The festival of Lughnasa, one of the 8 festivals in the Celtic calendar, was a joyful time when the Celtic people gathered to celebrate the harvest. The festival marks the transition between the summer and harvest season. At Lughnasa our Celtic ancestors assembled at a hill or hilltop to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest and honour the God Lugh, “the Samildanach”(the many gifted one). The word Lughnasa means Lugh’s Assembly.
Until the twentieth century, it was customary throughout Ireland for people to gather at a local beauty spot to meet with neighbours, gather fruit or flowers, make garlands and celebrate the gifts of the harvest.
These excursions took place on the last Sunday of July or the first two Sundays in August, and were known variously as ‘Bilberry Sunday ’or ‘Garland Sunday’, in Irish, Domhnach na bhFraocháin. The Irish word for bilberry is fraughan and they are the first of the wild berries to ripen.
According to Alexei Kondratiev the mood of Lughnasa’s celebration was always “one of exuberance and joy” (Celtic Rituals)
The practice of joy and exuberance are rare in our contemporary culture. We rush from project to project, one task to the next rarely stopping to give thanks, celebrate our achievements and bask in the joy. Our default is to “just keep going”, so it’s a radical practice to stop, take stock and celebrate in the way our ancestors did.
Over this 4-day long weekend, we will mark the festival of harvest by gathering to explore our relationship to joy and take time to celebrate our many gifts and blessings. The truth is there are many things in our lives to celebrate and appreciate but because we are hardwired for negativity, we rarely stop to count our blessings and experience the joy.
We will take the time to consciously “let the good in” and begin to rewire our neurology for joy as we gather, practice yoga and meditation, feast on amazing food, jump into the sea, walk in wonder along the Cliffs of Moher, celebrate Lughnasa on a hilltop in the Burren, rest, connect and retreat.
“If you want to feel more joy have more experiences of joy”
Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist
You choose how to retreat. Choose to sleep in or to meditate. Go back to bed after breakie or jump on your mat, find a quiet rock with your book or come for a hike.
What’s not to EnJOY!
Check in anytime after 16:00
Relax, take a walk and partake in a welcome drink and sweet treat with your fellow retreat participants
18:00 Out of the car/ bus or train and onto the mat – yoga practice
20:30 Opening Circle & Celtic Wheel: Induction to Lughnasa
07:30 Mindfulness meditation
09:30 “Ten Thousand Joys, Ten Thousand Sorrows” Yoga and Lughnasa wisdom practice
Free time – Options to take a trip to Lahinch to the beach, go surfing, take a tour of the area including the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren or stay and relax and enjoy a treatment.
17:30 “Grounding in appreciation” hip opening and forward bends yoga practice
07:30 Visit to local Holy Well
09:30 “Opening to joy” Yoga and Lughnasa wisdom practice
14.00 Lughnasa excursion and ritual: A hike in the Burren where we will “assemble on a high place” and mark Bilberry Sunday
18.00 Free time – Options to take a trip to Lahinch to the beach, go surfing, take a tour of the area including the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren or stay and relax and enjoy a treatment.
07:30 Mindfulness meditation
08:30 Cliffs of Moher walk
10:00 “Harvesting the Joy” Yoga and Lughnasa wisdom practice & Closing circle
12:00 – 12:30 Room check out
12:30 Farewell Lunch