The Goddess gives birth to the child conceived at Beltane: the dark God and the death of the Holly God hail the beginning of the sun's waning path. The harvest is collected for the winter, manifested as we share our personal harvest of the last year: our successes and proud achievements.
This is the first harvest of the year, which now is represented by a psychological and practical harvest of the past year’s achievements. As the sun wanes and ‘sets’ towards Yule, we seek to ‘set’ patterns for the winter months. The collection of our successes, achievements and recognition of our abilities is beautifully represented in this story of Lugh:
As a young man Lugh travels to Tara to join the court of king Nuada of the Tuatha Dé Danann. The doorkeeper will not let him in unless he has a skill with which to serve the king. He offers his services as a wright, a smith, a champion, a swordsman, a harpist, a hero, a poet and historian, a sorcerer, and a craftsman, but each time is rejected as the Tuatha Dé Danann already have someone with that skill. But when Lugh asks if they have anyone with all those skills simultaneously, the doorkeeper has to admit defeat, and Lugh joins the court and is appointed Chief Ollam of Ireland. He wins a flagstone-throwing contest against Ogma, the champion, and entertains the court with his harp. The Tuatha Dé Danann are at that time oppressed by the Fomorians, and Lugh is amazed how meekly they accept this. Nuada wonders if this young man could lead them to freedom. Lugh is given command over the Tuatha Dé Danann, and he begins making preparations for war.
From this story we can see the empowerment of seeing our strengths and the year’s achievements in front of us – to prepare for the rest of the year and perhaps in the sense of war ‘fight to keep our rights’ and to also focus on what this new moon represents for us as an esbat which focuses on independence, originality, progressive ideas, reformation, universal love, inventiveness, heightened perception, resourcefulness and individualism. Just as Lugh approached the doorkeeper with individual skills, combine yours & the year’s past achievements to pass the doorkeeper that is in your mind which may hold you back. The new moon is a time to restart and set new intentions, so with what skills and strengths you have – push them forward and celebrate those who have helped you to achieve these milestones. This ritual looks at setting those skills and strengths of the last year in place to move forward. This is the time to ignite your torch of inspiration for winter.