Lugh, Lughnasa and Celtic Sun Magic
In Co Mayo in the west of Ireland there is a huge conical mountain called Croagh Patrick aka the Reek. It was once known as Cruchan Aigli or in English; Eagle Mountain, it is 2510 feet above sea level. During Catholic times it has always been a holy place with pilgrimage on the last Sunday of July. But the true Sun magic happens later in the month of August and again in April.
Lughnasa, the harvest festival of Lugh, honours a bright god of the Tuatha De Dannan and in his day this cone shaped mountain may have been called Cnoc Lugh. Archaeological investigations backed up by excavations show that a hill fort with stone ramparts and dwellings and 30 hut sites are to be found on the top of the Reek. There are ancient cooking sites, megalithic tombs, standing stones, burial mounds, ringforts and today�s� modern Catholic Church. I doubt that many Catholic Pilgrims know that this holy mountain was sacred to Lugh. Its old name of Eagle Mountain may refer to the practice of excarnation, de-fleshing of the dead by carrion birds before burning of the remains and finally � internment of the remaining bones in an earthen mound. This practice was not uncommon in prehistoric times.

It was on this holy mountain that St Patrick supposedly did his greatest magic � when he summoned a great host of loathsome and venomous creatures and then commanded them to cast themselves over the edge of the mountain, thus freeing the Irish countryside from all kinds of reptiles. This included dragons, snakes and all types of reptiles, none of which ever existed in Ireland. We are told that St Patrick did this by verbal command. The actual truth is that there were no snakes in Ireland and long after he was dead and his head was gone into Jesuit care somebody just added this trick to St Patrick�s name. It was as if the Pagan traditions were still so strong with the Lughnasa pilgrimage to the Reek in August that something had to be done to displace the old ways and such a fantastic story as dragon/snake banishing fitted the bill. It had to be long after St Patrick�s death or else everyone would know it was just made up fantasy.

The conical hill in the three images below is the Reek / Croagh Patrick / Cruchan Aigli / Eagle Mountain photographed from Bohea on the 18th of April 2011. Pictures taken with a basic digital camera and not photoshopped. The 3 images are in sequence but only show the last stages of the Sun's descent or roll down the north face. The Sun was hidden by cloud and then dramatically the Sun went below the cloud to let us see a part of the magic.
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Discover the hidden Pagan importance of this unique place with its amazing similarity to El Castillo where the Mayans of Central American honour the spring equinox. El Castillo is the name of their great pyramid of the Equinox and as the sunsets on its western face light and dark compliment each other creating a very special pattern of a diamond backed snake descending the pyramid. This solar magic has always been known as the "The Return of the Sun Serpent". See for a full story of the Equinox.

Here in Ireland, we too still have the natural magic of the land and the sun rises and sets that were known to our ancestors � such as at Newgrange, Knowth etc. But there is also an ancient walkway from Cruachan, the huge royal complex in Connaught (famous for Queen Meave, Rath Croghan) to the Reek on the western seaboard where we have unique solar magic still happening twice a year. Ireland�s Druidschool is located just a few miles from Cruachan and just over an hours drive to the Reek and from our hill on a clear day we can see the Reek standing proud on the horizon. Along the Pagan Pilgrimage causeway to the Reek many churches, abbeys and settlements were established and most of these have long since gone.
But the Sacred Geometry of our Ancestors still survives.

But the Sacred Geometry of our Ancestors still survives.

In the images that follow you will see what archaeologists call 'cup and ring marks' but we see Sacred Geometry engraved in stone to reach out to us over thousands of years teaching us how to read the powers of the cycles of Nature. There are lots of similar carvings all over this huge stone. Even a small catholick cross can be seen. A priests chair and a priests altar in the stone and the many holy notices nearby tell us that even in the last century the native people were gathering at Bohea observing indigenous traditions and that the Shepard had to follow his flock to the old Pagan sites... Today its lots of people and quite a few photographers, no priest but Dru� attended the Sunset and held Full Moon ritual at the stone... The Sun set, the Moon rose and once again Dru� held ceremony at this most ancient site.
In 1987 Gerry Bracken re-discovered that that the setting sun rolls down the northern slope of Croagh Patrick / Reek - this spectacular event can be seen from Bohea, 7km (just over 4m) east of the Reek on the ancient causeway from Cruachan. At Bohea there is a remarkable rock outcrop decorated with cup and ring marks that we as Dru� today see as ancient sacred geometry. This solar phenomenon lasts about twenty minutes and is seen at sunset on the 18th of April and the 24th of August. The 18th of April and the 24th of August and the 21st of December make a year of three parts. Normally, the Sun disappears behind the Reek, but on the 18th of April and the 24th of August the Sun itself climbs to the very top of the Reek and then the Sun begins to roll down the northern slope of the Reek as if it is a ball on the edge of a hill. This was what our ancestors saw � stand in the right place at the right time and see the magic of the Sun and Land.

Images of this magnificent sun set and the sacred geometry on the stone by Gerry Bracken can be seen here

We will visit the Bohea stone on April 18 2011 before sunset and witness this long lost phenomena for ourselves as we join in with the locals in re-establishing the connection to this ancient time cycle. It promises to be a spectacular Sunset as we also have a Full Moon on the same day! Weather permitting we will post pictures here after the 18th April 2011.

Ireland�s Druidschool
5 April 2011

We did visit and see the Sun roll down the Reek and photo's of this event and the Sacred Geometry have been added to this essay update on the 6th of May 2011. We hope to go the Bohea on the 24th of August to see it all happen again - its been going on all the time and we got separated from the cycles but thanks to Gerry Bracken we can enjoy the spectacle just as our ancestors did.
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