In the Northern Hemisphere, the Autumn cross-quarter or “summer thermistice” is celebrated on August 1 as Lughnasadh/Lammas. Astronomically, the event occurs around August 6th or 7th. Due to the seasonal lag, this is the hottest time of the year in many places in the Northern Hemisphere. Those in the Southern Hemisphere celebrate Imbolc at this time.
“This is the season of the waxing dark. The seed of darkness that was born at the Summer Solstice now grows … the dark part of the days grows visibly longer. Earth’s tilt is taking us back away from the Sun. This is the time when we celebrate dissolution, expansion into Deep Self, the time when each unique self lets go, to the Darkness. It is the time for celebrating ending, when the grain, the fruit, is harvested. We meet to remember the Dark Sentience, the All-Nourishing Abyss, She from whom we arise, in whom we are immersed and to whom we return. This is the time of the Crone, the Wise Dark One, who accepts and receives our harvest, who grinds the grain, who dismantles what has gone before.”
Glenys invites ritual participants to contemplate their hopes for the harvest.
“We usually make corn dollies, though the materials have changed over the years. I have taken to fashioning them out of the subtropical ferns which grow in our backyard. We have a bonfire to which we commit the Brigid’s crosses which we made at Candlemas. This is a way of connecting across the year, and also of simulating the agrarian cycle on which we still depend, despite the illusions of the global marketplace. Most importantly, for Lammas, we bake bread.
“There are many mysteries wrapped up in a loaf of bread. The process of baking from scratch can connect us to history, science, culture, agriculture, and nature. The bread can be a symbol of all these connections, of our relation with the Earth and with humanity. Best of all, it’s a delicious and healthy food, which has become a mainstay of my family’s diet.”
“We celebrate Lammas by some kind of early harvesting, such as visiting a pick-your-own blueberry farm, wild raspberry picking, or such. To see the abundance of the earth, we’ll sometime spend time wandering (or even trying to run) in a mature cornfield. It’s one thing to say “Oh, yeah, the earth is producing a lot of growth”, but quite another indeed to be surrounded by it, blinding your sight and slowing your movement – that really shows the power of this Sabbat. We usually bake bread, perhaps in a woven Celtic knot, enjoying some of it during our ritual. The ritual is held during the afternoon’s heat, not at night.”
“As I stand here on this celebration of Lammas, the sacred wheel of the year continues to turn. As my ancestors did in times before and my descendants may do in times to come, I honour the old ways. The seeds have been sown and the crops have grown, now is the time of harvest. Today is the feast of first fruits and I celebrate the ripening of the grains. The sun has begun to wane but I enjoy still the long hot days of early autumn. I give thanks for the abundant gifts of the Earth Mother.