Pagan Voices: Honoring the First Harvest

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Pagan Voices is a spotlight on quotations from figures within the Pagan community or celebrating the Pagan community. These voices may appear in many places including  the burgeoning Pagan media or a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice or artist you’d like to see highlighted? Contact us with a link to the story, post, audio, or image.

Cornucopia photo by Jina Lee @ Wikimedia Commons

Cornucopia – Image Credit: Jina Lee @ Wikimedia Commons

 

As the sun continues to shift  lower in the sky in the northern hemisphere, and many of us are enjoying the summer bounty of vine-ripened tomatoes, peppers, melons and other fruits and vegetables freshly harvested, many of us recognize and celebrate Lughnasadh and Lammas.

Our friends in the Southern hemisphere, of course, are seeing the sun rise higher in the sky, as they focus on growing their inner light in preparation for the coming spring and celebrating Imbolc.

Here in the north, we think about Lughnasadh. Below are quotes from a variety sources that we felt reflected and captured the essence of the season.

Lughnasadh marks the beginning of the noticeable descent of the Sun into the darkness of winter. From the connection between the Earth (female principle) and the Sun (male principle), the marriage of the Sky Father (Sun God) with the Earth Mother we celebrated at Bealtaine, emerge the fruits of the first harvest of the year. Lughnasadh is a time of joy about the first fruits. It is also a time of tension, because the dark days of winter are coming nearer, and most of the harvest is not brought in and stored away yet. 

~ Eilthireach, Order of Bard, Ovates, and Druids

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And þæs symle scriþ
ymb seofon niht þæs sumere gebrihted
Weodmonað on tun, welhwær bringeð
Agustus yrmenþeodum
hlafmæssan dæg. Swa þæs hærfest cymð
ymbe oðer swylc butan anre wanan,
wlitig, wæstmum hladen; wela byð geywed
fægere on foldan. 

And after seven nights
of summer’s brightness Weed-month slips
into the dwellings, everywhere August brings 
to all peoples Lammas Day; so the harvest comes, 
after that number of nights but one,
bright, laden with fruits.

~ From the Menologium,  translated by A Clerk of Oxford in An Anglo Saxon August

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[Image credit: Courtesy Museum of Witchcraft and Magick Lammas Windows]

It was upon a Lammas night,

When corn rigs are bonie,

Beneath the moon’s unclouded light,

I held awa to Annie;

The time flew by, wi’ tentless heed,

Till, ‘tween the late and early,

Wi’ sma’ persuasion she agreed

To see me thro’ the barley.

~ The Rigs O’ Barley, Robert Burns (1783)

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Hoof and horn, Hoof and horn

All that dies shall be reborn

Corn and grain, Corn and grain

All that falls shall rise again

~ Moving Breath, from the Album She Changes (1997)

Image credit: Mountainash333 – WikiCommons

Lughnasadh can be thought of as a time of personal reflection of our actions and deeds, and our gains and losses over the past year. It is a time when we start to reap what we started sowing in spring. This requires introspection and honesty as we look inside to examine our thoughts, feelings and decisions. We can identify events which turned out poorly and look for their lessons, as well as acknowledge successes and consider how to carry them forward. We can take the opportunity to clear away unnecessary things to make our own harvest more bountiful.

~ Áine, By Land, Sea and Sky

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It may seem simple, that baking of the bread. Yet that moment was a turning point for me. I am grateful for the Wheel of the Year, and how it makes us pause, celebrate and remember. I am fortunate to live in a place where I feel the seasons deeply as well as physically. While those memories of last year can be unbearable at times, I know my strength came from that grounding and centering action: baking of bread. I may not be a farmer, and not harvesting grains or a garden, but I harvested much this time last year. I just didn’t know it at the time.

~ Lisa Wagoner, Witch Indeed, Patheos Pagan Blogs

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“Whether you celebrate this time of year as a modern Pagan or as a reconstructionist or as a gardener who has been toiling since March with your starters and is now enjoying your first tomatoes, I think there’s a lot to celebrate here. I can certainly look at what I’ve harvested and reflect on the work to be done between now and Samhain. Lammas/Lugnasa/Harvest-tide is a resting point. A time for reflection and a time to quaff drinks in the sunshine!”

~ Gwion Raven, 2017

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Pamper yourself, spend an evening lounging around instead of working, or spend some extra time outside (in the shade, please) feeling your connection to the Universe. And while you’re taking care of yourself, have fun! Play games in honor of Lugh’s sacrifice, take your dog to the park to play catch, or go chase all the Pokemon you want. Do something fun for yourself and embrace being renewed and supported by the Universe.

~ Rev. Emily, The Fellowship of Avalon- ATC

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“The exchange of energy is an underlying principle of magick; another is as above so below. We honor the invisible realm of the Gods and in the material realm we sacrifice something by giving to others or to the planet. Thus is the sacrifice of Lammas made.”

~ Vivianne Crowley, “Lammas, Season of Sacrifice”

 

However you choose to celebrate, whether Lammas or Lughnasadh, Candlemas or Imbolc,  TWH hopes that this day heralds more bounty into your life and the life of our beautifully diverse community.