Lammas: why this ancient Festival of GRATITUDE is so important today
The beautiful ancient festival of Lammas falls on August 1st (for the Northern Hemisphere) and as with all these turns within the wild, it raises within us energies, impulses and motivations that not only are felt collectively, but serve a purpose.
One of the wonderful benefits of teaching, guiding and holding space for healing with lots of people each week is that it is so clear that these meta-patterns, this stirring, is shared. It is the energy of this next turn of the natural wheel into Lammas that many others are sensing too, and when we work with it, we surf a powerful natural wave that makes putting new choices into action much easier to do.
The Lammas stirring has come through in many experiencing a strong impulse to once again clear their home space (like in springtime); to reorganise activities and stuff; to rejig their space by reorganising furniture, items and colours in their homes. I have had higher than usual requests for energy-body/auris clearing and guidance on smudging spaces.
In healing sessions, many clients have finally reached a point of a wholesale shift; a shedding of old paradigms and a reach for freedom from physical, mental and emotional disharmony; and many others are experiencing transmutation/physical healing. For me, I have experienced a powerful drive to complete projects, before starting anything new.
I have learnt that to deepen our understanding of how to engage with these junctures in the year, it helps to look to the festivals and rituals of the ancients. Within their actions and myths lie all the keys, which is the purpose of these blogs. How do we engage with these impulses that we feel at this time and translate them into modern life?
Lammas, Lughnasadh or Lá Lúnasa is the first of the three harvests of the northern Wheel of the Year. It is named after Lugh, the Celtic god of wisdom and illumination. In northern cultures, it represents the transformation of the fertile Goddess into the pregnant Mother archetype and the Anglo-Saxon festival of “Loaf Mass” celebrates the cutting of the first corn of the harvest and the baking of bread from the first harvest. It is officially the first day of autumn and while the summer sun is at its zenith, especially here in Singapore, the Earth is shifting beneath and around us.
Like all the cross-quarter points of the Wheel of the Year, the shift is subtle, not obvious to the physical senses, but undeniable within. It presents as a deep stirring, impulse to action, a sense of urgency. It is felt, illogical, body-based and undeniable, and it requires action or can easily turn into frustration and anger. Lammas is a Fire festival, acknowledging Lugh and the full power of the sun. It is a reminder that we reap what we sow. It is a time of plenty and especially, gratitude. And even if we are reaping some not-so-great experiences seeded by dissonant beliefs, paradigms and actions, from a wider perspective, Lammas reminds us of the true nature of life and free will. If our bodies, feelings, thoughts or experienced reality in this harvest time is in some way ‘out’, we can change it. It is this spiritual reality that ensures our continued transformation and growth.
Ancient festivals at this time incorporated the blessing and storage of good seeds, for another planting season. Sexual dances celebrating the sacred marriage of Earth and Spirit, Mother and Lover, were dramatized to symbolise the seed stored within the belly of the Mother for life to continue. Celebrations of fresh bread, joy and inebriation abounded.
These beautiful sexy festivals, much misinterpreted, held no guilt or shame. Indulgence, sex, sensuality, dance and community celebration were essential elements to engage energy and awareness with the Earth-tide of the time.
What can we glean from this ancient gorgeousness? The themes and correspondent deities of the season: Loki, Sigyn, Odin (Wodin) and Frigg, all point us towards some clear threads.
This is a call to action and taking responsibility for our own actions. It is a spiritual harvest when we sift the good and not-so-good seeds. It’s a time to understand the dynamics of our inner fields and to celebrate the good within us and our lives.
We are all deeply affected by the ongoing pandemic in many ways. Every second of every day, our minds and hearts are reminded of an ever-present ‘threat’. The empaths amongst us are feeling deeply, the suffering and grief. The providers amongst us are feeling deeply, the uncertainty of the future, the inability to plan direction and the responsibility to provide. The activists amongst us are feeling deeply, the mixed messages of different world leaders, the obvious inequalities in our socio-economic platforms, the racism and division that rears its head when communities hit tipping points of stress. And then, there’s our children and our elderly. We are all, in our own way, feeling it!
Yet, still firmly within our ability and realm of influence, is how we respond, how we choose to relate to others, how we choose to better ourselves and our micro-communities…and Lammas invites us to engage!
Here are my top three actionable themes for this year’s Lammas:
Sharpen your harvest tools
Sharpen abilities of drawing into presence and spiritual perception. Absorb uplifting content and company that provides new perspectives and approaches. Our awareness is creative and when we engage it with like-spirited circles, learn new inner practices or absorb enlightened content, we create this vibration within ourselves and our lives.
I employ specific ‘harvest-hacks’ at this time. Inner decrees stated with determination are hugely powerful for this. If I find myself deliberating on a fearful outcome to a situation yet to play out, I catch myself and state clearly, “I now dismiss this possibility”. If I find myself in the company of someone who is draining my energy or trying to engage me in their drama, I quietly and compassionately remove myself and state, “this is not my story”. When I catch myself spiralling into judgement or comparison I arrest it and state, “I choose love”. The more we detach our awareness from old contracting patterns, the more they weaken and then dissolve into their native nothingness.
Engage in a spiritual-sift
The term ‘releasing’ is used a lot in spiritual lingo. But what does it really mean for spiritual practice and how do we do it?
When harvesting the fields, the ancients put a lot of resources and focus into sifting the good crop from the not-so-good. Seeds that didn’t appear and felt like they were humming with life-force were given to livestock as meal. The good seeds were blessed and stored for consumption and the next planting season.
Similarly, our spiritual-sift requires some focus and allocation of awareness too. Relationships, content, experiences that contract the spirit into smallness, feelings of victimhood, exclusion and low self-worth are worth examining. It’s not the experiences per se, but what they raise within that’s important. The mental tailspins, the negative emotions or the destructive behaviours, for example, are signposts to beliefs and patterned behaviours that should be thrown from the inner storehouse. To sift these out, the key is to first catch them and then choose a new script. Make the choice to remove them from future seeding. We do this by not reacting and projecting, but rather by acknowledging and arresting the reactive patterns that arise, owning them and then simply making a choice.
Acknowledge gifts and blessings
The vibration of gratitude is the marker for Lammas. Guilt-free celebrations of life’s gifts and blessings help us draw towards the good seeds and attract more of the same. And in this current climate, I believe this is the most important prompt from Lammas this year, cultivating gratitude.
The psychological arena offers us so much wonderful information and research on gratitude. We know that consciously cultivating gratitude heals the body, lowers blood pressure, improves relationships and general wellbeing, regardless of external circumstances. Spiritually, the vibration of gratitude is highly magnetic. People who acknowledge the blessings in their lives, tend to attract more of them.
We are surrounded by blessings in our lives, but it takes a ‘grateful lens’ to sometimes see them and bank them in our hearts. Smiles from strangers, the abundance of life in colours, shared meals, perfumes, true friendships, acts of kindness, quiet moments to be with self and spirit are all rare and beautiful blessings; they are the bread of life. Lammas invites us to unashamedly indulge in the harvest that we have worked hard for. And even if that harvest may simply be an afternoon or even a lunch-break just for us, really indulge it. Switch off the phone, disconnect from anyone else who needs you, check out of your field and all its demands and be fully with yourself and the moment.
Gratitude becomes active and manifests new realities when it is expressed. Make a point of it at this time. Thank your loved ones, reach out and make contact, cook delicious meals and share them with the people you are with, say a prayer of gratitude to the Earth and the wild field for Her beauty and nourishment of body and soul. These are the seeds to replant into your inner field for continued transformation and abundance of spirit, life and blessings.
Blessed Lammas, everyone.
If you have any questions or thoughts about Lammas and why this ancient Festival of gratitude is so important today, do get in touch. You can also visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.