I can’t believe the first of the special days that herald in the onset of winter is upon us, in the Northern Hemisphere. Lammas is the time when people in the agricultural societies would celebrate the reaping of the harvests. In preparation for the lean and dark, cold winter months, the people stored up enough food to hopefully last them through the winter. Lammas was a time of celebration and honoring the spirit of the grain. For this reason, bread is baked and the ceremonies honor those gods and goddesses of things grown, hearth and home. Corn is believed to embody the essence of the spirit. After solstice, the days are gradually growing shorter and shorter. The earth is heading towards the time when the people reap what they have sown. Thus, the special days in the latter part of the year are aimed toward home, bounty, and the gratitude they have for those gods, in particular, Lugh, the craftsman god. This is the time of the crone in the triple-goddess.
I found a beautiful summary of the myth which explains the seasons at Paganism & Wicca About.com. Patti Wigington, the authoress of much of the content, put it like this:
“Perhaps the best known of all the harvest mythologies is the story of Demeter and Persephone. Demeter was a goddess of grain and of the harvest in ancient Greece. Her daughter, Persephone, caught the eye of Hades, god of the underworld. When Hades abducted Persephone and took her back to the underworld, Demeter’s grief caused the crops on earth to die and go dormant. By the time she finally recovered her daughter, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, and so was doomed to spend six months of the year in the underworld. These six months are the time when the earth dies, beginning at the time of the autumn equinox. Each year, Demeter mourns the loss of her daughter for six months. At Ostara, the greening of the earth begins once more and life begins anew.”
We think of leaves of reds and orange, pumpkins, Indian corn, the wholesome and nourishing foods and the warmth of the home and family. It feels, to me, like late in the day, with December thirty-first being mid-night. In the early part of the year, the morning, we open up, awaken. There is much prosperity, rebirth of plantings and living beings, and the people rejoice in the outdoors, in nature, and all of her gifts. Now, at this time of our year, the afternoon, we head for home with the bounty we accomplished while out. It is necessary to last through til the next spring, so, much effort and importance is placed on the harvest. These are the ‘warm-fuzzy’ months. The evening hours of the year. LOL