Harvest Time

Post originally posted in the Rockingham Forest Druid blog

I am not quite sure where July went: all of a sudden it is the middle of August and the harvest is in full swing.

The old Celtic festival of Lugnassadh was celebrated at the beginning of the month (either the 1st or the 6th, let’s not get into wranglings about the calendar again). The festival is named for the Irish god Lugh, who instigated it in memory of his mother who died of exhaustion after clearing the wild forests of Ireland so that Man could have agriculture. This certainly resonates with those of us who live in parts of the Forest where the trees long since gave way to fields.

Lugnassadh, also known by the Christianised name of Lammas (“loaf-mass”) marks the beginning of the harvest season and is one of three what might be termed “harvest festivals” in the Pagan calendar. At this time we give thanks to the Earth for continuing to nourish and sustain us and we ask for the blessing of the Goddess on the harvests that are still to come – the vegetables in the garden and the fruit in the orchards and hedgerows over the next few months until we reach Samhain and we hope that the harvest is safely gathered and stored as the cold and the dark invite us and the land to rest over the Winter months.

This is a time of reckoning as we reap the fruits, bountiful or meagre, that have been produced by the seeds that we sowed and the care with which we tended them. This is an allegory for what takes place in our own lives; the projects that we began earlier in the year may now be bearing fruit, or not, according to the effort and commitment that we put in. There is nothing that we can do now to change the nature of our harvest. We can only reap what has grown and then, as we enter the time of reflection ushered in by the darkness, decide what we will plant, in our gardens and in our lives, in the coming season and how our cultivation of the crop might be different from this year.

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