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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Lammas

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
GET RURAL WITH IT

This may be ambitious for your next Sabbat party, however I must decree it – get out to the country, already! Get rural with it for Lammas. Know someone who lives on a farm, or of one that is open for visits? That is where we should all be this Lughnasadh. Anywhere that offers dining on fresh produce and home-cooking is ideal. Remember, bread and corn are key, in whatever form you enjoy them.

Round-up a group of pals and make a pilgrimage. Bring a big red and white plaid vintage tablecloth to spread out on a picnic bench or the grass. Enjoy barley wine, hard cider, mead, or a local craft ale together. Stroll the grounds and eat outside. For the meat-eaters, it could not get more ritualistic than a sacrificial pig roast. If someone has access to a small tractor (and knows how to drive it), take turns giving each other rides perched atop some hay bales. It is near impossible not to get into the spirit of this day when partaking in these activities. Pick a picturesque spot to watch the sunset together. Listen for the resounding alien hum of the cicadas, and don't forget to take a pause and be thankful for what you have.

If you are not fortunate enough to be friendly with someone who has their own barn and facilities, here are some midwestern farm-themed options for getting away from it all. Take a gander at their websites and/or call first to plan your day trip:

Apple Holler
(Halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee)
A homestyle country restaurant, live entertainment, hay rides and family-friendly fare abound at this Sturtevant staple. A word to the wise: If you don't mind crowds, by all means, go. If not...
http://www.appleholler.com/

Bridge-Between Retreat Center
(Denmark, WI)
Up toward Green Bay in the little town of Denmark, lies this peaceful retreat. They tend a small organic farm with meals available. Llamas, cats, hens, and geese roam the grounds. This is definitely for those looking for little quiet.
http://www.bridge-between.com/

Brown Deer Farm
(IL/WI border)
West of Beloit is where you can escape here. A retreat facility, organic farming, and a nature-rich surrounding await.
http://www.browndeerfarm.com/

Country Corner
(Alpha, IL)
President Obama paid a visit here, and this place is hopping all-year round. Look ahead to Halloween-themed fun with their Zombie Quest event. Rentals are available for groups.
http://www.country-corner.com/index.htm

Red Barn Farm of Northfield
(MN)
How much more romantic can you get? Make your own brick oven pizza from their farm fresh, pesticide-free produce. Hand-made vegan-friendly dough and and a fun environment are offered.
http://www.redbarnfarmofnorthfield.com/

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Bake Your Lunasa Loaf for Peace

In Ireland we have already had a chilly intimation of autumn. Last weekend was spent at a Bards By the Hearth event, since the weather was too abysmal for going out, even to walk John's lovely Tree Labyrinth. But being so close to Lammas, and since it was a Bring and Share event, I made my standard soda bread. It is technically a Northern Irish 'wheaten' loaf, except I make it with spelt. Like so many in Ireland, if I can't get organic wheat flour or buy an artisan loaf in a Farmer's Market, my gut pleads with me to stick with spelt.  Even one of the owner's of Ireland's big bread companies has just announced that he is gluten intolerant.


But I digress from Lunasa. You need to celebrate the harvest and baking bread is the best way I know.  It seems cheating if you resort to the bread machine, which I often do during busy weeks to make sure that I have a decent loaf in the house. Baking yeast bread can be tricky and takes time and patience to get the knack. But Irish soda bread is a sinch.  Our ancestors made it on an open fire. Indeed, a Belcoo woman still goes up to her ancestral cottage to make her 'fadge' (as thy call it in Fermanagh) on the open hearth, just as women down the centuries have done. It tastes better according to Margaret.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Harvest-Time

Every day at this time of year, either morning or evening, I do some gardening, keeping back the riotous growth that excels in this season. If I didn't, many plants would simply take over the garden, crowding out some other favourite plants. Though these crowders may be near the end of their cycle, in their death they will still smother those that have great potential, as their time is arriving.  It's a hard time of year to keep on top of things, as the sun is so hot in our south-facing garden, and time is limited to mornings and evenings when we won't burn to a crisp or keel over from heat exhaustion. Jack in the Green is running riot, uncaring, reaching for the sun, drinking in the rain.

Yet if I want my irises and lilies to survive, I must release them from the choking hold of ground creepers/covers that threatens their existence.  I must carefully weed out and try to keep under control those plants whose vigorous growth would otherwise overwhelm others. In this, I feel a kinship to my ancestors, not only my recent ancestors whose work with plants runs in my blood, but also ancestors of this land who depended upon agriculture to survive. Both physically and metaphorically, this is the ideal time to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Even as I hear the tractors and combine harvesters rumbling in the fields on the other side of the street, so too do I look both within and without to see what needs harvesting, and if the harvest has been good.  Getting out in the garden brings it all home, showing that if you take on the responsibility of growing things, of nourishing them, then you must do your job well in order for your harvest to be good.  Walking out in the fields after supper, running my hands over the tops of the wheat and barley that grow around here, I make my prayers for the harvest to go well, for the people to be nourished and for the land to be treated well. The time nears for when we give back in great gratitude as Lammas, Lughnasadh, Harvest-Time arrives.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
My Children for My Children

If ever I've heard Earth speak, it was in that moment.

Early August: a windy hilltop in western Wisconsin. We've called to her, our beloved Earth of many summers. She stands here in our midst, her hands on the swelling curve of her belly, and her look to us is love.

She cries out. She is in labor now. She crouches in the birth-squat and we dance for her. We labor with her in her birthing, until that final long-drawn cry of triumph. Our circling stills. In the windblown silence, she draws forth from beneath her skirts the newly-born, the god-loaf. We cheer them, him and her.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The grain harvest

Lugnasadh, or Lammas, marks the end of the grain harvest, the time for celebration as all the crops are in. Yesterday, I walked in the Cotswolds, and I saw a great many ripe but un-harvested fields. In other years, I’ve seen it all come in well before Lugnasadh, and I’ve also seen the harvest fall much later. In wet summers, the crops can fail, and there is nothing of the grain to celebrate.

For me, this highlights an issue of Pagan disconnection from the Wheel of the Year. We celebrate the grain harvest at Lammas (the name means ‘loaf mass’) but most of us will not have been involved with the harvest, or even have an inkling as to when it happened in our locality. Not all areas are grain growing either. Does it even make sense to celebrate this festival if you live in an upland area that grows sheep, not corn?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Caity
    Caity says #
    I live in a very warm climate, so there's literal harvesting going on here throughout the year, and I don't think grain is harvest
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Like that, thanks. You articulate an important issue that I like to think about too.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Astrological Lammas Ritual

Within our tradition we celebrate the sabbats as they occur astrologically. This year astrological Lammas will happen on Friday, August 8th when the sun enters 15* Leo. Traditionally Lammas is celebrated as the first of the three neo-pagan harvest festivals with roots driven deep in Irish and Celtic folklore. At 15* Leo we find a fixed star by the name of Dubhe (pronounced DUB-ee) (Bear in Arabic) which is associated with psychic power and destruction. Dubhe is also referred to as “The Eye” or “Pivot of the Universe” and makes up the center of Ursa Major’s spine.For our Lammas ritual we combine both the terrestrial fascination of the first harvest with the celestial alignment of this great star.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Time for a Corn Harvest Festival

Lughnasadh is all about the corn, and I am not referring to the effectively creepy Stephen King short story. You simply cannot celebrate without featuring this sweet juicy veggie in some way, shape, or form. Instead of reserving it as an afterthought or side dish, place it front and center and celebrate it! There are many local and small-town corn festivals that you can attend. That way everything is ready-made and ready-to-go. One of the oldest in Wisconsin makes its home in Sun Prairie. According to their Chamber of Commerce website, its humble origins date all the way back to 1953. I do have fond memories of munching the delectable cobs as a youngster there. You could douse them to your heart's content from salt shakers hanging from the tops of tents. The Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival has now extended to four days and serves some 100,000 corn enthusiasts. There is a craft fair, parade, tractor pull, music, contests, and all the corn your can eat. Make a road trip of it with your favorite corny companions, and spend the day in farm country. Even if you don't plan to attend them all, it's fun to peruse the different websites. You can view pictures of people dressed as scarecrows and enjoying the harvest activities offered in each locale. 

The Corn/Grain Moon will be making an appearance on Sunday the 10th, and this is indeed an ancient food honored by Aztec and American Indians. To get you in the mood, I have a healthy recipe to sample, since it is a Lammas classic combo of bread and corn:

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