I was baptized Episcopal as a baby and raised Quaker; some years ago my mother returned to the Episcopal Church in her sleepy town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. She has found peace there for many years, and for that I am grateful. She and I have had our trials, but I have been fortunate for her open mindedness in the area of religion and spirituality. She accepts me fully as a witch and is more than a little curious which leads to many conversations between us comparing and contrasting Christianity and Paganism, specifically my path.
It is a Sunday, and the eve of Lammas; we are having our usual telephone talk and I ask her how church went today. She proceeded to tell me how the priest led them in blessings for the earth and her abundance, how they sang many nature songs, and how he brought in some very tasty multigrain “peasant” bread and butter for after service. I burst out laughing and told her the story of Lammas. We chuckled a long time about the Episcopal-Pagan Priest. I told her, “See, we aren’t so different after all.” I am grateful that Spirit brought us closer just a little more today and that a priest can teach abundance of nature to so many. We are really in oneness and that was evident today.
Lammas, (loaf-mass), or Lughnasadh (Loo na sa) is the first harvest. The Lugh, God of light, son of the Sun God, puts forth his energy into the grains and sheaths of the fields and is sacrificed by the harvesting of the grains so that we may have bread and abundance through the harvest and upcoming winter. It is a time of sacrifice, gratitude and reaping what has been sown.
Traditionally, the sun is beginning to wane and after his sacrifice at the harvest, he continues to live in the abundance of the Goddess until he can be reborn. This is when corn dolls which represent the Corn Maiden after a good harvest, are made and saved for later use during Imbolc in February.
Some activities such as gathering twigs for a wicker man are used to fashion an effigy caging negative behaviors, ridding ourselves of them by tossing them into the bond fire. Also, it is a time to gather herbs, drying them for winter use and make infused oils for use during the year.
Often braiding activities are done during Beltane, but now is also a good time for them as well as witch ladders, weaving in the magic of abundance and luck for survival through the difficult winter months ahead. It’s a great time for squashes and gourds as well and a fun activity can be making gourd rattles. In modern times we often don’t think about these things, but it is still an opportunity to make protections and other charms or magical workings fresh for the year, keeping the energy and intentions strong.
Magical workings for this time of year include health and wellness, career paths, as well as financial gains. Colors to represent the season include greens of summer, yellows, golds, oranges and will continue to deepen as we move further into the fall season. It’s a great time to collect and dry seeds for next year. They can be blessed upon your altar. Crystals and flowers or incense that you might include on your altar also mirror the colors of the season, jaspers, fossils, petrified wood, citrines, aventurines, banded agates, cedar wood, cinnamon, gingers, sunflowers and their seeds, poppies, and marigolds.
Think about foods like squashes, potatoes, breads as well as greens of the season like broccoli and asparagus. I love roasted squash with just butter and salt. Rosemary-garlic potatoes are delicious or caramelized onions with anything! If you are a mead or wine maker, this is perfect time to collect ingredients for those recipes. It’s also a great time to refresh your altar with the rich hues of the season, stones, corn husk dolls, crafts, as well as the abundance of the flowers like sunflowers, and their seeds, and of course some wonderful breads. However you celebrate, keeping focused on sacrifice and gratitude for the abundance of the harvest is key to honoring the energy of the season.
2016 copyright by Katie Pifer www.witchpetals.wordpress.com