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|
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.