Blessings of the First Harvest to my friends,
August 2nd is Lammas (meaning loaf-mass), the celebration of the beginning of the three traditional harvest festivals (along with September 21st and November 1st). Virtually every culture honored the Grain Goddess: Corn Grandmother, Ceres, Demeter, Freya, Isis and Ziva, to name a few, and bread baked from the first grains is one of the most universal symbols of this harvest. In Stone Age cultures, tribes gathered 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 the Bronze age, the great Bull Dancing of Minoan Crete occurred at this time.
In the first millennia of the common era, people gathered on hills such as the Tor in Glastonbury and offered their first fruits in thanksgiving. The Celts called this time Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-na-sa), Native Americans called it the Green Corn Festival and in Slavic Regions it was called the feast of the Big Glad Woman. In India, a cotton festival is held to honor Cotton Mother. (At the opposite time of the year in Peru there is a Corn Parade.) Ireland still celebrates Big Sunday and farming communities gather at hundreds of traditional hilltop sites to set up craft fairs, feast, play games and dance. A part of every one of these gatherings is a ceremonial meal where the first fruits of the harvest are eaten. Lammas is primarily a feast of joyful thanksgiving for Mother Earth’s bountiful offering of her first fruits that will sustain her children.
Since so many of us do not live in farming communities, this particular celebration may go unnoticed as we go about our busy lives, or perhaps August means simply a time to go on vacation, and visit friends at a beach house or in the countryside. But the harvest is an important metaphor for us, even today. What have we planted, watered and cultivated? Perhaps it is a dream you are now manifesting, a new business, art piece, relationship, garden, job or home. When you allow yourself to appreciate all that you have done to bring your vision into reality, it becomes a harvest celebration. And most of the time you have not created this entirely alone, others have supported you and even co-created with you. There is something magical about celebrating as a community, even if your co-creators are not physically in the same location.
I have been exploring the meaning of community for some time, having been a part of a Shamanic community for 10 years and now intensively studying their understanding of the world and our place in it. This has led me to appreciate community so much more. When the spirit of a community is 'everyone belongs,' it promotes a sense of belonging within the self. When there is no dogma, no set of specific beliefs, and no definition of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ which creates separation, then we are free to express our creativity from within, encouraged and supported by others who care about our well-being.
Perhaps this is something you experience with close friends. If your calendar allows, why not bring together those special people in your life on this Lammas Day (Sunday) and ask everyone to bring or share the fruits of whatever they have brought forth from visioning to cultivation to harvest. It can be as simple as a dish to share and as big as whatever they want. Then let the thanksgiving be joyful and your heart be full.
Feel the Blessings of the Harvest, Linda