Urban Pagan in Somerset

Urban Pagan in Somerset

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Love of Lammas

Over the years I have enjoyed celebrating every festival we do - I loved the winter solstice, colours and craft making. Samhain and its fun as well as the chance to go inwards and remember our ancestors. The summer solstice and Beltane with the flowers and wonderful energies of growth. Imbolg with its promises of light to come and the equinoxes with their balances at each end of the year. However I have to say my most favourite festival of all is Lammas.

Lammas loaf at Eastbourne Lammas Fair 2013

I love Lammas. I love the feelings I get at this time of year as the wheel moves round again. I love the glints of gold in the fields of barley and corn. The grain harvests and the colours of the gold against the blue hue of the late summer skies. It isn't quite the golden autumn that comes around the later harvests at the equinox with its sunny but colder starts to the mornings, but it shows signs of the change of seasons as the nights are not quite so long.

I love all it represents. Natures bounty. The traditions throughout hundreds of years to collect, celebrate and share the harvests.

The harvests of foods, the preparation of the stores for the winter to come. I know that nowadays we have food to last through the year. Storage, refrigeration and so on means we don't worry that the food stores may not take us through to spring. That families no longer all go out together to bring the harvests in from the fields and celebrate with the villagers that all is in before the weathers change.

But underneath all our modern lives, with supermarkets, the food miles that enable us to partake of foods from other continents and cultures. Our freezers in the kitchen or the preserving processes now used to keep food longer.

Underneath all of this the link to the land is still strong in us. The echoes of what was done through the eons of time is rooted in the psyche of the people. Some feel it stronger than others its true. Some people are content not to participate in acknowledging the changes of the seasons apart from a nod at Christmas and Easter and maybe other social customs.

Some people enjoy the traditions of their communities. Taking part in the various local festivities. Spring or summer fairs, sea food festivals such as the whitstable oyster festival or the Brogdale apple festivals in Kent. Local Cornish festivals, or flower celebrations in Harrogate or Ely. The people may not be Pagans but still may have a rooted connection to the land and want to express it in their own way.

Others deliberately celebrate the seasons and the festivals as part of their spiritual paths. Christianity adopted most of our festivals in order to draw the people into the Church for conversion many years ago. And of course most Pagans will be celebrating the changes of the seasons along with any sacred days of the Deities they may revere.

Lammas has a magic I feel strongly. It may be the culmination of growth and harvests, but underneath it all I feel a bonding to the Earth and to life. It reminds me of my roots and my connection to nature. It brings up the feelings of being part of the Earth. Not separate or living 'on it' but as a part of it. I affect it, as it affects me. Of being part of a whole organism.

And so I weave my corn dollies, and make my crafts. Sing my songs and dance my rites of the seasons.

Yes, I love samhain and midwinter. I love Beltane and dancing round the maypole.
But Lammas..........ah......now that's my heart.

You'll remember me when the west wind moves upon the fields of barley.
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky as we walk in fields of gold.
So she took her love for to gaze awhile upon the fields of barley.
In his arms she fell as her hair came down among the fields of gold.

Will you stay with me, will you be my love among the fields of barley?
We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky as we lie in fields of gold.
See the west wind move like a lover so upon the fields of barley.
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth among the fields of gold.

I never made promises lightly and there have been some that I've broken,
But I swear in the days still left we'll walk in fields of gold.
We'll walk in fields of gold.

Many years have passed since those summer days among the fields of barley.
See the children run as the sun goes down among the fields of gold.
You'll remember me when the west wind moves upon the fields of barley.
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky when we walked in fields of gold,
When we walked in fields of gold, when we walked in fields of gold.