The seasonal turning point Lammas is a festival of thanksgiving and a doorway to prepare us for the inner journey of the darker half of the year. It’s still summer, and six weeks to go until the equinox takes us into the autumn season, but Lammas is a moment to stop, be in gratitude, reflect and accept the inner journey that is to come.
During the winter festivals we often look forward eagerly to the time of light that will follow the cold months. Its much less appealing to anticipate the dark months of the year, but perhaps we can make their arrival less intimidating by accepting the idea of the inner time – accepting it as a positive and nourishing experience from which we will gain much strength and insight – while we are still enjoying the riches and sunshine of the expansive time of the year.
To our ancestors this festival was a moment of rest and celebration at the end of the corn harvest. For us it is a moment to reflect on what we are harvesting in our own lives, and what we can give back so that the process of life may continue. Through ritual with others or alone we can make acts of thanksgiving for what the year has brought us, and feast on the produce of the harvest. These seasonal rituals help us to connect with the deep rhythms passing through nature, and bring us into harmony with the energetic changes as the year passes.
Taking some time in silence and reflection allows space for the sadness that we naturally feel as the summer’s end comes into sight, and can bring insight into the things we will be healing during the winter months. From a silent space we can also move into gratitude for our lives and experiences.
This is a festival of the Mother Goddess, she being at her most abundant now with crops harvested and nature running rampant. The male God energy is waning at this time – returning into the earth as the grain, John Barleycorn, is cut down. Another name for Lammas is Lughnasadh, named after the celtic sun god Lugh, whose power, while at its height now, is shortly to wane. So it is natural to have both joyful and sad emotions at Lammas. Joy at the abundance and benevolence of mother nature, sadness at the changing season, with the end of the period of growth and expansion in sight. These emotions may be triggered by many things in our lives of course, at the root this festival is about honouring and celebrating both what has been gained and what is being lost.