Sunday, July 17, 2011

Preparing for Lammas 2011

Merry Meet, web witches!

The sun is growing weaker, they say.  Well, it certainly doesn’t feel that way where I live, where it is so hot you feel like you’ve stepped into a steam room the moment you leave any air conditioned location! 

Despite the heat, however, it’s clear that autumn is fast approaching.  The wheel of the year is rolling steadily on, and before I know it, I’ll instead be complaining about how unbelievably cold it is.  (Though I am happy that I’ll soon be able to ditch the shorts and tanks and get back into the layers that my goddess-sized body much prefers!)

With the approach of autumn comes the first harvest festival of the year: Lammas.  It is typically celebrated on August 1 in the Northern Hemisphere.  That’s about two weeks away.  What better way to start my blog than by giving some pointers on how you can make your Lammas celebration as festive as possible this year?

Lammas celebrates the harvesting of grain so bread is going to be the appropriate theme.  Therefore, of course, you will want to include bread as an offering during your ritual.  I will include a very simple bread recipe at the bottom of this blog, should you require one. 

Let me point out that I have seen many people form their dough into the shape of a man before baking.  When done, this is supposed to symbolize the god of the harvest.  Though a neat idea, which I heartily encourage you to try, it is one that I have never felt comfortable with.  I just simply can’t stifle the giggles when my coven sisters start eating certain parts of the bread-god’s anatomy with gusto!

What should you pair with the bread offering?  I am a big proponent of wine as an offering, usually.  In fact, I’m a big proponent of wine, period.  But that’s another story.  For Lammas, if you have the taste for it, you may want to consider doing an offering of beer – which is, after all, made out of grain.   It also seems like a much more “manly” drink, and therefore, you may find you have more success inviting the harvest god into your circle.  (I mean, does Lugh seem like the type to turn down a round?  Probably not!)

Continuing with the theme of food, ensure that you include a feast as a part of your ritual.  It is the first harvest, after all!  It is time to consume and give thanks for the sustenance that the Earth has provided.  Please, avoid McDonalds on the day of your celebration!  Instead, opt for whole grains and vegetables! 

And don’t make icky faces!  I’m sure you can come up with some delicious and healthy recipes.  Plus, I’ll be posting some later.  So, no worries!  

One point of debate is whether feasting should take place before or after the ritual.  Though there are pros and cons to each approach, I much prefer feasting afterward for a few reasons.  First, after eating, I do not want to raise energy.  I want to sleep!  Second, it probably wouldn’t be a good thing to try raising energy if my goddess-sized belly is full of yummy-goodness.  (Just picture doing a spiral dance after a feast.  Not good!)  Last, eating helps most people ground.  After a ritual, regardless of how well we  ground, let’s face it: we’re still a bunch of jittery, over-excited hot messes who will have trouble falling asleep.  (How lucky are significant others are!  That’s all I’m saying about that!)  Eating tends to calm us down, help us to relax, and gives us an opportunity to reflect and discuss with our coven-mates – if we have any – on how the ritual went, what we got out of it, etc.  So, if at all possible, try feasting after your ritual.

My last recommendation for your Lammas celebration is to take the time to ponder over what you harvested this year.  For Wiccans, the year is ending.  It will begin anew on Samhain.  What did you accomplish this year?  What goals did you set for yourself and actually reach?  Take a moment to congratulate yourself for doing so.  Too often, we neglect to pat ourselves on the back for all of the wonderful things we do.  And they don’t have to be what society considers big things.  They can be what we, as Wiccans, know are big things – successfully raising our families, taking care of the people we love, treating others (and ourselves!) with respect.  The list continues.  Let’s take the time to realize what good and hard working people we are.

Also take the time to ponder over what we didn’t manage to harvest, though we set out to.  Why didn’t we?  What went wrong?  What can we do to achieve the goals we failed to meet this year?  Now is not the time to be angry or sad about not reaching them.  And it certainly is not the time to give up on reaching them.  There’s never a time to give up.  It is, however, the time to decide that, if they are goals worth harvesting, we will make sure that we do.  There are two more harvest festivals coming after all!

Well, that’s it for today!  If you have any ideas on what else can be incorporated into a Lammas celebration, I would love to hear them!  Please post and comment!

Blessed be!