or as I like to call it in Texas, Simmer - marking one of the cross-quarter days; that is cause for celebration, gratitude, praise and reflection.
In the solar traditions, the ones that predate, yet indicate, all of our current religious holidays and festivals, there are the Equinoxes and the Solstices. But in the depth of the traditions, there are also 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. Halfway from the Summer Solstice on the cyclical journey to the Autumnal Equinox.
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 - and, he knows when to do the work and when to yield.
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, the sweetness and the juiciness of the berries. 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.
Where are you at in that cycle? 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.
But let's let the lesson come full circle - if this heat of Summer, the fire of creation and production, the catalyst for action has come to it's swell, then shouldn't we mark and note the subtle descent? The summer is like the forge, and we take our lives and dreams and intentions into the fire, then hammer them on the anvil... but any good Smithy knows that there needs to be tempering for all of the work. The metal that has been heated and hammered and worked needs to be rested and tempered... to cool.
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!