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Next Holiday: Lammas/Lughnasadah August 1, 2019

Although in the heat of a midwestern summer it might be difficult to discern, the festival of Lammas (August 1) marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. The days now grow visibly shorter and by the time we’ve reached autumn’s end (October 31), we will have run the gamut of temperature from the heat of August to the cold and (sometimes) snow of November. And in the midst of it, a perfect midwestern autumn. 

The history of Lammas is as convoluted as all the rest of the old folk holidays. It is, of course, a cross-quarter day, one of the four High Holidays or Greater Sabbats of Witchcraft, occurring one quarter of a year after Beltane. Its true astrological point is fifteen degrees Leo, but tradition has set August 1 as the day Lammas is typically celebrated. The celebration proper would begin on sundown of the previous evening, our July 31, since the Celts reckon their days from sundown to sundown. 

However, British Witches often refer to the astrological date of August 6 as Old Lammas, and folklorists call it Lammas O.S. (Old Style). This date has long been considered a “power point” of the zodiac, and is symbolized by the Lion, one of the tetramorph figures found on the tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune (the other three figures being the Bull, the Eagle, and the Spirit). Astrologers know these four figures as the symbols of the four “fixed” signs of the zodiac, and these naturally align with the four Great Sabbats of Witchcraft. Christians have adopted the same iconography to represent the four Gospel writers. 

“Lammas” was the medieval Christian name for the holiday, and it means “loaf-mass”, for this was the day on which loaves of bread were baked from the first grain harvest and laid on the church altars as offerings. It was a day representative of  
“first fruits” and early harvest. 

For the rest of Mike Nichols' article on Lammas click here


Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: Imbolc
August 1, 2019

For an article on Imbolc by Mike Nichols click here.

2019 Wiccan/Pagan Calendar


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Link's Lesson Book

Your Own Celebrations of Summer

There’s a village one year’s journey from here.  And in that village lives a woman with four children.  Like any family, all four children are kindred and similar -- yet very, very unique.  One is a feisty child, with brilliant golden hair, and a natural glow warmer than any other.  This child’s name is Summer.

In an entire year, perhaps the 91 days (and nights) of Summer seem to fly by the quickest…  When you think of summer, what comes to mind?

Summer is the peak, the pinnacle, the realization of what took root during the Spring.  One lesson the seasons teach is that many things in nature grow, mature, and then fade.  Imagine yourself old and gray and wise.  Look back upon your own life as if it were a single turn of the year.  What part of your life was your high point, your “Summer,” your peak?  Where did you shine your brightest, glow your hottest?

We too change like the seasons.  When Mother Nature puts on Her Summer wardrobe, so do we.  Except these wardrobes seem quite opposite.  In Summer, the forest grows more thickly covered, while we become less covered.  Summer is a season of short sleeves, short pants, short skirts and bare toes.  While the trees might wear their thick green coats, we often frolic clad with nothing but the sky!  More of our natural selves comes out in the Summer – arms, legs, skin – what we are beneath all those layers of cold Winter clothes can shine forth in the Summer.  Maybe we resemble our animal cousins, who also shed much of their fur and feathers in Summer.

Summer’s warmth lets us enjoy a great many simple pleasures.  After a cold Winter, the freedom of just being outdoors is a true gift!  The increased energy of Summer brings increased activity of all kinds:  festivals, vacations, travel.  What special Summer gatherings do you look forward to?  All the adventure, experiences, learning, worship, fun, freedom, passion, celebration and joy that these festivals offer are the unique gifts of Summer!

Some people say Summer begins near June 21 with the Solstice.  To others, it begins on the last day of school, or with the Memorial Day barbecue.  Whenever you begin Summer, mark that day as a special spoke in your own private Wheel of the Year.  See it as a unique rite of passage.  Every year, Summer throws a party – and you’re invited!

Of all the four seasonal quarters, Summer burns the brightest.  Remember that some things that burn brightly often burn out quickly.  For some, Summer is a time of fleeting temporary moments – a Summer Job, a Summer Fling, a Summer Vacation.  What new experiences might you want to try this Summer, even if only for a little while?

 
Read the rest of this article by clicking here
  


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