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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Lammas

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Home is Where the Harvest is

As you know, I have been travelling. I was in Britain for three weeks, returned home for five days and then set off for New York for almost a week.

All of this at harvest time. Sadness. The grapes were neglected and went to feed the possums and raccoons. There was a huge elderberry harvest but I did very little of it. Because we have two apple trees that bear fruit at different times, the apple harvest has been prolonged.  We filled our little freezer with apples destined for the cider fermenter and there are more in the refrigerator in the vegetable drawers.

Green beans have been plentiful and tomatoes trickle in--perfect, warm globes of brightness. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It is Lughnasad (“Loo-nah-sah”) as I write this, the old Celtic festival of the first fruits of the harvest that takes place during the first two weeks of August. In Christian times the feast was renamed “Lammas” or “Loaf-Mass” when everyone brought the first loaf of bread made from the year’s new grain to church to be placed on the altar and blessed.

I am an herbalist and a Druid and I live in an oak forest in New England. There is very little light here for growing things so I mostly rely on wild-crafted roots, barks, leaves, flowers and berries. Every season brings its own moment of opportunity and late summer is an especially rich time to harvest from nature.

Here are a few cautions that I follow before I pick; “Walk by the first seven, leave the eighth for the animals, and you may take the ninth” is an old Native American saying. Always leave enough plants behind to feed the wild creatures and to make seed for next year’s crop. “Gather 1000 feet from a roadway”; brake linings, car exhaust and other pollutants abound near roadsides. “Act fast, because Nature doesn’t wait”; there is usually just a short window of opportunity for gathering from the wild. “Know your herbs”; be sure you have a good guide or a live teacher to point things out to you, and never pick endangered species in the wild.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • leila
    leila says #
    Yep, took that into consideration. They are only being moved a few miles from their original home and being planted in similar con
  • leila
    leila says #
    Does anyone out there have recipes for devils claw pickles or relish?
  • leila
    leila says #
    If there are enough plants to not do damage , I dig up a few of the smallest ones and transplant them into my yard. Just brought h

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Lammas Mysteries

Taking a walk this morning, out in the sunshine, my soul expanding as I free it into the blue skies studding with soft clouds, I hear the sounds of the combine harvesters working in the fields, taking in the wheat.  I breathe deeply, and give thanks to the Goddess for what she provides, and also think of ways in which I too can give back.

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  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Hi Anne - you're most welcome, and blessings of Lammastide. x
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Joanna -- when I moved to western Oregon, I encountered wheat fields for the first time. (They surround our town, Forest Grove, al

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Unconditional love is pure magick

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another posting! And yes - Happy Lammas everyone! What plans do you have for today? For us, it's a special one, as our beloved furbaby made it to his thirteenth year after having a few scary moments. He's getting old, slowing down, sleeping more often, but there's still those times where he dances around and plays just like when he was a kitten.

So to make today a special day, I contacted my local supermarket to see if their sushi chefs would be willing to offer their art for him and make him a birthday "cake". I thought they'd think I was a crazy cat lady, but nope - they thought it would be a cool thing to do! So after I stop by the office to get my commission check, I'm paying them a visit. I'm thinking salmon and extra tuna. And yes, his vet said "people food" is okay as the occasional treat, as long as it's plain. So don't worry, it will be sans the ginger, wasabi and soy sauce. Oh, and his present - a new collar we special-ordered with the digital camo. (Stupid clothes! haha)

It has me thinking how much it must pain those fighting overseas must feel to be separated from their furbabies, too. And yes, the love is definitely mutual. We've all seen the videos countless times, of when someone returns home, and the families rejoice. The ones with the moms and the ones with the children are always wonderful, especially the surprise ones. But I will say, the ones where the dogs see them for the first time - those are always tear-jerker moments. Let's watch a few:

(I like the wait over two minutes in for the tail to start wagging. The anticipation was killing me!)

(In this one, the dog was only a pup when he left for Afghanistan, but oh yes, she remembers him alrighty!)

(And of course, this is the one everyone's talking about. Those whimpers and barks! "Don't you ever leave me like that again!")

The welcome homes for people is different. Even for children, it's different, because they can at least be told Dad is gone but will be cominghome. They can talk to them on Skype, write letters and make phone calls. For our animal companions, they don't know. So when Mom, or Dad, or Big Brother or Sister come home, the reunion is nothing short of beautiful - coming from sentient beings who give pure, unconditional love. It's that kind of love that can turn even the coldest heart warm.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Death is not a winter activity, it does not come just with the falling of the leaves, but weaves its slow, funereal dance through every day of our lives. Each living breath for us times with a last breath for some other creature. We cut the corn for Lammas, (or at least, these days, someone cuts it and most of us never see it). The death of the corn represents the life of the tribe. And so we’ll dig out the one folk song every Pagan seems familiar with, and honour good old John Barleycorn reincarnating as beer. In celebrating the beer we can slide over the death of corn, and with it our own mortality. Reincarnation for us is really something to guess at, and when we are planted in the ground we do not put up fresh, green stalks of our own.

I’ve long been fascinated by the relationship death has with the four elements. Our methods for relinquishing the dead take us to all four of them, although different cultures favour some more than others, depending mostly on available resources and behaviour of climate. What I’m thinking about here is disposal of the body, not human sacrifice, although there are parallels. We can put the dead into the water. Most usually we’ll do that when at sea, in the absence of other means of disposal, and not wanting the danger of a rotting corpse on a boat. However, I recall reading about some ancient peoples who put their dead, or some of their dead into flowing water, by choice.

Returning the dead to the womb of the earth, we plant them, seed like. Natural decay processes will follow, but there is something strange about earth burial, the digging of the hole and raising of the mound. It accelerates and disguises what happens when we leave the dead upon the ground, but it tends to invite more complex ceremony.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Nancy Vedder-Shults
    Nancy Vedder-Shults says #
    Nimue -- What I like best about this post is how your brought the "unsightliness" of death "to life" in your prose. No pun intend
  • Aleah Sato
    Aleah Sato says #
    I appreciate this essay, especially living in the Southwest deserts, knowing that this intensely hot, arid time of year brings dec

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Yggdrasil

Huginn and Muninn, the ravens return,

thought and memory

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  • Amoret BriarRose
    Amoret BriarRose says #
    Thank you! I thought it might be appropriate for Lammas/Lughnasadh.
  • Laurie Novotny
    Laurie Novotny says #
    I love this!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

The time of Lughnasadh, or Lammas, is nigh. The basic Wiccan definition tells us that this is the celebration of the first harvest, so that the Solar God (Lugh, in this instance), Who has been waning since Litha, is now sacrificed as embodiment of the grain we humans depend upon. The theme is, as all harvest festivals, gratitude for the bounty of Mother Earth and Father Sun.

Because my path is Earth-centered, I believe it is less important to hold to the "traditional" meaning of the sabbats than it is to attune to the energy of the place where you actually live, where (hopefully) your own food is grown. The seasons of Ireland are a far cry from the seasons of the Ozark Mountains. Here, gardens and farms are in the fullness of activity and production (Goddess willing). We have been harvesting many crops for weeks now - including the native Three Sisters: corn, beans and summer squash. August, while indeed a time to harvest, is also a time for planting the fall short-season crops. Therefore, my "locavore" version of Lughnasadh recognizes that this is also a time for renewal: strengthened by the warm soil and full bounty, we can plant new seeds in our lives and communities.

But one thing remains constant for those of us in the northern hemisphere: despite its burning heat, the sun is waning. We must not forget that a harvest festival is also a recognition that sacrifice and death are essential parts of the wheel of life. Wicca, as distinct from most mainstream religions, acknowledges the full cycle of life as sacred. Death and darkness are as important as life and light. There cannot be one without the other.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Harvest Some Fun For Lammas

Lammas, or Lughnassadh can easily be a forgotten Wiccan/Pagan holiday. It is not as showy as Samhain, or as lusty and festive as Beltane. But it remains one of the major sabbats, and should be recognized as such. The harvest is a time to gather: thoughts and blessings. It is about taking stock. We are getting ready for the next big seasonal shift. It is actually quite a powerful time, if you stop to ponder it. What better way to celebrate than to host an intimate gathering, simply to bake and break bread together; to just be? 

I would keep this one at four to five guests, tops. You know the old saying about too many cooks in the kitchen! Assign one person on each bread recipe– I have three that you could try. Have a fourth person on oven-tending and clean-up duty. If you have a fifth, let them set up serving plates and make sure everyone's glass stays filled with one of the following: sparkling apple juice, a hearty locally made craft ale, or a nice fruity barley wine. 

These recipes should provide variety for everyone, but please feel free to play with the flours or ingredients to make one vegan. Note that the Bacon Buttermilk Corn Bread should keep the gluten-free folks happy.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Today is Lammas-tide, Lughnasadh, the festival of the grain harvest. Across the land, fields full of golden wheat, barley and numerous others have been growing tall, a feast for the eyes as they bend in the breeze, a feast for the birds, bees, mice and other creatures that run between the rows.

In centuries past, it would be entire communities who came out to help with the harvest, threshing, binding and preparing the crop to last them the winter. Fuel is needed for heat, nourishment and sustenance for livestock - without a successful harvest, a lean winter means walking the path between life and death.

These days, it's more the rumble of heavy-duty farming machinery at work that is heard as the harvest is gathered in - but it's no less valuable for that. Despite the knowledge that we can import food, fuel and whatever we need from other places, there's still the essential connection between us and the land as personified in the life of our fuel-stuffs. We celebrate it, we recognise and remember it. Children make corn-dollies, singers remember John Barleycorn.

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  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    I ventured to make "corn" dollies from corn husks, only to realize that they are made from the wheat or barley. Amazing what can b

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