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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Lammas

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Trouble with Lammas

Lammas < Old English hlæfmæsse, “loaf mass.”

“A harvest festival formerly held in England on August 1 when bread baked from the season's first ripe grain was consecrated.”

Blessing the harvest's first grain: something we've probably been doing since the end of the last Ice Age.

But (etymologically speaking, anyway) the name is inescapably Christian. What to do?

Well, there's always Lúnasa. (That's the simplified Modern Irish form of the feast known in Old Irish as Lughnasadh [and by many other spellings]).

But that name has problems of its own. For one, it's specific to a specific culture and a specific pantheon. For another, for English-speakers, it is and always will be a foreign import.

Some Old Craft folks that I know wouldn't be caught dead using a Pagan Revival term like Lúnasa. In the old days, under the radar was the only safe way to fly. Where they come from, it's Lammas all the way.

Here's one you probably haven't heard before: the Gule of August. We get Gule (rhymes with Yule, which is nice) from French, although there's a Welsh form (Gwyll) too; its ultimate origin may be Latin vigilia, “vigil.” Well, in the Wonderful World of Polytheism more is generally better; “Gule” is fine if you want to mystify your friends.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Mariah Sheehy
    Mariah Sheehy says #
    This Gaelic polytheist/Druid/ is glad the pan-Pagan Celtic trend seems to be waning a bit. I'm happy to share Lunasa with anyone
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    So, your down home famtrad would have home made bread, preferably from home grown grain. The making of corn dollies, especially th
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Please, please, please, O gods: Please may every dish on the Lammas table not have zucchini in it. So mote it be!
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Tasha, I love "Word to the Wise." Happy Lammas.
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Wonderful, Steve, as always. Thanks! Sharing on Macha's FB page.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Elder and harebell

Lammas, Lugnasadh, the celebration of the grain harvest is a few days behind us. However, not all plant life corresponds with the grain, there are many things out there in the UK at different points in their life cycles right now so I thought I’d talk about those to offer some alternative takes on the wheel of the year for this month.

Lammas rituals often encourage us to focus on personal harvests and bounty, but there’s nothing in nature that says it is natural to be at the harvest stage at specifically this point in the year. If your life is not aligning you to the grain harvest, look around to see what you do connect with.

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  • Nimue Brown
    Nimue Brown says #
    watermelons are a bit of an expensive treat here, I am imagining what an abundance would be like... :-)
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Watermelon is one of the few garden crops that I don't get tired of, even when everyone has too many and is giving them away. Othe
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    I live in the American South, and we've always done our own twist on Lammas. Early August is indeed harvest season here, but not f
A Time to Plant, a Time to Harvest

It seems like summer just arrived and already it is on its way out. Today is Lughnasadh (Celtic) or Lammas (Germanic), the beginning of the harvest season in Western European tradition and the first day of autumn according to reckonings that count summer as starting from May. Traditionally, it’s a time for working the fields and baking the first bread of the new harvest.

As always we’ve gathered all of our related posts as well as those we found across the internet that we thought you might enjoy. Have fun!

--Aryós Héngwis

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  • Christopher Ward
    Christopher Ward says #
    Shared thank you fer sharin Miss Karen awesome post

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Meaning of Lammas

 

The Wheel of the Year is widely honored by we Wiccans, along with Druids, and many other NeoPagans. The eight Sabbats arranged along the Wheel are divided into universal solar cycles celebrating the solstices and equinoxes and four place-specific ones representing the agricultural cycles of planting, growth, harvest, and death.  The Wheel’s symbolism is beautifully adapted to illustrate profound insights in regions with four seasons because both cycles are coordinated, but its basic insights are true everywhere.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

It is traditional to bake a Lammas loaf at this time of year, although many may wait to celebrate next weekend, closer to the cross-quarter day.  But there are harvests and harvests. Lammas or Lunasa as we have it in Ireland, is the time when there is a pause in the silage making and hay cutting. There are plenty of festivals around the country and in yesteryear this would be the time for fairs and all that they include - drinking, fighting, wooing, some horse trading.

From Ballycastle's Auld Lammas Fair up in Country Antrim where you can get your dulse and yellow man (a really hard candle that might extract your fillings) down to County Kerry where they crown the goat at Puck Fair, this was the pause for revelry. Many gatherings happened at holy wells and there are numerous accounts of priests having to ban nude bathing of both sexes (together, imagine!) at these sacred sites rededicated to the Virgin Mary.  There were 'faction fights' - supposedly playful, but often they got ugly. My local holy well was contaminated by blood spilt in it at a Lunasa fairy. (All is well; it has been renovated, re-dedicated and the local priest lifted the curse on it back in August 2014.)

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Here is my Harvest Poem, in answer to our question. Blessed Be, Tasha My Harvest My harvest is not from a field or meadow It is n
Lammas, Lugh and the Miracle of the Harvest

Though the heat of Summer still burns bright and strong, the sunlit hours wane with every passing day. Now is the time of Lammas, the pagan Sabbat of the early harvest. Lugh, the Celtic God of light, waits for you on the summit of a hill, ready to guide you in the mysteries of life and rebirth held within the living land and your living body.

The sun has begun is downward arc toward the horizon, and a panoramic view of golden fields, ripe for the early harvest, spreads out before you.

“Behold the great exchange of life,” Lugh says, “the mysteries of sunlight turned into grain to feed the hungry bellies of this world.  But there is a price for this miracle: something must die to nourish the living, and for something new to be born. Everything has its season. One cycle ends so another can begin.”

With a wave of His hand, the scene shifts, revealing the elemental forces that underlie the golden fields.  All is not well.  The earth is parched and barren. The air is filled with contaminants. The fire heat of the sun is too harsh. The water in the nearby stream is clouded with murky sludge.

“Like the turning of Nature’s cycle of light and life at Lammas, humanity is also coming to the end of a cycle,” Lugh says, “For too long, your kind has forgotten the ways and rhythms of the Mother Earth.  You have taken, and taken, and taken, despoiling the air, water and land that sustain you. This imbalance has come to an end point, and a reckoning is upon you.”

Lugh is grave and silent, leaving you to consider the import of His words. The stark evidence of humanity’s environmental excesses and disregard surrounds you. The Mother Earth is weighted down and weary, with Her fragile, precious systems stressed and failing.

“I don’t share these things to burden you with a vision of despair,” Lugh continues, “Look to Nature as your guide, with its Lammas teaching of the miracle of the harvest. Within everything is the seed of a new season, with its promise of a fresh beginning and future harvest.

“You too have come to the end of a cycle,” Lugh says, “and your personal healing and evolution are intimately intertwined with that of humanity and the Earth.

“The imbalance you see before you is also inside of you, side by side with your personal imbalances and discontent, and those of your human society. And the seeds of the new are there as well, within your living body and life story.  With these seeds, you can mend and renew your life and this world.

“But there is a price to be paid for this miracle. Something must die, must be sacrificed, for something new to be reborn. You must be willing to change in profound ways.”

Lugh turns toward you, His face suffused with compassion and love. He places His warm, golden-skinned hand on your midbody, sending His deep wisdom into your very core.

“You must ask yourself: what is ready to be harvested and cut away in my life in service of my soul work, and a more sustainable, life-serving exchange between myself and the Mother Earth? What lessons must I ingest to aid my transformation? What am I willing to sacrifice for new seeds to take root in my life and the greater world?”

The sun now dips below the horizon, bringing on the chill of impending darkness. Your time with Lugh is ending. As His light dims, He leaves you with one last gift of illuminating wisdom.

“Remember that the seeds of the new are held within the body of the living. Everything you need to heal, grow and transform yourself and your world is present in this now moment, in the golden field that is your life story. Be brave. Be wise. Be guided by the profound endings and new beginnings arising within you.”

As Lugh and His hilltop vision fade away, know that a time of reckoning has indeed arrived; we must make sacrifices and change if we are to preserve the beauty and abundance of our Earth home.  Some things must end, must die, for something new to be reborn. Within each of our lives are the seeds, the miracles, of the new season and harvest to come.

Photo Credit: Emma Van Sant on UnSplash

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hunting the Green Man

All too often, summers slip away from us, like a will-o'-the-wisp, gone with the morning dew. Especially for those of us in the Midwest, we wait for the better part of the year. When it is finally upon us, we all too often jam-pack our calendar full of social events and family obligations. In this way, we inadvertently deter ourselves from slowing down and actually breathing in time with the summer. Do you multi-task, even while lounging in your hammock? Wrong approach! Truth be told, I myself am all too guilty. Let's examine some of the ways we can stretch out the season for enjoying, and perhaps bend time in the process.

Lounge in a hammock
Acceptable behavior 101: staring at the sky above and/or bird and cloud formation watching. Reading a good book. Napping. Going barefoot. Petting a cat. Not acceptable: any social media or a cell phone. Banish them from your sacred hammock space, please.

Camp in the woods or in farm country
Acceptable: strolling. Meditating. Breathing deep in the fresh air. Listening to trees and wildlife. Feeling the wind on your face, the sun on your skin, the sprinkle of raindrops, the fresh earth as it runs through your fingertips or a collectible stone. Building fires. Dancing in a rain storm, preferably naked. Dancing around the aforementioned fire. Taking a canoe out at night among the moon and stars. Laying down in the grass and staring up at the sky. Unacceptable: TVs, cell phones, social media selfies.

Watch a sunset, preferably near a body of water, in nature
The rules would be that you watch it from start to finish. You take it in, watch the colors that light up and change the skyline and the landscape. You take the time to notice all the songbirds that have a routine at this magical time of day. Like the swifts, who just seem to go nuts, like clockwork, swooping around in their quick little aerodynamic patterns. Guess what you don't need to do? Take a digital photo – they never do it justice, anyway. Notice all of the little changes that occur as day slips quietly into night.

Take a lunch break outside
Either sit under a shaded umbrella, go walk in a nearby park. Again, you don't need to share every moment with everyone you know. You can learn to truly take stock of your surroundings more, if you go solo. Kick off your shoes and let the grass tickle your toes. Watch the birdies, squirrelies, chipmunks, bunnies, and butterflies. Marvel at the greenery and flowers that surround you, everything perfectly at their peak. Eat slowly, savor every bite, and be thankful for these simple pleasures. Oftentimes, they are the things that make life worth living.

I realize that the Holly King rules for now, but he is still that shadow side of the Oak King. They are both the Green Man, and while we can appreciate him in his outdoor glory, we certainly should.

More reading:

https://www.thoughtco.com/the-green-man-spirit-of-the-forest-2561659

https://salemsmoon.wordpress.com/gods/the-horned-god-oak-king-holly-king-and-green-man/

http://www.earthwitchery.com/oak-holly.html


Photo, "Natural Bridge Waterfall," by Rob D. from freedigitalphotos.net

 

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