“Hoof and horn hoof and horn Those who die shall be reborn Corn and grain corn and grain Those who fall shall rise again”
I’m not sure the origin of the chant above but I learned it when I was a new witch. I’ve been thinking about it this morning. I posted in one of my witchy groups about mourning and sacrfice. I believe that even when you work magick to assist you in meeting a goal you have to be prepared for sacrifice. Will that goal require time, money, and energy? Nothing comes for free. The sacrifice could be as small as throwing some of your favorite plant into the fire to assist with your spell. At the last full moon I threw some of my precious lavender flowers into the fire because I have found my magick works better when I use materials that are sacred to me. When thinking about the harvest I’m bringing in for this turn of the wheel I was reminded of the sacrifices I had to make to get here. I had to leave my home of 50 years and move. In doing that I lost many friendships and connections and even angered some of my family. I’m in a smaller community which means a loss of opportunity. That being said, I have gained a back yard to practice my spirituality in, a studio where I can work on my business, and a safer community to live in. Oh yes and a lovely dedicated temple space!
Another thing I have been focused on is mourning. Here in Wisconsin, if you haven’t planted most things by now you are out of luck till next spring. If your crops have failed you have to just mourn the loss and look ahead. I feel it goes that way for goals as well. What goals did you plant in the spring? Did they all sprout up and grow or did some of them never get off the ground. It might be time to allow yourself to mourn those goals and let them go until you can plant them next year. I know not all witches live on the wheel but I do for the most part. Right now I am focused on harvest not planting. When the wheel turns again to Imbolc I will be ready to start thinking about new goals or old goals I want to restart.
Lughnasadh is one of my favorite turns of the wheel. We celebrate by playing games and having a big feast. We remember the sacrifice of John Barleycorn and we honor Demeter as the mother of grain. Usually we have pretty good weather this time of year, although it can be humid. It is always a great day. Underneath it all the energy calls on us to recognize we are turning towards the dark time of the year. The god of the grain will be cut down and Demeter must prepare to be without Persephone soon. As with everything there is light and shadow, harvest and sacrifice.
I can feel the energy shift towards the darker season. This morning when I went out to my backyard I saw two yellow leaves resting on my deck. It was just a glimmer of what is coming.
What will you be harvesting? Do you have things you wish to mourn?
Back many many years ago I was lucky enough to harvest an enormous amount of apples with some friends. All of us gathered in my big kitchen and started to process this amazing bounty. We made apple beer, chutney, fruit roll-ups, apple butter, and sauce. Due to a malfunction with the apple press my ceiling, floor and walls were covered in apple. Weeks later I was still finding bits of apple that we missed in the cleaning process. It was a fun community experience and it was a mess. I was a little overwhelmed trying to find ways to use them all (I canned a lot)before they went bad. In the end, I had plenty for myself and tons to share!
My Lammas harvest unfolded much the same way. My community gathered around me to help during the process. The work was messy and time-consuming. The abundance of blessings was great but also overwhelming. I have been working towards this harvest for a very long time. I have put in long hours both working magick to manifest my desire but also just working hard in my mundane life. I planted the seeds of this harvest years ago and each year I would get a little closer to seeing my goal. Now it has arrived and it is magnificent! At the same time, all this bounty demands that I put it to good use, and share it with others. I also have to shore up my boundaries and make sure I am engaging in self-care, too much of a good thing can be bad.
I am saying all of this to say when you are working magick and hoping to harvest your desires it is a good idea to be prepared. I recommend doing everything you can to prepare for what your life might look like if you actually get what you want. Will you need support? Are you ready for success? When you get what you want how will you use it? Will you share it? For me, my success meant tons of phone calls, emails, public speaking, being vulnerable and having my life out there on display. I’m an introvert who displays as an extrovert, so all that talking and being seen is not easy for me. When I was working on manifesting my desire I visualized what it would look like so I could be prepared for what might be asked of me in exchange.
Since Lammas, I have had almost no time to process how amazing this harvest has been. Instead of blogging, I should be sleeping but my mind is wide awake. I’m enjoying the delicious quiet of my office and giving myself a moment to let the magick of it all really sink in. We have two more turns of the wheel dedicated to harvest, I can’t wait to see what is coming!
My favorite season is underway! I love harvest season and the closer we get to Samhain the more excited I get. Lammas brought many wonderful little harvests. The biggest one being friendship. I struggle with female friendships and to be honest I can’t remember a time when this wasn’t the case. I decided on Imbolc to work on cultivating quality female friends. I planted that seed and went about finding friends by being more vulnerable and open. My natural state is to be pretty guarded so this is hard work. Plus I want quality relationships and not just tons of new people.
I also harvested opportunities. Opportunity was my word of the year a couple of years ago and it has been a long process to bring it about. Finally, at Lammas, I was able to bring in a bountiful harvest of opportunities. I’ve been able to have many new experiences and meet tons of new people. So many doors have been flung open. One of the best parts of this has been traveling. I’m not traveling far out of town but enough to feel like I’m gaining a fresh perspective.
All in all I’m very happy with my first harvest and I can’t wait to see what Mabon has to offer. For Lammas, my husband and I did a small ritual and cooked tons of yummy food. Corn cake is a Lammas staple in my house and my family loves it.
I have purchased my autumn Book of Shadows and I have been writing in it often. I use it to journal about the season and the rituals/spell work I do. I start thinking about and preparing for what I want to let go of at Samhain. I also start to think about and write down words that might be my word of the year next year. Right now I’m leaning towards Ambition, but that could change a million times between now and then. Usually about 3 days before Samhain I become really still and quiet and at that point, it all comes together. What I need to let go of and what word I want to bring into the new year.
I am also reading Dark Goddess Craft by Stephanie Woodfield. It is all about shadow work. I have been chomping at the bit to do some more shadow work but I’ve been putting it off until harvest time. Now that harvest is in full swing I’m ready to start facing down all that lurks in my shadow.
I am not digging the weather we’ve been having here in south central Wisconsin. We have had tons of rain and it is pretty humid. I think the ragweed has hit because my allergies are going insane. Late July always brings the same thing every year, a longing for autumn. Autumn is my favorite season and late summer is the season when I am the most house bound due to allergies.
One of the themes of autumn is the harvest holidays. This all kicks off in the late summer with Lammas/Lughnasadh or as I think of it Demeter’s Day. This turn of the wheel has long been one of my favorites. I have fond memories of making corn dollies with my kids and coven mates. Lammas brings to mind good meals and good times with friends and family. It also makes me think about what I want to harvest. My experience has been that each of the three fall harvest holidays grows in intensity with regards to what I bring in. This is also the time of year when I start to think about what I want to let go of. Slowly over the coming months, it will become more and more clear. Usually a day or so before Samhain I will know exactly what is required and I will be ready to throw it into the cauldron.
I think I will start my prep by doing some meditating on Demeter. I may start a list of things to harvest and release as well. Do you celebrate this turn of the wheel? I will post some pictures of my work as I move through this time.