Corn Dolly, from my garden corn harvest, 2017
Greetings, and happy, blessed harvest season, friends.
Today’s dark moon, as all dark moons, suspends us in a sense of timelessness.
Mama moon’s magnetizing stillness occurs simultaneously at a station on the wheel of the year when stored light from the season of growth maximizes itself into abundant bounty. Thursday or August 1 is traditional Lammas, or what I’ve always called First Harvest.
First Harvest is here!
Harvest season’s e n e r g y ushers in with tomorrow’s New Moon cycle. As we give way to the momentum of our yield of personal and collective harvest, we can begin with exactly where we’re at. Dark moons catalyze by holding us still, the sacred tension of traction. This is an alchemy you’ve likely felt since the last full moon two weeks ago today. With the increased influence of mercury’s retrograde phase ending tomorrow, too, dropping or deepening in to your own experience by taking a pause today is powerful and beneficial. Be still with the experiences and lessons of the last several weeks. Celebrate the patience and endurance, the tolerance you’ve shown yourself and others. Celebrate your frustrations and sadnesses, your joys and connections and deliverances.
Celebrate~give thanks! Give thanks, give thanks, give thanks. May all actions be gratitude in motion.
If you keep a practice of connecting to the Sacred, do so! Taking time for this sort of reflection creates cohesion in your internal, or soul world. Re-Source yourself, you’ll be ever happy for it this upcoming season!
And, should you be reading this seeking soul medicine, know that to return to your rhythm one answer always is to return to her. And for this deliverance?
Slow down, slow down~to return to the earth slow down, to return to the earth in order to slow down, slow down.
Make offerings to her of your deepest thanks.
Lammas, Lunar Lammas, & other Harvest Celebrations
Lammas is one of four cross-quarter holi(holy)days. Cross-quarters are mid-way seasonal points, relative to the summer and winter solstices or spring and fall equinoxes. Lammas marks Mid-Summer.
Lammas connects us to the Celts and Druids. When I say Harvest season is beginning, it is because the Celts celebrated Harvest beginning with this cross-quarter all the way until the end of their lunar or sacred year/beginning of their new year at Samhain. Traditionally this is the end of October/beginning of November.
Lammas celebration, or Lughnasa, celebrates fertility and agricultural Harvest. It is rooted historically to worship of the sun God Lugh across Indo-Europe. Traditionally meals were prepared with wheat and grain–bread and beers–for feasting. Husks from grain or corn were used to make harvest dolls as talismans, to be burned in the Samhain fires or kept in special places in the house as protection against famine.
Lammas reminds us that historically, cultures revered Gods and Goddesses that were connected directly to a lived experience of being responsible, sacred benefactors of the direct sustenance of Mama Earth.
Not some cultures, all cultures.
Anthropologically, humanity has always relied on seasonal markers to track time. Lunar Lammas, for example, occurs on the full moon when the sun is in the house of Leo according to the Western system of astrology. This year that is August 15. The practice of keeping time for Westerner’s this way–according to the sun and moon’s movement through the constellations–dates back to Babylonia.
Native American cultures, Chinese cultures, and cultures with Hindu or Vedic roots have their own understanding of tracking time against personal ancient myths of the zodiac or constellations. So, while Harvest festivals differ according to varied cultural applications of solar and lunar cycles and sacred star stories, all cultures traditionally celebrate an integral connection to the abundance of, and our reliance on, Mama Nature.
In China, we see the mid-Autumn moon festival as a time of sacrifice for continued growth and blessings, celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Similarly, Japanese cultures celebrate moon gazing on the Chūshū Moon on Jūgoya No Tsukimi, or 15th day of the 8th month according to their traditional lunar calendar. This is a time to literally witness the moon and express gratitude for a good harvest and its continuance.
In Iran, and ancient Persian cultures, there is the Persian Festival of Autumn, known as Mehregān مهرگان or Jašn-e Mehr جشن مهر is connected to what is known anciently as Mithra or Mihr. It is a sacred time to celebrate the bounty of love and affection.
In Russia, the harvest festivals of August are known as Spas. There are traditionally 3, each one unique and celebrating either honey, apples, or nuts.
Native American tribes like the Iroquois, Cherokee and Seminole, among several others, celebrate the new year in the early part of August with the Green Corn ceremony, a time for fasting & purification.
All of these rituals and festivals are rooted to the understanding of interconnection with Nature, and emphasize making offerings to the cycles of oneness that sustain us, in order to ensure continued harvests.
Locally, the Berlin Peach Festival is this weekend, taking us back to a time, in the words of my mother, repeating the stories of her grandmother, when the peach orchards across the way were as far as the eye could look. While that land, including my great grandparent’s, no longer produces fruit or vegetables, the weekend fits cohesively as part of the archetypal tide of harvest celebrations. Likewise, in Snow Hill we have the Blessing of the Combines this weekend, too.
Women’s Mysteries & Harvest Tide
In Nigeria, in the Yoruba tradition, August brings a two week harvest festival beginning with a village wide cleansing known as “Iwopopo” or “Iboriade”. An ancient fertility festival, these weeks include sacrifices made by a virgin maiden chosen by priestesses to carry the villager’s prayers.
This of course connects us to the ancient fertility rites that revere the Divine Feminine in all her forms, my favorite topic! I went back to school for my graduate degree to study women’s ritual and embodiment for soulful wellness, which is how I learned about both the Yoruba and the Thesmophoria. Thesmophoria was an ancient, guarded Greek women’s mystery rite, that took place in October to ensure continued fertility by honoring Demeter and Persephone.
In the women’s mystery tradition, First Harvest is the disseminating phase of the year, (the peace and momentum of post-ovulation.) It is also prophecy time, and the full moon of Lunar Lammas is known in esoteria as a wishing moon.
Through study of the Thesmophoria I came to a doubtless self-knowledge that all the years I’d been tracking my personal menstrual mysteries against the moon had connected me, my sacred body, to hers through the ancient natural rhythms of seasonal fertility. This aligned so intrinsically for me as a walker of the Old Way, or earth path.
And so, to speak of paganism returns us back round to Lammas-tide, beginning now and lasting through the full moon on August 15, lunar Lammas.
Starting tomorrow, and peaking on lunar Lammas or First Harvest moon on August 15, we start our tip towards Autumn. Know that no matter who you are, whatever or however you worship or connect to the Sacred or don’t, you are part of the web of life. You are as connected to these ancient passings as that fat big boy tomato, that juicy bite of fresh grilled silver queen corn. As the moon, the earth, the eternal tree dust, the ever changing sea, the sun, the stars, and all the stories ever told to explain these simple, practical mysteries.
I will post a small ritual for Wishing Moon closer to her fullness and share more about what the disseminating phase is.
In the meantime, remember! Remember to tend your sacred Harvest. Remember what harvest is all about: being grateful, expressing thanks for your bounty. The season is just beginning as the traditional final harvest celebration in the US is Thanksgiving 🙂
Gratitude begets more gratitude blessings, you know…So, what is your present harvest friends? How can you take time these next two weeks to express or live or ritualize your thanks? No matter what you’ve “grown” today, there’s still plenty of Time left this season…