Lammas (meaning ‘loaf-mass’) is the early-August celebration of the Harvest, here at what feels like the most tangible beginning of the end of our growth season. The sun’s power is waning. We have gleaned awareness from the recent weeks on what has bloomed and what has not. Lammas brings a wise, discerning awareness of what is thriving, what isn’t and the need to separate the wheat from the chaff. This year, I will not be holding a Lammas circle as I desperately need some time off to rest and rejuvinate. However, I encourage you to celebrate on your own or with loved ones with the suggestions below!
Lammas is the first of three harvest celebrations in the Wheel of the Year, and is specific to harvesting grain. The Autumn Equinox (Around Sept 21st) celebrates the harvest of fruits- grapes, apples, squashes, etc. while Samhain (Around Oct 31st) celebrates hunting season and the blood sacrifice of slaughter. Lammas is a Celtic/British tradition during which the custom is to make loaves of bread, wheat dollies, and celebrate the abundance of the Grain Mother at this time.
At this time of year, we gradually move from the expressive, abundance of the Mother, to the more discerning, transformational energy of the Enchantress- the part of us that cuts away the unnecessary and superfluous, as we heed the call of our authentic needs and awaken to the limits of our resources. The Enchantress begins to reflect on what is sustainable over the long term and seeks to prepare by simplifying and cutting cords. Our outer-world manifesting energies begin to wane and the inward journey calls.
A Time for Sacrifice
When we gather our harvest, it comes with an awareness of what did and didn’t ‘grow corn’ for us. Harvesting tools, such as the sickle and scythe are both practical and symbolic- they remind us that sometimes we need to cut away something in order to thrive. We start to become aware of the limitations of our nurturing energy and streamline it into something more sustainable and long term. We are forward-looking with both feet on the ground, as we begin to assess the sustainability of our projects, relationships or the contents of our garden.
This future-oriented awareness is what heralds a dose of realism and preparation for the fall months to come in which we sacrifice certain things in order to live in alignment with our true nature. In all three harvest celebrations, we honour the need to sacrifice something in order to make space for the new, and in order to spiritually grow.
With sacrifice, there can be feelings of grief and sadness, as well as empowerment and freedom, as we hold space for what didn’t bloom as we’d hoped, but also learn from the experience and glean wisdom for moving forward.
We have much to be grateful for. We have all the elements and the still-fertile Earth Mother under our feet. We have the solidity, warmth and abundance of the Earth Mother to support us as we move forward. We can revel in this beauty for some time, still. It is a point of reflection and gratitude.
It is a wonderful time for reflecting on our accomplishments and lessons from the last few months, as well as gathering, collecting and filling up our internal stores of energy to prepare for the waning fertility of autumn.
I often take August off because it is the best time of year to store up what I need to take with me into the fall. Things like sunshine (vitamin D!), food, plant medicines, happy memories with my loved ones, swimming, eating outside, walking barefoot and all the deliciousness and sensuality the season brings help energise me to survive the colder months ahead.
As a child, I remember the mixed feelings I had about August, a feeling of happiness and gratitude, mixed with the sadness of fall coming and the excited/nervousness of the more structured pace of school.
Now, I revel in the end of summer. I often gain an ‘aha’ moment of clarity of what needs to be let go of, and feel peace in the structuring, focusing and streamlining of my energy. Early/mid summer has me feeling often a bit spacey, chaotic and overwhelmed by the heat, extroversion and brightness of it all.
I enjoy to the longer, cooler nights, chirping crickets, and reflective calm that the late summer brings. As an introvert, I appreciate the chance to turn inward and prepare for the exciting transformations of fall.
Celebrating your Harvest
Here are some suggestions and reflection questions for you to celebrate Lammas:
–Bake a special loaf of bread containing fresh herbs from the garden. Knead your gratitude into it, thinking about all you’ve accomplished and learned this year. 2020 has been perhaps one of the most challenging years for many of us- simply being here, alive and present- is an accomplishment!
–Share a meal with loved ones and talk about your personal harvest, celebrate each others’ accomplishments
–Make a ‘corn dolly’ (corn in Britain is wheat for us), create a little doll or other interesting craft out of wheat. Here is a video on how to do a simple harvest braid of wheat.
–Offer your gratitude to the Earth Mother in some way. Sprinkle some grains or animal safe food and pour water onto the earth, thanking Her for Her abundance and nourishment.
–Start new habits that are less wasteful and more helpful to the environment- ie) new ways or recycling or composting, driving less, reducing energy consumption, etc.
–Write down your personal harvest from this year. What did you accomplish? What did you learn? You may wish to craft something that represents your harvest. Last year, at our Lammas circle, we made little ‘harvest bottles’- we filled miniature bottles with herbs, symbols, and little messages representing what we learned and accomplished over the last year. I still have mine and it helped me through some hard times through the year when I forgot how much I had accomplished. It is like a little bottle of self-esteem!
Reflection Questions for Journaling:
–What did I accomplish this year?
-What did I struggle with?
-What did I learn?
-What do I wish to fill up with and take with me into the rest of this year?
-What am I grateful for?
-What sustains me and strengthens me?
-What no longer serves my growth?
-What do I need to cut away or let go of in order to thrive?
-How can I move forward sustainably? How can I simplify or streamline my life?
Many of these questions bring up what is most important to us, and how we can focus our nurturing energy on those things and leave the rest. It also may reflect back to us how we are changing, and how to honour these changes. Allow yourself to feel all that you feel, and trust that you are being divinely guided towards where you need to be. Don’t let the weight of the past, the weight of others’ expectations, nor the weight of these uncertain times determine your course.
Honour your limitations, but tune into the Spirit flowing through you every moment, everywhere you go. Trust your instincts, your inner wisdom and trust that you are exactly where you need to be at this moment. There is more harvest yet to come. You are worthy of all you desire. Cherish the abundance of Mother Earth and soak up all that you need to feel strong, healthy and well.