It’s that time of the year again, a cross-over point into the next eighth-part of the Wheel of the Year. This impending crossover day is Lammas, or Lughnasadh. Let’s be fashionable and call it Lammas for brevity’s sake.
So, what is Lammas all about? Well, traditionally the revivalist pagans talk about the traditions that we until recently maintained relating to the celebration of the bountiful harvest – The Harvest Festival normally occurs in September, but already we are beginning to gather in the fruits of the summer.
Some schools in the UK still seem to have held onto this tradition where the demographic allows, and some of the smaller villages still mark this point in some way if they have a strong enough farming community and spirit. Neo-pagans also talk about the concept of sacrifice – the sacrifice of John Barleycorn, a personification of the harvest who has to be killed in order to be re-born as the new crop of the following year.
I came across a wonderful tune from The Imagined Village– a folk supergroup whose work I adore – which expresses anew the old tale of John Barleycorn, and it’s worth ten or more listens:
I’m a bit “previous” with all this harvest stuff, but in energetic terms this is the time to begin to gather in all the last of the summer’s strong energies and put them to good use. In terms of my own crops it’s been a dismal year for most things, despite the sun. The dry ground coupled with a plague of insects in Spring has meant very slow growth for most of my fruiting and flowering crops. Still, I’m grateful for anything that Nature provides because the quality of the taste more than makes up for the small amounts that a vegetable plot and a few hanging baskets can provide. M and I ate some of our tomatoes yesterday that tasted heavenly, and you just can’t buy that succulent home-grown taste.
Traditionally, Lammas is celebrated by visits to fields, orchards, lakes and holy wells. Which is nice, and I’ll be doing some of that. I was at Lyn Cau below Cadair Idris at the weekend, and will be visiting a lot of fields this weekend when I go looking for crop circles in Wiltshire.
In terms of magic and energy work the idea is to offer thanks, honour ancestors, and thank sentient energies for their assistance in the prosperity and abundance of the food crop; their generosity with their guidance and energies; and the continued success of all your magical interactions and connections. It’s a time for giving a little back that you might have been making good use of in your enjoyment of the summer months when powers have been at their height.
Lammas for Hedge Druids
What does Lammas mean for Hedge Druids? Well, I can’t say what it means for other hedge druids, because by our nature we are quite solitary people, i suspect, and I’ve never met anyone identifying themselves as a hedge druid. Being evasive today, aren’t I? What does it mean for me as a hedge druid, then? Now we’re talking! I can’t really say until I go out this weekend and dowse around for a power centre, sit in it, and meditate to find out what Nature intends for me in the next few weeks. I do, however, have my own ideas as to what this part of the year means though, so here are some things I hope to be working on soon, and which relate to the Lammas period:-
- Re-engaging with the spirits– I will be thanking them for their efforts in making this year so much fun, and seeing if there is anything I need to give back in return.
- Crop circle visits – This time of year sees the culmination of the crop circle phenomenon. Circles are being created frequently at this time, but in the next few weeks they will all be cut out and very few new ones will be created, if this year’s formations go by the same pattern (ha!) as every other year. There’s no guarantee of course!
- Working with water– we have realised that we have neglected water as an energy source, so Kal and I will be dowsing for the properties of water, and working with it energetically over the next few months.
Oh, and one final thing. I will be eating lots of apples. We are, after all, living on the Isle of Apples, and this has a particularly strong connection with Manannán mac Lir and Lugh. What a golden and delicious way to celebrate!