August Full Moon

This month’s Full Moon falls on August 3rd at 16.00 GMT on the 12th degree of Aquarius, with the Sun on the opposite 12th degree of Leo.  A Full Moon makes us aware of something, as the Sun (consciousness) is illuminating the Moon unconscious). This Full Moon appears in the same month as the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on August 12th and 13th.

Aquarius image over Full Moon
Aquarius Full Moon

One name for this moon is Sturgeon Moon, as this was the time when sturgeon would migrate up streams to spawn.  These tough, large fish have been traced back to around 136 million years ago and have changed little since then. Females take about 20 years to start reproducing, and they can only reproduce every 4 years. However, they can live up to 140 years!  So, they are known for longevity as a species and as individuals, enduring changes and challenges and having a lot of patience.  All things that most of us can relate to at this time.  They offer hope that we to will endure especially through the challenges we currently face).  The Sturgeon Moon gives encouragement to those experiencing tough times and the means for survival.

Sturgeon Fish
Sturgeon Fish

It is appropriate as the symbol for Aquarius is the Water Bearer, who symbolically provides life and spiritual food to the world.  The water from the vessel of Aquarius washes away the past, providing room for fresh starts.  The sign of Aquarius is forward-looking and growth-oriented. The sturgeon fish swimming into our lives shows we are stronger than we realise.

Aquarius Water Bearer
Aquarius Water Bearer

We often think of the Sun as the source of life-giving energy, but it is good to remember that the Moon, with her control of the ebb and flow of the tides, is also responsible for the welfare and sustenance of life on our planet and our bodies are made up of 90% water.  

Flowing water over rocks
Flowing water over rocks

Where will you find the strength, determination and energy to face your challenges?  Will you allow the water within your body to let you know when to make your way upstream?  When would patience be the better course of action to take? 

Lughnasadh Blessings!

As you make the first of your harvests, may you have something to celebrate and if you are struggling may Lugh the warrior aid you.

Lugh, God of Justice and Skills, a Judge and a Warrior
Lugh, God of Justice and Skills, a Judge and a Warrior

To find out more about Lughnasadh please go to


First thoughts on Lughnasadh: Count your Blessings

Lughnasadh (pronouced loo’nass’ah) is usually celebrated between 31st July-August 2nd in the northern hemisphere.  It is the first of the Harvest Festivals (Mabon, Autumn Equinox is the Second Harvest of Fruit and Samhain is the Third and final Harvest of Game).  Lughnasadh is the harvest of Grains, a time when crops have, or are being, gathered in for the winter to feed both humans and domestic animals.  It’ is the midway point between a solstice (Midsummer) and an equinox (Mabon) and is known as a cross-quarter day.

Lughnasadh, is named after Lugh (prounced loo), meaning bright.  He is an Irish solar God of Justice and Skills, a judge and a warrior. 

Lugh, the Irish God of Skills and Justice

Lughnasadh is also known as Lammas, from the Anglo/Saxon hlaef-masse, meaning loaf-mass, from the abundance of grain for making bread.  Therefore, this festival is a celebration of life, as its bounty enables life to continue through the harsh conditions of winter.  If the harvest was good is was a time of joyous merry-making as the hard work of gathering it in was over and it seemed the people in the tribe would survive the ravishes of winter. 

How has your harvest been this year – has it been a good year?  What do you have in your life to celebrate?  Who will you celebrate with?

Second thoughts on Lughnasadh: Gods and Goddesses of the land and Death and Rebirth

Lughnasadh may thought of as both the ending and beginning of a cycle of life experiences, as it is a celebration of life and death. The power of the sun (the God) gives life to the grain until it ripens. Then the grain is harvested, and the God is sacrificed so that life will return in the spring. The summer and light half of the year descends into winter and the dark half. The God from his zenith at Midsummer has slowly lost his energy and power and gives his life in order for life to continue.  He now begins his descent into the underworld, until his rebirth at Yule. 

Scything the grain
Men using scythes to cut the grain

The cutting of both the first and the last sheaf of grain was done with great ceremony.  The first sheaf, often cut at dawn, was ground and baked into the Harvest Bread and thanks given for the Sun’s life-giving energy reborn as life-giving bread which was then shared by the community.  The first barley stalks would go to make the first beer of the season.

The last sheaf was ceremoniously cut and made into one or several corn dollies, where the spirit of the God and Goddess lived, to be kept until the following spring to ensure a good harvest.  If the harvest had been good, the corn dolly was made into a Corn Maiden (see left) or if it had been a poor harvest it was made into a Cailleach. In some parts of Europe, the last sheaf was made into a large Corn Mother with a small baby inside it, representing the harvest of the following year.  The corn dollies would have an honoured place at the harvest banquet table and then live in the home above the fireplace until the following year. 

Other Gods associated with Lughnasadh are those with agricultural, solar and sacrificial aspects including Belenus, Cernunnos, the Dagda (see image on the left), Green Man and John Barleycorn.

Tailtiu, Great One of the Earth, is part of one of the Irish triads alongside Anu, Danu.  These Goddesses represent three different aspects of the birth, death and rebirth cycle.  Anu is the source, Danu is the movement and Tailtiu is the endurance essential in this cycle.  She represents vigour, strength and endurance.  She cleared the trees from large areas of Ireland so it could be tilled, planted grains and harvested.  She is mostly associated with the Plain of Brega, lying between the Boyne and the Liffey rivers, which has many sacred sites including Newgrange.  Tailtiu is a Sovereignty Goddess associated with the grain harvest and with crab apples, a symbol of rebirth.  Therefore, she represents the death of the growing season and the seeds of regeneration.

Also, she was the Foster mother of Lugh who created the Tailtean games to honour her, which took place at this time.

Other Goddesses related with Lughnasadh are associated with grain, agriculture, harvest, abundance include Aine, Ceres, Cerridwen, Danu, Demeter, Epona, Freya, Nantosuelta, Persephone, and Rosemarta.

Suggested words for your celebration of Lughnasadh;
‘I call upon the goddess Tailtui, the great one of the earth, goddess of the wild fruits and the harvest fields, come to me here on your sacred day.  Bless me and let me feel your presence. Blessed be!’
‘Lugh lord of many skills, lord of justice and wisdom, I call you to my circle here on this sacred day, named in your honour.  Come to me here, with your wisdom enlighten my heart and mind, and bless me.  So mote it be!  (Danu Forest, The Magical Year p. 185)
Call on Lugh, as a master of skills and a fierce warrior, to overcome challenges, improve your chances of success
‘Lugh of the long arm, lord of many skills, honour and praise to you.  Please come to my aid.  I ask your assistance to learn all that I need to grow and overcome my difficulties honourably and with pride.  So mote it be!’  (Danu Forest, The Magical Year p. 162)

What will you reap at this time?  What will you put aside to last you through the winter?  How much are you willing to sacrifice for the greater good?  What will you allow to die, in order for there to be growth in the spring?  How can you increase your endurance?

Third thoughts on Lughnasdh – Thing to Do

Here is a list of suggestions of things to do and make to celebrate Lughnasadh

  • Bake bread
  • Gather Grains, Fruit, Berries, Flowers etc. to represent the harvest for your sacred space
  • Gather Seeds to sow next year
  • Gather things in celebration of abundance and joy e.g. Photos of family/friends, Leaves (garden/nature), Feathers (birds/creatures) etc for your sacred space
  • Make a Corn Dolly or Grain Mother
  • Make Garland/Headband of leaves, grains and the last of the flowers
  • Make Salt Dough goddess
  • Smudge your home giving thanks to each direction, to Cleanse and Protect it for the coming darker months; Juniper, Lavender, Meadowsweet, Mugwort, Rosemary are ideal
  • Use a Besom to sweep in Abundance
  • Work with Crystals to release outdated beliefs, thoughts, behaviours etc.

You might like to use Lughnasadh to achieve any of these to improve your life  

  • A time to look back in remembrance and forward with optimism
  • Accomplish something
  • Bring to fruition your intentions that you set in winter/early spring
  • Make a personal sacrifice
  • Overcome challenges
  • Prepare for the coming darkness
  • Prepare for the death of something to allow it to be reborn
  • Release that which did not survive to maturity
  • To find more enjoyment in life
  • Transform that which is not working well into something more beneficial

You might like to add these, or their representations to your seasonal sacred space

  • Animal: Bee, Bull, Cow, Goose
  • Colours: Gold, Orange, Yellows (God); Red (Goddess as mother); all Greens
  • Element: Fire
  • Flowers: Marigold, Meadowsweet, Mint, Sunflower
  • Moon Phase: Waning
  • Planet: Moon, Sun
  • Plants: Grains e.g. barley, oats, rye, wheat
  • Trees: Apple, Bramble, Gorse, Hazel, Rowan

Weekly Ogham Readings

brief sayings to take with you through your week

Fearn/Alder Stave

Fearn/Alder: ‘Always Shield Yourself to Prevent Blood Being Spilt’

MHC is back Working in person!

Just reminding everyone that Mintlaw Holistic Centre is no longer operating from South Street.  It has moved to 10 Sutherland Close, Mintlaw where Jane will be offering the following Therapies, Readings and Courses, which will adhere to current regulations.

Aura Cleansing

Chakra Balancing

Colour Therapy

Crystal Therapy

Essence Therapy

Natural Combination Therapy

Reiki and Absent Reiki

Sound Therapy

Tuning Fork Therapy

Tarot and Oracle Readings

Ogham Readings

I will be running Various Workshops about working with Crystals, Tarot, Wheel of the Year etc.

Contact me if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment.  Go on you deserve it!

FB Mintlaw Holistic Centre; Tel: 01771 622130; Email:

Finding comfort in hard times…

This one-footed gull hopped onto the car bonnet this morning by Peterhead lido. It took advantage of the warm engine to settle down. Despite its disability it looked in good shape. Isn’t nature and the will to survive a marvellous thing. A good lesson for us all in these challenging times. Blessings to the Gull!

July’s Full Moon

July’s Full Moon falls on 5th July at 04.46 GMT on the 14th degree of Capricorn, with the Sun on the opposite 14th degree of Cancer. The New Moon was on 21st June at 06.43 GMT on the 1st degree of Cancer, which was the time of the Summer Solstice.  This Moon may be seen to turn a shade darker in North and South America and Africa, as it is eclipsed by the Earth’s penumbral shadow during a penumbral lunar eclipse (as last month).

This Full Moon is known variously as Buck Moon as male deer are growing their antlers, Thunder Moon, due to a prevalence of thunderstorms this month, Meadow/Hay Moon and Blessing Moon from the abundance that nature is producing at this time; fruits, flowers, grains, herbs are all in profusion.

Often in July we feel a bit sluggish with the heat, so this is a good time for meditation and dream work, or full moon water scrying.  The energies surrounding this full moon are ones of success, happiness, and fulfilment.

Maybe your priorities have changed in recent months, so now is a good time to reassess what you want to succeed in and make plans to bring you happiness and fulfilment? 

Pagan Circle Learning Group

Is anyone interested in finding out more about aspects of Paganism? Things like the Wheel of the Year, the Elements and the Directions, Deities, Rituals, Protection, Working Non-medicinally with Trees & Herbs etc.?

Pentagram showing the Elements and Symbols
Pentagram showing the Elements and Symbols

I am excited to invite you to a Zoom meeting on Saturday 4th July 2020 at 2.00pm when I will be holding a FREE Introduction to the Pagan Circle group. I was hoping to start this group in person but due to current restrictions have decided to start a virtual group!

During this first introductory meeting we can discuss which of the many areas within this topic are the most popular and decide what to include in our Circle meetings. This would primarily be your Circle with information about what interests you. There is so much to explore, experience and think about!

This initial meeting will be conducted via Zoom and last for 30 minutes. Please contact me if you intend joining by Friday 3rd July with your email address, so that I can invite you to attend.

We can discuss subsequent meeting times and frequency etc. during this inaugural meeting. There would be a minimal fee for subsequent course meetings. I am eager for us to start. Will you be joining me?

Crystals, leaves, feather, candles and oil - all things that might be used in a pagan circle
Crystals, leaves, feather, candles and oil – all things that might be used in a pagan circle

Strichen Stone Circle

Recumbent and Flanker Stones of Strichen Stone Circle
Recumbent and Flanker Stones of Strichen Stone Circle

Photos from my walk to Strichen Recumbent Stone Circle in Aberdeenshire this morning. It has become overgrown since my last visit. Great panoramic views. For me, not much sense of a Circle history, as each stone feels separate, but each individual stone remembers so much. Perhaps this may be explained from the history of this Circle. This is just one of many stone circles in my part of the world, north-east Scotland.

Strichen Stone Circle is about 15m in diameter, rising from a continuous circle of much smaller stones.

James Boswell and Samuel Johnson visited in 1773 because the latter was keen to see “a Druids’ temple” and Boswell had visited there 15 years previously. However, in 1773 they found that “all that remains is two stones set up on end, with a long one laid upon them, as was usual and one stone at a little distance from them”. In 1830 a tenant farmer pulled down even these remaining stones, though he was ordered to put them back by the laird. The circle he re-created appears to have had little in common with the original erected here around 4,000 years ago and was even in a slightly different place.

The farmer’s re-erected circle was itself removed by bulldozer in 1965. In 1979 the local community council launched an initiative to restore the circle. A major archaeological excavation commenced and over the following four years the circle was rebuilt by local volunteers in its original location.

Here are some photos from my visit 25 June 2010.

Seeing the World

Sky and Mountain with Trees and Water; our home and relations
Sky and Mountain with Trees and Water; our home and relations

What do you think? What are your challenges?

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