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A Lammas Teaching: The Seasons and Cycles of Breath

Our journey of soul is like breath.

On the in-breath, we enter deep inside of ourselves, to the well-spring of our soul and the mysteries of the sacred dark, seeking guidance and inspiration for our pathwork of healing and transformation, and the seeds of our beauty and wounding that are ready to return to the light of our waking-world consciousness.

On our out-breath, we turn our focus outward, embracing the enervating powers of light and life and letting the seeds of our pathwork express and reveal themselves in the machinations of our everyday existence. Life is our teacher, bringing us the insights, energies and experiences we need to heal, grow and blossom in the sunlit world.

On our return in-breath, we gather up and take back inside everything that we have learned and experienced. We harvest our healing work and life story, and ingest their transformative lessons, letting them nourish and change us. And in this process, we become a newer, more profound and brighter version of our Deep Self.

The turning of the seasons is like breath.

On the in-breath, the natural realm turns inward as the balance shifts from light and life to darkness and death. Nature sinks into stillness and repose, while the land rejuvenates and the seeds of the new gestate in the belly of the dark.

On the out-breath, the returning light and warmth awaken the sleeping seeds of life within the land. Roots dig deep and green tendrils reach upward to kiss the sun. Everywhere in Nature, creation expands outward in a rampant, stunning display of the beauty and abundance of new and blossoming growth.

On the return in-breath, the living world offers up the fruits of its labors for the harvest. The death and sacrifice of some threads of life ensure the nurturance and continuance of others. Yet nothing is truly lost, for contained within death are the seeds of a new season and a future harvest.

And then the cycle begins anew, always turning, never-ending, one breath, one season, one chapter on our journey of soul is followed by the next. In these ways, life sustains and creates more life, and the light of our soul shines ever brighter.

Our busy modern world is not like breath. If anything, we are fixated on a perpetual out-breath, with its expansive, external focus. We are always doing and striving, charting our passage through life by the material markers of achievements and possessions. More is better. Growth is everything.

Yet we can never escape the natural order of things. We can’t breathe out, without breathing in. The outer arises from the inner, and that which grows and expands, in the end, returns to the still, fertile center of things to feed and give rise to the next cycle of life.

Individually and collectively we have reached the end of our extended out-breath. It is time to turn our focus to the return in-breath of harvesting and ingesting what we have learned from the fruits of our efforts, and of winnowing out what needs to die and be sacrificed in service of the balance and wellness of the whole.

This is the work of Lammas, where profound, consciously chosen endings gift us with the seeds of profound, life-serving beginnings, and from these seeds our lives and our world are renewed and reborn.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

“Do not forget that it is summer. Have you slowed down, taken days or weeks of vacation, let the air have access to your body, explored nature, or let your toes out of your shoes?

It’s not too late.”

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Lammas, the First Harvest, the Beginning of the End of Summer

Many people have been readying for Lammas this past week. My Instagram feed has been full of beautiful loaves of bread in all shapes and sizes, filled with herbs or sprinkled with oats and other grains. I’ve made my own loaves of bread in preparation and am planning for other elements of the holiday: an outdoor fire in our fire bowl, homemade kvas, some soup or stew to sop up with the homemade bread, a fresh salad, some outdoor games with the kids, maybe a walk in the woods.

I love this holiday that is essentially a celebration of bread. Bread is a sacred and ancient food, one so common and humble that we often take it for granted. But no one can deny the wholesome, enriching influence of homemade bread: the feeling of connecting with old ways as we get messy with flour and meditatively knead the dough; the rich, savory perfume emanating from the oven as it bakes; the softness of the inside and the hard crust of the loaves eaten plain, with cheese, or slathered with butter or jam. It is a gift to make bread -- to ourselves, our loved ones, and our homes. It’s no wonder that the Matres and Matronae, ancestral mother-goddesses worshipped by Celtic and Germanic tribes across northwestern Europe and whom I worship and honor, were depicted in iconography with grains or loaves of bread, along with fruits, babies, and dogs. Bread is a staple in many meals, a magical food born from grains carefully grown from the earth, at first green and then gold, milled and baked, wholesome and hearty.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I made corn pudding yesterday. I have enough left over rice to make rice pudding later in the week.
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    Yum! Enjoy!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Bad harvests

From Lammas (loaf mass) through the autumn, we tend to think about harvests and to reflect that in rituals. The normal procedure is to focus on the things we have grown and harvested in our lives because most of us aren’t intimately involved with growing and harvesting food.

However, bad harvests are very much part of nature. Too much or too little water, too much or too little sun, and your crops can fail. Insects, disease, people too ill to work the land, and other random natural acts can mean there is no harvest. This is a good time of year to look at the harvests you didn’t get to make because circumstances thwarted you. It can be oppressive having to be all joy and gratitude about life when life is not full of delight. If you are suffering, if you are restricted, if your scope to harvest has been denied you, it’s important to have space to acknowledge that. Gratitude is good, but not when it makes us ignore genuine injustice or go into denial about what isn’t working for us.

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(YOU'RE GOING TO) REAP JUST WHAT YOU SOW

With Lammas now underway, harvest season is here in abundance. If you haven't been visiting them this summer already, now is the perfect time to take advantage of fresh ripe produce and more from your local and regional vendors. Since I myself reside in the Midwest, I thought I'd point out some area highlights.

WEST ALLIS FARMERS MARKET
Milwaukee, WI
https://www.westalliswi.gov/index.aspx?nid=201
If you prefer a leisurely start to your harvester perusing, this is the one for you! West Allis, otherwise affectionately known to Milwaukeeans as "Stallis," "Mustalliche," and "Stallica," prides itself on providing the freshest produce possible. A later start allows farmers to pick right from their fields that same morning and do just that. This is primo time for herbs, squash, and of course, sweet corn. Tomatoes will be coming to fruition (sorry I had to go there), and soon after apples and cider will be on the way. There are also a variety of shopping vendors offering oddities ranging from records to hats. The West Allis Farmers Farmers Market is open from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 1-6 p.m. on Saturdays.

DANE COUNTY FARMERS' MARKET
Madison, WI
https://www.dcfm.org/

A decades-old tradition going strong since 1972, the Dane County Farmers' Market on the Capitol Square of Madtown is the perfect marriage of country mouse and city mouse. EatingWell Magazine even voted this one as a favorite of theirs. Fashioned after the European-style open markets, this cherished state event is now one of the biggest produce-only farmers' markets in the country. A Wednesday morning market has been added to compliment the ever-popular Saturday showcase, and it runs all the way into November. Early birds flock to Saturdays as it runs from 6:15 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. Wednesday times are 8:30 a.m.-1:45 p.m. For an intriguing read on this popular forum's history, fresh recipes and more info, visit their website.

KENOSHA HARBORMARKET
Kenosha, WI
http://kenoshaharbormarket.com/

Referred to one TripAdvisor traveller as “Farmer Market Heaven not far from Chicago into Wisconsin,” this happy medium between Chi-town and Cream City fits the bill. There is ethnic fare to be enjoyed, particularly at a seat by the lake, while watching the boats drift in the harbor. Also a happy medium with the time frame, this rialto is available to you on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Located in downtown Kenosha behind the Civil War Museum, and Kenosha Public Museum, this mixed marketplace provides performance art, crafts, and cooking demos. They also operate in conjunction with special events such as the HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival and the Kenosha Classic Cruise-In.

This is but an appetizer of all of the farmers markets to partake in. Make a point to get out there and have fun supporting your resident agriculturalists today.

References



http://www.eatingwell.com/article/10372/americas-top-farmers-markets-dane-county-farmers-market/

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60003-d6867210-r290234815-Kenosha_HarborMarket-Kenosha_Wisconsin.html

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Posted by on in Signs & Portents
The Day of Bread and Light

Merry meet! August 1 is widely known throughout the English-speaking world as either Lammas (Anglo-Saxon) or Lughnasadh (Gaelic) and is regarded as either the first harvest day of the season or the beginning of autumn.

We’ve gathered our posts here at PaganSquare for both holidays as well as related content from across the web. We hope you have a wonderful feast with your friends and family!

-Aryós Héngwis

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sacrifice means to Make Sacred

To get what you never had, you have to do what you have never done.

                The Harvest sabbats—Lammas, Mabon and Samhain—bring us deep understanding of balance and reciprocity. These are the moments of greatest abundance coming in, therefore they are the moments when we are called upon most, to be grateful, to give back, and to sacrifice.

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