If you follow a solar tradition, there are the Equinoxes and the Solstices, and then there are the cross-quarter days, the ones that fall equidistant between the major days. Lughnasadh or Lammas marks one of these eight-spoke-wheel days of solar celebration.
Lugh or Lu, was one of the Northern pagan gods, and celebrated as a 'hero-king' or 'the long-armed one' and is attributed with many skills; well equipped for the Hero's Journey. And, to this day in the Gaelic languages, August is named after him. The skilled hero is the artful servant of the divine.
Lammas is 'half-loaf', coming from the times when this was the season of the first harvest - halfway between planting and the last of the Autumnal harvests. This is the first corn, the first of the grains, the ripeness of fresh-fruit. Half-loaves of bread were baked to symbolize the swell to potential, both that which may be enjoyed today, and that which is still coming.
It draws an end to the period of fruitfulness that swells to July - July, the moon cycle named for the Caesar of the Julii line... a lineage that claims to be descendent from Venus herself.
a month of passion, heat, profit, abundance, fertility, love, regard, investment, fruitfulness. the fullness of what can be, the promise of abundant harvest in the view of the grain in the field and the fruit on the vine...
What have you been tending, bringing to fruition?
Are you tasting the first fruits and the sweetness of those efforts? Did you forget to tend that vine and the fruit is a little bitter? Are you prepared to keep watering and tending here in the furnace of the fullness of summer?
This is the cyclical work, celebrated for as long as we as a species have been able to mark or arrange rocks. The wheel keeps turning, the sky keeps revolving, the eight-spoke-wheel of the year shows us again and again about our fluid, cyclical nature. The rise and fall, the ebb and flow, the expansion and the contraction, the fruition and the decomposition.
I've been blessed, have had an incredible July - did two Wanderlust Festivals, made many new vital and excellent connections and deepened some already solid ones. I also had the opportunity to see my first-born niece married and my father turn 80. I took some time away from teaching to travel, assist, connect, practice, renew and 'go home'. I'm thankful I did. I returned to teaching yesterday and it was great. I'm renewed and ready to share new perspectives and old favorites on the mat.
Getting into the cycles around us, taking moments to make purpose and create intention - imbuing the ritual into our all too habitual lives - that's the great work we should resolve to. To take the time, to notice ourselves, to examine our own growth, what remains, what moves, what is solid, what we haven't honored and what we haven't released.
Take the opportunity of the slow, sluggish nature of these Simmering days to just sit and dwell. Take the opportunity to slow down, listen deeply, examine and discern - then, give yourself a break, surround yourself with friends and allies, celebrate your skills and magic, and shine on.
Above all, give thanks and praise!