Many people of the pagan persuasion look to August 2nd as Lughnasadh or Lammas–a time of the first harvest. But, Within the Sacred Circle it is more complicated than that and is associated with the Direction of the South-West, the adult years of our lives where we finally mature, and the Father Archetype.
Death-of-Summer is the Holy Day that indicates the decrease; the light of day will again become shorter and shorter, and we must be willing to reap what we have sown. It marks the beginning of the harvest season. We are exactly mid-way through Summer and now the heavens switch their focus to the coming darker months and bringing forth the fruits of our labor. The leaves have reached their pinnacle of growth, and that which was planted in Spring and Summer is now producing seeds that can be stored for next year’s planting. In ancient Ireland, this festival was called Lughnasadh (or Lammas) and honored the God Lugh, who was the “Lord of Light”, the life force of the plants. A representation of him, created out of bread was made and he was symbolically sacrificed, to ensure that everyone would be able to eat throughout the cold months. Some believe that the idea of eating the body and drinking the blood came from these rituals—as both bread and fermented products were used. We look toward this time of the year to determine what we truly believe, cultivate the power that is our birthright, and discover our own harvests, all in preparation for the waning of the year!
This time of year is about the penultimate of our maturity. One might say, “It is all down-hill from here,” but it’s more complicated than that. Now is the time to begin clarifying, harvesting, giving away…in preparation for the dark time that must always come—regardless of if you want it to or not. Be prepared for a level of resistance here. In our culture we are used to receiving, but we aren’t so good at things being taken away.
If you haven’t already taken time out of your busy schedule I suggest doing the following work to celebrate the Death-of-Summer.
- Spend some time defining what you think of the Divine. Who is Source to you? How do They interact with you? Why is there such joy and such sorrow? What happens after you die? The reason to spend time in this type of contemplation is to make yourself stronger in what you believe so that when you encounter problems (which everyone does at some time or another), you will be stronger in your faith and be able to interact with Source as needed.
- Receive the Blessing of your Birthright. Go out into Nature for a Medicine Walk in which you proceed slowly without hurrying to a specific destination, in order to receive signs. Before you take your Medicine Walk, put out the intention to receive symbols that will lead you to your Birthright. At the end of your Medicine Walk, sit down and spend some time with Source, having a dialogue to determine what your Birthright is. Once you have been given the information, ritually bless yourself with this knowledge, and then LIVE IT! You were put here for a purpose, and in order to become a mature adult, you must do what you were placed here to do.
- Write a list of the things you no longer need in your life. As this is the first harvest of the year–we can symbolically use this energy to clear out the things in our life that no longer serve us. Is there a project you need to finish? A closet you need to clean? A person who you no longer need to cling to as a “friend”? Spend some time really thinking about this…and then take the steps to make the change.
- Have a celebration! This is the last HURRAH of the year. Invite some friends over, break some bread and drink some wine. Bless one another and enjoy yourself.
Take these steps and embrace your life. We aren’t supposed to squander it away. It’s a gift…and taking on the mantel of adulthood can be one of the most rewarding moves you make…
Starting in 2016 I will be leading Ritual Workshops where you can learn about The Sacred Circle and make your way through a series of 8 deep and meaningful seasonal rites to become who you were sent here to be…keep an eye on my website http://www.thesacredhive.com for updates.
Peace and Magic to YOU as the Darkness Approaches,
Rev. Shaman Pamela