Saturday 30 July 2011

Lammas, 1 August

Band performing in Assisi
Lughnasadh, or Lammas, is one of the eight so called Celtic festivals, traditionally associated with the first of August. It originated as a feast celebrating the Irish deity of light, Lugh, later encompassing all harvest godheads, honouring the beginning of the reaping season with community gatherings and markets.

This is the climax of warmth and luminosity, exuberance and performance. It is as well the funerary feast of the god of light, which also involves acknowledging cold and darkness, the other polarity of the cycle. When life appears to be at its peak on one side, death is thriving on the other.

Hence at Lughnasadh, as in all truly holistic celebrations, all polarities are encompassed, with everyone and everything, holy and profane, finding their sacred space on the wheel of existence.

Our completion feast in the main square of Assisi during the Astroshamanic Summer Retreat may stand out as an example, with friars and nuns blending with trance dancers and men in pink tutus (see photo above, and video by clicking here)

Death and life, day and night, light and darkness, all pairs of opposites engage simultaneously at all times. While the northern hemisphere is in the midst of summer, in the southern hemisphere winter reigns supreme, as the sun rises in one part of the world it sets in another. With our limited perception we experience life as linear, getting used and attached to one polarity, while neglecting the other until with time, often to our discomfort and disbelief, what is ignored inevitably takes over.

We may even work hard to prevent the opposite side from emerging, denying and repressing it, obdurately holding onto a separate reality. We may be dead, and yet we believe we are living, or we may be living, though we assume we are dead.

Just as there is a part in us thriving with life, another is dead. While a side is joyful, another is sad, one is dark and the other luminous, poor and rich, ill and healthy, and so on. All opposites live within us, constantly interacting and merging. Some shine on stage, while others lurk behind the wings, waiting for their turn to come. Yet they keep all being here at the same time.

At the heart of ancient ceremonies and gatherings, shamanic rituals and events, as well as their contemporary equivalents, lies the awareness of life as a vast multidimensional theatre production. These events were and are times of deep reunion, with all actors and characters coming together and being acknowledged, while also providing opportunities for swapping roles, exploring new stories, establishing novel connections or releasing old ones. And, most importantly, these gatherings also draw the directors and producers, those who manage the entire comedy or drama of life.

Leo is the traditional sign of theatre, drama, actors and of all those who shine in the limelight of life. It is associated with royal power, the alchemical gold and the Sun. Yet, with all respect, this is not the sun that comes and goes, drastically changing its effects according to seasonal or daily shifts. Nor it is solely the sun of monarchs and show stars, academic awards and political leaders. It is a deep inner Sun, capable of bestowing generous gifts at all times.

We may find this ongoing Sun by retrieving our hidden and denied parts, by acknowledging what was formerly eliminated from our consciousness. Surprisingly, in order to find the veritable source of light we need to travel into the darkness, facing all apparent areas of anguish and distress. We need to suspend our judgments and truly getting to know the areas we find difficult to accept, ceasing to act as if they don’t exist or to regard them as horrible or nonsense.

What if the bits that we find harder to accept in ourselves end up being our best qualities and gifts?

We may be so frightened by true light and life, so full of shame and prejudices about our authentic treasures that we bury them away, displaying instead our worst bits to the world, paradoxically believing that they are the best. Many of us strain to express what is dead in their life, while repressing what is alive, serving a world obsessed with conventional appearances and missing the brightness of their inner Sun.

Yet, no matter how we try to conceal it, this light regularly returns and shines upon us. It glows upon all the crucial cross-roads on our path. It encourages us to let go of our decayed scripts and roles, of what is dead and long to take its course. It shines upon the blooming parts we are truly meant to play and dance in the theatre of life.

I wish you a most fruitful ripening of all the treasures generously available for you to enjoy and share with your beloved ones.


For music associated with Leo click here
For movies associated with Leo click here
For books associated with Leo click here

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