Lunasdal 2023

Lunasdal 2023

by Chris LaFond

Lunasdal always feels to me like one of the most community focused celebrations of the year. Though my heart always longs for the deep, quiet, cold of winter, there’s no denying the appeal of a food festival. And the best time to do that is when the food is ripe!

This ancient festival, observed by ancient Celts and other peoples of northern Europe, celebrates the first fruits of the season. Obviously, in New England, we have harvested a lot before this season: leafy greens, peas, radishes, fiddle heads, roots, asparagus, and so forth. But it’s now, as the summer turns from its height and begins to wane, that we gather the foods that will nourish us through the fall and winter months ahead.

Food & Community

Wheat and grains come into harvest season in late July, as well as fruits and vegetables that are appropriate for preservation: zucchini, tomatoes, squashes, corn, and so forth. This is what we celebrate as we gather to mark the turning of the season once again.

The community aspect of Lunasdal is also of prime importance. As with many indigenous communities throughout the world, the light half of the year is when the Celtic tribes would come together for all sorts of business. Of course, this would vary from place to place, but often this was a time for tribal members to intermarry, cementing political alliances outside of the tribe and strengthening the stability of the region.

Games and competitions were another common practice. These “pagan olympics” can still be perceived in modern day highland festivals which feature competitions and feats of strength.


About fifty members of EarthSpirit and guests gathered at Glenwood Farm on the first weekend of August to celebrate the season. We observed the transformation of the Green Man into a baked loaf; we made offerings to the Stones in the stone circle; the children presented seeds, roots, and leaves as a reminder of the many levels that go into growing the food that nourishes us.

Following the ritual, we shared of our own first harvests and enjoyed the perfect summer day.

Stones for the Season: Lughnassadh

Stones for the Season: Lughnassadh

by Sarah Lyn

Stone has a beautiful language. Anyone who has ever had a rock jump out at them has heard it. Pick me! Pick me! Before you know it, you have either slipped it into a pocket, or you find yourself holding it in your hand, uncertain of how long it has been there.

Deep stone sleeps but the closer to the surface it gets, the more connected it is to us and our life cycles. Some rocks just want to introduce themselves and have a conversation. Some rocks will bite and want to be left alone. And some rocks have been looking for you to take them on a quest to some unknown corner of the world they have only heard about in the whispers of the deepest bedrock (even if that’s just your front yard).  

[ALWAYS respect places that ask you NOT to take their rocks.]

The Trio

Different stones I encounter have different energies to them. Each sabbat, I put together a trio of stones to focus on for the following six weeks. It’s divination to me. I reach out into the web and see where we are in the world, creating a recipe of stone allies, and then I send that energy back out into the web.  

I don’t usually use the same grouping of stones every year, but a couple of times I have. I will work with the stones I choose in my night meditations until the next sabbat, sometimes individually and sometimes as a group.  

Lughnassadh, spelled many different ways, is a Celtic festival but is most familiar to people in the form of the county fairs and local harvest festivals we grew up with during August and September.  

We are reaping the rewards of the plants we have tended and nurtured. It’s a good time of year to put energy into finishing projects. To that end, I chose stones this year that spoke to me of growth and abundance, with the idea of reward for work done.

Now, at the harvest, do you see the seeds you planted? Are they the seeds you intended to sow?

My stones for Lughnassadh are a bit of a green dream team: Aventurine, Rhyolite, and Silverleaf Jasper.

The first stone I picked, Aventurine, is a favorite. It is a commonly-found stone, a kind of quartzite in various colors like blue, green, peach, and others I haven’t encountered. For me, the best Aventurine contains veins of mica flakes, and these are the only pieces I use for my magic. I chose one of my green pieces, for the earth energy.  

They are a favorite stone of mine to work with as they are accessible to anyone, at any level of magic and their main energy is abundance and support. Intuitively, when I need to represent a person, I almost always pick out an Aventurine to represent humans, as they are connected to the Earth. It’s like the stone wants to connect to people. So that is my association with the stone, and a foundation stone I always use for the harvest season.  

You are my cousin and I support your endeavors, aventurine says.

If you don’t know Rhyolite by one name, you may recognize it as Rainforest Jasper. Jaspers are the silent workhorses of the stone kingdom. You can find a kind of jasper compatible to be used in substitution for any other gemstone in spellwork. Think of them as understudies, ready to step in at the last minute. Maybe not as shiny, but just as powerful. I use Rainforest Jasper a lot in substitution for Garden Quartz, so I associate it with growing vegetation and bountiful harvest, whether literal or figurative.  

Stretch out and root, stretch up and thicken, rhyolite chants.  

The third stone is one I always pick up when I see it, even if I don’t always purchase it. Green Silverleaf Jasper is the artistic cousin in the jasper family. Its growth is a little gentler and comes with a flourish. So, this is a good stone to round out the trio. It acts as a bit of a muffler for people who aren’t quite ready to handle their growth, and also, as an aid to people who need some outside-of-the-box movement.  

It is what it is and it will be okay, silverleaf jasper says.

Together these stones harken abundance and growth, in however you need to take in that energy.

For Advanced Work

Chrysoprase is a bright apple green chalcedony. I would use this stone to do some deeper growth work as it works similarly to black tourmaline, in absorbing and then transmuting negative energies, but Chrysoprase does this only for the emotional body.  

Let’s face it, right now we’re all a bit burnt out. We could all use a little extra armor for our poor stretched and beleaguered hearts. If you are a highly-sensitive person, I recommend pairing black tourmaline and chrysoprase together for yourself.    

[Notes from Sarah Lyn: I never purchase rocks from people who do not know where they are sourced from. It’s important to know where your rocks come from so you can make informed decisions about where to put your money. For those of us buying tumbled stones at rock shows, we’re picking up the chips of what has already been cut from the earth, we are not part of the demand that influences the mining world. But know where your stones come from.]

Seasonal Celebrations 2022

At Lunasdal in early August, about 60 folks met for our annual ritual at the stone circle at Glenwood Farm. In September about 30 gathered for the Fall Equinox celebration, including some tending of the Trees in the Sacred Grove there.

The Green Man – a Lughnasad Tradition

by Juniper Talbot

The Green Man (photo by Andras Corban Arthen)

In our family tradition, Aidan and I use parts of our Yule Tree in different ways for the eight seasonal Celtic holidays – Yule, Spring Equinox, Beltaine, Summer Solstice, Lughnasad, Fall Equinox and Samhain.

 At the Summer Solstice, we create a Green Man out of branches from last year’s Yule Tree, woven together with vines. We then pick summer wildflowers and decorate him while we sing a song we wrote.

Green man, green man, formed of vines
In your body, flowers we entwine
Green Man, green man joined with the maid
Summer starts on your wedding day.

There is a secret hollow woven into his back, and as we approach Lughnasad, the Festival of the First Harvest, we ritually bake bread and tuck a small loaf inside this secret hollow. Since the First Harvest celebrates the reaping and cutting down of the growing things, we offer the Green Man to his Funeral Pyre and watch him burn, as we sing a song we wrote.

Tongues of flame, fire is burning
Ashes remain, the wheel keeps turning
Tongues of flame, old things burning
Ashes remain, feel peace returning

When the burning is complete, the small hidden loaf of bread is brought forth from the ashes, and we share in the nourishment of the Bread of Life, born from the Green Man’s sacrifice.

“John Barleycorn,” reenacted by the Bridges and Littles (photo by Andras Corban Arthen)

Fall Equinox

by Chris LaFond

In mid-September, about thirty members of EarthSpirit gathered at Glenwood Farm to celebrate the Fall Equinox, the coming cooler weather, the tipping of the seasons, and to tend the trees in the Sacred Grove. Of all our seasonal celebrations, this is the one that is a “working ritual.” Following the Sacred Land Walk, we process up the mountain to the Grove Shrine that EarthSpirit has been cultivating for many years. We spend time with each of the trees, and as part of our ritual, weed and mulch them, especially the smaller ones. We sing, dance, share food from our abundance, and socialize.

This year was a warm overcast day, perfect for doing a little gardening. Our Fall Equinox ritual is a good reminder that “celebrating” the Sacred Earth without giving back to her can sometimes be a somewhat empty gesture. The effects of climate change and global warming were obvious this year, in the condition of the trees and the amount of water available to them. But we adjust where we must, both in tending our groves and gardens, and in our own advocacy for the overall Web we are part of.

We plant and tend trees, often not for ourselves, but for the Earth and those who will come behind us. We are part of a Web of Life that has stretch from time immemorial, and will continue well beyond our own time here.

Fall Equinox 2022 (photo by Rowan Hawthorne)