Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Macha Lughnasadh Ritual

      For myself Lughnasadh is a time to honor Macha.  In Ireland Lughnasadh was celebrated with games of skill and horses races.  One of the events during Lughnasadh was known as "óenach" which is glossed as "a contention of horses" and would have included swimming and racing horses (O'Donovan, pg. 127-128). It can be speculated that these races may have been a way to showcase the best of the herd and whose stock would be the most sought after for sale during such harvest festivals.  When we look to the Morrigan’s mythology there is a pretty significant horse race that occurs at an unnamed assembly.  We can only speculate that Macha races the king’s horse during this festival, but given Lughnasadh’s association with horse racing it would make sense.      
   For this ritual the quarter calls are less about the elements so much as telling the story of Macha’s race.  If doing this as a group ritual you may wish to read a version of the story to those gathered or create your own retelling (or re-enactment even) of the story for those who may not be familiar with it. 
   It goes something like this.  Macha appears one day at the door of a widower, she becomes his wife and as a result his fields become fertile, his house is set in order, and Macha becomes pregnant with twins.  When her husband leave to attend a great fair she tells him not to speak or boast about her.  He agrees but of course breaks his word and boasts that his wife is faster then the king’s  finest horses.  The wrong people overhear this and the kings tells him to prove the boast.  Macha heavily pregnant is forced to race the king’s horses, her pleas of mercy, asking to wait until her children are born, go unheard.  Being no ordinary woman she wins the race, but falls down upon the finish line and gives birth to twins, before passing back into the Otherworlds.  With her final breath she cursed the men of Ulster to feel the pangs of a woman in child birth in the hour of their greatest need, a curse that plays out in other myths concerning Ulster.
   Both the story and Lughnasadh make me think about sacrifice, about what we must or are willing to let go of to become whole or to achieve our dreams.  The harvest is a sort of sacrifice.  The plant’s life is ended to create food for us.  A necessary ending to fuel other life.  Similarly Macha  reminds us that sometimes sacrifices must be made.  We must go through trials by fire in life to accomplish our goals, to learn and grow.    

You Will Need:
Grain and whiskey (or other offerings to Macha)
Offering bowl
Candle or statue to represent Macha

Cast circle saying:

                 As Macha marked the boundary of  Emain Macha
          so do I mark the boundaries between this world and the Otherworlds,
                              between the realm of flesh and spirit,
                       between this time and that place beyond time,
                         where myth, truth, and mystery become one.

As you go to each quarter take a pinch of the grain and scatter it in each quarter (or in an offering bowl at each quarter if you are inside)


                              Come Macha, come!
                            Faery, Goddess, Queen
                      From the faery mound you came
                        Macha with the red tresses
                         Hooded crow, mare mother,
                       Taking mortal flesh for a time


                            Come Macha, come!
                          Faery, Goddess, Queen
           To Crundchu, son of Agnoman you came
                 Bringing with you your blessings
           Fields ripe with grain, vines heavy with fruit
                     Womb swollen with new life


                           Come Macha, come!
                        Faery, Goddess, Queen
                             A boast fulfilled
                       A mother’s plea unheard
                 Across the king’s field you race,
               Hooves pounding upon the ground
                      Unstoppable, untamable


                               Come Macha, come!
                             Faery, Goddess, Queen
                      A babe wails, the victory is won
                  A curse with a dying breath is uttered
     Shucking off your mortal form you are the crow again
          You become Macha of the faery fens once more

   Return to the center of the circle.  If using a candle to represent Macha light it.  Pour the whiskey and grain into the offering dish or on the ground if you are outside, saying:

                                         Beloved Macha
                      Sleek mare, Faery woman, Bold Queen
             You teach us that there can be no life without death
                      With every harvest there is a sacrifice
                           No beginning without an ending
                                    Come, Macha come!
                                 Be at our side O Macha,
                          Let us know the right times to let go
               And when to stand firm in our conviction and deeds

   Sit comfortably.  Take three deep breathes and relax.  Think about what you must sacrifice to achieve your goals and dreams.  Ask Macha to help you release all that hinders your path and to help you accomplish your goals.  If you have any spellwork planned do so now.

   When you are ready go to the north/east/south/west saying:

                        Faery, Goddess, Queen
                 Depart in peace beloved Macha!


  1. Quise progresar en el campo laboral y conseguir un ascenso así que busque los beneficios de los Ritual del Trabajo,al utilizarlos con mucha fe mantuve un empleo seguro
    y me senti en armonía.

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