Celebrate the First Harvest my friends,
August 2nd is Lammas; the first of three festivals celebrating Mother Earth’s bounty. Baking loaves from the first grains and offering them at a communal meal has always been central to these gatherings, going back to thousands of years before the common era. Traditionally, the first sheaves of grain would be ceremonially cut at dawn, winnowed, ground and baked into the Harvest Bread that was then shared by the community in gratitude. Most hand- fastings were celebrated at the Lammas Fairs where country people gathered. The custom was single folks would choose a companion for the next year and when Lammas Fair came again they wed or separated.
The Celts called this time Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-na-sa), Native Americans called it the Green Corn Festival and in Slavic Regions it is called the feast of the Big Glad Woman. In India, a cotton festival is held to honor Cotton Mother. Ireland still celebrates Lammas as Big Sunday and farming communities gather at hundreds of traditional hilltop sites to set up craft fairs, feast, play games, and dance. A part of every one of these gatherings is a ceremonial meal where the first fruits of the harvest are shared in gratitude.
Given the unusual circumstances in our lives now it may be hard to imagine this season of gratitude for nature’s bounty. Especially with the divisiveness in the political arena and the fear based messages we get flooded with everyday.
“The world is in chaos, and whether you’re aware of it or not, we’re experiencing a kind of collective dark night of the soul — what shamanic cultures call an initiation. “ The Shift Network
Part of this initiation is to find the good, find what we are grateful for and to uplift wherever we can. In sharing with others and experiencing the abundance of nature, we can uplift ourselves and pass this hope on to others.
I write eight newsletters a year according to The Celtic Wheel of the Seasons. The quarters are the Solstices and the Equinoxes (reversed in the Southern Hemisphere) and the Cross Quarter Days such as the August 2nd Lammas are based on Mother Earth’s natural cycles. For millennia, nature has been our teacher, guiding us and providing abundance at the harvests as well as medicinal plants to heal us. The fact that more people are spending time out in natural settings has been one of the gifts of the physical distancing required at this time. Re-learning to trust in the harmony of the natural world can allow us to feel faith in our ability to not only survive, but to thrive. It is that faith and trust that aligns us with the very best possible outcomes.
Please consider being with friends, whether by Zoom or in a small group, to express your love and gratitude for the connections you have with them. If possible, share a meal. Where I live the Farmer’s Markets are filled with organic produce and those of you who are bakers, it is perfect time to bake something to share. Here is the refrain to one of the best songs I know for this harvest time.
My song is my prayer
I send the voice of gratitude
I pray for Peace, I pray for Love
I pray for Life
For the Life, for the Life of our planet
Teach us to live in harmony
Teach us to live as one
‘Prayer Song’ by Leah Wolfsong (Songs of the Circle)
I wish you all awakened hearts full of gratitude,