Happy Lammas 2011!
The Pagan holiday Lammas, observed between the Summer Solstice and the Autumnal Equinox, has arrived.
Lammas is marked from Aug. 1 to Aug. 2 at sunset, as the Earth moves from days full of light, toward days with long nights. Long ago, this day coincided with the first harvest, when folks marked the passings of the sun, moon and stars. The first harvest brings the awareness of the coming winter. It is a season of endings and completion, a point between the free and easy times of summer, when daylight grows dim, before the ground goes to sleep with the restrictions of winter.
Pagans view the human cycle of birth, death and continuation as a reflection of the grain cycle of growth, fall and rebirth. This is the time that modern Pagans also face their fears, concentrate on developing their own skills and take steps to protect themselves and their home. It is the time that we Pagans harvest the fruits of our actions during the past season.
For 2011, with all the crops lost by flooding and the devastation by tornadoes throughout the Midwest, it is time for a real first harvest celebration. Not only for the reaped bounty that survived but also for the lives of those who survived. It is said, "As Man toils in the fields, the Gods still control Nature."
Celebrate a happy Lammas with your familyand friends, then begin the work to stock the shelves for the winter ahead. Make a toast to the passing of summer. Lammas harvest feasts include: tomatoes, peaches, corn (popcorn), potatoes, cabbage (sauerkraut or cole slaw), onions, grains (breads and feast breads), berries (especially blackberry pies are traditionally eaten in honor of the harvest), cider, cornbread sticks and barley soup. Bake any of these breads on Lammas: wheat, corn, gingerbread or just make popcorn. Feed a piece of the baked bread to someone, saying, "May you never go hungry."
Please enjoy all the work of the fields and vines, and don't forget the napkins for the berries.
Terry Smith is a Pagan living in Pineville.