“Landlord, fill the loving cup until it doth run over”
Wednesday, August 1, 2007 is Lammas, First Harvest. Lady Moon is in her second quarter in Pisces, giving us a view of a gibbous moon this night. On this day we honor the Goddess-as-Matron, celebrating her ripe lushness. Lammas is a fire festival, so light red, orange, yellow, and gold candles and use these colors in your decorations and dress. If possible, celebrate outside and make a fire. A barbecue pit, Weber grill, and chiminea are some items in which a fire can be lit without danger. If you live outside the city limits and have the space, build a bonfire (and invite your guests to help).
To honor the Matron Goddess, include whole-grain breads, corn muffins, fruits and berries in your menu. Toast the season with beer, ale, and cider — but no wine at this time, please.
First Harvest celebrates abundance. Many of the rituals associated with this date are concerned with promoting continuing abundance. To that end, you may choose to ask each guest to bring a dish and when the leftovers are shared, make sure that each departing guest has some food brought by another guest to take home. This shares the abundance with all.
Corn dollies, whether made by yourself or as a group activity for you and your guests, can be a decorative focus for your table. If you buy fresh ears of corn to roast, keep the husks for this purpose. To make corn dollies: Use the green husk leaves from an ear of corn. Line up the straight ends and tie tightly together with string. Holding the tied ends up, drape the green leaves up, then down around the tied ends, arranging evenly on all sides. Tie in the center with a stray piece/strip of corn husk. This forms the torso and skirt of the Corn Dolly. Fluff out the skirt. Then create arms and head by poking 5 or 6 long corn leaf husks horizontally through the top of the torso under the “shoulders” so that they extend out on either side. Take the bottom 2 husk ends and twist them to make “arms”. Cut the ends to even them out. Take the remaining husk leaves and bring them up over the top of the shoulders. Twist tightly together, then bend them in the center over toward the body. Tie to create the neck and tuck any loose ends into the shoulders. Fluff the head out slightly to round it. If there are enough corn dollies made, let each guest take one home as a party favor.
Another ritual for abundance is for each guest to toss a bit of their bread into your ceremonial fire. If you are celebrating indoors and have an iron cauldron or other pot in which you can burn a charcoal tablet or otherwise make a flame, it should be in the center of the table. As each guest throws their bit of bread into the flames, they should say “May we never hunger”, “This action signifies that there will always be food on out table” or other words to that effect. In addition to feeding the elementals, the burning of bread creates the promise of more to come.
Don’t forget the fairies: a bit of beer in a small cup, half a berry, and a crust of bread or a bit of oatmeal cookie will please them greatly.
Reminders: Saturday and Sunday, August 4 & 5: Metaphysical Fair at the Renaissance Hotel on Middle Fiskville Road between Lincoln Village and Highland Mall. 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM on Sunday. $8 entry fee, good for both days. Free lectures both days. Door prizes both days.