Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer Newsletter

Lughnasadh Blessings!

The wheel turns past Summer Solstice once again, and we approach the Solar cross-quarter Celtic holiday of Lughnasadh, coming up next week. In the modern Irish language, the month of August is still called Lúnasa, after the name of the god Lugh and his feast in celebration of Tailltú. The customs surrounding the first of August are varied, but many of them involve food in one way or another. In the early Anglo-Saxon church, the loaf-mass was a blessing of the first bread of the season (and is also thought to be the root of the modern word "Lammas" ) and was celebrated as the feast of the first fruits. This celebration is all about the first harvests of the year, and in modern times is often signalled by the first mysterious arrival of zucchini or tomatoes upon the front porch. 

Folklorist Máire MacNeill has described Lughnasadh as "A solemn cutting of the first of the corn of which an offering would be made to the deity by bringing it up to a high place and burying it; a meal of the new food and of bilberries of which everyone must partake; a sacrifice of a sacred bull, a feast of its flesh, with some ceremony involving its hide, and its replacement by a young bull; a ritual dance-play perhaps telling of a struggle for a goddess and a ritual fight..." Source: Wikipedia 

Although we no longer depend on the amount of food that we alone can grow, modern people who celebrate earth-based spirituality often mark the day with a feast of foods gathered from their own gardens or grown within their local community. Even if we do not grow some portion of what we consume, we can give thanks for our sustenance, and mark the harvest of our labor in other ways. If you would like to mark the First Harvest on your own, a simple way is to prepare some food for yourself, and recite this prayer before you begin. As you eat, think about all that has gone into making your meal possible, from the seed to the harvest to your table. Include an intention of thanks for all of the people and energy involved in making your food ready for you. You can also consider what you have done in the past year that has now come to fruition. If you would like, you can read this page for some traditional Irish dishes to prepare. 

Prayer for Lughnasadh

Now is the time of the First Harvest,when the bounties of nature give of themselves so that we may survive.

O God of the ripening fields, Lord of the Grain, grant me the understanding of sacrifice as You prepare to deliver Yourself under the sickle of the Goddess and journey to the lands of eternal summer.

O Goddess of the Dark Moon, teach me the secrets of rebirth as the Sun loses its strength and the nights grow cold.
by Scott Cunningham

Mercury Retrograde in Leo

Are you feeling the effects of this Mercury Retrograde? The planet went into retrograde on the evening of July 14th, and we are about halfway through the main retrograde period, which ends on August 8th. The shadow period afterward will last until about Aug. 21st. But what does Mercury retrograde in Leo mean to you?

Firstly, if you are a native (Sun) fire sign (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) or have these signs strongly represented in your personal planets - you are probably feeling this one a bit more intensely than other people. All of the retrogrades in 2012 affect the fire sign natives, starting with Aries in April, Leo (July/August) and Sagittarius in November.  

In this hot summer retrograde, tempers are highly prone to flaring up intensely over real or imagined slights, and arguments can be sparked over seemingly minor issues. Since Leo is the sign of fatherhood in general, the relationship between fathers and their children (of any age!) can be highlighted by this phase. Since retrograde periods often affect buried feelings or emotions, you may get a chance to re-examine your relationship, whether good or bad with your father.  

All is not negative with this retrograde cycle though, and there are many positive qualities that may be present. For instance, Leo represents leadership and strength of will, so during this time, you may be able to uncover a hidden talent or latent strength. You may also rediscover passions that have been dormant or find a new interest in something you once enjoyed. 

Leo is also considered to be the ruler of the heart, and so some may experience the rekindling of old flames or begin a new passion with someone from the past. Whatever you experience during this time, try to be aware of the pitfalls of arrogance and self-centeredness, instead highlighting the higher realms of compassion and generosity that are hallmarks of the evolved Leo spirit. 

Regardless of what this retrograde brings you, you should always try to approach the sometimes distruptive influences of the retrograde with calm, patient humor, a go-with-the-flow attitude, and keep in mind this advice about things to do, along with some past advice about Mercury in Leo) in this post Of Lughnasadh and Leo from last year.

Sacred Circle News

We have just finished our Annual Meeting, that scintillating event where budgets are approved, Offices filled and any other official yearly business is handled.

We have been focusing a lot of energy on the beautification of our Temple, and our next  improvement coming up will be the building of a front porch area which will include space for benches and shoe storage. We will also be looking to rebuild or improve our access ramp for those who attend who may be unable to navigate stairs. 

In the realm of our Officers, we are very pleased to welcome back our friend Clove into the Office of Water. She has always brought a sense of calm and peace to our Board Meetings, and we thank her for returning to the circle! 

We would also like to thank Rev. Lady Avalon Starr for fulfilling a full three year term in the Office of Fire! She has done an amazing job as our Events coordinator and we extend our gratitude to her for all her hard work and organizational skills. Although Avalon will continue to serve the Church in an unofficial capacity in the interim, we are in need of a new Office of Fire. If you or someone you know is great at organizing events, throwing parties, arranging workshops or get-togethers, and is interested in filling this position, please contact or attend any of our upcoming Board meetings. The Offices are one-year terms, renewable for up to three years. 

Upcoming Events

Astrology Cafe - Friday, July 27th  - 7 pm
The Sacred Circle Temple - 3464 W. 3800 S.

Teen Grove Rockhounding Trip, Sat. July 28th - 1 pm
Meet at The Sacred Circle Temple - 3464 W. 3800 S.

MoonCraft - Sunday, Aug. 5 - 3 pm
The Sacred Circle Temple - 3464 W. 3800 S. 

Charmed Goddess Campout - Aug. 10-12th
Contact for more info 

Astrology Cafe - Friday, Aug. 17th  - 7 pm
The Sacred Circle Temple - 3464 W. 3800 S.

Open Circle - Sunday, Aug 19th - 3 pm
The Sacred Circle Temple - 3464 W. 3800 S.

Special Announcement

Psychic Faire & Yard Sale - Oct. 13th

We are actively seeking readers, volunteers and vendors for our Fall Psychic Faire. We also need donations of gently used in items in good condition for our concurrent Yard Sale.

Contact Avalon at for more information.