I am not Wiccan by any means, but I absolutely love working with the Wheel of the Year. I love to work with the natural cycles of nature to help me keep in alignment with my personal cycles. August 1st marks First Harvest, Lammas, or Lughnasadh depending on what you practice. I choose to call it First Harvest and for me it marks the beginning of the Fall season, though technically the first day of fall doesn’t usually fall until the Fall Equinox in September.
So how and why do I celebrate this holiday? In Texas, It’s hot. Very Hot. August 1st marks second summer for us and usually by this point most of the plants have died. Not always because it’s fall but because it gets so hot and dry.
Most people are harvesting hay, cotton, corn, and wheat/barley here, which is on par for what this holiday is about. I’m terrible at cooking so I don’t cook, but look at the holiday symbolically, this holiday marks the beginning of the end. Fall is just around the corner and beginning with this holiday, the slow death of the world around us begins. The leaves are just about to turn. The spring and summer flowers are reaching their end. There is a slow deconstruction of the world around us piece by piece. We cut down the wheat. What a shock that must be to the plant? We go through and keep what is needed and throw out the chafe. Reaping the harvest and prepping the ground for the sleep of winter.
A lot of people align the tower with fast and swift destruction, and in some ways it is. We get hit by a huge blow that feels like it will destroy us, similar to what the world around us faces as we harvest what we need to survive for the winter. But sometimes that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the tower is a slow deconstruction of something that needs to be torn down so that we can rebuild. Sometimes we have to tear that bastard down brick by brick and in the world around us? From this point forward we will be experiencing a slow death until everything grows again in the spring.
This holiday begins for me what I’ve lovingly called “Shadow Work” season. I begin with a complete house cleaning and cleanse and throw out any and all clutter that has gummed up our house over the year. It’s my way of getting ready to turn inward just as we slowly make our way inside for the cooler weather season, just as the moon slowly begins to deconstruct itself as it wanes down to dark moon and then the new moon. Just as the plants slowly go into hibernation or die until it is time to be reborn in the spring.
Once I have my house in alignment, I start turning inward and decluttering my mind and body as well. By the time winter ends and spring rolls around I am ready for a fresh start and new growth.
I love making altars that include symbolism for the holiday, but I also like to include the moon phase, tarot, and rune that associates with the energy of how the Sabbat feels for me. How do you celebrate? What are some rituals you do around this time?