Lammas – The First Harvest

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    In various Celtic traditions Aug. 1st is celebrated as Lammas, a designation of the first harvest. This holiday marks the mid-point between the Summer Solstice and the Fall Equinox. Lammas is often symbolized by threshing wheat or baking loaves of bread.

    This day is also the Gaelic festival of Lughnasadh and the medieval Anglo-Saxon Feast of the first fruit. This time was designated by Pope Gregory as the celebration of the Transfiguration of Christ on Aug. 6th (combining the pagan celebration of the wheat and making of bread to include the breaking of bread and communion in the Christian tradition).

    For many of us in the northern hemisphere, this is the ‘heat of the summer’, a time for vacations and family gatherings. While many of us in industrial nations may not pay attention to harvest celebrations, it’s worth taking time to reflect on work and play.

    Lammas rituals can take many forms, but the general theme is honoring what you have planted and now begin to harvest. Lammas represents a time for gathering up what you’ve planted in the spring or early summer that is now coming to fruition. This year Lammas has a keener significance for me as I just sold my house last week and have harvested the pay-off of my mortgage.

    As I reflected on my home sale, I realized that it had been 9 months since I moved out of the house and stored most of my things, leaving only a few things over the winter for a house sitter to use. Of course the nine month period also had significance as it’s been a gestation period for me- to see what would be birthed in my new location. It’s felt like a long and challenging time to determine my next direction for work.

    I’m keenly aware of the planting of seeds in my new location this spring (networking, sending out resumes, re-designing my website, joining various professional groups), the waiting (for emails and phone calls to be returned, for contracts to come together), the harvesting (of funds from my home sale, my website revision, and publishing my second book). I’m celebrating that harvest and long nine month gestation period by going to the beach.

    What have you planted this year that you are seeing come to fruition?

    What do you still want to plant so that you can harvest it later in the year?

    How do you tend, water and nourish your work, your co-workers, your clients?

    What have you harvested that you want to celebrate?

    Now is a good time to take stock of how your year is unfolding, to examine what adjustments you need to make so that you can harvest and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    • Do you want to work more on some things and less on others?
    • Have you spent the time on the things that are important to you?
    • How are you progressing on the goals you set at the beginning of the year?

    May this season of mid-summer be a time for reflection, celebration, adjusting, and initial harvesting.

    Blessed Be.


    For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.