Hello there my friends,
August 1st is the season of Lammas in the ancient calendar. Traditionally this is the time when the fruits of the first harvest along with the first loaves baked from new grain were brought as offerings to thank the Goddess for her abundance.
Communities would gather to honor the Pregnant Goddess. Lammas (meaning loaf-mass), also called Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-na-sa) in Ireland, and the Green Corn Festival in Native American traditions is a celebration of the beginning of the three traditional harvests. Primarily a feast of joyful thanksgiving, it is the time of year that Mother Earth gives birth to her first fruits so that her children might live through the next winter. It is one of the four great cross quarter days and falls between the Summer Solstice (June 20th) and the Fall Equinox (Sept. 21st). Although Lammas is now dated August 1st, the older traditional date is August 6th when the astrological sign of Leo is at 15 degrees. An Irish myth refers to the period as the “little lunacy week in August,” because of all the dancing and courting that traditionally goes on. It was a time of robust health and erotic energy. Ancient tribes met to share news, trade goods, settle arguments, play games to show off their skills and most importantly, to court and arrange marriages.
Lammas is one of the most widespread and joyful festivals in the Northern Hemisphere. (In the Southern Hemisphere it would be the time for sowing). In the Stone Age cultures, the first fruits festival was a time for the people to gather at hill sites, such as Silbury Hill in Somerset, England (a 130 ft. high human made mound) to be with the Goddess as she neared her time of giving birth. Her labor was thought to begin at the full moon. In Ireland, farming communities still gather at hundreds of traditional hilltop sites to set up craft fairs, feast, play games and dance. It is called Big Sunday and the first fruits of the harvest are eaten at a ceremonial meal. In Slavic Regions it is called the feast of the Big Glad Woman.
Bread, which represents Mother Earth, home and hearth, is one of the most universal symbols of the time. Virtually every culture honored a Grain Goddess. To the Native Americans she was Corn Grandmother, the Romans called her Ceres (from which we get the name for Cereal), the Greeks called her Demeter, the Anglo Saxons called her Freya, in Egypt and other parts of North Africa, she was Isis, and in Slavic Regions, the Grain Goddess was called Ziva, or Siva. In Peru there is the Corn Parade and in India, the cotton harvest festival honors Cotton Mother. This was also the time of the great Bull Dancing of Minoan Crete and Bardic Wales.
One intriguing story of the origins of the Celtic holiday, is that the Mythic Sun-King, Lugh held funeral games to commemorate his foster mother, Tailte. Thus, in Ireland, Lughnasadh was often called the Tailtean Games. Early August is also called The Dog Days, not so much for the heat, as many believe, but because the Dog Star, Sirius became visible in the sky.
Traditional activities associated with the first harvest festival are: the making of corn dollies or Grain Goddesses, making braided bread (representing the triple Goddess or the Masculine, Feminine and Divine), rekindling communal fires, forgiving or settling debts, courting, hand fasting and betrothals, games of skill and strength, dancing, and giving thanks.
Today I am thankful for beginning a Blog in the Living Section of Huffington Post and you can follow this link to read my very first musings on the nature of Spiritual Sex. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-e-savage/spiritual-sex-ecstatic-lo_b_248920.html.
Please take a few moments to do a walking meditation this weekend to acknowledge all that you are grateful for; all that is fulfilling in the gifts of love and abundance you receive. Celebrate the fruits of your labor in joyful thanksgiving and the love of friends and family, forgive past debts and rededicate yourself to your personal dreams.
Happy Lammas Blessings, Linda