Lughnasadh has aspects of the death-rebirth process. The fertility of spring is coming to full realization with the beginning harvest. The light half of the year is moving toward darkness but we know that life will be reborn again; this is a time for celebration and gratitude…
As a contemplative practice, the construction of land art is an embodiment of sacred space. It is a physical manifestation and acknowledgement of the awareness of the reciprocal relationship between the human soul, place, earth, and the universe…
Though traditionally celebrated on August 1, we had our Lughnasadh celebration last Sunday, closer to the astronomical date this year, which was the 9th. After brief introductions and chats on the wheel of the year, we went on a contemplative nature walk to commune with the spirits of Danu. (During this walk we had an encounter with a blue heron taking flight out of the stream which we were walking by and flying directly overhead. This was significant as we had also been discussing the symbolism of cranes and herons as threshold creatures and messengers from the gods). After the walk we arrived at Visionsong and set up an altar space and did a contemplative place bonding exercise. We followed this by the construction of a stone labyrinth in the central area. We will probably continue to add stones to the labyrinth to make it ‘fuller’, but we got a good start on the outline (pics below). After this, we had a ‘farmer’s market potluck’ feast of corn chowder, peppers, radishes, and apple pie.
As a contemplative practice, the construction of land art is an embodiment of sacred space. It is a physical manifestation and acknowledgement of the awareness of the reciprocal relationship between the human soul, place, earth, and the universe. The building of the labyrinth is two-fold act of creation – inner and outer. We build in the outer, feeling the stones and the earth, experiencing the warmth of summer, and witnessing the unification of place with ourselves and each other. We build in the inner as we then walk the labyrinth to the center, through the maze of life, emerging in the middle which is symbolic of the Self. The Self is a Jungian archetype, emerging through the unification of consciousness and unconsciousness and is the embodiment of the psyche as a whole. The Self, according to Jung, is realized through the process of individuation, which in his view is the process of integrating one’s personality and holding the tension between the different psychic energies of the personal and collective. For Jung, the Self is symbolized by the circle (especially when divided in four quadrants), the square, or the mandala. Seen as a mandala, the labyrinth symbolizes all of the aspects of our psyche, the individuation process, and realization of self.
This is significant on Lughnasadh for we walked the labyrinth with the intention of moving closer not only to the center of our souls but also to the sacred space within which it is constructed. By coming closer to the center of the place, we are bridging from that place and moving toward the center of the grand ecology of the environment, universe, and spirit. This is the marriage in the name of Lugh – ecological individuation. Jung wrote that there are two centers of the self. The one is center of consciousness – the ego, whereas the center of the whole person (the soul) is the Self, which includes consciousness, the unconscious, and the ego. Within the grand ecology of the Visionsong labyrinth, the idea of Self takes on new dimensions – we are no longer a Self separate from the universe, we are a Self that is the earth and universe.
Lughnasadh has aspects of the death-rebirth process. The fertility of spring is coming to full realization with the beginning harvest; the light half of the year is moving toward darkness. But we know that life will be reborn again, and this is a time for celebration and gratitude. As we walk the labyrinth toward the center of ecological individuation, our old, limited self dies, and our new, larger self is born. Remembering this on the harvest festival of Lughnasadh is a way to express our gratitude, celebrate our unity, and re- awaken to the inherent oneness of humanity and the earth.