Lammas – first harvest

Hops and Lavender flowers

In the Pagan tradition, Lammas is the first of three harvest celebrations, followed by Autumn equinox and the final gathering at Samhain.
Lammas is a fire festival and usually we sit around a fire at nightime and celebrate our literal harvest, what we have grown and wild crafted since Midsummer. Lammas also gives us an opportunity to assess the year so far and see how our personal and professional growth is coming along. The altar is dressed by the fruits and flowers of high summer and we sit and speak or journal or pathwork and re-connect to our visions and dreams.


Lammas is a particularly good time to do this as it preceeds the dog days of summer, often when it is hottest and we rest and recuperate ready for the high energy of the Autmn Equinox. This pause allows for deep rest and is a time to go inward or at least away from everyday concerns. A time to dream and vision how we wish the rest of the year to go.
We assess our progress – well usually, but this year has been a very hard year for nearly everyone, wherever you are. There may not have been much progress, although a lot of you will have embraced online working and have found creative ways around the mess we find ourselves in due to incompetent and corrupt leaders (in the UK at least).
So what is progress? Do we necessarily need to orientate ourselves towards it? Progress could be a bit like the perpetual growth our leaders strive for.  Clearly this has brought us to the edge of disaster, and is unhelpful.
How should we measure our progress, or is that the wrong thing to be looking at?
We are trained to progress, through our schooling and our working lives, but when our world stops-as it did for many people for the last four months, what then?
Maybe instead of the usual questions, we could ask
Have I become kinder?
More patient?
Braver?
More compassionate?
More discriminating?
Slower?
More grateful?
More content?
More loving?
I think many of these are true, especially kinder and braver.
During lockdown here in the UK, people realised the fragility of our lives, and came to understand how dependent we are on those people who quietly work behind the scenes, often the lowest paid; shopworkers, healthworkers, sanitation workers, delivery drivers, frontline staff. I don’t mean the bullshit handclapping, which was cynical populism. But a kinder, more tolerant world where we gladly step aside to let someone pass safely, wait patiently and go about our business a little more modestly than before.

Sign in the Regent’s Park, London.


It would seem that Kindness has entered the public domain, note the language, be kind, enjoy, and respect. this seems like progress in the public narrative.

Being braver has been seen in the Black Lives Matter protests all over the world and especially the fierce resistance of the people of Portland Oregon to bullying agents of the state, who have now retreated, defeated by ordianry people, incensed and determined, lockdown or not, to be seen, heard and listened to. Absolute progress.


Personally, I hope that a similar transformation is occuring within ourselves, as we re-orientate our lives around these new realities. these tumultuous times have much to teach us, both about ourselves and the world we have made.

Other news:
I will be teaching an online seminar for NIMH on Women Healers through History on 24th of October, details on the NIMH website here

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