and dark, with equal amounts of day and night. Try some or even all of these ideas — obviously, space may be a limiting factor for some, but use what calls to you most. Read More About Setting Up Your Mabon Altar

3.  Create a Food Altar

In most Pagan traditions, Mabon, the autumn equinox, is a time when we’re gathering the bounty of the fields, the orchards and the gardens, and bringing it in for storage. Often, we don’t realize how much we’ve collected until we pile it all together – why not invite friends or other members of your group, if you’re part of one, to gather their garden treasures and place them on your Mabon altar during ritual? Read More About Creating a Mabon Food Altar More »

4.  Ritual to Honor the Dark Mother

Demeter and Persephone are strongly connected to the time of the Autumn Equinox. When Hades abducted Persephone, it set in motion a chain of events that eventually led to the earth falling into darkness each winter. This is the time of the Dark Mother, the Crone aspect of the triple goddess. The goddess is bearing this time not a basket of flowers, but a sickle and scythe. She is prepared to reap what has been sown.Read More About Honoring the Dark

5.  Hold a Mabon Apple Harvest Ritual

In many pantheons, the apple is a symbol of the Divine. Apple trees are representative of wisdom and guidance. This apple ritual will allow you time to thank the gods for their bounty and blessings, and to enjoy the magic of the earth before the winds of winter blow through. Read More About Holding an Apple Harvest Rite for Mabon More »

6.  Mabon Balance Meditation

Mabon is traditionally a time of balance. After all, it’s one of the two times each year that has equal amounts of darkness and daytime. Because this is, for many people, a time of high energy, there is sometimes a feeling of restlessness in the air, a sense that something is just a bit “off”. If you’re feeling a bit spiritually lopsided, with this simple meditation you can restore a little balance into your life.Read More About Performing a Mabon Balance Meditation More »

7.  Hold a Hearth & Home Rite for Mabon

Mabon is a time of balance, and a good time to celebrate the stability of the hearth and home. This ritual is a simple one designed to place a barrier of harmony and protection around your property. You can do this as a family group, as a coven, or even as a solitary. Read More on How to Hold a Mabon Hearth & Home RitualMore »

8.  Hold a Gratitude Ritual

Are you thankful for the things you have — both material and spiritual? Want to sit down and count your blessings? Why not perform this simple gratitude rite, in which you can enumerate the things you have that make you feel fortunate? After all, Mabon is a time of giving thanks. Read More About How to Hold a Gratitude Ritual More »

9.  Celebrate the Autumn Full Moon

Some Pagan groups prefer to have a season-specific full moon ceremony, in addition to marking the Sabbats. During the autumn months, the harvest season begins with the Corn Moon in late August, and continues through September’sHarvest Moon and the Blood Moon of October. If you’d like to celebrate one or more of these moon phases with a ritual specific to the harvest, it’s not hard. This rite is written for a group of four people or more, but if you needed to, you could easily adapt it for a solitary practitioner. Read More About Celebrating the Autumn Full Moon More »

To read the rest of any of these articles by Patti Wigington on About.com please click on the link in the topic.

Putting Garden to Sleep Blessing

As the plants wither and die the give back nourishment to Mother Earth. As the leaves fall from the trees to help insulate the plants that will bud again in spring.
I wish Mother Earth a pleasant slumber under a Prue white blanket of snow.
To reguvenate and wake refreshed when spring time comes again.
I thank Ra and Father Sky for the warmth and rain that helps the plants and trees to grow.
May they find time to rest as the days grow shorter and the night longer.
I thank the elements Air, Fire, Water and Earth for their willingness to help the plants and trees reach maturity and to spread there seeds far and wide.
I ask the Universe to watch over us all; plants, trees, animals and humans throughout the cold days and nights to come.
So mote it be. A’Ho

 

Copywrite 2015 Lady Beltane

All About Lammas (Lughnasadh)

It’s the dog days of summer, the gardens are full of goodies, the fields are full of grain, and the harvest is approaching. Take a moment to relax in the heat, and reflect on the upcoming abundance of the fall months. At Lammas, sometimes called Lughnasadh, it’s time to begin reaping what we have sown throughout the past few months, and recognize that the bright summer days will soon come to an end.

  • Lammas 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 mourned 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. Twogoddesses, 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 sheaves 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 of 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.

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 a 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.

Crafts, Song and Celebration

Because of its association with Lugh, the skilled god, Lammas (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!

  • 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

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.

By: 

Full Moon Names-Native American

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”
  Chief Seattle 1854 

American Indians gave names to each of the full moons to keep track of the passing year. The names are associated with the entire month until the next full moon occurs. Since a lunar month averages 29 days, the dates of the moons change from year to year. Here are titles most closely associated with calendar months.

Abenaki
Northeast, Maine
Abenaki Children
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
Mid-March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
alamikos
piaôdagos
mozokas
sigwankas
sogalikas
kikas
nokahigas
temaskikos
temezôwas
skamonkas
penibagos
mzatanos
pebonkas
greetings maker moon
makes branches fall in pieces moon
moose hunter moon
spring season maker moon
sugar maker moon
Abenaki Bowlfield maker moon
hoer moon
grass cutter moon
cutter moon
corn maker moon
leaf falling moon
freezing river maker moon
winter maker moon

Algonquin
Northeast to Great Lakes
Algonquin Mother and Child
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
squochee kesos
wapicuummilcum
namossack kesos
suquanni kesos
moonesquanimock kesos
twowa kesos
matterllawaw kesos
micheenee kesos
pohquitaqunk kesos
pepewarr
quinne kesos
Algonquin Masksun has not strength to thaw
ice in river is gone
catching fish
when they set indian corn
when women weed corn
when they hill indian corn
squash are ripe
when indian corn is edible
middle between harvest and eating corn
white frost on grass
much white frost on grass

Anishnaabe
(Chippewa, Ojibwe)

Great Lakes
Chippewa Man
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
gichi-manidoo-giizis
namebini-giizis
bebookwaadaagame-giizis(oog)
iskigamizige-giizis(oog)
waabigwani-giizis
ode’imini-giizis
aabita-niibino-giizis
miini-giizis
manoominike-giizis
binaakwe-giizis
gashkadino-giizis(oog)
manidoo-gizisoons
great spirits moon
sucker moon
snow crust moon
broken snowshow moon
blossom moon
strawberry moon
raspberry moon
Chippewa Beaded Bag c. 1900berry moon
rice moon
falling leaves moon
freezing moon
small spirits moon

Apache
Southern Plains
Apache Woman
Month Name of Moon
January
April
May
July
October
Apache Bagtime of flying ants
moon of the big leaves
season when the leaves are green
moon of the horse/time of ripeness
time when the corn is taken in

Arapaho
Great Plains
Arapaho Village
Month Name of Moon
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
late July
August
September
October
November
December
Arapaho Seed Bagwhen snow blows like spirits in the wind
frost sparkling in the sun
buffalo dropping their calves
ice breaking in the river
when the ponies shed their shaggy hair
when when the buffalo bellows
the hot weather begins
when the chokeberries begin to ripen
geese shedding their feathers
drying grass
falling leaves
when the rivers start to freeze
popping trees

Assiniboine
Northern Plains
Assiniboine Man and Dogs
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
wicogandu
amhanska
wicinstayazan
tabehatawi
indiwiga
wahequosmewi
wasasa
capasapsaba
wahpegiwi
anukope
cuhotgawi
wicogandu-sungagu
Assiniboine Headdresscenter moon
long dry moon
sore eye moon
frog moon
idle moon
full leaf moon
red berries
black cherries
yellow leaf
joins both sides
frost moon
center moon’s younger brother

Cherokee
East Coast, Carolinas
Cherokee Woman
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
unolvtana
kagali
anvhyi
kawohni
ansgvti
dehaluyi
kuyegwona
galohni
dulisdi
duninhdi
nvdadegwa
vskihyi
cold moon
bony moon
strawberry moon
flower moon
Cherokee Bottleplanting moon
green corn moon
ripe corn moon
drying up moon
nut moon
harvest moon
trading moon
snow moon

Cheyenne
Great Plains
Cheyenne Braves
Month Name of Moon
January
April
May
September
October
November
December
Cheyenne depiction of the Battle of Little Big Horn, c. 1878moon of the strong cold
when the geese lay eggs
when the horses get fat
drying grass moon
freeze begins on stream’s edge
deer rutting moon
when the wolves run together

Choctaw
Southeast, Mississippi, Louisiana
Choctaw Woman
Month Name of Moon Meaning
Early December
Late Dec – Early Jan
Late January
Early February
Late Feb – Early March
April
May
Early June
Late June – Early July
Late July – Early August
Late August – September
October
November
Hash Haponi
Hash Haf
Hash Chaf Iskono
Hash Chaf Chito
Hash Mali
Hash Bissi
Hash Bihi
Hash Takkon
Hash Watallak
Hash Luak Mosholi
Hash Tek Inhasi
Hash Koinchush
Hash Koichus
moon of cooking
moon of sassafras
Choctaw Bagmoon of little famine
moon of big famine
moon of winds
moon of blackberry
moon of mulberry
moon of peach
moon of the crane
green corn festival
courting time
moon of the wildcat
moon of the panther

Comanche
Southern Plains
Comanche Chief Quanah Parker
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
toh mua
positsu mua
tahpooku mua
tahma mua
totsiyaa mua
puhi mua
urui mua
tahma mua
taboo mua
yuba mua
yubaubi mua
wahi mua
year moon
sleet moon
Comanche Arrowheadcottonball moon
new spring moon
flower moon
leaf moon
hot moon
summer moon
paperman moon
fall moon
heading to winter moon
evergreen moon

Cree
Northern Plains, Canada
Cree Moose Hunter
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
gishepapiwatekimumpizun
cepizun
migisupizum
kiskipizun
aligipizun
sagipukawipizun
opaskwuwipizun
opunhopizun
weweopizun
opinahamowipizun
kaskatinopizun
papiwatiginashispizun
moon when the old fellow spreads the brush
Cree Moccasinsold moon
eagle moon
gray goose moon
frog moon
moon leaves come out
moon when ducks begin to molt
moon young ducks begin to fly
snow goose moon
moon the birds fly south
moon the rivers begin to freeze
moon when the young fellow spreads the brush

Creek
Southeast, Alabama, Georgia
Creek Children
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
rv’fo cusee
hotvlee-hv’see
tasahcucee
tasahcee-rakko
kee-hvsee
kvco-hvsee
hiyucee
hiyo-rakko
otowoskucee
otowoskv-rakko
echolee
rvfo-rakko
Creek Potwinter’s younger brother
wind moon
little spring moon
big spring moon
mulberry moon
blackberry moon
little harvest
big harvest
little chestnut moon
big chestnut moon
frost moon
big winter

Haida
Alaska
Haida Canoe
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
táan kungáay
hlgit’ún kungáay
xitgáas kungáay
xíit kungáay
tahálaa kungáay
gáan kungáay
chíin kungáay
k’íit’aas kungáay
kálk kungáay
cha’áaw kungáay
t’a’áaw kungáay
gáangálang kungáay
bear hunting moon
goose moon
Haida Polenoisy goose moon
migratory geese moon
food-gathering moon
berries ripen moon
salmon moon
cedar bark for hat & baskets
ice moon
bears hibernate
snow moon
ripe berries

Hopi
Southwest, Arizona
Hopi Children
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
paamuya
powamuya
osomuyaw
kwiyamuyaw
hakitonmuyaw
uyismuya
nimanmuya
paamuya
nasanmuyaw
angaqmuyaw
kelmuya
kyaamuya
moon of life at it’s height
moon of purification and renewal
moon of the whispering wind
moon of windbreak
Hopi Weavingmoon of waiting
moon of planting
moon of the homedance
moon of joyful
moon of full harvest
moon of long hair
moon of fledgling hawk
moon of respect

Kalapuya
Pacific Northwest, Oregon
Kalapuya Man
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
atalka
atchiulartadsh
atcha-uyu
amanta kotantal
atantal
anishnalya
ameku
akupiu
atchiutchutin
atchalankuaik
alangitapi
adshampak
stay inside
out of food
women dig camas
time for pounding camas
Kalapuya Bowlcamas blooming time
camas ripe
mid summer
end of summer
after harvest
start getting sagittair roots
moving inside for winter
not bad weather

Lakota
Northern Plains
Lakota Woman
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
wiotehika wi
cannapopa wi
istawicayazan wi
wihakaktacepapi wi
canwape to wi
wipazatkan waste wi
canpasapa wi
wasutoa wi
canwape gi wi
canwape kasna wi
waniyetu wi
wanicokan wi
hard moon
moon when the trees crack because of the cold
moon of the sore eyes
moon when the wife had to crack bones for marrow fat
moon of the green leaves
moon when the berries are good
Lakota Basketmoon when the chokecherries are black
moon of the ripening
moon of the brown leaves
moon when the wind shakes off leaves
moon when winter begins
moon when the deer shed their antlers

Mohawk
Eastern Woodlands
Mohawk Man
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
tsothohrhko:wa
enniska
ennisko:wa
onerahtokha
onerahtohko:wa
ohiari:wa
ohiarihko:wa
seskehko:wa
seskhoko:wa
kentenha
kentenhko:wa
tsothohrha
Mohawk Basketthe big cold
lateness
much lateness
budding time
time of big leaf
ripening time
time of much ripening
time of freshness
time of much freshness
time of poverty
time of much poverty
time of cold

Omaha
Central Plains, Nebraska
Omaha Boy
Month Name of Moon
January
February
March
June
July
September
Omaha Drummoon when snow drifts into tipis
moon when geese come home
little frog moon
moon when the buffalo bulls hunt the cows
moon when the buffalo bellow
moon when the deer paw the earth

Passamaquoddy
Northeast U.S. – St. Croix River Region
Passamaquoddy Mary Selmore, age 101
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
opolahsomuwehs
piyatokonis
siqon
ponatom
siqonomeq
nipon
accihte
apsqe
toqakiw
amilkahtin
kelotonuhket
punam
whirling wind moon
when the spruce tips fall
spring moon
spring moon
Passamaquoddy Birch Bark Canoealewive moon
summer moon
ripening moon
feather shedding moon
autumn moon
harvest moon
freezing moon
frost fish moon moon

Ponca
Southern Plains
Ponca with Tomahawk
Month Name of Moon
January
March
June
July
August
October
Ponca and Sioux Battle Scene c. 1858snow thaws moon
water stands in the ponds moon
hot weather begins moon
middle of summer moon
corn is in the silk moon
moon when they store food in caches

Potawatomi
Great Lakes
Potawatomi Men
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
May
June
July
August
October
November
mkokisis
mnokesis
cicakkises
te’minkeses
msheke’kesis
we’shkitdaminkese
e’mnomukkises
e’sksegtukkisis
pne’kesis
Potawatomi Shoulder Bagmoon of the bear
moon of the rabbit
moon of the crane
moon of the strawberry
moon of the turtle
moon of the young corn
moon of the middle
moon of the first frost
moon of the turkey

Pueblo
Southwest, New Mexico
Pueblo Woman
Month Name of Moon
February
March
June
September
November
Pueblo Potmoon of the cedar dust wind
moon when the leaves break forth
moon when the leaves are dark green
moon when the corn is taken in
moon when all is gathered in

Shawnee
Midwest, Ohio, Pennsylvania
Shawnee Leader
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
ha’kwi kiishthwa
haatawi kiishthwa
shkipiye kwiitha
poosh kwiitha
hotehimini kiishthwa
mshkatiwi kiishthwa
miini kiishthwa
po’kamawi kiishthwa
ha’shimini kiishthwa
sha’teepakanootha
kini kiishthwa
washilatha kiishthwa
severe moon
crow moon
sap moon
Shawnee Dresshalf moon
strawberry moon
raspberry moon
blackberry moon
plum moon
papaw moon
wilted moon
long moon
eccentric moon

Shoshone
Great Basin, Nevada, Wyoming
Shoshone Woman and Child
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
goa-mea’
isha-mea’
yu’a-mea’
badua’-mea’
buhisea’-mea’
daa’za-mea’
daza-mea’
guuteyai-mea’
yeba-mea’
naa-mea’
ezhe’i-mea’
dommo-mea’
freezing
Shoshone Dance Shield c. 1890coyote
warming
melting
budding
summer starting
summer
hot
fall
rutting
cold
winter

Sioux
Great Plains, Dakotas, Nebraska
Sioux Woman
Month Name of Moon
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
Sioux Tipiwolves run together
dark red calves
sore eye moon
red grass appearing
moon when the ponies shed
strawberry moon
red blooming lilies
cherries turn black
calves grow hair
changing season
falling leaves
when deer shed their horns

Tlingit
Pacific Northwest Coast
Tlingit and Canoe
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
t’aawak dís
s’eek dís
héentáanáx kayaan’i dís
x’eigaa kayaaní dís
at gadaxéet yinaa dís
at gadaxéet dís
xaat dísi
sha-ha-yi
dis yádi
dís tlein
kukahaa dís
shanáx dís
goose moon
black bear moon
underwater plants sprout
budding moon of plants and shrubs
moon before pregnancy
Tlingit Raven Maskbirth moon
salmon moon
berries ripe on mountain
big moon
young animals moon
scraping moon
unborn seals are getting hair

Winnebago
Great Lakes
Winnebago with Pipe
Month Name of Moon
February
April
May
July
November
December
Winnebago Wigwamfish-running moon
planting corn moon
hoeing-corn moon
corn-popping moon
little bear’s moon
big bear’s moon

Wishram
Columbia River, Washington, Oregon
Wishram Catching Salmon
Month Name of Moon
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
her cold moon
shoulder to shoulder around the fire moon
Wishram Petroglyphslong days moon
the 8th moon
the 9th moon
fish spoils easily moon
salmon go up rivers in a group moon
blackberry patches moon
her acorns moon
travel in canoes moon
snowy mountains in the morning moon
her winter houses moon

Zuni
Southwest, New Mexico
Zuni Woman
Month Name of Moon Meaning
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
September
October
December
dayamcho yachunne
onon u’la’ukwamme
li’dekwakkya ts’ana
li’dekwakkya lana
yachun kwa’shi’amme
ik’ohbu yachunne
dayamcho yachunne
li’dekwakkwya ts’ana
li’dekwakkwya lana
ik’ohbu yachunne
when limbs of trees are broken by snow
Zuni Jewelryno snow in trails
little sand storm
great sand storm
no name
turning moon
when limbs of trees are broken by fruit
corn is harvested
big wind moon
sun has traveled home to rest

    source: americanindian.net

Planetarium Homepage

Beltane — Holiday Details and History

Author: Christina Aubin [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: April 30th. 2000
Times Viewed: 258,199

Beltane is the last of the three spring fertility festivals, the others being Imbolc and Ostara. Beltane is the second principal Celtic festival (the other being Samhain). Celebrated approximately halfway between Vernal (spring) equinox and the midsummer (Summer Solstice). Beltane traditionally marked the arrival if summer in ancient times.

At Beltane the Pleiades star cluster rises just before sunrise on the morning horizon, whereas winter (Samhain) begins when the Pleiades rises at sunset. The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the seven sisters, in the constellation of Taurus, near his shoulder. When looking for the Pleiades with the naked eye, remember it looks like a tiny dipper-shaped pattern of six moderately bright stars (the seventh can be seen on very dark nights) in the constellation of Taurus. It stands very low in the east-northeast sky for just a few minutes before sunrise.

Beltane, and its counterpart Samhain, divide the year into its two primary seasons, winter (Dark Part) and summer (Light Part). As Samhain is about honoring Death, Beltane, its counter part, is about honoring Life. It is the time when the sun is fully released from his bondage of winter and able to rule over summer and life once again.

Beltane, like Samhain, is a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. No time is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds! It is the time when the Faeries return from their winter respite, carefree and full of faery mischief and faery delight. On the night before Beltane, in times past, folks would place rowan branches at their windows and doors for protection, many otherworldly occurrences could transpire during this time of “no time”. Traditionally on the Isle of Man, the youngest member of the family gathers primroses on the eve before Beltane and throws the flowers at the door of the home for protection. In Ireland it is believed that food left over from May Eve must not be eaten, but rather buried or left as an offering to the faery instead. Much like the tradition of leaving of whatever is not harvested from the fields on Samhain, food on the time of no time is treated with great care.

When the veils are so thin it is an extremely magical time, it is said that the Queen of the Faeries rides out on her white horse. Roving about on Beltane eve She will try to entice people away to the Faeryland. Legend has it that if you sit beneath a tree on Beltane night, you may see the Faery Queen or hear the sound of Her horse’s bells as She rides through the night. Legend says if you hide your face, She will pass you by but if you look at Her, She may choose you. There is a Scottish ballad of this called Thomas the Rhymer, in which Thomas chooses to go the Faeryland with the Queen and has not been seen since.

Beltane has been an auspicious time throughout Celtic lore, it is said that the Tuatha de Danaan landed in north-west Connacht on Beltane. The Tuatha de Danaan, it is said, came from the North through the air in a mist to Ireland. After the invasion by the Milesians, the Tuatha faded into the Otherworld, the Sidhe, Tir na nOg.

The beginning of summer heralds an important time, for the winter is a difficult journey and weariness and disheartenment set in, personally one is tired down to the soul. In times past the food stocks were low; variety was a distant memory. The drab non-color of winter’s end perfectly represents the dullness and fatigue that permeates on so many levels to this day. We need Beltane, as the earth needs the sun, for our very Spirit cries out for the renewal of summer jubilation.

Beltane marks that the winter’s journey has passed and summer has begun, it is a festival of rapturous gaiety as it joyfully heralds the arrival of summer in her full garb. Beltane, however, is still a precarious time, the crops are still very young and tender, susceptible to frost and blight. As was the way of ancient thought, the Wheel would not turn without human intervention. People did everything in their power to encourage the growth of the Sun and His light, for the Earth will not produce without the warm love of the strong Sun. Fires, celebration and rituals were an important part of the Beltane festivities, as to insure that the warmth of the Sun’s light would promote the fecundity of the earth.

Beltane marks the passage into the growing season, the immediate rousing of the earth from her gently awakening slumber, a time when the pleasures of the earth and self are fully awakened. It signals a time when the bounty of the earth will once again be had. May is a time when flowers bloom, trees are green and life has again returned from the barren landscape of winter, to the hope of bountiful harvests, not too far away, and the lighthearted bliss that only summer can bring.

Beltane translated means “fire of Bel” or “bright fire” – the “bale-fire”. (English – bale; Anglo-Saxon bael; Lithuanian baltas (white)) Bel (Bel, Bile, Beli, Belinus, Belenos) is the known as the bright and shinning one, a Celtic Sun God. Beli is the father, protector, and the husband of the Mother Goddess.

Beltane is the time of the yearly battle between Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwythur ap Greidawl for Creudylad in Welsh mythology. Gwyn ap Nudd the Wild Huntsman of Wales, he is a God of death and the Annwn. Creudylad is the daughter of Lludd (Nudd) of the Silver Hand (son of Beli). She is the most beautiful maiden of the Island of Mighty. A myth of the battle of winter and summer for the magnificent blossoming earth.

In the myth of Rhiannion and Pwyll, it is the evening of Beltane, that Rhiannon gives birth to their son. The midwives all fell asleep at the same time, as they were watching over Rhiannon and her new baby, during which he was taken. In order to protect themselves, they smeared blood (from a pup) all over Rhiannon, to which they claim she had eaten her son. The midwives were believed, and Rhiannon was forced to pay penance for seven years. She had to carrying people on her back from the outside of the gate to the palace, although rarely would any allow her to do so. The baby’s whereabouts were a mystery. Oddly, every Beltane night, one of Pwyll’s vassals, Teirnyon Twryv Vliant, had a mare that gave birth but the colt disappeared. One Beltane night Teirnyon Twryv Vliant awaited in the barn for the mare to foaled, when she did, he heard a tremendous noise and a clawed arm came through the window and grabbed the colt. Teirnyon cut off the arm with his sword, and then heard a wailing. He opened the door and found a baby, he brought it to his wife and they adopted Gwri Wallt Euryn (Gwri of the Golden Hair). As he grew he looked like Pwyll and they remembered they found him on the night Rhiannon’s baby became lost. Teirnyon brought Gwri of the Golden Hair to the castle, told the story, and he was adopted back to his parents, Rhiannon and Pwyll, and and named by the head druid, Pryderi (trouble) from the first word his mother had said when he was restored to her. “Trouble is, indeed, at an end for me, if this be true”.

This myth illustrates the precariousness of the Beltane season, at the threshold of Summer, the earth awakening, winter can still reach its long arm in and snatch the Sun away (Gwri of the Golden hair). “Ne’er cast a clout ’til May be out” (clout: Old English for cloth/clothing). If indeed the return of summer is true than the trouble (winter) is certainly over, however one must be vigilant.

On Beltane eve the Celts would build two large fires, Bel Fires, lit from the nine sacred woods. The Bel Fire is an invocation to Bel (Sun God) to bring His blessings and protection to the tribe. The herds were ritually driven between two needfires (fein cigin), built on a knoll. The herds were driven through to purify, bring luck and protect them as well as to insure their fertility before they were taken to summer grazing lands. An old Gaelic adage: “Eadar da theine Bhealltuinn” – “Between two Beltane fires”.

The Bel fire is a sacred fire with healing and purifying powers. The fires further celebrate the return of life, fruitfulness to the earth and the burning away of winter. The ashes of the Beltane fires were smudged on faces and scattered in the fields. Household fires would be extinguished and re-lit with fresh fire from the Bel Fires.

Celebration includes frolicking throughout the countryside, maypole dancing, leaping over fires to ensure fertility, circling the fire three times (sun-wise) for good luck in the coming year, athletic tournaments feasting, music, drinking, children collecting the May: gathering flowers. children gathering flowers, hobby horses, May birching and folks go a maying”. Flowers, flower wreaths and garlands are typical decorations for this holiday, as well as ribbons and streamers. Flowers are a crucial symbol of Beltane, they signal the victory of Summer over Winter and the blossoming of sensuality in all of nature and the bounty it will bring.

May birching or May boughing, began on Beltane Eve, it is said that young men fastened garland and boughs on the windows and doors of the young maidens upon which their sweet interest laid. Mountain ash leaves and Hawthorne branches meant indicated love whereas thorn meant disdain. This perhaps, is the forerunner of old May Day custom of hanging bouquets hooked on one’s doorknob?

Young men and women wandered into the woods before daybreak of May Day morning with garlands of flowers and/or branches of trees. They would arrive; most rumpled from joyous encounters, in many areas with the maypole for the Beltane celebrations. Pre-Christian society’s thoughts on human sexuality and fertility were not bound up in guilt and sin, but rather joyous in the less restraint expression of human passions. Life was not an exercise but rather a joyful dance, rich in all beauty it can afford.

In ancient Ireland there was a Sacred Tree named Bile, which was the center of the clan, or Tuatha. As the Irish Tree of Life, the Bile Pole, represents the connection between the people and the three worlds of Bith: The Skyworld (heavens), The Middleworld (our world), and The Otherworld. Although no longer the center life, the Bile pole has survived as the Beltane Maypole.

The Maypole is an important element to Beltane festivities, it is a tall pole decorated with long brightly colored ribbons, leaves, flowers and wreaths. Young maidens and lads each hold the end of a ribbon, and dance revolving around the base of the pole, interweaving the ribbons. The circle of dancers should begin, as far out from the pole as the length of ribbon allows, so the ribbons are taut. There should be an even number of boys & girls. Boys should be facing clockwise and girls counterclockwise. They each move in the direction that they are facing, weaving with the next, around to braid the ribbons over-and-under around the pole. Those passing on the inside will have to duck, those passing on the outside raise their ribbons to slide over. As the dances revolve around the pole the ribbons will weave creating a pattern, it is said that the pattern will indicate the abundance of harvest year.

In some areas there are permanent Maypoles, perhaps a recollection of ancient clan Bile Pole memory. In other areas a new Maypole is brought down on Beltane Eve out from the wood. Even the classical wood can vary according to the area tradition is pulled from, most frequently it seems to be birch as “the wood”, but others are mentioned in various historical documents.

Today in some towns and villages a mummer called Jack in the Green (drawing from the Green man), wears a costume made of green leaves as he dances around the May pole. Mumming is a dramatic performance of exaggerated characters and at Beltane the characters include Jack in the Green and the Fool. The Fool, and the Fool’s journey, symbolism can be understood in relation to Beltane as it is the beginning of beginnings, the emergence from the void of nothingness (winter), as one can also see the role of the green man as the re-greening of the world.

Traditionally in many areas Morris dancers can be found dancing around the Maypole. Morris dancing can be found in church records in Thame England going back to 1555. Morris dancing is thought to have originated many centuries ago as part of ancient religious ceremonies, however it seems that Morris dancing became associated with Mayday during the Tudor times, and its originating history is not all that easily traced, as is the way with many traditions.

The Maypole dance as an important aspect of encouraging the return of fertility to the earth. The pole itself is not only phallic in symbolism but also is the connector of the three worlds. Dancing the Maypole during Beltane is magical experience as it is a conduit of energy, connecting all three worlds at a time when these gateways are more easily penetrable. As people gaily dance around and around the pole holding the brightly colored ribbons, the energy it raises is sent down into the earth’s womb, bringing about Her full awakening and fruitfulness.

In Padstow, Cornwall, Beltane morning a procession is led by the “obby oss” a costumed horse figure, in a large circular banded frock and mask. The procession is full of song, drums and accordions. Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University points out that the first account of the Padstow May Day ‘Obby ‘Oss revelries was written in 1803. He offers evidence however that, like English Morris Dancing, its origins lie in English medieval times. This does not discount the possibility that its roots lay in the foundation of the fertility rites of Beltane, a more politically correct transmutation of fertility acts.

There is also a Queen of May. She is said in many areas to have worn a gold crown with a single, gold leaf at its front, in other areas her crown was made of fresh flowers. She was typically chosen at the start of the Beltane festival, which in time past was after sundown on the eve before Beltane day. Many accounts mention both a May Queen and King being chosen, whom would reign from sundown the eve before the Beltane day to sunset on Beltane. Among their duties would be to announce the Beltane games and award the prizes to the victors. The rudimentary base of this practice can be drawn back to the roots of Beltane festivities, the union of the Goddess and Her Consort, the joining of earth and sun, the endowment of summer. The Goddess has many guises: Danu – The Great Mother, Blodeuwedd (the Flower Bride), Isolt (Iseult, Isolde) and many, many others. The consort can also take many forms including the Green Man, Cernunnos or Tristan.

As Beltane marks this handfasting (wedding) of the Goddess and God, it too marks the reawakening of the earth’s fertility in its fullest. This is the union between the Great Mother and her Young Consort, this coupling brings new life on earth. It is on a Spiritual level, the unifying of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine to bring forth the third, consciousness. On the physical, it is the union of the Earth and Sun to bring about the fruitfulness of the growing season.

It is customary that trial unions, for a year and a day, occur at this time. More or less these were statements of intent between couples, which were not legally binding. The trial marriages (engagements) typically occurred between a couple before deciding to take a further step into a legally binding union. It seems ancient wisdom understood that one does not really know another until they have lived with them, and when you live together things change and we change, as well. With this understanding unions were entered upon, first as a test period, and then if desired, a further commitment could be taken. It through always knowing that it is only through the choice of both to remain, that the relationship exists favorably.

May, however, according to old folklore is not a favorable time for marriages in the legal and permanent sense. There is reference after reference in the old books of this belief, and according to my Irish grandmother, May is not the month to marry, woe is to had by those who do. I can understand the premise of this folklore, May is the Goddess and God’s handfasting month, all honor would be Hers and His.

Water is another important association of Beltane, water is refreshing and rejuvenating, it is also imperative to life. It is said that if you bathe in the dew gathered before dawn on Beltane morn, your beauty will flourish throughout the year. Those who are sprinkled with May dew are insured of health and happiness. There are other folk customs such as drinking from the well before sunrise on Beltane Morn to insure good health and fortune.

The central color of Beltane is green. Green is the color of growth, abundance, plentiful harvest, abundant crops, fertility, and luck. White is another color that is customary, white brings the energies of cleansing, peace, spirituality, and the power to dispel negativity. Another color is red who brings along the qualities of energy, strength, sex, vibrancy, quickening, health, consummation and retention. Sun energy, life force and happiness are brought to Beltane by the color yellow. Blues and purples (Sagittarius energies: expansion, Good Fortune, magic, spiritual power, Success), and pinks (Venus energies). Beltane is rich in vibrant color, lighting the eyes and cheering the Spirit as we leave the dreariness of winter behind.

It is customary to bake a colorful fruit and spiced filled bread for festivals in the Celtic lands, traditionally this festival bread is sweet dough made with sweetmeat and spices. In Scotland they are the bannock – Bonnach Bealtain – for Beltane, in Wales – Bara Brith, Ireland it is Barm Brack and in Brittany Morlaix Brioche. For Beltane this bread was made the eve before Beltane day, is it said that the bread should not allow it to come into contact with steel during preparation (steel is harmful, deadly to the faery folk).

Bannocks are actually uncut scones originally cooked on a griddle. Wheat does not grow well in the Highlands, originally bannocks were made with oat or barley flour made into dough with little water and no leavening. Traditionally, a portion of the cake was burned or marked with ashes. The recipient of the burnt cake jumped over a small fire three times to purify and cleanse him or herself of any ill fortune. Offerings of bannocks and drink are traditionally left on doorsteps and roadways for the Faeries as an offering, in hope of faery blessings.

May is the month of sensuality and sexuality revitalized, the reawakening of the earth and Her Children. It is the time when we reawaken to the vivid colors, vibrant scents, tingling summer breezes, and the rapture of summer after a long dormant winter. It is a time of extraordinary expression of earth, animal, and person a time of great enchantment and celebration.

The excitement and beauty of Beltane can not be better expressed than through the gaiety and joy of our children. There is not doubt “spring fever” hits at Beltane, and hits hard. Children are full of unbridled energy charged up and ready to go! Children always amplify the seasonal energies and the thrill of their change, they bring richness and merriment wherever they go.

It is the child’s unrestrained expression of bliss and delight that is what Beltane is all about. It is the sheer joy of running through fields, picking flowers, rapturing in the sunlight, delighting in the fragrance of spring, dancing in the fresh dew covered grass. Our children guide us through the natural abandonment of our adult sensibilities and show us how to take grand pleasure, warmth and bliss from the gift of Beltane.

Blessed Beltane to you and yours!

Christina Aubin
Beltaine 2000