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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Brón Trogain 2014

  This year we are celebrating Lughnasa by it's older name of Brón Trogain. For my family it begins today, July 31st as we go out and start picking berries. Berry picking for several years has been the main activity of our holiday, the way we officially begin celebrating.
wineberries
 We have allowed large sections of our backyard to be taken over by berries, producing a thicket of thorns and fruit that provides an ample harvest. In the morning my children and I went out and began picking the ripe berries, working our way around the yard, weaving over and under the sharp branches. As we went I told them stories of the Tuatha Dé Danann and of the Gentry. I also recited this prayer:
"On Brón Trogain at the rise of the sun,
With the sun rising, warm, in the east,
I will go forth into the morning light,
And I will reap the harvest
 I have sown.
I will stand under the open sky
With the fruitful earth all around me,
I will raise my eye upwards,
I will turn on my heel quickly,
Rightway as travels the sun
From the airt of the east to the west,
From the airt of the north with motion calm
To the very core of the airt of the south.
I will give thanks to the Gods who bless me
For the growing crops of the ground,
Who give food to us and to the flocks
I will give thanks to the Gods who bless me
For the harvest that flourishes in my life
Whatever that harvest may be
And I will offer to them, sharing what I have"
my daughters pointing out a patch of Jewelweed next to a berry patch
  After we filled our bowl - with plenty left unpicked - we made offerings on our outdoor altar. My oldest daughter asked if she could have a few berries to offer to the daoine sidhe; she took a handful and went and prayed for a bit before leaving them beneath our hawthorn tree. My younger children were more interested in eating the results of our efforts themselves (I believe my son may have eaten his own weight in berries). 
 After the berry picking - and offering and eating - we had our version of athletic games, which mostly ends up being foot races, ball tossing and playing tag. The age range and needs of the children mean we have to choose things that will be more for fun than to show skill, but the intent is certainly there. We also added some prayer ribbons to our fairy tree and decorated our outdoor altar with flowers. 
   We held a small ritual to honor Macha and Nuada, with offerings of berries and of straw and prayers for blessing and protection. We also offered ghee to the ancestors, Other Crowd, and Gods in thanks for the blessings that provide the harvest we are enjoying. Divination was done with the Ogham and the message received was quert (apple).
   Thus begins our holiday....

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