This present day of gluten and wheat intolerance, it could be exhausting for us to imagine the large influence of the primary harvest upon our ancestors. All issues grain have been celebrated, alongside the ripened summer season fruit and veggies.
Commencing on the eve of July thirty first and celebrated by way of August 1st, Lammas derives from the Previous English phrases “hlaf-maesse” which accurately interprets as “loaf feast” and is consultant of the primary loaves baked from that yr’s crop. These days after we can simply pop to the retailers, it’s straightforward to neglect how essential it was for our forefathers to take care of their crops – the harvesting and processing of grain was essential and will usually make the distinction between life and loss of life.
This competition can be celebrated within the Wheel of the Yr to honour the Celtic God of Gentle, “Lugh” – therefore the title “Lughnasadh”. Lugh is the archetypal Solar God (who reached his zenith at Midsummer Solstice), and who now transfers his waning energy into the grain to be finally sacrificed when the grain is harvested. This season isn’t solely a time to have fun life and abundance but additionally to replicate upon harvest and loss of life, the whole cycle of life.
The Inexperienced Man’s guise of the season and personifying the Divine Masculine, John Barleycorn is the God of the Harvest and Spirit of the Fields. Upon his sacrifice when the grain is harvested, the dance continues because the Earth Goddess is pregnant and goes on to provide delivery to the Solar (King) once more on the Winter Solstice (on or round twenty first December).
In 1970 the UK band “Visitors” launched an album “John Barleycorn Should Die” that includes the Previous English people tune of the identical title. The primary identified written account of the life and loss of life of John Barleycorn seems within the Bannatyne manuscript, dated 1568, held within the Nationwide Library of Scotland. Information of this tune return to the 1300’s however it’s in all probability a lot older. The lyrics painting a symbolic determine and poetic personification of the corn itself, describing the preparation of the bottom, sowing the seeds, rising the crop adopted by harvesting, threshing and milling. Lastly, the merchandise constructed from the corn are extolled, resembling bread, beer and whiskey, additional cementing its worth as an essential staple crop for our ancestors. Numerous variations of this tune exist, with the well-known poet Robert Burns publishing his personal model in 1782. The significance of the crop and this specific flip of the Wheel of the Yr can’t be over-stated in relation to the survival of the village, clan or city.
Right this moment we’ve many pubs named for John Barleycorn – an apparent tip of the hat to the ale and whisky served therein! Whether or not we’re conscious of him or not, this historical deity is indelibly engraved upon our collective psyche.
Representing the Divine Female facet of nature we’ve the “Grain Goddess” who’s honoured because the Queen of Abundance. The primary harvest is acknowledged because the fruit of the union of the Might Queen and Solar King at Beltane. The current harvest holds at its coronary heart the seed of all future harvests, simply because the Goddess carries the seed of the Solar God for the New Yr inside her.
The First Reduce of the Harvest
The primary minimize of the harvest was of supreme significance. Up till fairly not too long ago, in some areas of Scotland, the primary minimize was made on Lammas Day. In a ritual known as “Iolach Buana”, the entire household dressed of their Sunday finest and would to enter the fields the place the pinnacle of the household confronted the solar and minimize the primary handful of corn with a sickle. He would then put the corn sun-wise round his head thrice while thanking the god of the harvest for:
“corn and bread,
meals and flocks,
wool and clothes,
well being and power,
and peace and many.”
In West Dorset a typical customized was “Crying the Neck” or “Crying the Mare” – it was believed the the Corn Goddess lived within the grain, with the reaping forcing her to retreat into the ever dwindling corn. Nobody wished to be the one that destroyed her final refuge so they might throw their sickles on the final strands of wheat, hoping this ploy would disguise whose hand was accountable for chopping the ultimate straw. The final ears of wheat have been fashioned right into a bundle referred to as the “Neck” or the “Mare” and held excessive, with all these current on the harvest singing a ditty:
Properly a plowed! Properly a-sowed!
We’ve reaped! And we’ve mowed!
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
Properly a-cut! Properly a-bound!
Properly a-zot upon the bottom!
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
The Neck would then be original right into a Corn Dolly, consultant of the Corn Goddess. Typically, a younger woman of the village could be appointed the “Corn Maiden” and would trip upon the Hock Cart with the Corn Dolly as a part of Lammas celebrations. Many villages saved the Corn Dolly till “Plough Monday” – the primary Monday after January twelfth – when she could be ceremoniously buried within the first furrow the place it was hoped she would work her magic for the next yr.
The threshing of the grain was additionally seen as a sacred act, threshing homes contained small picket panels beneath the door so not one of the grain may escape – giving us the unique which means of the phrase “threshold”.
Have fun the Fruits of the First Harvest with a Lammas Feast!
As a result of Lammas is a celebration of the brand new harvest, folks cooked particular festive and ritual meals. You might strive your hand at a Lammas Loaf – this was historically baked from the primary sheaf of wheat, the loaf was blessed, and in Anglo-Saxon England it was employed afterwards to work some magic. A e book of Anglo-Saxon charms directed that the Lammas bread be damaged into 4 bits, which have been to be positioned on the 4 corners of the barn to guard the garnered grain. You possibly can simply conjure up your personal Lammas Superfood Feast – listed here are some solutions to get you began:-
In the event you really feel inclined to create a particular area or altar, enhance it with colors that symbolize the altering of the season to reap time – go for fiery reds, yellows and oranges that relate to the solar. Freshly harvested seasonal greens and a conventional Lammas Loaf are so as, as are Corn Dollies and something that represents the abundance you want to manifest for the yr to return. Embody instruments to encourage your creativity – a pen for writing, a paintbrush for artwork, a digital camera for images, no matter it is advisable to inspire you and get these inventive juices flowing.
Mix your personal Lughnasadh Incense as a fantastic completion to your altar and focus your intention while you combine:-
2 components Benzoin
1 half Oakwood
1/2 half Basil
2 components Frankincense
1/2 half Gorse Flower
1/2 half Borage
1/2 half Pine Resin
Celebrating Lammas in Avalon
This essential competition falls in the course of the “Goddess Convention” right here in Glastonbury. Operating for 21 years since its inception in 1996, the convention attracts ladies from all around the world – some who’ve skilled as “Priestesses” right here in Avalon – and is a celebration of the Divine Female. The Mom Goddess is revered for her fertility and the fruits of her physique, the Earth. There’s a ceremony honouring the Plentiful Mom within the Goddess Corridor on August 1st and a Lammas Bonfire takes place upon Chalice Hill – reputed to be the pregnant stomach of the Goddess.
As ever, there’s a noon meditation on the Chalice Properly focussing on Fruition – right here we are able to specific our gratitude to the earth for her bounty. Afterwards you’ll be able to chill across the fireplace on the garden on the Dialog Café, a spot to share ideas, concepts and beliefs.
Lammas or Lughnasadh is probably one of many lesser identified and celebrated festivals within the Wheel of the Yr, with the joy of Beltane and the craziness of the Summer time Solstice tending to overshadow it. Nonetheless, staying in tune with the beat of the earth and the rhythm of her seasons permits us to reconnect with nature – the sustainer of all life. It is a good alternative to provide gratitude for the abundance we’ve in our lives and for the meals we’ve on the desk. It’s a time of rebirth, transformation and new beginnings.
Right here at Indigo Herbs we want you all abundance, pleasure and a really glad Lammas!
Sources for this text embrace:
John Barleycorn Photographs, Licensed beneath public area through Flickr commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/32662384@N02/20042069865/in/pool-lammasfest/
Corn Dolly Licensed beneath public area through Flickr commons: Lavender Pillow http://bit.ly/29LLmsN
Massive Corn Dolly: Licensed beneath public area through Flickr commons: Nick Hubbard http://bit.ly/29zo7j9
Corn Dolly: Corn Dolly Renata Wiki https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EssexTerret.jpg
Barley Favours: Renata https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BarleyFavours.jpg
Wheat Sheaves: Licensed beneath public area through wikimedia: http://bit.ly/29RhlYT