Changing with the Seasons
At Imbolc (February) we see the spring maiden - Bride, Brigit, Brighde – young, fresh, just beginning to awaken with the first stirrings of life, the first green shoots.
By Bealtaine (May), she has grown to a greater, rounder fullness, maturing, awakening to her fertility, creativity, sensuality. She is blossoming into form, just like the flowers opening around her.
By Lughnasadh, (August) she is bearing fruit, and we celebrate the beginning of her bountiful harvest.
By Samhain (Hallowe'en), she has grown old, bent, withered and become the Cailleach, the crone, the old one, she who spins, the old wise woman capable of seeing into the dark and hidden places. Like the seed, she sleeps in the cold and dark of winter, awaiting the growing light that calls her back to new growth and the cycle repeats itself.
The festival of Lughnasadh
Lughnasadh marked the beginning of harvest time, the first fruits of the seeds and intentions planted last year. Corn dollies, feasting, sacred wells, fruits and flowers are all Lughnasadh motifs. In later times in Ireland this was called 'Garland Sunday', 'Fraughan Sunday', 'Reek Sunday' and was a time for decorating springs and wells with garlands of flowers. It was also a time for gathering blueberries or fraughans, for hand-fastings, and for gatherings on high hills, such as Croagh Patrick or Mount Brandon.
Lugh, the many-gifted-one ('samildanach'), initiated the festival of Lughnasadh with athletic games and challenges in memory of his foster-mother, the goddess Tailtu, who had cleared much of the central plain of Ireland for agriculture.
This year WWW are harvesting the fruits of the work of the Wise Woman Weekend founders and volunteers over the past 11 years. We honour our ancestors, the women who came before us and gave freely of their time and energy to call WWW into being, and to sustain it. We celebrate the present, and the gifts that the current Wise Woman Weekend vision team bring to carry and sustain the event, and we are also looking forward to harvesting the fruits of these gatherings for many years to come!