Celtic Mythology is filled with stories that tells of the symbolic significance of Grain. In such myth, a young boy drinks from the magical culdron of the Welsh Goddess Cerridwen. Cerridwen becomes the Goddess of Death and Regeneration, Grain and Poetic Inspiration.
TALIESIN - An object, ritually charged with power to attract a specific force or energy to its bearer.
On a mountain lake known to the ancients as the "Land Beneath the Waves," in Penllyne,Wales, lived Cerridwen. She had borne a son. Legend states his body was as hairy as a stag and a cloud of darkness surrounded him. He was named Morfran, "Utter Darkness." Seeing his fate, his mother set out to change his destiny. She studied day and night and found the perfect potion that would give him wisdom and knowledge of the world to compensate for his appearance and change him into an enchanter.
Cerridwen gathered herbs when they were the most potent and magically charged by using water and proper energies from the Sun, Moon, and stars. For a year in a day in a cauldron her potion needed to be stirred while nine witches breathed life into her desire and keep the fires burning. A blind man and his aid Gwion Bach would assist with the stirring. Cerridwen knew the time drew near when three drops of brew would jump out of the cauldron onto her son and her spell would come true.
Morfran was placed close to the cauldron for the final stages. Cerridwen exhausted instructed either the blind man or his aid to come and wake in the forest before daybreak so she could witness the transformation.
All was quiet in the castle as the blind man and Morfran slept while his aid attended the fire. For almost a year and a day the aid, Gwion listened to the chants and began to want the gift that was being offered to another. He decided to take Morfran's place. As the brew began to bubble fiercely, Gwion pushed Morfran side to allow the three drop to spring onto him. The mixture boiled over with wailing shriek, cracking the caldron, and spilling the potion into the flame. Cerridwen awoke. Gwion Bach, now transformed, could see her rage because her wish for her son had been destroyed. Gwion turned himself into hare and begun running through the corridors of the palace. Morfran's mother, shaped as a hound, nipped at his heels. Gwion fled outside the castle and through the long grass. Glancing behind, he saw the white of her fangs. Gwion reached the shore of the island and changed his shape into a fish and swam through the reeds. When he glance behind again, he saw an otter on his tail. Shooting to the surface, he shape-shifted into a swift (bird) and soared across the sky. Behind him, with fire blazing in her eyes and talons ready, Cerridwen had changed form into an eagle prepared to kill. Gwion dropped toward earth. He spied a wheat field and turned himself into grain. With razor sharp eyes, Cerridwen saw what he'd become and shaped herself into a hen who hunted and pecked until she devoured all Gwion had been.
Cerridwen returned to her castle satisfied justice was served, only to realize she was pregnant with the seed of Gwion. For nine months she thought of ways to rid herself of the seed growing inside, vowing to destroy that which she bore. on Beltane, she took the young Gwion to the waters and cast him where he drifted, leaving him to his fate.
At the sea's edge near Castle Degney, in north of Wales, a lord's son identified as Elphin was fishing for salmon. While moving through the reeds he came upon the child. He looked at the boy and quickly named him, "Beyond the Radiant Brow." The infant replied, "Taliesin, it is."
Lord Elphin was not a wise man, squandered his money but his heart was pure. He and his wife raised the Taliesin who became loved by the Celts. The people of the land were amazed by his knowledge of words. He understood that they were the foundation of every spell and charm.
The Welsh wizard Taliesin songs were about creation and transformation, and they made those magical things occur.
With the power,
knots, images, and charms,
the witches focus is heightened,
charms to protect,
some against the
some hold healing.
Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-na-sa) marks the beginning of the grain harvest, the first on the Wheel of the Year. The importance of grain of life is evident in virtually every deity structure in every religion on Earth. The entire preparation of grain from seed to harvest parallels the life - in - death and death in - life aspects of the Great Goddess Mother Earth.
By Lughnasadh, the Sun God has already begun his downward journey, facing now toward the dark frost of Winter. The Goddess, however, never wanes. She simply changes appearance. During the season of high Summer the bounty of our planet is in full swing. We reap the benefits of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. This is a time when most of us experience exceptionally good health and robust living.
Lughnasadh marks the last hey day of the Sun God. Beneath the Barley Moon the Summer stars we, too, enjoy the expiring passions of the season. Marriages are often entered into at Lughnasadh as well as at Midsummer and as Robert Burns tells us, it is a "happy night" that he spends among the corn fields with his lover. Lughnasadh is a time when the symbolic aspects of life-sustaining elements of grain spill over into every part of life.
The Irish God Lugh is known as the "Bright or Shinning One." He is associated with both the Sun and agricultural fertility since his foster mother died from preparing the lands of Ireland for planting. His festival is in her honor. He is also a God of All Skills and champion of the Tuatha de Danaan or "children of the Goddess Dana." In the Tuatha de Danaan's battle to capture Ireland from the Formorians he swaps a prisoner's life for information on the mysteries of agriculture. His British/Welsh counterpart, Lleu is the yellow-haired son of the Goddess Arianhod. Lleu is both Sun God and God of Grain.
Taken from Celebrate The Earth A Year of Holiday In The Pagan Tradition Laurie Cabot with Jean Mills
Stop by http://www.witchskel.com/goddeu-pg3.html to read how Gwydion saved Lleu from Arianrhod's revenge
Lughnasadh (pronounced 'loo-nus-uh) means the commemoration of Lugh. Lughnasadh August 1, marks the beginning of the grain harvest.
Lughnasadh also known as Lammas and August Eve is the first Festival of Harvest.
It was orginally celebrated by the ancient Druids as Lughnasadh to pay homage to Lugh, the Celtic sun god. In other pre-Christian Pagan cultures, Lammas was celebrated as a festival of bread and as a day to honor the death of the Sacred King.
On Lammas, homemade breads and berry pies are traditionally baked and eaten in honor of the harvest.
The making of corn dollies (small figures fashioned from braided straw) is another old Lammas custom. The corn dollies (or kin babies, as they are sometimes called) are placed on the Sabbat altar to symbolize the Mother Goddess of the harvest. it is customary on Lammas to make (or buy) a new corn dolly and then burn the old one from the past year for good luck. (Wicca, Candle, Magick Gerina Dunwich)
Lughnasadh marks the last heyday of the Sun God. Beneath the Barley Moon and Summer stars we, too, enjoy the expiring passion of the season. Robert Burns tells us, it is "happy night" that he spends in the cornfields with his love. (Celebrate the Earth - A Year of Holidays in the Pagan Tradition Laurie Cabot with Jean Mills)
Throughout Britain ans Ireland, Christianity notwithstanding, the may Eve greenwood love making which so shocked the Puritans found its cheerful echo not only among the bilberries but in the Lammas (Lughnasadh) cornfields; on which the theme, if you like songs at your Sabbats, Robert Burns's It was upon Lammas Night- ( The Witches Bible)
Robert Burns It was Upon a Lammas Night
It was upon a Lammas night,
When the corn rigs are bonie,
Beneath the moon's unclouded light,
I held awa to Annie,
The time flew by, wi' tentless heed,
Till 'tween the late and early,
Wi' sma' persuasion she agreed,
To see me thro' the barley.
The sky was blue, the wind was still,
The moon was shining clearly,
I set her down, wi' right good will,
Amang the rigs o' barley
I ken't her heart was a' my ain,
I lov'd her most sincerely,
I kiss'd her owre and owre again,
Amang the rigs o' barley
I I loc'd her in my fond embrace,
Her heart was beating rarely,
My blessings on that happy place,
Amang the rigs o' barley!
But by that moon and stars so bright,
That shone that hour so clearly!
She ay shall bless that happy night,
Amang the rigs o' barley.
I hae been blythe wi' Comrades dear,
I hae been merry drinking,
I hae been joufu' gath'rin gear,
I hae been happy thinking
But a' the pleasures e'er I saw,
Tho' three times doubl'd fairly,
That happy night was worth the a'
Amang the rigs o' barley.
Corn rigs an' barley rigs,
An' corn rigs are bonie,
I'll ne'er forget that happy night,
Amang the rigs wi' Annie.
The beginning of August heralds the first harvest, Lughnasadh. Sacred to the Celtic Sun god Lugh, the man of many skills, this is the day to enjoy the first fruits of ones labors that began at Imbloc.
As the harvest of grain and corn, arrives, we begin to think about the coming autumn and winter. Even though the warm weather is still present, the sun slowly continues to rise each day further south and the nights become longer to single first harvest.
August first, Lughnasadh marks the point in the sun's cycle to remind us of the endless loop of birth, life and death.
In the first harvest of the wheel, we honor Lugh, son of Goddess of fertility, Danu, the great father of all, Dagna. The Goddess carried the young seed throughout the winter months then gave birth on Ostara. From that day forth Lugh grew in power and strength living his life on earth to mature at this time of the seasonal wheel.
Lugh is known as both Sun God and God of Grain.
Long ago Lugh saved Ireland from his grandfather, King Balor. The Formorians, living on the northwest coast of Ireland, ruled the people with an iron fist, laying laws and taxing any bounty they wished. Their great ruler, Balor,"of Strong Blows" was a Cyclops. As his glance would destroy anything in its path, his eye was always closed, but for those times it was required, Balor would command his guides to open the eye and place an ivory ring in the center to release the deadly power.
Balor had a daughter who later was united with a great warrior Dagna of the Tautha d' Dannan. By joining her beauty and his spirit they bought forth a son, Lugh,"of the Long Hand," When Balor learnt of the birth, he took the infant and cast him into the angry Irish sea. There he was rescued and raised in secret by the people of the Tautha d' Dannan who feared revenge from the mighty King Balor, leader of the Formorians.
Lugh possessed the magic of the Tautha d' Dannan. He grew to be a man of many skills. His father, Dagna was pleased to see a man so wise with the face of a god. Then, one day, when the soldiers from Balor's kingdom came to collect the taxes the King extorted from the Tautha d' Dannan, Lugh decided to take a stand against the Formorians. In the ensuing fight, nearly all the soldiers were slain, but for nine men who were sent back to tell King Balor of their defeat. Lugh gathered warriors to prepare for the battle he knew would surely come. When Dagna heard of the war being launched, he sought to protect his son by caging him with around-the-clock guards.
No one could have for seen the blood spilled of friends and enemies side by side that continued for days. In the confusion, Lugh escaped the prison to search for his grandfather, King Balor. He soon found the mighty Cyclops and challenged him to a one-on-one battle. The King jumped from his chariot commanding his guides to open his eye. They did as they were told and just set the ivory ring in place when Lugh fired a spear straight into the King's eye, spilling blood that brought death to all it touched. Once Balor was destroyed, the Formorians did not know how to survive. They knew only the force of arms and did not possess the knowledge of working as a team in their community.
Lugh spared the life of a captured enemy leader named Bres and gained in exchanged all his agriculture secrets. The legend states that four soldiers of King Balor's army who lived, dove into the northern sea and were exiled to the small islands around Connacht region of Ireland.