Welcome to our seasonal newsletter containing information about Lughnasadh/Lammas and scheduled classes for late Summer/Fall 2012.
Lughnasadh! The sultry, hazy days of Summer have taken hold, and humid nights leave the botanical world covered with a heavy dew each morning. Field crops are being harvested, as are abundant garden vegetables. Traditional celebrations of this first harvest of the season include breads, nuts and seeds. It has been six weeks since the Summer Solstice, and the daylight is noticeably diminished. In another six weeks at the Vernal Equinox, it will be even more apparent when dusk arrives closer to 6PM when some of the final harvests are being gathered. Lughnasadh is a time for contemplation and releasing. Read more about this little known earth holiday below.
Additionally, I am now an holistic partner at The Room Above in Brookside, NJ. My hours are 12:30 - 5PM on Saturdays, which will be when I schedule my classes and see clients for herbal consultations. Please check out the calendar on their website for an updated schedule of classes and other events at www.theroomabove.com. July has been quite a busy month!
Donna at Willow Moon Herbals
In this issue:
Lughnasadh (pronounced LOO-nə-sə) is the Celtic name for the first official harvest festival of the growing season. Known to the Saxons as Lammas, it is one of the four seasonal cross-quarter holidays on the earth calendar, and it is generally the least well-known. Thus, this expanded explanation.
For the Celts, it is celebrated from sunset August 1 until sunset August 2 and it is named Lughnasad after the God Lugh. It is the wake of Lugh, the Sun-King, whose light begins to noticeably dwindle after the summer solstice. The Saxon holiday of Lammas celebrates the harvesting of the grain. The first sheaf of wheat is ceremonially reaped, threshed, milled and baked into a loaf. The grain dies so that the people might live. Eating this bread, the bread of the Gods, gives us life. If all this sounds vaguely Christian, it is. In the sacrament of Communion, bread is blessed, becomes the body of God and is eaten to nourish the faithful. This Christian Mystery echoes the pagan Mystery of the Grain God.
Historically, grain has traditionally been associated with Gods who are killed and dismembered and then resurrected from the Underworld by the Goddess-Gods like Tammuz, Osiris and Adonis. The story of Demeter and Persephone is a story about the cycle of death and rebirth associated with grain. Demeter, the Goddess of fertility, will not allow anything to grow until she finds her daughter who has been carried off to the Underworld. The Eleusinian Mysteries, celebrated around the Autumn Equinox, culminated in the revelation of a single ear of corn, a symbol to the initiate of the cyclical nature of life, for the corn is both seed and fruit, promise and fulfillment.
You can adapt the themes of Lughnasad and Lammas to create your own ceremony for honoring the waning of the light and the reaping of the grain. Here are some ideas:
Honoring the Grain God or Goddess
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 the mother Earth. If you have a garden, add something you've harvested--herbs or onion or corn--to your bread. If you don't feel up to making wheat bread, make corn bread. Or you could make gingerbread people. Or simply make popcorn. What is most important is the intention. All that is necessary to enter sacred time is to have an awareness of the meaning of your actions.
Shape the dough in the figure of a man or a woman and give your grain-person a name. If he's a man, you could call him Lugh, the Sun-King, or John Barleycorn, or even the Pillsbury Dough Boy. In The Wheel of the Year, Pauline Campanelli suggests names for female figures: ‘She of the Corn’, ‘She of the Threshing Floor’, ‘She of the Seed’, ‘She of the Great Loaf’ (these come from the Cyclades where they are the names of fertility figures), Freya (the Anglo-Saxon and Norse fertility Goddess who is, also called the Lady and the Giver of the Loaf), Brigit (Celtic) and Ziva or Siva (the Grain Goddess of, the Ukraine, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia).
Like all holidays, Lammas calls for a feast. When your dough figure is baked and ready to eat, tear him or her apart with your fingers. You might want to start the feast with the Lord's Prayer, emphasizing the words "Give us this day our daily bread." The next part of the ceremony is best done with others. Feed each other hunks of bread (or gingerbread people or popcorn), putting the food in the other person's mouth with words like "May you never go hungry," "May you always be nourished," "Eat of the bread of life" or "May you live forever." Offer each other drinks of water or wine with similar words. As if you were at a wake, make toasts to the passing summer, recalling the best moments of the year so far.
Another way to honor the Grain Goddess is to make a corn doll. This is a fun project to do with kids. Take dried-out corn husks and tie them together in the shape of a woman. She's your visual representation of the harvest. As you work on her, think about what you harvested this year. Give your corn dolly a name, perhaps one of the names of the Grain Goddess or one that symbolizes your personal harvest. Dress her in a skirt, apron and bonnet and give her a special place in your house. She is all yours till the spring when you will plant her with the new corn, returning to the Earth that which She has given to you.
Food for Thought
Lammas is a festival of releasing regrets and farewells, and of harvest and preserves. Reflect on these topics alone in the privacy of your journal or share them with others around a fire. Lughnasad is one of the great Celtic fire-festivals, so if at all possible, have your feast around a bonfire. While you're sitting around the fire, you might want to tell stories. Look up the myths of any of the grain Gods and Goddesses mentioned above and try re-telling them in your own words.
Releasing Regrets: Think of the things you meant to do this summer or this year that are not coming to fruition. You can project your regrets onto natural objects like pine cones and throw them into the fire, releasing them. Or you can write them on dried corn husks (as suggested by Nancy Brady Cunningham in Feeding the Spirit) or on a piece of paper and burn them.
Farewells: What is passing from your life? What is over? Say good-bye to it. As with regrets, you can find visual symbols and throw them into the fire, the lake or the ocean. You can also bury them in the ground, perhaps in the form of bulbs which will manifest in a new form in spring.
Harvest: What have you harvested this year? What seeds have your planted that are sprouting? Find a visual way to represent these, perhaps creating a decoration in your house or on your altar/prayer table which represents the harvest to you. Or you could make a corn dolly or learn to weave wheat. Look for classes in your area of online so you can learn how to weave wheat into wall pieces. These were made by early grain farmers as a resting place for the harvest spirits.
Preserves: This is also a good time for making preserves, either literally or symbolically. As you turn the summer's fruit into jams, jellies and chutneys for winter, think about the fruits that you have gathered this year and how you can hold onto them. How can you keep them sweet in your memory?
(Loosely adapted from "Celebrating the Great Mother" by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw; "Celtic Gods and Goddesses" by R.J. Stewart; "Lammas: Celebrating the Fruits of the First Harvest" by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason )
Note: Any remedies or information listed on this newsletter are from historical references and used for teaching/educational purposes only. The contents are not meant to diagnose, treat, prescribe, cure or substitute consultation with a licensed health-care professional. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Holistic Consciousness of One!
A new Holistic Practitioners support and Community networking group in Chester, NJ!
Finding a home within the historic business district of Chester enables the Holistic Consciousness of One to reach out to and provide a central meeting place for holistic practitioners and folks interested in learning more about holistic modalities within the surrounding communities. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month from 7:00PM - 8:45 PM.
So spread the word! Come and join us as we support each other and work collectively to promote all holistic healing modalities and build our Holistic Community. Visit their website for updates, community events and speaker schedules: www.hcoo.org
RSVP to Sue at The Art of the Heart, 908/879-3937 or email@example.com.
Currently Scheduled Classes
.UnlessUnUnless noted otherwise, RSVP by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201/650-7500. Checks can be made out to Willow Moon Herbals and mailed to PO Box 147, Schooley’s Mtn, NJ 07870, or visit our website and use PayPal to register. Remember to bring the receipt with you.
The following classes are scheduled at The Room Above, located at 2 East Main Street, Brookside, NJ. Be sure to check out the other wonderful holistic services and educational classes offered at The Room Above! Visit their website: www.theroomabove.com or The Room Above on Facebook
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Class: "Using Your Spice Rack as a Medicine Cabinet"
This class is an introduction to the medicinal properties of culinary herbs commonly used in food preparation. We discuss 'spice/culinary' herbs from a medicinal point of view and also sample a tea. We generally cover about ten common herbs and 5-10 not-so-common spices used throughout world cuisines.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Class: "Your Apothecary Kitchen"
Sample a nourishing tea as we learn to make an infused oil, a soothing salve and a stimulating liniment for sore muscles. As a bonus, we'll sample a medicinal liqueur - herbal remedies need not be boring! Attendees take home a sample salve and liniment.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Class: "Embracing Menopause"
The transition through peri-menopause to post-menopause is a natural process, NOT a deficiency disease or syndrome as is commonly viewed and treated in conventional allopathic medicine. This class does not treat Menopause as an isolated process, but encompasses the entire transition cycle and examines diet, exercise and the medicinal botanicals that support the body systems herbally for a healthier menopause transition. Attendees will sample a nourishing tea during class.
HOLD THE DATES!
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Class: "Herbs for Optimal Winter Health"
Class description to follow
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Class: "Fun with Herbal Elixirs and Liqueurs"
Class description to follow
Also! Look for more classes coming soon at The Art of the Heart in Chester! http://www.theartoftheheart-chester.com
The following class is scheduled at the Essex County Environmental Center (ECEC), located at 621 Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland, NJ. Reservations are made directly through the ECEC by calling: 973/228-8776.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Time: Noon - 1:30PM
Class: "Your Medicinal Backyard"
Presented in a PowerPoint format, this class introduces the medicinal side of common weeds that gtow in your yard. Learn the Latin binomial name, the common name, common growing conditions, medicinal actions, and the common illnesses for which these herbs can provide healing. About 40 common herbs/weeds are covered in this class, including trees, some spices and even Italian herbs/weeds.
Reservations are made directly through the ECEC by calling: 973/228-8776.