Lammas introduces the season of ripening. Lammas comes from the Old English phrase “hlaf-maesse” or “loaf mass”. Its focus is on the first harvests of Summer, most notably, the grain harvest. Our ancestors celebrated the crops, knowing that a successful harvest would see them through the long dark months to come.
Sunlight is noticeably beginning to decline as the Wheel of the Year turns toward the dark half of the year. We may already be starting to lament Summer’s ending, but for now, we are happy to enjoy warm sunny days and partake of the endless bounty of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
As a grain festival, our ancestors would burn an effigy of the Grain God at Lammas, to ensure the continuing cycle of death and rebirth in the Spring. The God was a willing sacrifice, giving up His life so that His people may live. We can honour this tradition by celebrating the abundance of the Earth and all She has to offer, sharing our bounty with others in Her name, and make our own sacrifices for the greater good of our communities.
Sacrifice is something that we do willingly, and often, we are lucky enough to reap the benefits down the road. We can look at our metaphorical garden, the seeds we planted, the ways we nurtured our dreams, prioritizing what needed nourishment and what needed to be thinned out. We pulled the weeds, removing some things in order for others to prosper and grow. We did a lot of hard work to arrive at this point. We can celebrate our successful harvest as we acknowledge the sacrifices we made. We can look honestly at the sacrifices that may still be required, letting go of the attitudes, behaviours or beliefs that may still be hindering us. This is but the first of the harvests, there remains time to work on our goals and reap the benefits in the coming months.
Baking bread is one of the ways we honour the First Harvest. As you knead the dough, think about your personal harvest and all the things you wish to manifest in the coming months, and the sacrifices you are willing to make to achieve success. Visualize the successful harvest and send the image into the dough. As you eat the bread, know that you are taking in those qualities that will ensure an abundant crop.
Lammas Tarot Spread
1 What are you harvesting?
2 What must you sacrifice?
3 What opposes you?
4 What supports you?
5 What grounds you?
6 What is still ripening?
7 What will you take forward?
image courtesy of
The Dark Moon in Cancer teaches us effective ways to connect with the emotions we keep hidden from others, and from ourselves. In a hard world, we tend to put up a hard front, often at the expense of our vulnerability. It may feel as though we are protecting the soft fragile parts within us, but if we use our protective armour as a means of denying our emotions, we lose out on a wondrous and precious experience.
It isn’t always easy to access what is hidden, sometimes, it may be best to approach indirectly, come at it sideways, like a crab. We can explore, in depth, those emotions that we keep closest to the heart, by approaching them in a way that is gentle and non-threatening.
The labyrinth is a perfect metaphor for this type of healing work. It provides the safe space, the protective armour, within which we can explore the most fragile vulnerable parts of ourselves. The analytical mind is engaged with staying on the path, freeing up the creative and intuitive mind. As we travel the meandering path, the unconscious rises to the surface. When we arrive at the center, we can look honestly at our shadows, and do what is needed to become healthy and whole.
The Dark Moon is a time for inner reflections, personal journeys and shadow work. What better time to take stock, to face our deepest fears, to meet and embrace our Shadow side. Communing with our dark self may lead to valuable personal insights. As we shine light on our darkness, we come to a place of healing. The Shadow self is the part of us that reacts from a place of unconscious fear. Once those fears are brought into the light, we can begin the process of healing.
Working with a Labyrinth
Seek out a labyrinth nearby where you can walk, if there aren’t any, you can use a finger labyrinth, an app, or a virtual labyrinth online.
Set an intention before you start.
As you follow the path in, acknowledge and let go of blocks or expectations.
The center is a place of stillness, where you can be open and receptive to the experience, dialogue with the Shadow, notice any images or words that may come up. Take as long as you need.
When you feel ready, follow the path back out, trusting that what you have learned or experienced is being integrated, and the healing process will continue long after you have exited the labyrinth.
Dark Moon Blessings,