Lammas is interesting for me for a bunch of reasons. It's my former Coven's, and now my Tradition's, anniversary. It's the time when the days start getting darker, faster, but when there's also an end in sight to July's heat waves here in the Mid-Atlantic. Wherever I've lived, I've loved discovering what's in season locally at Lammas. (One week after Lammas 2008, I moved to Seattle and ate Rainier cherries for the first time. Wow.)
This year for Lammas, I thought I'd share some of what Roses, Too! Coven has written over the years in our newsletter and celebration invitations.
- The cross-quarter days (Lammas, Samhain, Brigid, Beltane) mark turning points in the year when the days get shorter or longer more quickly or more slowly. Since Litha, or Summer Solstice, the long days of summer have slowly been getting shorter. When Lammas comes at the beginning of August, the days start getting shorter more quickly. This may be a sad thing for those who love summer, but a relief for those waiting for the end of sticky heat!
- Lammas is a time of harvesting, of evaluating what we have harvested and what we hope to harvest. The days start growing shorter, faster, as we feel the turn of the year’s wheel towards Fall.
- Summer Solstice was the longest day of the year -- the day with the most hours of daylight in a 24-hour period. From Summer Solstice on, the days begin to get shorter, but at first the change is gradual. At Lammas, the change comes more quickly and is more dramatic, and we can notice more easily how the balance of light and dark changes.
- Lammas is the first of three harvest Sabbats we celebrate. This time of year marks the beginning of the harvest, of storing against the winter. Gardens are going crazy, and we rejoice in the abundance around us. It's still easy to see the Goddess as life-giving Mother. But the harvest is still uncertain. Severe weather, storms or drought, can still destroy crops. And when we successfully bring in the harvest, we also see the face of the Goddess as Reaper -- She Who Cuts the Grain. In Harvest is the death that allows life to continue: seeds for next year's crops, food for the winter. Some traditions celebrate Lammas/Lughnasadh as the wake of the Sun God Lugh, whose sacrifice at Summer Solstice is the death that allows the cycle of both animal and plant life to continue.Ritual: Cornbread!In circle at Lammas, we break cornbread together, sharing the joys and sorrows of what we have reaped in the past year and our hopes for the harvests to come. We ask ourselves, "What have I harvested so far this year? What do I hope to harvest?"Potluck theme: Local FoodLammas is the “loaf-mass,” the ancient Celtic celebration of the harvest of grain. We live in a world full of global networks that ship produce to us from all over the world. In the USA we have access to a stunning diversity of fruits out of season.This Lammas we encourage everyone to look for foods that are locally grown, to reconnect with the seasons of the places where we live. What is being harvested near here right now? What will you harvest?(And don’t forget the protein!)
So, dear reader, my query to you is:
What does Lammas mean to you?
What is happening in nature around you?
What have you harvested so far this year in your life, literally and metaphorically? What do you hope to harvest yet?
What foods are local to where you live? What grows near you? If you live in the city, what are urban gardeners growing?