Lammas, Blessing of the First Harvests
Jane's Garden Report
"Put the dirt as your mother", said Vandana Shiva in the excellent film, Dirt, which should be required viewing for all humans.
It's Lammas today, one of my favorite holidays, holy earth days. Lammas, one of the cross quarter days which celebrates the first harvests, was sacred to the ancient Celts and is sacred today to modern pagans and earth honoring peoples. August 1st is at the high point of summer.
Our third year of maturing gardens in our new home here in Boca Raton, Florida has brought us the blessing of rains here on this day of Lammas. Last winter we ate heartily of beans from our garden, thank you. Our first crops of greens and salad leaves, thank you. Our blooming pink fragrant roses of summer, thank you. Our bowl of ripe tomatoes on the counter, pickled pineapple fermenting, thank you fruits of summer!
We give thanks for the incredible cornucopia we've received from the many farms in every region in which we have lived. Each week we are grateful for the bounty with which we are nourished. I am gratified to see that more people are interested in fresh farm food and healthy diets.
Wherever Curtis and I live, I am always amazed by what magicians farmers are, bringing forth such abundance from our beautiful planet. And every garden we've ever created imbues me with a sense of wonder, that I too, in partnership with the earth can be a magician!
Today on this Sacred Day of Lammas in 2018, I honor all of my gardens which have helped to shape and sustain me. And in the heat of summer, I dedicate this to the foundation of any garden, the dirt!
I honor the devas of the kingdom of medicinal plants for allowing me access to their schoolrooms.
I honor the many gardening, farming, flower loving, nursery men and women and animal instructors who have helped me learn to play in the dirt.
I honor the elementals, the plant spirits and flower allies who have guided me to create gardens where I live no matter how often I move. A garden is a happy offering.
In Antioch, CA we saw the golden dry hills, fields of safflower, dried grasses and cattle ranches, groves of fruit trees, olive trees and endless fields of edible offerings.
As a longtime gardener from the northeast, I am enchanted with the new and exotic presence of hundreds of varities of palms, which seem a bit like alien beings to me.
Here in South Florida we are treated to an environment which is radiantly green with fruit literally growing on trees along with a cornucopia of exotic zone 10 (!!) plants and flowers. Giant green leaves, savage spires of bromeliad flowers and giant elephant ears which spear up to the trees.
There's an embarrassment of flowers and colors everywhere the eyes alight.
So on this Lammas day I wish you all good early harvest!
Call upon what feeds your soul, whether it is a visit to your garden or another's, plant your feet on earth, pick up some soil and as Vandana Shiva said, think of this as your Mother.
And now, enjoy some fruits of summer! Blessed Be!
Lammas Story from your Editors, Curtis Lang and Jane Sherry.
Dear friends – August 1 and 2 we celebrate the ancient Festival of the Wheat Harvest known as Lammas, or Loaf-Mass Day, the sacred cross quarter day between the Summer Solstice & Autumn Equinox when the Mother returns the first fruits of the year’s harvests to come.
The Celts celebrate this Summer Festival from sunset August 1 until sunset August 2 and call it “Lughnasad” after the God Lugh. This is the Festival commemorating the wake of Lugh, the Sun-King, whose light begins to dwindle after the summer solstice.
When we lived in the East San Francisco Bay area, the corn in farms and vegetable gardens had tasseled and many varieties of tomatoes, plums, peaches and fruits new to us then in California small and large, golden, purple and red, round and pear-shaped, striped or not, filled the air with their characteristic mouth-watering fruity aromas. Golden banners fluttered in the wind, fertile silks turned brown, and the beginning of the corn harvest had arrived at our tables. We give thanks for the sweet corn and for all our Mother’s bounty.
Lammas is the day to celebrate the Eternal Maiden, the Virgin Mother, the Corn Mother, the Great Earth Mother of Nourishment, our Mother of Abundance. Lammas is the day we express our gratitude that She feeds all our children. Celtic, Neo-Pagan and Christians alike light fires to celebrate the strength of summer’s incandescence and the promise the first fruits of harvest make for the community’s secure winter season.
Yet this year Lammas is a festival of mixed blessings and mixed emotions. Mother, we are grateful for our privileged lives and for the opportunities we often take for granted. Mother, we are sad and we mourn the many ways that human beings undermine their Mother’s most precious gifts of clean water, clean air, fertile soil, diverse vegetable, animal and bird brothers and sisters and the rest of the Mother’s web of creation -- the environment that has given birth to all of us and nurtures us from generation to generation. Mother, we celebrate our unity with the web of life, with your Holy Body, planet Earth.
Today we are on the brink of monumental climate change, brought about by the excesses of our industrial civilization and our excessive reliance upon a rational materialistic view of the Universe. We no longer act as humble caretakers of the Earthly garden.
We have set ourselves up as Lords of creation. We seek to control, dominate and subdue nature and measure our success by our ability to transform humanity’s shared environmental resources into wealth we seek to utterly consume in our own lifetimes without regard for the wellbeing of future generations.
We know that the sources of energy we use to fuel our global human civilization are destroying the environmental resources our children and grandchildren will depend upon for their survival. We know that we are rapidly depleting the most valuable of those resources in a global consumption binge that can only be compared in its severity and toxicity to the terminal stages of drug addiction.
We are depleting the soil, poisoning the air, polluting the oceans, and exterminating animal, bird and plant species by the thousands.
We are manufacturing new genetically modified plant species and introducing them into the environment without testing them to see if they are compatible with existing bio-systems.
We are creating cloned animals to be bred as sources of food for hungry humans without regard for the well-being of the animals, or the suitability of cloned meat for human consumption.
At the same time that the world is beset with conflicts between religious warriors representing many different spiritual traditions, including Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus, there is also an increasing environmental awareness arising among practitioners of all faiths.
Even those who adhere to fundamentalist interpretations of sacred scriptures are finding common environmental ground with more tolerant and ecumenical spiritual practitioners who honor all the wisdom school traditions of all religions.
And spiritual environmental activists are finding common ground with their secular counterparts.
Today, Mother, we celebrate the ancient wisdom school teachings of East and West that speak of the web of life, and of humanity’s responsibility to maintain that web of life intact for future generations.
Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism all provide a treasure trove of spiritual teachings on the interdependence of all living things in a web of life.
All the major religions of the world agree that humanity bears a tremendous responsibility to the Earth, our Mother, and to the future generations of human beings, plants, animals, birds, and creeping, crawling creatures inhabiting this garden planet.
All the major religions of the world agree that humanity must temper its greed, curb its rampant consumption, extend a helping hand to the more than one billion people living in extreme poverty, and radically alter the industrial lifestyle we have come to accept as normal in the last two hundred years.
Mother, today, in celebration of the ancient wisdom teachings that honor you as the Divine One, the Source of all life, we ask your blessing and your help, that we may find our way back to the path of Spirit, and that we may find the courage and strength to walk that path again, all the way to the final goal – help us in our struggle to regain our equilibrium as individuals and as a people, wounded as we are with our religious wars, our greed, our self-centered lifestyles and our short-sightedness. Mother, help us to reconnect with the ancient wisdom teachings known to humanity since prehistoric times, and celebrated at the Seasonal Festivals held in your honor each year, marking the turning points on the great Seasonal Wheel of Time.
Mother, today we celebrate the unity of the human family.
Mother, we ask your forgiveness for our destructive ways. Mother,we seek today to learn to forgive one another. Help us, Mother, to learn to love you as the old ones loved you, so that we may heal ourselves and our environment.
Here is a Lammas Poem by Jane Sherry:
I am a fish.
I walk out of the water on four legs
I grow wings
and fly to the treetops
in my Paradise.
I am black
white yellow red
I am a wise woman
child snake man
frog lion insect.
As I sit in the treetops
I remember the time
of Fires of Floods of Beginnings.
I remember the Future Earth
a place of Balance
Breath Harmony Water & Fire.
I am my country
I am the cloud
that rains on desert,
the river that runs to sea.
I am the peace
at the Heart
of all things.
Please contact us if you have any questions or comments! Enjoy!!
Meditation Moment: The Road Home
The Road Home
An ant hurries along a threshing floor
with its wheat grain, moving between huge stacks
of wheat, not knowing the abundance
all around. It thinks its one grain
is all there is to love.
So we choose a tiny seed to be devoted to.
This body, one path or one teacher.
Look wider and farther.
The essence of every human being can see,
and what the essence-eye takes in,
the being becomes. Saturn. Solomon!
The ocean pours through a jar,
and you might say it swims inside
the fish! This mystery gives peace to
your longing and makes the road home home.
(translated by Coleman Barks)
2012 Photo Credits: All photos except the wheat are from Curtis & Jane's Gardens and ride to Brentwood Farmer's Markets.
Here's a picture of us overlooking the Pacific at Laguna Beach. Honored by Dragonfly medicine, we were visited by an orange dragonfly last month in our garden.  Photo below is of fields of safflower en route to the farmer's market.
We are continuously amazed by the sublime vistas and amazing beauty we find in the incredibly diverse landscape in all the places we have lived from California to Texas to Florida and New York.
Email us at email@example.com and let us know how you are doing!
pictures by Teri Slotkin from a visit with Dique Miller Boca Raton 2018
Photo Credits: All photographs by Jane Sherry with the exception of the montage by Teri Slotkin which was in Boca Raton, Florida, other pics from California and New York.