“Bringing in the Sheaves” – Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness, sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve: Now begins the harvest and the time of reaping, we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves. Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves. Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves…”
Today 1 August 2023 on this Thunder-Buck Full Moon, we meet the 2nd Harvest (the 1st was the herb harvest at St. John’s). The Feast of Lammas or Lughnasadh begins today & goes thru August 8th when we hit the astrological Cross-Quarter between Summer Solstice & Fall Equinox. It is a long season bringing us all the way thru Summer.
It is also the Feast Day of Joseph of Arimathea – According to all four Gospels, the man who assumed responsibility for the burial of Jesus after the crucifixion. A number of stories that developed during the Middle Ages connect him with both Glastonbury, where he is supposed to have founded the earliest Christian oratory, & also with the Grail legend.
“One must penetrate to an understanding of the Mystery of the Bread, which is said to have been broken by Christ Jesus in the same chalice in which Joseph of Arimathea caught His blood. As legend tells it, this chalice was then removed to Europe, but was preserved by angels in a region high above the surface of the earth until the arrival of Titurel who created for this Grail, this sacred chalice, a temple on Mont Salvat” ~Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, April 16, 1921
The Wheel turns from St. John’s Tide with its message of the inner Christ Sun and the mirroring of the Holy nights, to the Sun in the heart of the Lion (or at least it’s where Regulus, the heart of the lion, was a couple of thousand years ago!) Lammas, or Loaf mas, a Cross-Quarter festival traditionally celebrated at the beginning of August, marks the point when we leave the Garden, and earn our own way, “by the sweat of our brow”.
The harvest of grain, and the baking of bread, represents the first child of the cosmic union of Sun and Earth. It symbolizes the essence of humanity, born from this union, for the loaf is more than a gift of nature, it is made by the combined forces of nature with the will forces of human activity.
The harvest season is a time of judgment. We are called upon to sift through the things that have grown up during the past half-year, and decide what we will keep and what we will cut away. We must make choices, and act on them. The cycle of life turns past the peak of growth, into the time of release.
In astrology, Bella Luna, when she is five-eighths past the New Moon, is called the “Disseminating Moon”. During this phase, what has built up in the waxing cycle begins to be released into the environment. While today in the Lunar cycle we have reached the Full Thunder-Buck Moon; In looking at the relationship of Earth & Sun at this time of year – We start to see the results of our work we are beginning a ‘Disseminating phase’. Because At Lammas, the Sun is five-eighths of the way around the Wheel from Winter Solstice. Growth has reached its peak, & the life of the Sun God has begun to bleed off into the fruit & grain.
The King is Dead Long Live the King – for now is also the time of sacrifice, of death in service of life. Some of the first fruits are ready for harvest, but some, too unripe to be eaten, must be plucked anyway. These are culls, removed so they won’t drain the life force from the good fruit. If everything was left on the tree, the life force would be diluted, or worse, the bad fruit could weigh down a branch until it breaks, destroying the entire crop, or sometimes killing the tree. The culls are taken so the rest of the fruit, and those who depend on the crop for survival, might live.
John Barleycorn must die… ‘Cut in half and buried, then beaten with sticks, and finally crushed between stones’… as the song goes, nevertheless rises once again. Bread is the perfect sacrifice for “Loaf Mass” or Lughnassadh as the Celtics called it, for they knew that this festival is more than just the first fruits of the earth — it also involves the first fruits of human labor. Grain is processed by human craft, and joined with the four elements to make the staff of life.
So bake a loaf of bread on Lammas. If you’ve never made bread before, this is a good time to start. Honor the source of the flour as you work with it: remember it was once a plant growing on mother Earth. If you have a garden, add something you’ve harvested–herbs or onion or veggies. If you don’t feel up to making wheat bread, make corn bread, or gingerbread people, or popcorn. What’s most important is intention. All that is necessary to enter sacred time is an awareness of the meaning of your actions.
Saying Grace with you at Camphill Kmberton