Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lammas: Now the Dying Must Begin…

August 1-2 marks the mid-point between summer and fall. Known as Lammas, or Lughnasadh (LOO-ne-sah), it's one of the 8 "Cross Quarter Days" on the Wheel of the Year (the others are the Summer and Winter Solstices, Spring and Fall Equinoxes, Candlemas {Feb. 2}, Beltane {May 1} and Hallomas/Samhain {October 31}). Lammas is a celebration of abundance, the time of the harvest, and a potent moment to bring ourselves back into alignment with the natural world. Although it appears to occur at the peak of summer, in truth it's the first day of fall, and a time to embrace the dark.

An evocative description of this turning comes from a comprehensive mythology site with the delightful double-entendre title, Myth*ing Links, an annotated and illustrated collection of worldwide links to mythologies, fairytales and folklore, sacred arts and sacred traditions, loving compiled and updated by Kathleen Jenks, PhD.

" a hot, lazy, delicious time of the year. Bees buzz in the heat of the day, the air is still, and the force of the sun remains strong, even though its sway over the earth is slowly diminishing day by day. In the cooler nighttime, frogs and crickets keep us company. It is here, in the gloaming, when so many rituals begin...

"This is when the powerful gods of the grain harvests are honored. They are in their prime, sometimes generous, sometimes quixotic, and always aware with a bittersweet pleasure that their time will wane, as it always does, and they will die, as they always do, and yet nevertheless they will return to another delicious summer next year, as they always do, and have, and will, for this is the endlessly circling Wheel of the Year, and they ride it proudly.

"Yet there is a darker nuance, one that surprised me, for I had thought that this was a purely masculine god's festival. I learned however of Lugh's touching and loving devotion to his foster-mother, the royal Tailtiu, whose fate may be even more intimately woven into this season than his..."

Jenks quotes Parabola magazine author Mara Freeman on the further genesis of Lammas:

"...Lugh dedicated this festival to his foster-mother, Tailtiu, the last queen of the Fir Bolg, who died from exhaustion after clearing a great forest so that the land could be cultivated. When the men of Ireland gathered at her death- bed, she told them to hold funeral games in her honor. As long as they were held, she prophesied Ireland would not be without song. Tailtiu’s name is from Old Celtic Talantiu, 'The Great One of the Earth,' suggesting she may originally have been a personification of the land itself, like so many Irish goddesses. In fact, Lughnasadh has an older name, Brón Trogain, which refers to the painful labor of childbirth. For at this time of year, the earth gives birth to her first fruits so that her children might live..."

What needs to "die" so that the new can be born in your life?

Canadian astrologer and tarot reader Tara Greene says that Lugh's festival points Southwest, and resonates to the element Air. "Southwest represents the Place of Healing, of the Dreamer and the Dream. It is the place of both your Personal Dream and the Sacred Dream of the Planet. What is your Personal Dream? What is your Sacred Dream? The Sacred Dream is your Highest Spiritual Dream."

This August 1st, especially if you've never honored Lammas before, remember your relationship with the Earth and her cycles. Give thanks for the abundance of beauty, harmony, peace, love, healing, grace and balance you are inviting into your life and into the collective, and image-in your Sacred Dream.

The quintessential song for invoking Gaia's healing Sacred Dream came through John Lennon. Feeling deeply into these words now, there is a cellular resonance I've not been conscious of before, although I've heard the song hundreds of times:


Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Excess or Express?

I wanted three pieces of purple plaid wool clothing: the sleeveless thigh-length tunic, matching skirt, and pants. Mom thought two pieces were sufficient, but capitulated and bought all three. I ended up wearing the tunic as a jumper, traded off wearing the pants with a sweater — and never wore the skirt at all. My mother's wisdom was lost on me; at ten, I was already a master of excess.

It took years and a long dark night of the soul, when everything I'd thought defined my life was unceremoniously yanked from me, to begin to relinquish my reliance on acquisition as a means of identification, to begin to express rather than excess.

And mine was a comparatively mild case. How many people pile on the pounds to protect themselves from abuse, or to avoid having to face some other disturbing life circumstance? How many people buy 300 pairs of shoes, or a fleet of fast cars, to drown the call to awaken in excess, rather than express their true essence and risk ridicule? Much safer to blend in than stand out.

This is the moment to get real, in every sense of the term. The August issue of What Shines will focus on the theory of REAL-ativity, and how to become real so that you live from the depths of your power, passion, and purpose. Please subscribe, and let me know how the newsletter serves you on your journey to express the deepest truth of your being.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Sacred Geometry of Surprise

A few weeks ago I discussed why the people on the periphery matter a great deal in the overall scheme of our lives. I wrote that post from the perspective of influencer. Here's how it looks from the receiving end:

A healer who was recommended by a cyber acquaintance wasn't much direct help, though he did point me to a holistic tooth care company started by a woman whose children had never had a cavity. Intrigued, I began using Tooth Soap® in 2006, and over the years founder Gabriala Brown and I became friends across the (s)miles.

Fast-forward to 2010, when she acted as my dental angel for a mouthful of emergency. I wrote and published several articles lauding Tooth Soap®, but they don't begin to account for the magnitude of her gift. And for which I ultimately have Dr. Jim (now deceased) to thank. Following a thread that began with another acquaintance's book recommendation, to contacting him, to his Tooth Soap® referral, to Gabriala's suggestion of an innovative solution to and financial assistance with my dental crisis, created a tapestry of luminous cloth woven on life's loom.

We are each the warp and weft for those with whom we intersect, a sacred geometry of surprise the originators often know nothing about — akin to a sheepherder having no idea what happens to the wool once it leaves the land to be cleaned, carded, dyed, shipped to a knitting store, and ultimately purchased by a grandmother who will lovingly craft matching mother-daughter sweaters for her child and grandchild.

We weave in every encounter from the wool of our words and actions, seldom knowing how what we share or do may reverberate down the road. I feel this most acutely when I've been out of integrity: when I know I could have been kinder, or more patient, or listened more deeply. As a daily practice I'm helpful and informative, but sometimes that can tip over into invasive. Getting the Hang of It is an ongoing balancing act, often more challenging in these heady times as the world awakens, time wobbles, old structures disintegrate and tempers flare.

When we dress ourselves in the Love that we are, we wear threads that will never go out of style. The sacred geometry of surprise will take us to every connection we need to make along life's path. It's one math course in which everyone can excel.