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.

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