Celebrate the First Harvest

Celebrate the First Harvest my friends,

August 2nd is Lammas; the first of three festivals celebrating Mother Earth’s bounty along with September 21st and November 1st. Baking loaves from the first grains and offering them at a communal meal has always been central to these gatherings. Traditionally, the first sheaf would be ceremonially cut at dawn, winnowed, ground and baked into the Harvest Bread that was then shared by the community in gratitude. Most handfastings 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 and the great Bull Dancing of Minoan Crete occurred at this time. 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.

Lammas is a time of great thanksgiving, a time to experience feeling gratitude for the abundance that nature provides. There’s a song that captures this feeling and it always brings tears to my eyes. Called ‘Prayer Song’ by Leah Wolfsong (Songs of the Circle), here’s the refrain:

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

Harmony, as I’ve come to understand it from my Shamanic training, is about our essential uniqueness; uniqueness that is in each one of us— we are all the colors of the rainbow, all of us different and yet the intelligence of life teaches us that we all belong. We are in a time of a great awakening. What this means is that we are opening to acceptance of ourselves and of all others; that we choose love over fear; that we find beauty in all of life; and that we choose to share the good.

If ever there were a time in recent memory for the practice of gratitude and for offering prayers for our planet to live in harmony, this is that time. The best thing we can do is to grace our lives with gratitude, focusing on what is going well, giving us hope and accessing happiness whenever possible.

I wish you all awakened hearts full of gratitude, Linda

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