As Lammas, or "loaf-mass", the Christianized holiday focused more on the first fruits of the harvest. People made a loaf of bread from the early crop of grain and brought it to church to be blessed. It's rumored that the loaf was then carried home and used for magic.
In our circle, we focused our attention on the harvest aspects of the holiday. We recognized the little crops coming up in our gardens and the seasonal fruit filling our grocery stores as well as the personal growth coming to fruition in our lives and the letting go of what has not bloomed in the time span that we had hoped. For our craft, we made smudge sticks. These small bundles of healing herbs, like rosemary, lavender, and sage, bound together with cotton thread, are used as a tool for cleansing a person or a space for sacred work and connection with the Divine. We also chanted together, raising energy to send to the children at the US border in the form of compassion and courage for the journeys yet ahead of them. We closed the circle with a potluck chat about what we are harvesting in our lives, both the tangibles like fresh zucchini picked that morning and the intangibles like gratitude.
For my part, I served as high priestess for this ritual. I don't think of myself as a public, out-in-front leader, but in ritual the role is more subtle and supportive. It's about moving the group through the different pieces as the energy and attention of the people warrants. It's about holding space for folks to have time to complete a given piece and then host the transitions between pieces. So I guided the group from one focus or activity to the next. I also shared the meanings of the holiday, the attention we would be giving to it, and information about the Border Children to whom we were sending our energy and good will.
But what about my harvests at this time? I've written a bit in other posts about the dreams I'm working on in this season of my life. This holiday offers a time to reflect on where I'm at in those projects and processes. I haven't lost the weight yet, which I shrilly lament, but I am harvesting better health thanks to the Kind Naturopaths and the Beloved Therapist. I'm still working on a Good Divorce with my ex. In my view, that would look like less cranky conflict and more clear communication and agreements. We're not quite there yet - and maybe we'll never be there but always working on it. As long as we can protect Little N from the conflict and crankiness I'll be able to call it good.
I am finding my voice, again, too, a fresh harvest that I hadn't consciously planted but am grateful to find growing up through the cracks. I hear my voice becoming clearer and stronger in many places. In responding to my ex. In my journal. On this blog. Through my un/healthy habits. In our little pagan group. At my job. It requires good work for me to be able hear my own ideas, opinions, feelings, and perspective on a given experience and then give words to it out in the world. It makes a good rich harvest that I'll be tending for the rest of my life.
What about you? What are you harvesting these days?