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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in harvest

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Intent and Purpose

It's FALL!  My favorite season and another turning point in the year.  I love the cooler weather, the changing leaves, and almost everything about fall.  It's a special time of year for me.  I have a lot of memories from this time of year as well as a lot of meaning.

Growing up on the farm, it was all about the harvest.  The growing season ending and getting the crops in for the long winter.  It was also about canning, freezing, and doing other prep for our own food.  Grocery store shopping was for things we couldn't grow or make ourselves.  

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating Collaboration

It’s getting towards the end of the harvest season – quite a sensible time to be thinking about collaboration. For most of settled human history, harvesting was a big job that required the work of entire communities. Before that, survival for our ancestors certainly depended on working together. Modern technology has ‘liberated’ us from the apparent need to fit in and work alongside others, but the truth is that our ‘freedom’ also means loneliness and isolation for many people.

Any Pagan ritual or celebration is an opportunity to come together and make something. One of the reasons I especially like improvised ritual is that it creates the scope for everyone to be equal participants, crafting something in the moment.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Little Clay Goddess

The little clay goddess went out into the garden on Planting Day.

Ohmigods.

Now I practically need a machete to get into the garden.

The tomatoes have been the size of grapefruits.

The collard leaves are as big as skillets.

The squash vine, umbilical, not content with taking over the garden, is in the process of claiming the entire back yard. I'm expecting it to grab me as I go out the door any day now.

The butternuts it bears are each more than a foot long. The last one I cooked weighed two and a half pounds.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Passion of the Harvest

At noon on the first day of the festival, we blew the horns. Then we pulled the young Corn King in his chariot through the grove in which the gathering was held.

By the next day, word had begun to spread. A few came out to watch the Corn King in his noon progress among his people.

The third day, there were more. Some would bow, or kneel by the side of the way to receive his blessing as he passed. These he would shower with kernels of corn.

As the week went on, people began to join the procession. They brought their children to receive the Harvest Lord's blessing. Late arrivals to the festival heard about the processions by word of mouth.

People had known the Young Lord since his boyhood, during the festival's earliest years. They had watched him grow up there, year by year. Now they welcomed his triumph. Grown to beautiful, golden manhood, he was everyone's son, everyone's beloved.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Corn Moon Celebration

The word "harvest," immediately conjures up the calendar pages of September and October in the mind's eye – replete with dried corn husks, gourds, pumpkins, red wine, and tart juicy apples. Although all of these images are thoroughly justified, the first of the harvest fests technically begins August 1. Lammas/Lughnasadh has come and gone, but you can feel the full ripeness and end of the summer all around you. It is there in the rich green leaves and vivid colors of plant life and flowers – their lush smell from the warmth of the summer sun at its peak. The corn moon rises this Thursday the 18th. What better occasion than to gather some of your clan near and toast to the changing of seasons, then?

If you have a craft brewer in your midst, by all means, this is the time to invite them to share their bounty! Likewise with anyone who dabbles in home fermentation in the way of kombucha or wine. Definitely roast some ears of corn from a local farmer's market over an open flame, and toss some fresh Caprese salad with bursting cherry tomatoes (surely a guest had good luck in their garden this year), fragrant basil leaves (ditto), creamy mozzarella (cheesemakers step up) and drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil and a good three leaf balsamic vinegar. Plump blackberries or plums (anyone's backyard pickings), would certainly be appropriate at this gathering, as would any just-caught perch that the fisherperson in your group would be willing to pan-fry for the crowd. Make it a true Pagan potluck where each guest can bring to the table some of their own personal harvest for others to sample. As host/hostess, you could bake up some little "Wolf and Moon Cookies" for dessert. Here's a favorite recipe that I like to go to:

     LEMON WOLF COOKIES
     *If you don't own a wolf cookie cutter, have no fear! Just make little full moons, half moons   
     and new moons by rolling out the dough and firmly cutting the shapes out of the bottom of a 
     shot glass. If you do own one, make the wolves first, and then the moons out of the left-over dough.
     4 1/2 cups flour
     1/2 teaspoon salt
     1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
     1/2 teaspoon allspice
     1/4 teaspoon cloves
     1/4 teaspoon ginger
     2 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
     1 cup sugar
     6 oz. cream cheese
     1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
     5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
     Stir dry ingredients together and set aside.
     Cream butter, sugar, cream cheese and grated lemon peel. Mix in fresh lemon juice. Add dry ingredients a little at a time, until well blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1/2 to 1 hour.
     Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8" thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour and cut out your wolf cookies.
     Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes.
     ICING
     2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
     1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
     2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons water
     food coloring (optional)
     Mix sugar and meringue powder in large mixing bowl. Add water and beat at low speed for 8-10 minutes until icing forms peaks. Add food coloring a tiny bit at a time, stirring until you have the color you like.
     Spread on cooled cookies or pipe designs on with a pasty bag. Keep icing tightly covered when not being used.
     (Recipe from Patricia Lynn Bradley, Bark & Bradley®, Inc., adapted by Colleen DuVall)

Sing some songs around the fire pit. Pass one chalice of the last of the home-brew that everyone takes a sip of to further bond your friendship. Finally, partake in a bit of communal moon-watching together. According to space.com, "The next full moon will be the Full Sturgeon Moon of Aug. 18. It will peak at 5:27 a.m. EDT (0927 GMT), but will appear full to the casual stargazer a day prior and after the peak day. August's full moon has also known as the Full Red Moon (because the moon can look reddish through haze), as well as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon."

Resources:
Photo, "Corn And Mazie Field," by franky242 at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
http://www.space.com/16830-full-moon-calendar.html
http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/documents/consumption/HealthDishWisFish.pdf

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Chaff from the Harvest

When you harvest most items, there’s always something you discard whether it’s the vines or the stalks.  I’ve been seeing all these ads about summer only has so many weekends and it is coming to a close.

It’s made me think of what I’m harvesting from my summer.  What have I accomplished this summer?  What do I need to keep in my life and keep going with?  What do I need to let go of?  

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Many Pagans, Wiccans, Polythesists, and others today mark Lughnasadh (pronounced LOO-nuh-sah or loo-NAH-suh; also sometimes called Lammas from the Christianized "loaf mass") on August 1 or August 2 in the northern hemisphere and on February 1-2 in the southern. Some eclectic traditions mark Lughnasadh according to the full Moon that is closest to August 1.Others celebrate it on the nearest weekend for convenience, especially if doing group or public ritual.

The roots of Lughnasadh come from old Celtic traditions, i.e., the Irish, Scot, Manx, Cornish, Welsh, and Breton peoples and probably from those of the Isle of Man as well. Many celebrants today follow traditional agricultural markers (based on extant records, folklore, etc.) rather than calendar dates when timing celebrations. Those practicing Celtic reconstructionist Druidism may locate Lughnasadh according to the appearance of the first late summer fruits or the first grain harvest in their home area. Here in the Pacific northwest, modern CRs use the blackberries to time agricultural Lughnasadh, while CRs on the east coast tend to use blueberries. For most modern practitioners, the emphasis is most often on the rhythms of life in one’s home area rather than on the calendar. For instance, rather than marking Beltaine on May 1, many CRs celebrate it once the hawthorn—or the appropriate local white-flowering tree—blooms. In CR practices, the sacred and mundane are not separate, and the most mundane daily activity is every bit as sacred as the carefully planned “high ritual.” Daily life is a form of spiritual practice, and hospitality is one of the most highly valued of these expressions.

According to Irish mythos, Lughnasadh marks a funeral celebration and feast thrown by the God Lugh (pronounced LOO) in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu. Legend claims that she cleared much of Ireland’s plains to allow for farms to be started, after which she collapsed and died. (Yeah—I’d be tired, too.) The funeral games were subsequently called the Tailtin/Tailtiun games in her honor. Interestingly, because so many healthy, vigorous young people appeared for the games, Lughnasadh also became known as a prime time to make matches-- of the romantic rather than the gaming time-- with many handfastings following.

In folkloric terms—and those of traditional calendar customs—Lughnasadh more or less always marks the harvest of the local berries and of the first ripening grains.

Traditionalists may celebrate Lughnasadh in several ways, including some or all of the following:

1. The celebration is invariably communal. It was typical of the ancient Celtic peoples to gather as communities or even come from great distances for major celebrations, and this was often especially true at Lughnasadh as the weather tended to be better in summer than at the other cross-quarter holidays (although, the needs of one’s farm or animals always limited some from long periods of travel). The celebrations included feasting, games and tourneys (especially horse racing), and ritual fires.

2. The ancient Gods are appeased and thanked with offerings from the first harvest and with ritual. Lugh and Tailtiu, in particular, are often honored honored. Danu, the Irish mother goddess, is often mentioned at Lughnasadh as a benefactress.

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