Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A to Z Challenge -- L -- SOLSTICE, AXE, AND HARVEST


LABRYS -- The double-head axe that symbolizes the Goddess in some modern practices, but the labrys has a much older history.

In ancient Crete, the labrys was one of the holiest symbols.  It's surmised that in the Minoan culture it was a symbol of the Great Goddess. In depictions of the labrys, a woman always held them until the decline of the culture.  Then it was taken over by the Greek god Zeus.

The word labyrinth has etymological roots to the labrys as well.  The labyrinth may have a religious significance to the Minoans.  As does the bull.

The story of Theseus and the Minotaur in the labyrinth comes from these things being corrupted by the Greeks.

We may never know the full history Minoan culture and its influence on other peoples since much of their civilization is lost to time.


LADY/LORD --  Generic salutations for the Goddess and God.


LITHA -- A Sabbat that takes place on the Summer Solstice.  It is also known by the names Midsummer and Alban Heruin.  It is when the God is at his full power.  It is a turning point in the Wheel of the Year because He will lose his strength as darkness begins to return.  The Goddess blooms in pregnancy.

The land is at its greatest fertility, so marriages and magic rites are prevalent during this time.  Flowers and greenery are decorations. Bonfires are plentiful since this sabbat is connected with the God. Some leap over them to encourage fertility, purification and such.

We get the word honeymoon from marriage celebrations during this time.  The honey moon, or mead moon, where a newly married couple would drink mead everyday for a month.

The Romans celebrated Vestalia around this time.  It honored the goddess Vesta, the patron goddess and protector of virgins and the of the hearth.  She was Hestia to the Greeks.

She was not usually portrayed by statuary but was symbolized by a sacred fire. Bakers and millers honored this day by dressing their tools and animals with garlands.  The ass, Vesta's animal, was also honored.  Only women were allowed into the temple at this time to worship.  They made offerings to Vesta.


A Corn Doll
LUGHNASADH -- This sabbat is the celebration of the first harvest, taking place around July 31 or August 1.  It is when the God has aged.  The sun wanes and the fields give up their bounty.

Lughnashadh (pronounced ) was named after the sun god, Lugh.  In Irish mythology, he created a festival to honor his dead foster mother Tailtiu.  The funeral feast and games inclued match making and trade.

In later times, corn dollies were made (and still are) made of the last sheaves of corn or whatever grain was harvested.  They represented the spirit of the grain.

Also called Lammas, which translates to 'loaf mass'.  It was the medieval celebration of first harvest.

Grain has been a key worshiping tool for all ancient cultures.  They may vary in traditions, but they all knew the importance of their harvests and wanted to keep the local gods/goddess appeased and the land fruitful.



Disclaimer: None of these pictures belong to me.  I found them on Google.

14 comments:

  1. I had no idea about the double axe-this was quite interesting. Personally I would love to drink mead every day:) What we take for granted iis amazing where it all began

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    1. I know. There is so much we don't know about the Minoan culture and other cultures that it's sad.

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  2. A lot of interesting information here. Cool.

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  3. So much information from your posts. Interesting how each culture and its myths intertwined and fused with each other.
    Thanks for your comment on my blog!

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    1. Welcome! Considering they tried to conquer each other, I'm not surprised how much was mixed up.

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  4. I live in the southern hemisphere, so our seasons are opposite. Does that mean that celebrations like Letha, take place in December at our summer solstice or in June when the Northern Hemisphere has summer solstice, but we have winter?

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    1. I'm not sure. I haven't come across a Southern Hemisphere Wheel of the Year, which is sorta weird.

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  5. I had no idea that's where honey moon came from ... I can get behind lots of mead :) I hadn't heard the names for the other sabbats either, thank you for the education.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. Iand that is the whole purpose of this. I'm glad you're enjoying.

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  6. I am a sucker for Minoan culture. I hope I'll get to visit Crete sometime soon...

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. I hope you can go too. I will never have enough money to travel like that.

      Check out the some of the research on the Great Goddess and butterflies, bulls, and I think snakes, but I could be mistaken. It's been a while since I scheduled this post.

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  7. I had no idea about the labrys. Stupid Zeus, it doesn't belong to you! :P And the corn dolls look/sound cool in a creepy kind of way. I think the book "Harvest Home" has forever scarred me...

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    1. Yeah, not much into dolls either.

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