By Kate Braun / The Rag Blog / July 25, 2008
Friday, August 1, is Lammas, also named Harvest Home, Lughnasach, and First Harvest. On this date we will be feeling the effects of the new moon and the solar eclipse, although the eclipse won’t be visible in North America (areas of greatest visibility: parts of eastern Asia, parts of eastern Europe, northern Alaska and Canada). The name “Lammas” comes from “Loaf Mass”, reflecting the custom of reserving the first harvesting of grain to make the loaf that is used in this day’s celebration. Friday is Freya’s day; Freya is also called the Giver of the Loaf. It is good to honor her by name on this feast day.
New moons are times to formulate and announce plans yet to be fulfilled; eclipses are times of change; Lammas will be a good occasion to define and set goals for the future. Keep in mind that there are still many retrogrades in effect and that the cumulative effect of these retrogrades is to urge us to take care of unfinished business as well as to pay more attention to our weaknesses so that we can turn them into strengths. The longest journey begins with a single step; use this opportunity to take that first step.
Lammas is a fire festival. Celebrate it by using the colors red, gold, orange, yellow, and bronze in your decorations and dress; by serving breads, apples, berries, squash, lamb, ale, and fruit wine; by giving thanks as you share food; by engaging in activities that promote abundance. Ideally, the type of fire used for this celebration is a fire into which you may toss offerings: a fireplace, backyard grill, cauldron. On this day we recognize the power of Mother Earth’s energies, the life she gives that gives us life. You and your guests should take time at the beginning of your feast to verbally express thanks for the good things in your lives, for the lessons you are learning, for whatever there is in your life that is worth being thankful for.
If you bake, bake a loaf of bread in the shape of a person and at the beginning of the meal, beginning with yourself and going sunwise (clockwise) around the table, tear off a piece of the breadman and feed it to the person sitting next to you while saying “May you never go hungry” or “May food be always on your table” or words to that effect. An alternative to this ritual is to substitute a large gingerbread man for the breadman. Each celebrant should be sure to save a bit of the ginger/breadman to toss into the ceremonial fire when the breadman has completed his journey around the table and is no more. This is a prosperity ritual: by reducing food to ashes and giving the ashes to Mother Earth, you are feeding her as she has fed you; this lays the foundation for more food (prosperity) in the future. Be sure the ashes of your offerings are cold before you disperse them in your garden, though. At the end of your feasting, before you leave the table, thank Mother Earth again. Thank her for the food you have eaten, the company you have enjoyed, the lessons she is teaching you, the joy that you know awaits.
Sharing leftovers is another ritual of increase you and your guests may enjoy. Just be sure each guest takes home some of someone else’s leftovers.
Don’t forget the fairies, especially the garden fairies, in your celebrations. Like Mother Earth, garden fairies work with us to keep our flora healthy. Like Mother Earth, it is polite to remember them and thank them for their efforts. Fairies don’t need much: a doll’s tea set will suffice to set out a Fairy Feast of wine, bread, and fruit. Include a flower and your garden fairies will be honored and pleased.
Reminder/update: the August Metaphysical Fair will be on August 16 & 17, 2008, at the Radisson Hotel, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd., Austin, TX 78752. $7.00 at the door, good for both days. 10 AM – 6 PM Saturday, Aug. 16; 11 AM – 6 PM Sunday, Aug. 17. This date is per the hotel due to a scheduling conflict. If you put this fair on your calendar for Aug. 9 & 10, please change the dates.
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