The Wheel of the Year was my introduction in to pagan ideologies. I felt the connection and celebration of the seasons was so intuitive. Today marks the beginning of the darker half of our year with the holiday called Lammas. As a cross-quarter festival, it marks the halfway point between the summer solstice and the fall equinox.
Lammas is the first of the harvest festivals, and a time for reaping what we’ve sown – both physically and energetically. You may notice Mother Nature bursting forward with life during this time of the year. In Anglo-Saxon England this was the celebration of the first grain harvest. Apples and grapes are ripe with life and ready to be harvested, the Sage and Basil bushes are nuts with growth, and we give thanks to the bounty of food we receive.
If you’re interested in connecting with the energy of this transitional holiday, try a few of these simple and accessible ritual ideas. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Simply give yourself the space to connect in whatever way feels best to you.
Reflect and Recenter
Lammas is a time of reflection. We’re over halfway through the year. Where do you stand on some of the goals you set for yourself back in the winter? What can you take notice of and give thanks for, and what can you let go of? Sometimes the aspirations we set for ourselves seem wonderful in theory, but when it comes time to create we realize there’s no space for them in our lives. Or we get something we thought we wanted, only to find out it makes us feel even more bogged down. Image this as a time to take an imaginary scythe to your life. Where can you cut back, so you can give more fully to the areas of your life that make you feel authentic and whole?
Take out your journal and answer these questions for yourself:
Where do I want to focus my personal growth?
Where can I cut back, and give myself more space?
How can I create more balance for myself?
Set a Lammas Altar
Altar practices are the bread and butter of a ritual. Find a space where you can feel safe, relaxed and open. Maybe it’s a simple side table by the window. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Fill it with symbols and objects that represent abundance for you. Local, blooming flowers would be a lovely addition, as well as some decorative bits of wheat or corn. If you can get them from a more organic source, like a farmer’s market or from the wild, they’ll have a bit more magick in them for you. But store-bought items will always do. It’s all about the intention you put behind them. Colors of yellow, red, brown and green are traditional of harvest festivals like Lammas.
I found these super simple apple candle holders that would be a nice, handcrafted addition to any alter space.
Have a potluck dinner with friends
Enjoy your community and reap the rewards of the harvest season together! Pagan celebrations don’t always have to be super secluded and private. We love a good party just as much as anyone else 🙂 If you’re feeling extra festive, make a traditional Lammas loaf of bread. It’s a symbol of the traditional grain harvest of our ancestors and is a lot easier than you might think. Apple cider, potato and root vegetable dishes are also great seasonal selections. If your community would like to participate, you can do this lovely Lammas Harvest Ritual with them as well.
Take a walk to your local farmer’s market
Since we’re no longer in the time where we do much harvesting of our own food, it’s important to strengthen this relationship with the Earth however we can. If you have a garden, this is a wonderful time to harvest some of your bountiful produce. Be mindful and attentive to the energy of the plant, and make sure to say a thank you. If you don’t have access to a garden, local farmer’s markets are great. Connect with the people who’ve planted, tended and harvested the food. And have appreciation for the great cycle of life and how it sustains us all.
Abundance and gratitude meditation
Lammas begins the slow descent in to darker half of our year. It’s the time when we begin to slow down and turn inward. If you don’t have a regular meditation practice I encourage you to start small. Simply sit in a comfortable position where you can be undisturbed. Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. Take a mental note of all the things you’re thankful for in your life – big and small. Say a prayer of thank you to Source for guiding you, and allow yourself to clear space so that you may harvest the fruits of the season.
There are free apps like Insight Timer that have thousands of easy and accessible guided meditations for you.