I don’t really connect emotionally or spiritually with Lammas/Lughnasadh as a concept or a practice in the traditional sense. I’m really not a summer person (I was born on the Winter Solstice, so maybe that’s why) and having always lived in urban or suburban areas I have literally no meaningful connection whatsoever to agriculture, apart from obviously I eat food. It’s not that I don’t know where food comes from or how it’s produced, or that I don’t have massive appreciation and respect for the people involved in that process, but basing a sabbat around that is about as meaningful to me as paying ritual tribute to engine building because I drive a car, or carpet making because I have floors in my home. I recognise the important part these things play in my life, but as processes they aren’t spiritual for me at all.
Living in Edinburgh, the beginning of August mostly represents a massive influx of people to the city for the many festivals that are happening here over the next month. My little world simultaneously expands and contracts as I am reminded that I live in a beautiful, vibrant and special place that people come from all over the world to visit.
August, for me, is also about being at home, about being grateful for having a home to be in. It’s about sitting in the living room with the back door open and listening to heavy rain fall through warm air outside. It’s about sitting still on the step and watching tiny birds at the feeder, feeling blessed that they are accustomed enough to my presence not to fear me. This year, it’s also about caring for new turf as it beds in and completes the lawn, and for small trees that were once nurtured indoors beginning to take root in their new outdoor homes. These are my connections to nature at this time of year.
In the last month, I published a book, wrote the first draft of another book and launched my Patreon. My husband started a new position at work, with the same company but at a different location, and is now working longer hours as he settles into a role with more responsibility. These things are, in their own way, harvests. They represent the results of dedication, sacrifice and patience. Our harvests might not have been plucked from fields, but they are still worth celebrating.
This year at Lammas, I cleaned our home. I find housework therapeutic and I enjoy it. I’m not a hardcore neat freak (or at least I don’t think I am) but it soothes my soul to create and maintain a clean, tidy, welcoming space. My health hasn’t been great lately, so being physically able to do this, even just for one afternoon, felt incredible (I’m suffering for it now though, so today is going to be a more gentle day). Also, it has been a year almost to the day since we moved in here and began turning a mostly empty shell into a home. It’s almost finished. Almost. And when I remember the struggles of years past and recognise how different life is now, that too feels like a harvest.
Because I don’t follow any specific Pagan path, I don’t feel the need to adhere to any set rules about how to celebrate at certain times of year. My wheel of the year draws from a variety of traditions, from Wiccan sabbats to Celtic seasonal celebrations to Norse blots. There are more personal elements too, from my heart, my marriage and my family.
While my husband and I sat in our living room, eating some truly amazing bread (our nod to more recognisable Lammas traditions), I offered thanks to Thor for my strength and determination, to Hel for my acceptance of dark times and dark places, to Odin for my words and relentless seeking, to the forces of nature for the beauty around me and to the people who love me for reminding me that I am worth loving.