July 22nd 2018
1st August marks the next festival on the Pagan wheel of the Year - Lammas, or the First Harvest. For modern witches who are new to the path and living in the city, this might seem like a perplexing festival, as it can seem like it is full of alien concepts. To help it make sense, we have to think of it in its original rural context, and think about what is happening in the agricultural world at this time of year. You do not need to travel very far outside of London or the other British cities in order to see the evidence of Lammas time all around you. I am in the outer edges of North London - just across the border from here in Hertfordshire, the corn fields which have grown golden in the summer sunshine are already being cut.
Lammas marks the first of three harvests - the grain, the fruit, and the meat harvests that take place over the next three festivals, so we have Lammas (grain), Autumn Equinox (fruit) and Samhain (blood). We have already passed the Midsummer Solstice point, so we must acknowledge that the days are already growing shorter, but we are still in the intense heat of summer. At this time, farmers will be harvesting the grain - corn, wheat, barley - and drying it, prior to threshing to separate the wheat from the chaff. The activities in the fields illustrate many of the themes of Lammas, and it is crucial to think of these in order to understand the first harvest festival.
THE SHORTENING DAYS OF LATE SUMMER
The long days of summer will start to grow shorter now as we move into the dark half of the year. So we turn our attention to the coming winter. What stores can we put away now in order to sustain us through the long dark nights ahead? What are you harvesting in your life? What have you poured your loving attention into this year? Is it yielding fruit?
THRESHING THE GRAIN