August 2nd is the celebration of Lammas. Lammas is the cross-quarter day that marks the half-way point of summer. At Lammas, the daylight that culminated at Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, has now begun to wane. Some of us experience a subtle twinge of sadness at Lammas. We can feel that the light, warmth, and beauty of summer are starting to wane.
The medieval name, Lammas, comes from “hlafmass” or Festival of Loaves. Holy day bread was baked from the first grain of summer harvest. The 1988 We Moon Almanac defines the origins of Lammas as follows:
“[Lughnas] the Celtic name of this holy day, according to the Book of Ballymore (1391), originated from ceremonies commemorating two sisters of the Tuatha De Danann, or Tribe of the Goddess Danu. These were Nas, who had a son by Lugh, and Bui of the Brugh.”
Lammas is better known to some of us by another of its names, Midsummer. August 1st, Lammas Eve, is the Midsummer’s Eve of Shakespeare; that magical night, rife with fairies, tricksters, and enchantment.
By Lammas the full-flowering plant phase of Summer Solstice has moved into the fruit-bearing stage. Lammas is the celebration of the first fruits of the summer harvest. The tradition of Lammas still exits today in the numerous county festivals and fairs that are held at this time of year. Communities gather to share the first fruits of their labor thus far in the year.
The energy of Lammas is like that of 3PM in the afternoon. At 3PM the better part of the day is over. Many of us take stock at this time to see what we have accomplished and what we still need to complete.
At Lammas, the better part of the year has passed. It is time for us to pause for a moment and acknowledge the first fruits of our labor. What have we accomplished so far this year emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically?
At Lammas, the time of the first harvest, we honor and acknowledge all our efforts and accomplishments, all that we have brought to fruition in our lives this year.
© Marie Elena Gaspari
The Circle of the Rose
Wisdom School 2008
Come the Calends of August,
fading blossoms give way to fruit.
We feast on fragrant loaves,
Sated, midst summer’s wane.