On Sunday, August 2nd, Líithi Lushede Coven held their public Lughnasadh ritual at the beautiful Waterfall Park in Independence, MO. August is typically the hottest month of the year in Kansas City but we were pleasantly surprised with a mild 84F and low heat index. I definitely remember being more "melty" at the last ritual, so this was fantastic!
The Lughnasadh ritual was also a welcome distraction from my husband's recent surgery. While I didn't want to leave him for too long, I was met with so many caring and concerned faces who asked how we were and if there was anything they could do to help. Some offered distance Reiki and others candle lightings. While I would never want to take more than we need, this was a firm reminder of just how blessed I am to be a part of this community.
Today's ritual began with the lovely Liithi Lushede High Priestess Gwenhwyfar Wyrrd and Jason acting as High Priest casting the circle to a chant.
Everyone in the circle was then cleansed with purified water...
... and incense.
Each quarter was called beginning with East/Air.
Once the quarters were called, we turned to the center.
Gwenhwyfar called upon the Norse goddess Sif, connected to the earth and recognized by her beautiful, long and luxurious hair.
Jason called upon the storm god Thor, bringer of agricultural abundance and also Sif's husband.
Together, Jason and Gwenhwyfar explained Thor and Sif's connection to Lughnasadh. The August holiday is known for harvest and protection, but also sacrifice. And so, like the god Lugh, we tend to celebrate gods and goddesses who have made extreme sacrifices for the fertility of the land. However, for this ritual, they wanted to focus on a different kind of sacrifice: The unwilling sacrifice in Sif's story.
Sif, with her long, straw-colored hair, was one day put into a deep sleep by the trickster god Loki. Loki, knowing how much Sif's hair meant to her and thus to her husband Thor, robbed her of every hair from her head by cutting her bald. Sif, upon finding out that her hair was gone, cried great tears that brought torrential rains to all the fields. Of course, once Thor found out what his brother did to his lovely wife, he became enraged and wanted to kill him, antagonizing the storm below. However, because Odin's law required no killing of the gods in Asgard, Loki was summoned in hopes he might be able to return Sif's hair to her.
How Sif's hair was returned is a bit of a mystery. That being said, Gwenhwyfar's rendition explained that Loki, being the conniving and charismatic fire god he is, convinced Thor that he could find someone to spin her the most beautiful hair of gold the world and heavens have ever known. And so Thor placed the crown of gold-spun hair upon her head: A crown of hair which became synonymous with the golden fields of corn and wheat. Because Sif, a goddess with strong connections to the earth, and thus Thor, an agricultural fertility god, were both overcome with joy, the earth too was overcome with abundance and fertility. Thus the sacrifice of Sif's hair brought about a bountiful harvest for all in the end.
With the completion of the story, John the Bard began playing.
A sacrificial harvest candle was lit. Each person who attended was asked to pluck a hair from their head and dance the spiral dance to sacrifice that hair in the candle's flame for the harvest.
Because Lughnasadh is opposite Imbolc on the Wheel, it's only fitting that this would also be perfect for new members to dedicate themselves to Liithi Lushede Coven! After holding a Wicca 101 course over the winter, Liithi Lushede found themselves with seven new Year and a Day dedicants!
Each new dedicant read an oath, was blessed with oil and given a cord by a member of Liithi Lushede. Congratulations one and all!
Gwenhwyfar and Jason then broke the bread, a symbol of sacrifice.
Gwenhwyfar also offered ale up to the earth, yet another sacrifice for the harvest.
Once the bread and ale were blessed...
... each guest was offered a bit of each during the cakes and ale portion of the ritual.
With that, community announcements were made and the circle was closed.
Of course, the closing of the circle is never the end of the festivities. A full potluck gives the community a chance to sit down and eat with their fellow members. Liithi Lushede also offers up a raffle of donated items which helps them fund each sabbat. There was even a small bubble station for kids and adults alike!
It's been a while since I've been able to stay for the aftermath of ritual and this time was no different: I needed to get back home to my husband. But Liithi Lushede rituals are always a blast. I never regret coming! And this time was no different. If you'd ever like to attend a Liithi Lushede Coven public ritual or any of the other wonderful pagan community meets around Kansas City, check out the Kansas City Witches Meetup group for more information!
Blessed Lughnasadh wishes to all!