Lammas 2023 – Mysteries of Sacrifice & Gratitude

Magnificent flowering artichoke fading into seed

The more closely I align my life with the cycles of the year the more I am blown away by the wisdom inherent in the ancient Pagan mysteries. It is a shame that most of the knowledge gathered over centuries on how to live harmoniously and joyfully with the environment that sustains us is not passed down to us in a robust way any longer.

The tantalizing popcorn was fresh and crisp just like it is supposed to be

Good thing we have social media and Disney and Marvel bullshit to occupy our precious consciousness. Meanwhile, our ability to understand the cycles and signs of nature that govern our lives are apparently mostly lost on our current generations.

Totems at Totem Bight State Historical Park, Ketchikan teach the transmission of ancestral knowledge

Working the cyclical year and honoring the holy days as modern Pagans means re-tracing the mindsets and habits of our ancestors. So we are coming up on Lammas. This is a day of sacrificing the first fruits of the season. My Faerie teacher taught that this holiday is a bright day of celebrating creative masculine energy.

Our great-headed sunflower last year moving from flower to seed

So what is the mystery of the sacrifice of the first fruits about? Traditionally, it requires giving up the first harvest to the gods or lands that have bestowed their bounty upon us. Ritually acknowledging that we receive our sustenance by the graces of mother earth and her perpetual energies ensures the continuation of the cycles that feed us. The ritual sacrifice of the first fruits entrains humans to the energy of reciprocity. At this Holy Cross Quarter Day we acknowledge that we feed on the transformation and death of other forms of life with whom we share this abundant planet.

The gophers dug up our tomatoes

Our garden was about to fully coalesce into a resplendent abundance burst of life when I woke up two weeks ago to absolute devastation. We had a breach in the buried barriers intended to block the gophers in our main bed and they got through by way of their adaptive ingenuity. Like a Mission Impossible assault, they destroyed the roots of our fruit-bearing plants.

Garden Devastation – a war zone

Worse was that we had taken precautions but they were not sufficiently strategic to deter the rascals so they swam through the dirt and found our tomatoes. Then, as if this was not bad enough, the top soil of our other beds were destroyed- roughed up and tossed killing all the roots of the seedlings. I scratched my head because that assault was both subterranean and topical. Later we discovered from Wizard Husband’s cameras that a gang of racoons also visited our garden and had a field day tearing up the beds. It was a double attack.

This ground varmint mocked me the next Monday at work

I was devastated for a minute. My journey to bring my garden back to life after the drought was derailed by a hit from nature — from those other urban beings who saw an opportunity and wanted to eat. I felt violated but just had to suck it up. Clearly, we needed better planning. When I went to work the following Monday, the default image on my computer was…you guessed it, a burrowing groundhog creature. Spirit was mocking me.

Wizard Husband crafting a new bed

Wizard Husband immediately got to work after the loss and crafted a new bed with a more efficient gopher barrier system. We also did a periphery check and like a Marine unit, implemented gopher and racoon repellent measures. I think we have rebounded from the assault. I appreciated his non-sentimental take care of business solution oriented response. Perfect for Lammas.

First Fruits

The profound lesson was that the first fruits were sacrificed by nature herself. I can’t be mad anymore because I realize that our Lammas spell was tremendous. We modern people dwelled within the mysteries for a moment. Nature blessed us with her response. We must be on the right track, I hope.

A successful cucumber that is thriving

Though Our first fruits were sparse, we ate them with delight and gratitude. Living with the land requires ingenuity. Even though we are hobby gardeners we are able to learn, adapt and recreate as needed. A hard lesson, but an apt one for the holy day.

A new strong sunflower coming up

So much is still thriving in our garden. I am humbled, grateful and appreciative of all that sustains me. The earth took her sacrifice and we are confident more bounty is to come. We celebrate Lammas and it celebrated us with the energy of the season. Our ancestors were wise and hopefully we wise up. Blessings to all sentient beings, the relations and the ancestors. Namaste and happy Lammas!

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