Welcoming Lammas

Justin Ashton - Super Moon AZ
While writing my Lammas ritual, I started asking myself: "What does this Sabbath mean to me?". After all, I had to start somewhere and find the basic idea which would serve as the groundwork for the ritual itself. I believe that clearly defining the goal and basic idea is extremely important for a quality conception of any ritual. In search of new cognition and inspiration, I recalled the mysteries behind this Sabbath, so here are the fruits of my thoughts (a fitting metaphor given that this is the feast of the first harvest, or feast of the first fruits).

This year, Lughnasadh/Lammas is special because July 31 is also the night of a full moon! And not any full moon at that, but a blue moon. This is truly a great time for magical work. The full moon is usually connected with water because of its effect on the tides (it "attracts" water towards itself  at certain times of the day because of its gravitational field which results in high tides), and water is in turn connected with cleansing and emotions (because of their fluidity). And so, in time, the belief developed that the full moon has purgative qualities and that it is best to use its energy to cleanse oneself, rid oneself of negative emotions and influences and meditate on this in order to become aware of what has to be discarded. The full moon also represents new beginnings and ends of cycles (when one chapter ends, another begins) and this characteristic is currently even more accentuated because of the three planets that are in retrograde (Venus, Uranus and Saturn). Therefore, their usual influences are reversed. I wouldn't like to go into any further detail on this subject, but I recommend you read this article if you are interested in recent astrological events. I mention this because both Lammas and the full moon are appropriate times for introspection, reflection on the past, responsible thinking about one's actions, facing fears, comprehending one's emotions and overcoming obstacles. All in all, this is a time of big changes. This is why I decided to incorporate a bit of everything in this sequence in my ritual - meditation on the past and its effects on the present, former actions and their causes, outcomes or perhaps the fruits of invested labor and so on.

Deeper research of Lammas mysteries (unrelated to the full moon) led to me conclude that, this year, at least for me, the most prominent aspects of this Sabbath are sacrifice, causality and reciprocity. To elaborate, sacrifice is a central theme of this Sabbath because this is the time of celebration of the first harvest. Pagans understand harvesting as the self-sacrifice of the crops which surrender themselves so that people may have something to live on in the oncoming colder months. Embodied in the crops, the God also sacrifices himself and so enters seniority at this Sabbath; he becomes the Wise Man and the Goddess matures into the her Crone aspect.

There is no better time to bring to consciousness our actions and draw out from the depths of our instinct and  past experience the necessary wisdom. This is what the Wise Man and Crone, who are themselves filled with wisdom and life experiences, teach us at Lammas. One of these pieces of wisdom is that everyone gets as much as they invest. That is to say, you reap what you sow (literally in the case of the crops, or metaphorically). A lot of labor, time, love, persistence, strength, energy, care and finally responsibility are needed for our actions to bear fruit. Lammas is a great time to meditate on this because the results of our several-month-old labor are finally becoming visible. For Imbolc we prepared the ground and cleansed it to make room for new seedlings, at Ostara we planted our seeds (turned ideas into actions) and to this day followed their growth into strong fruits which are finally ripe for the picking.

All of the listed ideas are closely connected to the other two mysteries of Lammas which I am putting emphasis on today - reciprocity and causality. Reciprocity signifies a mutual influence of different factors. Man has forgotten this and often acts very egoistically, forgetting that he shares everything with everyone else and that all his actions are reflected in the lives of others. Nothing is one-sided. In this sense, others' actions also affect us. If every person would keep in mind that they are not alone in the world and that all forces act reciprocally, life would be much easier and much more pleasant. The agricultural aspect of Lammas mirrors the mystery of reciprocity in that it emphasizes that man has to plant and feed a seed in order to get fruit. This fruit in turn sacrifices itself when the time comes and feeds man.

Causality is a similar concept to reciprocity in that it also signifies an influence between different factors, except this time, this influence isn't reciprocal but rather causal. Essentially, every cause has an effect. Causality thus teaches us to be responsible because man will not get a yield if he doesn't plant any crops in the first place and doesn't take care of them. For them to grow, responsibility is needed, among other things.

If we take some time out of our busy, fast lives and stop to think about our actions, we can understand that we are not as passive as we may think. Human potential is vast because each of our actions causes ripples, even waves of reactions. All we need to do is make this potential and energy our own and take action. Although, in the process, we must not forget about the repercussions of our actions, but the mere consciousness of our potential, boldness to turn our thoughts into actions and the pride we feel after seeing the fruits of our labor immensely enhance the quality of our lives.

It is with these last thoughts that I wish you all a blessed Lammas! May it be merry and inspired!
Witch's Cat

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