Have you ever watched a summer storm roll in?
The air is almost always still with anticipation, heavy and pregnant with rain. The sky sinks into darkness as far away clouds pick up speed across the horizon. Everything seems dry enough to crack, thunder breaks and lighting strikes, until finally, thankfully, the rain explodes in a dramatic release of Earth’s energy.
I associate these storms most often with the time of year when grain is golden in the field. Indeed, watching the wind whip through a field of wheat is not unlike watching waves upon the shore, yielding, sometimes crashing, and sometimes frantically looking for escape from the unrelenting power of the elements.
Lammas is the festival of the grain harvest, the seed that provides us with winter sustenance, and hope for another harvest in the coming year. The elements of earth and water give rise to the sprouted grain, and the element of fire brings life to what is termed as the staff of life; bread. In many cultures, bread is likened to the body, and wine or beer is compared to the blood. The Festival of Lammas is a time when a simple celebration based on the ritual of baking bread, and breaking it with family and friends is both satisfying and a symbol of gratitude.
Consider these thoughts:
How does the harvest of grain compare to your own personal harvest?
What is the chaff and the grain in your life journey? What to keep and what to sweep away?
Are you consciously grateful for what has manifested from the work you did in the spring in preparation for this harvest?
What seeds will you save for the future, and will you guard them safely until the soil of your soul is ripe for planting again?
Are you connected to the waning light, as summer slips into autumn, and we begin the descent into the darkness of our being, the time for rest?
A LAMMAS CELEBRATION
Plan a lively, outdoor time with family and friends. Gather early in the day in the kitchen, with your favourite bread recipe in tow. Brew aromatic pots of coffee and tea, while you start your recipe, and share a dish of frittata.
While bread rises and bakes, share stories of what this spring and summer have meant to you, and what you hope to harvest as the autumn shadows fall. Take a walk in the fields and woods, and pick drying seed heads, wildflowers and grasses for your supper table. Upon returning, set a festive table with colourful cloths, candles, and vases of wildflowers, preferably outdoors.
Share a simple supper of stew (one with meat or vegetarian, and which has been cooking slowly as the day has progressed), crusty rustic bread from your morning bake, and salad. Don’t forget to serve some olives and wine. If Jesus were there, I’m sure he would be the guest who brought the olives and wine, and maybe some un-ripened goat cheese!
Oh yes! And Music! Is it time for fire and dancing yet? Share blessings and words of gratitude around the fire, holding hands and chanting, or howling at the moon. If you are lucky, the wind will pick up, the clouds will roll in, and the rain will drive you laughing and shrieking into the house, where someone will read a story or a poem, or pull some fairy cards for messages. A blissful sleep will follow, while the rain subsides and the air is charged with that freshest of smells that can only follow a summer storm.
Colours: Orange, Bright yellow, Gold, Green, Brown
Herbs: Grains, Sunflower, Heather, Hollyhock, Grapes, Pears, Myrtle
Stones: Peridot, Citrine, Aventurine and Tourmaline