THE FIRST HARVEST FESTIVAL OF LAMMAS
The golden festival of Lughnasadh falls at the end of July/beginning of August. It is an ancient pagan harvest celebration, that was re-named Lammas, or Loaf Mass by Christians. The fields are the colour of butter and all of nature is overloaded with fruitfulness. Back in the day folk believed it was important to treat the earth’s bounty with respect. It can be very enriching to remember this and make your own connection with the land.
‘Lughnasadh’ means ‘feast of Lugh.’ Lugh was Celtic god of brightness, who brought joy and fertility. To celebrate this season people banded together to climb high hills or visit sacred wells. But there is a serious side to the festival, because harvest has a price. As the wheat is reaped the Corn Spirit is cut down. Farm workers were afraid of the anger of the Earth Mother for taking her crops. Because of this they threw their scythes in unison at the final stalks of corn, so no-one could be accused of felling the last sheaf. But the good news is that the Corn Spirit is reborn very quickly in all the harvest produce, fresh loaves and preserves.
There are plenty of things you can do to get in tune with the season.
- Walk in a wheat-field. Can you hear the whispers of the corn and feel the presence of the Corn Spirit?
- Climb a high hill, like the ancients did, and as you stare into the distance, imagine a good future for yourself in the coming autumn.
- Visit a sacred well. Leave an offering of seeds on the ground or a silver coin in the water, to show you are prepared to make sacrifices in order to progress.
- Decide to give up a bad habit or some other thing that is not doing you any good.
MAKE A CORN DOLLY
The corn dolly is a symbol of fertility, made from ears of wheat. Some people weave them into complex shapes, but all you need are three ears of wheat, which you can bind together with red ribbon. If you want to go to a bit more trouble, bind a small sheaf with a hanky, leaving ears of wheat poking out for the head and hands. Make several, to give to family and friends. The corn dollies can be kept on the hearth until the following spring. This shows that life goes on, even though the season turns cold. When the warmer days arrive the corn can be shaken out onto the earth, and a new dolly made. And so the cycle of Nature repeats.
Although this is a fruitful time of year, the message is that some things have to be given up if others are to come into being. Sometimes we hang on to things or continue actions that are bringing us down. Resolve to stop this. Imagine that you are sitting with your back against an oak tree, facing the setting sun. In front of you there is a field of rich wheat, glowing golden in the evening light. Now imagine a path opening through the corn, with your heart’s desire at the end of it – this could be a person or thing, or a symbol of something else you want such as a job. Now ask to be shown what it is that is standing in your way. Notice any thoughts that come into your head, however bizarre or irrelevant. Walk towards your goal, affirming ‘I make changes and sacrifices in order to get what I want. I am determined and successful.’ Imagine the warmth of the sun entering your solar plexus and spreading outwards into a radiance that surrounds you. Finally see yourself achieving your heart’s desire. You can spend as long as you like on this. Come back to everyday awareness and make a note of any important experiences. You can repeat your visualisation as often as you wish. Remember also to make your affirmation each day just before going to sleep and when you wake up. Your ‘harvest’ is there for the taking!
Visualisations can throw up puzzling images, especially if you are going through a difficult time. Please email me email@example.com if you feel you need help