“The shadows sway and seem to say Tonight we pray for water…”
Saturday, August 1, 2009, is the celebration of Lammas (First Harvest, Harvest Home, Lughnasadh). This festival can also be celebrated on July 31 or August 2, but the Sun must be in 15° Leo and this is usually nearer August 5. This year, Lammas falls on a Saturday, Saturn’s Day. Saturn moves in direct motion now; there is a stronger sense of purpose and direction, a feeling of responsibility understood and accepted. This is a solemn fire festival made more solemn by the excessively high temperatures and extreme drought in Austin and Central Texas.
Celebrate outdoors if at all possible; build a fire in the grill or barbeque pit and take care no sparks fall – most of the lawns I see are sere and brown; the danger of fire is real. Roast some lamb, ears of corn; skewers of veggies in season, such as zucchini, eggplant, onion, green peppers, summer squash; enjoy foods made using corn, rye, wheat, apples, berries, anything that is in season and, preferably, locally and organically grown. Decorate your dining table and the surrounding area using the colors red, gold, orange, yellow, bronze, citrine, gray, and green. Wear these colors yourself and encourage your guests to do likewise. Decorate with arrangements of fresh fruits and veggies, corn dollies, sun-wheels, sickles, and scythes.
Be sure to bless the tools of your trade by wafting smoke from your fire over them; this will lead to prosperity in your work in the coming year. If you have not made a fire outdoors, light some blessing incense and waft the smoke over your tools with a feather.
Share leftovers with all your guests, but each guest must take another guests leftovers, not his own. This is more ritual for continuing prosperity. If there are fewer guests than leftovers, it is best to give these leftovers to the needy, the homeless. Save and plant seeds from the foods eaten that have seeds. If the seeds germinate, honor the plant.
The spiritual focus of Lammas is on Mother Earth, her health, her status in our lives. Having a story-telling interlude, when all have eaten their fill, letting each guest tell a tale of Demeter, Ceres, Freya, and other Grain Goddesses, will lead thoughts in that direction. One of the rituals associated with this celebration is to bake a loaf of bread in the shape of a man, rather like a gingerbread man, and serve him to the guests, each of whom will tear off a piece of the breadman and feed it to his neighbor at the table, saying “May you never be hungry” or “May food be always at your table”, or some similar blessing. A piece of the breadman is reserved to be thrown into the ceremonial fire as a prelude to another ritual that can be performed: let each guest write their regrets (or symbols of them) on a piece of paper, wrap the paper in corn husks and throw into the fire. The breadman’s burning paves the way for shifting your thoughts from the regretful past to the hopeful future; burning your regrets demonstrates you are ready to move forward.
Reminder: I will be participating in the LSM Metaphysical Fair at the Radisson Hotel, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd. in Austin, TX, between Highland Mall and Lincoln Village, on Saturday and Sunday, August 22 & 23, 2009. If you come to this fair because you read about it here and choose to get a Tarot reading from me at this fair, mention this newsletter and you will get 5 extra minutes free.