It’s the Bagel Festival and Salem’s Moon Will be There…


1375988_534074999999402_1821253382_n “Monticello New York , the birthplace of the bagel, and official bagel capital of the world, is becoming known not only for the quaint charm of the town, but for the annual Bagel Festival. That’s right, Bagel Festival. The world wide food commodity has become the centerpiece of an annual event in New York’s Catskills, and a piece of the pride and joy of a community.” –  Andrew Moran of ResortsandLodges.com

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2015 Bagel Festival in Monticello

Broadway – Monticello, NY

Sunday, August 16 from 9 am to 4 pm

Events

Street Fair Vendors Open For Business 9am – 4pm

Visit the Salem’s Moon Booth.

Check out our NEW LOWER PRICES!

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Antique Automobile Club – All types of vehicles on display 9am – 4pm
Darren Steele @ second stage 10am – 12pm
Giveaways Every 15-20 Minutes! 10:30am – 3:30pm
Slam Allen Live on Stage 10:30am – 12pm
National Anthem – Forestburgh Playhouse 10:45am – 11am
Welcome & Kickoff 10:45am – 11am
Carl Richards Band @ Second Stage 12pm – 2pm
Iron Cowboy Live Music Main Stage 1pm – 2pm
Bagel Triathlon  1:45 pm – 2:15 pm
Somerville Live Music Main Stage 2pm – 3pm

Bagelfest layout Broadway Monticello 2015 W PARK 18x24 size (1)

The Salem’s Moon Booth is #77, located near the

M&M Auto Group.

The Blueberry Festival is Coming…


Blueberry fest overhead 2 IMG_1189 Blueberry fest overhead

Visit Our Booth at The Blueberry Festival

Saturday, August 8th, 2015 from 9 AM to 4 PM – Rain or Shine

Canal Street & Liberty Square, Ellenville, NY

Festival Activities:

Blueberry Pancake Breakfast: 7:30 – 11:00 a.m. 

Fire company fundraiser hosted by Pioneer Engine Co.1 at Norbury Hall, Center St.

Over 175 Vendors

Arts & Crafts. Clothing, Jewelry, and Accessories.

Visit the Salem’s Moon Booth.

Check out our NEW LOWER PRICES!

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Live Music All Day

    Carl Richards Band and Side F/X

Blueberry Bake Sale

Homemade Blueberry Pie Judging Contest. A huge variety of delicious foods to be enjoyed from one end of the festival to the other.

Children’s Entertainment

Face Painting, Interactive Inflatables, Rock Wall Climb

Parking

Free Off-Street Parking:  Follow “Festival Parking” Signs

PLEASE NOTE: The Village Board has passed a resolution banning dogs (except service dogs) within  the area of the Blueberry Festival.  Those persons not in compliance will be asked to leave the Festival.

Lughnasadh aka Lammas…


Lammas-goddess

In Irish mythology, the Lughnasadh (Loo-nah-sah) or Lammas festival is said to have been begun by the god Lugh  as a funeral feast and sporting competition in commemoration of his foster-mother, Tailtiu, who died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture.

The first location of the Áenach Tailteann gathering was at Tailtin, between Navan and Kells. Historically, the Áenach Tailteann was a time for contests of strength and skill and a favored time for contracting marriages and winter lodgings. A peace was declared at the festival, and religious celebrations were held. The festival survived as the Taillten Fair, and was revived for a period in the 20th century as the Telltown Games.

The ancient Celtic festival on 1 August involved the solemn cutting of the first of the corn of which an offering would be made to the deity by bringing it up to a high place and burying it; a meal of the new food and of bilberries of which everyone must partake; a sacrifice of a sacred bull, a feast of its flesh, with some ceremony involving its hide, and its replacement by a young bull; a ritual dance-play perhaps telling of a struggle for a goddess and a ritual fight; an installation of a head on top of the hill and a triumphing over it by an actor impersonating Lugh; another play representing the confinement by Lugh of the monster blight or famine; a three-day celebration presided over by the brilliant young god or his human representative. Finally, a ceremony indicating that the interregnum was over, and the chief god was in his right place again.

Lughnasadh celebrations were commonly held on hilltops. Traditionally, people would climb hills on Lughnasadh to gather bilberries, which were eaten on the spot or saved to make pies and wine. As with the other Gaelic seasonal festivals (Imbolc, Beltane and Samhain), the celebrations involved a great feast. In the Scottish Highlands, people made first-harvest-sa special cake called the lunastain, which was also called luinean when given to a man and luineag when given to a woman. This may have originated as an offering to the gods.

Another custom that Lughnasadh shared with the other Gaelic festivals was the lighting of bonfires and visiting of holy wells. The ashes from Lughnasadh bonfires would be used to bless fields, cattle and people.Visitors to holy wells would pray for health while walking sunwise around the well. They would then leave offerings; typically coins or clooties, (pieces or strips of cloth).

In Gaelic Ireland, Lughnasadh was also a favored time for handfastings — trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or formalizing it as a lasting marriage.

In Ireland, some people continue to celebrate the holiday with bonfires and dancing. The Catholic Church in Ireland has established the ritual of blessing fields on this day. In the Irish diaspora, survivals of the Lúnasa festivities are often seen by some families still choosing August as the traditional time for family reunions and parties, though due to modern work schedules these events have sometimes been moved to adjacent secular holidays, such as the Fourth of July in the United States.

Lughnasadh heralds the first harvest, not yet summers end (Samhain) but ever closer to autumn. It celebrates the first of the crops being harvested and is often related to bread/corn and berries.

Ways to Celebrate…

Bake some bread – Certain smells will bring up happy memories of the year before just like Christmas music does and the smell of a warm loaf is sure to keep the family happy, especially if the children can help you make it. It represents the first loaf of harvest and some use it in ritual whereas some have it as part of their meal. Some Pagans symbolically throw pieces of bread into a fire during the Lammas ritual.

Plan your meals – Make food that will only be eaten on that time of year like pudding would at wintertime. This will bring back sentimental memories of the family time you spent together. Try to make something different that will be associated with that period. A magnificent feast is very important so make sure you plan it well! Pumpkin soup, harvest broth and casserole made with seasonal vegetables such as spring onions and potatoes will be great. Blackberry pie and cream made with fat ripe brambles will be delicious for a dessert. There are plenty of harvest recipes on the net so explore them and discuss them and plan out your menu.

imageTake time for meditation and ritual – Encourage your family members to meditate to give thanks for the abundance and generosity of nature. If you sit in a circle you can share your spiritual energies with one another. Do this in the garden or somewhere natural and quiet and hope the weather stays fair and bright. Some will use the loaf they have baked to eat after their ritual. It’s because of nature that they can enjoy this food. You could always have the meal on the late afternoon and go for a picnic for lunch in the warm countryside with all the family.

two corn husk dolls One traditional Lughnasadh custom was the construction of the kern-baby, corn dolly, or corn maiden. This figure, braided into a woman’s form from the last harvested sheaf of grain, represented the Harvest Spirit. (In America, the tradition is continued in the making of corn husk dolls.) The doll would be saved until Spring, when it was ploughed into the field to consecrate the new planting and insure a good harvest. In other traditions, the corn dolly was fed and watered throughout the Winter, then burned in the fires at Beltane to insure a continuation of good growth.

The celebration of Lammas is a pause to relax and open yourself to the change of the Season so that you may be one with its energies and accomplish what is intended. Visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells are also traditional. It is considered taboo not to share your food with others. Spellwork for prosperity, abundance and good fortune are especially appropriate now, as well as spells for connectedness, career, health and financial gain.

Another custom drawn from Lughnasadh relates to fire. Lughnasadh was, to the Celts, one of four Great Fire Festivals, held on the cross-quarter days. During Lughnasadh, the custom of lighting bonfires was intended to add strength to the powers of the waning sun. Afterward, the fire brands were kept in the home through the Winter as protection against storms, lightning and fires caused by lightning….

Go to a local festival – Harvest is a popular time of year for anyone whatever their religion so it’s no wonder why many villages and towns have their own celebrations. Try to attend one of these even if they’re a bit out of your way. It will get the family into it more to see other people having fun in ways that can only be done in community games.

Lugh – Celtic Hero God…


Lugh 4 Lugh or Lug is an Irish deity represented in mythological texts as a hero and a High King.  He is also known as Lámhfhada, meaning “long arm” or “long hand”, for his skill with a spear or sling, Ildánach (“skilled in many arts”), Samhildánach (“Equally skilled in many arts”), Lonnbeimnech (“fierce striker” or perhaps “sword-shouter”) and Macnia (“boy hero”), and by mac Ethlenn or mac Ethnenn (“son of Ethliu or Ethniu”). He is a reflex of the pan-Celtic god Lugus, and his Welsh counterpart is Lleu Llaw Gyffes, “The Bright One with the Strong Hand”. It is for his wit, his cleverness and his well crafted trickery that Lugh is admired and honoured. He likes both games of skill, such as chess, and physical challenges such as the horse racing which is a traditional feature of Lughnasadh celebrations.

Lugh’s father is Cian of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and his mother is Ethniu, daughter of Balor, of the Fomorians. Lugh is not quite a god – as he is half Fomorian–his mother Eithne, daughter of Balor; and half Tuatha Dé Dannan–his father Cian, son of Dian Cecht. This fact provides another essential clue to his nature, and to the festival of Lughnasadh. To fully understand Lugh, we have to see that in his essential nature he is crossing boundaries, uniting two often irreconcilable things within his person. He can be seen as the most perfect flowering of these two peoples of Ireland.

Lugh’s Birth –

One day, Balor, of the Fomorians, hears a druid’s prophecy that he will be killed by his own grandson. To prevent this he imprisons his only daughter, Ethniu, in the Tór Mór (great tower) of Tory Island where she cared for by twelve women, who are to prevent her ever meeting or even learning of the existence of men.

Meanwhile,on the mainland, Mac Cinnfhaelaidh owns a magic cow who gives such abundant milk that everyone, including Balor, wants to possess her. While the cow is in the care of Mac Cinnfhaelaidh’s brother Mac Samthainn, Balor appears in the form of a little red-haired boy and tricks him into giving him the cow. Looking for revenge, Mac Cinnfhaelaidh calls on a leanan sídhe (fairy woman) called Biróg, who transports him by magic to the top of Balor’s tower, where he seduces Eithne.

In time she gives birth to triplets, which Balor gathers up in a sheet and sends to be drowned in a whirlpool. The messenger drowns two of the babies, but unwittingly drops one child into the harbour, where he is rescued by Biróg.  Lugh was raised by Taltiu, a Fir Bolg queen, and traditionally fostered also by Manannan on Emain Abhlach till he comes of age.

Aonbharr At this point he receives his spear Sleá Bua–”spear of victory” and Manannan’s horse Aonbharr (which could fare over both land and sea) as well as, the boat Wave-Sweeper, his armor and helmet.

Bres –

Now, there is another child born of such a union, Bres Mac Elatha. His father is Fomorian, Elatha, another Fomorian king. His mother is of the Tuatha Dé Danaan, Ériu daughter of Delbaeth. Thus his parentage, is the opposite to that of Lugh. Like Lugh, he is beautiful to the eye (His name, Bres, literally means ‘beautiful’). Like Lugh, his allegiance lies with the people of his father, and in many ways he is Lugh’s equal and opposite.

At this time the Tuatha Dé Danaan are being ruled by King Nuada. After Nuada loses his hand while fighting the Fir Bolg, Bres is chosen by the Tuatha Dé Danaan to succeed him as King. The Tuatha Dé Danaan hope that his succession will encourage the continuation of the alliance between the Fomorians and themselves. Sadly, the rule of Bres is characterised by bad government and harsh treatment for the Tuatha Dé Danaan. It is a time of blight and famine. The Fomorians exact exorbitant tributes and reduce the powerful Gods Ogma and the Dagda to the level of servants. The Tuatha de Danaan eventually rebel, whereupon Bres sets out to crush them with military force, but does not succeed.

Who the Fomorians are and where they came from is never made clear. Sometimes they are portrayed as monstrous, typically with one eye, one leg and so forth. At other times, they are indistinguishable from the Tuatha Dé Danaan in both beauty and culture. The most likely theory is that they are Gods of the land, or possibly of the Underworld. Whatever their true nature, their relationship with the Tuatha Dé Danaan is not always good. Initially, the Tuatha Dé Danaan make an alliance with the Fomorians. But it does not last and eventually the Fomorians begin to subjugate the people of the Tuatha Dé Danaan.

It is at this time that Lugh presents himself at Nuada’s court.

lugh_thumb Lugh’s character and skills are made plain in this tale in which he is attempting to gain entry to King Nuada’s court.

None may enter Nuada’s court without having some useful skill. Faced with an impassive gatekeeper, Lugh reels off a great long list of his talents: “Question me: I am a builder. Question me: I am a smith. Question me: I am a champion. Question me: I am a harper” etc. To each boast, the gatekeeper simply replies that King Nuada already has such a man and needs no other. Lugh then says: “Ask the king whether he has one man who possesses all these arts.” This finally stumps the gatekeeper, who after consultation with Nuada, admits Lugh to the court, where he wins challenges set him by the other Gods and eventually accepts leadership of the Tuatha de Danaan. Lugh Leads the Tuatha de Danaan in their battle against the Fomorians.

the_battle_of_lugh_and_balor_by_ionus-d1wn7twThe battle culminates in the meeting of Lugh and Balor upon the field. Balor attempts to strike Lugh down by gazing upon him with his single deadly eye. But Lugh, agile and clever, casts a sling-stone into the eye, so that the poison from it falls upon the Fomorian fighters.

After the Lugh’s victory in the battle, the Tuatha de Danaan are of a mind to kill Bres. But he begs for his life, offering great gifts in return. Firstly, he offers to make the cattle of the Tuatha de Danaan be always in milk. But the lawyer Maeltne Morbrethach replies that Bres has no power to make this so. Bres then promises that should he be spared, the Tuatha de Danaan will reap a harvest every quarter. Maeltne Morbrethach replies that an annual harvest is preferable. At this point, Lugh suggests a solution to Bres:

“That does not rescue thee,” said Lugh to Bres; “but less than that rescues thee.”

“What?” said Bres.

“How shall the men of Ireland plough? How shall they sow? How shall they reap? After making known these three things thou wilt be spared.”

“Tell them, said Bres, that their ploughing be on a Tuesday, their casting seed into the field be on a Tuesday, their reaping on a Tuesday.”

So through that stratagem Bres was let go free.

While Lughnasadh was inaugurated in honour of Lugh’s foster mother, another reason behind the celebration is the victory of Lugh, and the release of the harvest for use by the people. In the tale above, the contrast between the reigns of Lugh and Bres evident. While Bres brings hardship and famine to the people, the victory of Lugh brings forth a time of good harvests and abundance.

thunder-and-lightningLugh has an affinity with storms and with lightning in particular. For it to be stormy at Lughnasadh is taken as a good omen, which seems somewhat counter intuitive at harvest time. Nevertheless, it can be seen that it is Lugh who breaks the hold of summer over the land, ending the period of ripening and inaugurating the time of harvest. The sun can be likened to the single eye of Balor, and Lugh must demonstrate his power over this season at which the sun is at its hottest. In County Mayo, these storms are seen as the battling between Lugh and Balor. “The wind of Lúgh Long-arm is flying in the air tonight. Yes, and the sparks of his grand-father, Balor.”

Sites traditionally associated with Lughnasadh and with Lugh himself are often high, hilltop places. In ancient times, this was the time for the settling of legal disputes, arranging of marriages, and the hiring of hands for the coming harvest. It was also a time when musicians and craftsmen would show off their latest creations, perhaps hoping to gain patronage in a wealthy household over the winter. Horse racing features in most descriptions of Lughnasadh celebrations. It seems to have had several purposes. First and probably foremost, it was a good way of displaying the prowess of the horse you had to sell or offer for breeding. Secondly, it was a way for the riders to gain prestige. In the tales of the Fianna, we hear that at Lughnasadh, the warriors would be looking for a place in which to spend the winter, offering protection in return for hospitality. Winning a horse race, or excelling at one of the other games of physical prowess would be a good way of demonstrating your worth.

Lugh is the Celtic version of the dying and reborn God and his festival day is Lughnasadh on August 1.  As Lugh is the “Sun King” his earthly mother Tailte is the “Great Mother”.  Tailte gave her people the gift of cultivation, she cleared the land and taught her people how to sow and reap the crops.  It was such a tremendous effort that Tailte weakened and began to wither and die. Before she succumbed she told her people that her son Lugh the Sun King would pour his spirit into the grain which would sustain them over the long winter.  She asked that they honor Lugh’s sacrifice at the harvest of the grains.

Lugh greatly mourned the death of his foster-mother and asked that the people honor her and their own crops with a day of merriment and thanksgiving for the bounty of the harvest.  At Lughnasadh Lugh is  honored for his gift of life poured into the grains. 

So how to celebrate Lughnasadh in modern times? Holding the festival upon a hill would be very appropriate. Most of the sites associated with Lugh are hills, often with a natural water source. The rite should include an offering to Lugh and to the local Gods and spirits of your locality, perhaps of summer fruits, the first sheaf of the crop, or of food or drink made from these things.

Above all, a great deal of fun should be had. Games are easy to organize, these could be physical or mental challenges. Chess is appropriate, or you could try your hand at ancient board games such as fidchell. A bardic contest would be a good way to enjoy the skills of singers, poets and storytellers. Horse racing is impractical for most people, but hobby horse racing is a wonderful alternative. You could also organize other fun races such as three legged, egg and spoon or sack racing. And as befits a harvest festival, include a feast of seasonal produce. Bread baked from the first of the wheat crop, summer berries, fruit juices, wines and mead.

Tailtiu – Great One of the Earth…


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Tailtiu is an Irish Goddess of Sovereignty, an ancient Goddess whose annual funeral games, according to the myth, were instituted by her foster son Lugh. These games were held for more than a thousand years at a hill in County Meath that even today bears her name, Tailtiu or, in English, Teltown. The name of the festival is Lughnasadh, one of the great fire festivals of ancient and modern Celtic peoples. Even though the Taltean games, sometimes called the Irish Olympics, endured longer than the Greek Olympics we know little of the Goddess for whom they were held. Although modern Pagans tend to associate this festival with the Irish God Lugh, it is in fact dedicated to his foster mother Taillte or Tailtiu. Tailtiu’s name is said to mean “Great One of the Earth” and she is renowned for clearing the plains in Ireland for agricultural use. Most notably the Plain of Brega between the Boyne and the Liffey, which includes the sites of Tara, Brug na Bóinne, and Knowth. From this we can deduce that she comes armed with abundance, she is the harvest, the feeder of a nation, child of the Earth.

imagesCA54VXE1Tailtiu was both the daughter of the Great Plain and the wife of the Horse Lords.

According to the Book of Invasions, Tailtiu was the daughter of the king of Spain and the wife of Eochaid mac Eirc, last Fir Bolg High King of Ireland. (The Fir Bolg ruled Ireland before the coming of the Tuatha de Danaan.) It is, however, highly  unlikely that an Irish Goddess of Sovereignty would be a native of Spain. In most sources this mythical king of Spain is called simply Mag Mor which means Great Plain. This indicates that Tailtiu was the daughter of the fruitful plain. Either way she was highly regarded by her husband, Eochaid mac Eirc, who named his capital after Tailtiu, (Telltown, between Navan and Kells).

Tailtiu, wife of the last Fir Bolg High King of Ireland, survived the invasion of the Tuatha Dé Danann and became the foster mother of Lugh. This supports the tradition that Tailtiu/Telltown was associated with the Fir Bolg, (possibly Bronze Age Celts) and the Tuatha de Danaan who were Iron Age Celts. In addition to its importance as a cemetery, Tailtiu (Telltown) was also a stronghold and a seat of government. The mounds of Tlachtgha, near Athboy (Meath), and the now almost vanished Tailltiu/Telltown in the same county, were not only palace sites, but were important sanctuaries, the resident king being regarded as a divine incarnation.

The extraordinary importance of the great ring fort of Tailtiu is illustrated by the following:

And Eriu was beaten back to Tailltin, and as many of her men as she could hold together; and when she came there she told the people how she had been worsted in the battle, and the best of her men had got their death.

imagesCA3I4PU7Eriu, was one of the Great Goddesses of Sovereignty in Ireland and one of the Tuatha de Danaan. She chose to make her last stand against the Children of Mil at Tailtiu, the ancient Fir Bolg stronghold. Tailtiu (Telltown) lies about halfway between Drogheda in the east and Oldcastle in the west. This entire area is a huge ritual landscape. Starting in the east and travelling west along the Boyne River we find: Dowth, Newgrange, Knowth, the Hill of Slane, and Navan. Continuing northwest along the Blackwater we come to the Hill of Tailte, and father west-by-northwest lies the great megalithic cemetery of Sliabh na Caillighe or Hill of the Hag. Southeast of Navan, the Hill of Tara forms the southernmost point of an almost perfect equilateral triangle with Dowth and the Hill of Tailte being the north-eastern and north-western points, respectively.

We do not know very much about Tailtiu, the attributes of an ancient queen or goddess are often lost to us, but we may find them reflected in what we are told of her husband, Eochu mac Eirc.

Eochu mac Eirc was the first king to establish a system of justice in Ireland. No rain fell during his reign, only dew, and the land was fruitful, yielding harvests in every year. He ruled for ten years, until the Fir Bolg were defeated by the Tuatha de Danann in the first Battle of Magh Tuiredh. During the fighting Eochaid was overcome by thirst, but the druids of the Tuatha de Danaan hid all sources of water from him with their magic. As he searched for water, he was found and killed by The Morrigan.morrigan Tailtu arrives in the aftermath of this battle and creates another plain “and the wood was cut down by her, so it was a plain under clover-flower before the end of a year.”  She breathes life into destruction and hope after battle. It is an act of renewal and regeneration. The Fir Bolg then retreat to the west to the Aran Islands of Inis Maan, Inis Oirr, and Inis Mór and build great forts there, the remains of which can still be seen today. It is conceivable to believe that Tailtiu’s dowry funded the construction of these great forts. We know that Eochaid did name his palace after Tailtiu; such was the esteem in which she was held.

After the Battle of Mag Tuired, Tailtiu was married for a second time. It is said that Lugh gave her in marriage to Eochu Garb son of Dui Dall.

If there is any truth at all in the theories that the Great Goddesses of the land were replaced by Gods, then in Tailtiu we may have an example of this. Little is known of this Goddess but what we do know is tantalizing. The bits and pieces tease us into wondering who she was. The fact that her cult, in the form of her funeral games, survived for so long seems to indicate that Tailtiu was an extraordinarily important Goddess.

imageWhile [Lugh] was king, his foster-mother Taillte, daughter of Magh Mor, the Great Plain died. She is said to have died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. Before her death she bade her husband Duach the Dark, that he build the Fort of the Hostages in Teamhair, (Tara) to clear away the wood of Cuan, the way there could be a gathering of the people around her grave. So he called to the men of Ireland to cut down the wood with their wide-bladed knives and bill-hooks and hatchets, and within a month the whole wood was cut down. And Lugh buried her in the plain of Midhe, and raised a mound over her, that is to be seen to this day. And he ordered fires to be kindled, and keening to be made, and games and sports to be held in the summer of every year out of respect to her. And the place they were held got its name from her, that is Taillten (Telltown).

This great cleared plain is the fair land of Meath, perfect for raising cattle and horses. Coill Cuan, the place Tailtiu cleared, means Forest Bend and there is a great bend in the Boyne south of the Hill of Tailte. It was here, on this great pasture of clover, that the annual Taltean Games were held during Lughnasadh. These games featured feats of strength, contests involving skill and accuracy with weapons, and bardic competitions. Horseracing was, however, the major feature of these games.

The Mound of the Hostages at the Hill of Tara, Co. MeathThe Hill of Tailte was the centre of the cult of this ancient goddess. Even though the festival is called Lughnasadh, it is clear that the games are in her honour and formed a part of the ritual veneration of Tailtiu. It is of interest that her influence seems to predate the arrival of the Tuatha de Danaan, indicating that her cult may have been established very early, perhaps before the cults of Eriu and Dana. In the genealogy lists, the progenitor of all Fir Bolg kings is Eochaid the Horseman of the Heavens. He is generally supposed to be the male manifestation of Bolg, the Belgae Goddess of Lightning. This association of Tailtiu’s husband Eochu mac Eirc with an indisputable Great Mare Mother is evidence that Tailtiu was also a Great Mare Mother. Tailtiu/Telltown was the site of the great national celebration of the First Harvest in Ireland. The archaeological record shows that it was a pre-Iron Age ritual site.

It was a fair with gold, with silver, with games, with music of chariots, with adornment of body and of soul by means of knowledge and eloquence. A fair without wounding or robbing of any man, without trouble, without dispute, without raping, without challenge of property, doughtytournament without suing, without law-sessions, without evasion, without arrest. A fair without sin, without fraud, without reproach, without insult, without contention, without seizure, without theft, without redemption: No man going into the seats of the women, nor woman into the seats of the men, shining fair, but each in due order by rank in his place in the high Fair.

Lugh had her buried in County Meath where she still rests; “And Lugh buried her in the plain of Midhe, and raised a mound over her, that is to be seen to this day. And he ordered fires to be kindled, and keening to be made, and games and sports to be held in the summer of every year out of respect to her. And the place they were held got its name from her, which is Taillten (Telltown).”  It is most likely astronomically aligned. These games continued over thousands of years and were adopted by the De Danann and Christians alike. They have the unique distinction of being older than the Olympics. “Great that deed that was done with the axe’s help by Taltiu” and she prophesised “that so long as every prince should accept her, Erin should not be without perfect song.”

Tailtiu was the last queen of Her kind, a feminine energy that felt the longing of humanity. When the time is right, She gives birth, delivers the sheaves of wheat, then She dies, a need fulfilled….but soon She will rise again. Over the centuries, with the advent of patriarchy, Divinity began to rise towards the heavens, and Lughnasadh, the feast that was once a funerary fair in honor of Tailtiu, has now became a celebration of the Sun God, Lugh.

clip_image004The Teltown Mound, Rathdhú

For many generations, perhaps beginning in sixth century CE, Teltown was known for the goddess-inspired celebration of a harvest festival, a time when feats of strength and mock battles would mark the start of the season of plenty. Teltown (Tailteann) encompasses a large area at a bend of the River Blackwater in Co. Meath. As long ago as 539 CE, the beginning of August would see the area crowded with raucous celebrations, athletic games, and the gritty commerce of the traditional harvest-time (Lughnasa) fair. But all this is no longer to be seen. What remains to remind the visitor of this oenach (festival) is but one large mound, known as Rathdhú (Rath Dubh, the Black Fort), a circular earthwork some 85 m (280 ft) in diameter at the top of its level platform, which rises up nearly 4 m (13 ft) above the plain. Another mound, obscured in its overgrown foliage, is Rath Airthir (the Eastern Fort), with its three ramparts around 30 m (98 ft) in diameter. Recently a natural rock outcrop at Teltown was discovered to have rock art from the second millennium BCE, suggesting that ritual activity at the site began some 2000 years before Tailteann began its role as a center of the Celtic harvest celebration.

At one time the mound of Rathdhú was surrounded by a “low earthen rampart, on which, the country-people say, the spectators sat while games were celebrated on the circular green sward before their feet. But this is mostly gone now, obliterated by the plough many years ago.