This ritual is for the one who feels called to Lúnasa as a threshold crossing, initiating you into the maturation phase of the seasonal cycle, to embody the gifts of your spirit and to share what overflows within you out into the world. The energy of Lúnasa takes us beyond individual notions of self and reveals to us our ecological belonging in an interconnected world, where who we are and what we become is for the benefit of all kin and kind. Orienting to this seasonal shift is a powerful way to reclaim your ancestral connection to radical joy and embodied aliveness. We invite you to create your own Lúnasa Ritual as a way to honor the changes taking place.
In this blog post you will find:
Sharing the Gifts of Inner Abundance
Lúnasa arrives right in the middle of Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox and is the first of the harvest festivals to celebrate the bounty of this time and also bear witness to Summer's yang energy in decline. For this reason, Lúnasa is an occasion to give thanks and to celebrate all that is abundant, nourishing and beautiful.
It's important to create space in your life to intentionally mark abundance and to see it reflected in the land and seasons because the weight and oppression of living under colonial capitalism can feel very heavy, and it is designed to keep us on the hamster wheel of productivity, to grind so hard that all the life juice is squeezed out of our lives so that we are too exhausted and depleted to pay attention to what actually feels good, fills us with life and nourishes our collective soul.
Taking time to pause, to bring people together, to celebrate and reflect is what is desperately needed in these times. That is why these seasonal markers are so necessary. They imbue our lives with meaning, remind us of what is good, and support us to orient our attention on the abundance that is always available to us. When we live in fear and scarcity - which is what western culture under capitalism feeds on - we live in a way that cuts us off from one another, from communal practices, sharing and generosity.
Lúnasa is an opportunity to strengthen our goodwill muscles, to expand our sense of self to include our neighbors and larger community, to give what little (or a lot) you may have to share with others. It is the SPIRIT that is abundant and this speaks of love. When we practice leaning into love, we counter narratives of fear that keep us isolated and separate. We build bridges instead of walls. We have surprising conversations with people who appear to be different from us and we begin to see that it's fear that gets in the way of seeing, listening, and giving in generous ways that unite and bond us.
Finally, Lúnasa falls in the month of August in the sign of Leo who is the BIG-HEARTED lion. It takes great courage (bravery of the heart) to shine your light, give without attachment, and reveal the authenticity of your spirit.
Themes, Symbols & Elements
Themes: Abundance, Gratitude, Sharing & Giving, Communion
Symbols: Grain, Corn
Colors: Still Green with every shade of Harvest from Golden, Yellow to Deep Orange!
Tree: Oak - good for stability and protection
Plants & Herbs: Blooming flowers, Corn, Grains of all kinds, Mint
God/dess(es): Celtic God Lugh, Grain Mother
Ways to Celebrate Lúnasa with Friends & Family
Enjoy a large feast with a bonfire, music & dancing
Make Corn Husk Dollies or Harvest Knots
Make bread and jams using local wheats/grains and fruits and berries
Share stories of the challenges and triumphs of the growing season
What You'll Need
1. Elements for your altar. Drawing on the symbols and elements offered above, consider what you might want to bring to your altar. Start simple. There is absolutely no need to go out and "buy" altar items. This is something that we encourage you to unlearn. Everything we need is within us and can be found around us. A simple candle will do, or a yellow flower for example.
2. Candle & lighter
4. Basket or bag for the Eco-Somatic Practice portion
3. Journal & something to write with for the journaling portion.
1. RIGHT RELATIONSHIP: being in right relationship with your spiritual practice means approaching each aspect with humility, curiosity and reverence. This includes checking yourself on the nature of how you relate to "objects" as things and the process itself.
For example, if you feel called to stones as part of your ritual, consider WHY first. Then contemplate the impact of whatever action comes next. For example, instead of mindlessly purchasing cheap precious stones from somewhere like amazon.com (which have more than likely been harmfully mined/extracted and then shipped across the world as part of the consumer machine that's destroying our planet), perhaps part of your spiritual practice is to resist such a prompting and instead take the time to go for a mindful walk in your backyard, or a nearby stream and see if the right stone presents itself to you.
2. BE MINDFUL & STRIVE FOR INTEGRITY ALWAYS.
To be done on the eve of Lúnasa
Create a Lúnasa Altar
Cleanse yourself & your space
1. CREATE A LÚNASA ALTAR
Altar items: Flowers, herbs, corn husks and beautiful grasses that are abundant where you live. Candles. Oak leaves. Any meaningful items or objects of importance that reflect your current phase of life.
Create an altar inside or outside: Find or make a space (like a table or at the base of an oak tree) that won't be disturbed and that will be used for creating your altar.
If appropriate place a colorful cloth over your altar. Place the candle(s) at the center surrounded with fresh flowers. Follow your intuition as you decorate.
2. CLEANSE YOUR SPACE & PURIFY YOUR MIND
SPACE CLEANSING: Cleansing, also known as purification, is the practice of clearing out and releasing negative energy from your space, as well as energy that’s just old, stale, stagnant, or no longer serving you. Here are a few different methods:
Physical cleaning: dusting, vacuuming, opening windows for fresh air
Salt: a common element used for purification and protection in many different cultures. To use, simply sprinkle salt along doorways and windowsills to protect them from negative energy entering or just keep a small bowl of salt on your altar or nearby surface.
Smoke cleansing: light incense or burn a bundle of dried herbs such as rosemary, cedar, or mugwort. Choose plants that you have grown yourself or that grow abundantly wild nearby, plants that you have ancestral tied to or just those that have been grown and harvested ethically. Never take more than 1/3rd if you are wild foraging, always seek consent and leave an offering when you do.
NOTE: If you do not have meaningful/authentic relationships to Indigenous culture and customs, "smudging" with white sage cultural appropriation and is dishonoring to Indigenous nations across Turtle island. It is important to understand that smudging is not just about burning sage to purify the negative energy from your space but is a sacred ritual that is culturally specific to tribes such as the Lakota Sioux, Comanche, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Navajo. If you have been gifted sage by an Indigenous friend, use to your discretion in how to engage with this medicine. This sacred plant is being abused, exploited and mass-harvested for commercial and consumer use which perpetuates the violence of white supremacy and settler colonialism. Take some time to locate yourself within a settler-colonial context interwoven with the land you currently occupy. Check out Native Land to learn the name and more about the territories you occupy.
CLEANSE & PURIFY YOUR BODYMIND
Take a shower our bath; visualize any negative energy that has accumulated in your auric field to be washed away as the water goes down the drain.
Meditate, center and take some time to ground in stillness and embodied presence.
Write or speak your intentions for your ritual out loud
3. LÚNASA INVOCATION
To be said at the front door on the eve of Lúnasa, July 31.
Lady of the land, open the door,
Lord of the Forest, come you in.
Let there be welcome to the bountiful compassion,
Let there be welcome to the Autumn of the Year.
In fruit and grain you are traveling,
In ferment and bread you will arrive.
May the blessed time of Lúnasa
Nourish the soul of all beings,
From the heights to the depths,
From the depths to the heights,
To the wounds of every soul.
- Caitlin Matthews
This ritual is all about SHARING YOUR GIFTS OF INNER ABUNDANCE which arise in relationship to the previous seasonal initiations, some of which include:
being in practice with your commitments,
aligning thought and action with deepest held values,
leaning into discomfort,
making mistakes, being accountable and learning as you go,
humbling yourself along the path while rooting into deep self-love and care practices that help you to maintain inner stability.
From here we can offer up whats flowing through - whether that be our stories and learnings, our loving presence or listening ear, our time and services - without narcissistic need, unspoken expectations, or attachment to outcomes. This is the stage in the seasonal turning that corresponds developmentally to the mature adult when a certain steadiness and responsibility have been established.
The energy of Lúnasa takes us beyond individual notions of self and reminds us of our ecological belonging in an interconnected world, where who we are and what we become is placed on the altar of life for all kin and kind.
Time Commitment: 2 hours (if you are following this template)
Opening - 15 minutes
Middle - 1.5 hours
Closing - 15 minutes
1. WRITE AN INTENTION & LIGHT YOUR CANDLE
An intention is a way to bring heart and mind into alignment. There is power in naming that which you are calling in.
When we speak to God/Spirit/Source/Allah, gods & goddesses, deities, ancestors, and forces of love, we acknowledge that we are not alone and that support and guidance is available to us as multidimensional beings who are interdependently woven into the fabric of existence. When we give voice to our intentions, we are speaking to the larger Self that encompasses the intelligence of the universe.
The intentions we give voice to now will stay with us and ripple through the unfolding of the seasons.
Example: "May this ritual serve to bridge the perceived gap between self/world and no-self, that I might deepen my devotional path to interbeing rooted in the wisdom of non-duality where notions of self dissolve into the many. May I give generously what is abundant and overflowing from within knowing that in giving, I too receive. May I receive the loving support and strength to continue emptying myself in service to all kin and kind."
2. LÚNASA BLESSING or PRAYER
*See below for examples
A blessing, invocation or prayer can be done in silence, but there is power in speaking words that come from your hearts deepest longing. A prayer is spoken to the animating, loving force of the universe - that which gives us life and is the source of love. How you call this permeating, loving presence is unique to each of us, but here are some words that you may have resonance with: Ancestors, place-based spirits and deities, god(s), goddesses, Allah, Source, Buddha, Creator, Spirit, Tao etc. It's important to remember that Spirit is not outside of you, but also within you... so when you pray, you're also praying to the deepest, divine aspect of your nature.
The Wheel has turned once more,
The first Harvest is at our door,
Giving us abundance of plenty,
We share them with our own and many,
Our dying Sun begins to fade,
As the Goddess bears the fruit they made,
The Sun will journey back to Earth,
In the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth.
- Source unknown
For creativity in its many forms we give you thanks For the skill of weaver potter, artist, sculptor needle worker all who take that which you have given and make with it something of beauty
For fruitfulness in its many forms we give you thanks For selfless love grace, wisdom, knowledge sacrifice all who take that which you have given and make with it something of beauty
- Author Unknown
1. GESTURES OF GRATITUDE (15 min)
This is a powerful yet simple practice that happens deep within your own interior. It's important to make it your own since I am sharing with you what has worked for me. The most important part of this is getting to the feeling of gratitude. I find that speaking out loud helps, but this is not necessary.
Find a comfortable position (somewhere outside our in front of your altar) either standing, sitting or kneeling. Place your hands on your heart and begin to contemplate what or whom you are most grateful for. Really allow yourself to bring an image to your minds eye along with a sensation/feeling. Sense WHY you are grateful. Consider the preciousness of what you are grateful for with awareness that all things change and eventually fade.
Speak words and/or offer a gesture of gratitude. Sense into it and let it flow. Here are two examples:
Let your hands gentle fall into the shape of a cup in front of you. Imagine what you are grateful for cradled in your hands. Offer a breath by blowing over your hands and you then spread your hands out in front of you.
Come into a kneeling position and bring your forehead down to the ground. This is called prostration. It is the placement of the body in a reverentially prone position as a gesture. Sense what it means to bring your head down to the earth where your feet reside.
Contemplate at least 5 aspects of your life that you are most grateful for or do this until you feel complete.
2. ECO-SOMATIC PRACTICE: Making an Earth Mandala (1 hour)
Making an earth mandala is a simple and creative way to connect with nature and invites you to offer a loving gift back to the land. This is an opportunity to enact your gratitude for the earth by interacting with the landscape in a creative and mindful way.
Benefits of Making an Earth Mandala:
Creates harmony, stability and balance
Orients us to place
Cultivates creativity and a sense of the sacred
Promotes ecological awareness
Find a quiet place in nature
This could be your backyard, a local trail, an open field, or nearby woods.
Begin by setting an inner intention to be fully present and to connect with the energy of the land where you are. Let this come through you... no need to overthink it.
Ask the land for consent to engage with them in this way.
Sense for a response before continuing.
Explore the Landscape
With no particular direction or end goal in mind, allow yourself to wander intuitively, paying attention to the places and beings that speak to you.
Use all of your senses to explore the landscape, enjoying the colors, lines, textures, aromas and sounds.
“Receive gifts from nature that call to you
Notice if there is a certain gift or treasure that calls out to you. This is felt intuitively, but it's helpful to understand it as a natural attraction. What catches your eye? What are you drawn to?
Sense if they want to be a part of your earth offering.
With reverence and without causing harm to any being, receive your treasure and place it in your basket or whatever it is you are using to collect your treasures.
Find a sacred spot to make your mandala
Assemble your Earth Mandala
As you lay your pieces down, infuse them with your prayers.
There is no right or wrong way to do this part. Have fun with it!
3. JOURNALING (15 min)
For this next part, find a comfortable place near your altar where you can write and reflect on any or all of the following journal prompts. Alternatively, you might simply wish to allow yourself to write without filters. What's most important is that you follow your own inner promptings and allow creative inspiration to flow.
Jot down a few thoughts as you contemplate the previous activities (if you did them):
What did I learn about myself from these activities?
What feels different now compared to before?
Where was I 6 months ago in early Spring? What were my hopes and intentions then?
What am I harvesting in my life right now? What is coming to fruition?
What have I learned? How have I been challenged?
What does generosity look like for me right now?
Where is there abundance in my life? How can I share and release some of that into the world?
In what ways can I offer my gifts in service to and love for my community at this time?
1. INTEGRATION (10 min)
Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down so that you can relax and sink into the gravity of earth's embrace. Notice how you feel and what it’s like to be in your body now. Dwell here in the vibration of inner abundance and gratitude. Soak in whatever sensations are present for as long as feels right to you.
2. OFFER GRATITUDE (5 min)
Offer gratitude to your body and heart, to the source of love within your, to your ancestors and all of those who have joined you in your ritual. Gratitude for the humbling descent that accompanies the journey of becoming and for the only constant that is change.
Take one final moment to pause...
Inhale, appreciating all of the gifts you've received.
Exhale, giving it all back from where it came.
Freeman, Mara. Rekindling the Celtic Spirit. 2000
Matthews, Caitlin. "Celtic Devotional: Daily Prayers & Blessings." 1996
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How are you celebrating Bealtaine or May Day?
What miracles are you bearing witness to?
How is nature teaching you?
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