As Earth continues Her/our everyday sacred journey around Mother Sun, the Seasonal Moment of Imbolc/Lammas is next in the orbit: it depends on your Hemisphere as to which aspect of the Moment you experience. We – all beings – do not need to go anywhere for this everyday pilgrimage: we are already travelling, and maybe walking it.
The actual Moment of Imbolc/Lammas – the cross-quarter between Solstice and Equinox, is on August 7th at 1:54 UT (“Universal Time” as it is called) … that’s 11:54 on August 7th at my place East Coast Australia. All global times can be found at archeoastronomy.com
In the South of the Planet it is Imbolc/Early Spring, the meridian moment of the first light quarter after Winter Solstice. It is a celebration of the new and growing light, and thus of all things new and tender, that require dedication and nurturance. It may be a time of commitment to rejuvenation, and to focusing on and tending the manifestation of all that we desire to bring into being. Imbolc/Early Spring is traditionally a special season for Poetry; for self expression … of small particular self, who is always and instantaneously also larger Self.
In the North of the Planet it is Lammas/ late Summer, the meridian Moment of the first dark quarter after Summer Solstice. It is a celebration of the new and growing dark, and thus of the fruition, the harvest of all that has grown to fullness: this may be experienced as enjoyment of the fruits, as well as experienced as loss (perhaps even at the same time). The Lammas/late Summer Moment is the other side of the entry into manifestation, the exit, or re-entry into the manifesting. It is the “Sacred Consuming” as I summarise it – the consuming of the “Food” which all being is. It the turning over of the “crop” back into the field whence it grew.
Both Imbolc and Lammas may be Moments on the Seasonal Wheel for dedication: one is a dedication to the small particular and unique self, and the other is a dedication to the large/deep self … and they are never separate. The small self to whom we may dedicate ourselves at Imbolc is grounded in the Deep/Large Self to whom we all belong, grows out of the fertility and sentience in which we are immersed – the Dark Matter/Mother to whom we may dedicate ourselves at Lammas. The larger self to whom we may commit at Lammas holds within Her depths the new and particular.
Imbolc with its task of nurturing of new life, and standing with integrity and truth of being, is not for the faint-hearted. And we need much more of it in these times. This is classically understood as a “maternal” task, and so it has been: and its value has not been given its due quite frequently. It requires the skill and daring of a spiritual warrior. More true Maternal mind is required in our times, by all of us – all genders, in whatever role one plays each day. May it be so.
Lammas is celebrated in so many varied ways – often named as “Lughnasad” (see footnote below). My particular take on it in PaGaian Cosmology is to celebrate the beauty of the Dark which usually gets such short shrift in our cultural context, yet also to mark the sobering reality of the passing of All: it is the “funeral” Moment, the consuming of the year’s harvest, of life’s harvest … this is both a joy and a sorrow. It is with this emphasis that it is celebrated at my place – in MoonCourt: yet my understanding is grounded in the tradition as Starhawk stories it (in her book The Spiral Dance), and combined with Goddess metaphor and my readings of other traditional texts.
For some Lammas Poetry: PaGaian Lammas 2010 on YouTube. And cosmologist/physicist Brian Swimme has much to offer in this short video excerpt The Sacred Cosmological Dynamic of Loss: I have learned much about this Seasonal Moment by understanding the Universe story, which is a story of Who we are, and embraces transformation.
Imbolc and Lammas are One: it is the Not-Yet who beckons always – even as we dissolve. The differentiated self comes out of the Well of Creativity – directly. An article that speaks to the mirror reflection of Imbolc and Lammas is Making Sacred: Space for the Not-Yet – originally written during Lammas in S.H. (Imbolc in N.H.). I may write it slightly differently now, but some may find useful thoughts there.
They are One
At my Place in the Blue Mountains of Australia we will gather to celebrate Imbolc ceremony on the 13th August at 3pm, in MoonCourt – ceremonial space for Goddess. The invitation reads:
This is the Season of the waxing Light …
You are invited to celebrate
the feast of the Young One
– who is the Urge To Be within All.
The New One born at the Winter Solstice
This is the time of celebrating the small self –
each one’s Gaian uniqueness and beauty.
We meet to share the light of inspiration,
to be midwifed,
by She who tends the Flame of Being, deeply committed to Self, and Who is True.
… oOo …
If you wish to attend, you may email me (Glenys) for an invitation and details: glenys(at)pagaian(dot)org
PaGaian Cosmology blogs for Imbolc/Early Spring and an essay Winter-Spring EarthGaian Wisdom: Invoking the Power of Brigid, the Mother Creator
PaGaian Cosmology blogs for Lammas/late Summer
You may find the Imbolc or Lammas meditations on PaGaian Cosmology Meditations CDs nurturant of your participation in this Seasonal transition – with a group or for yourself. The meditations may be purchased individually (and digitally) or you may purchase the whole set (in CD form or digitally).
Imbolc and Lammas preparation/celebration e-notes, images and meditations are offered: Celebrating PaGaian Cosmology on-line.
Imbolc and Lammas story may be found in Appendix F of PaGaian Cosmology, or if you have a paper version of the book there is an Index for references throughout. These Seasonal Moments in relationship to the whole Wheel of the Year can be found in Chapter 5, and ceremonial scripts are offered in Chapter 7, though they of course have always evolved and been adapted to personal and regional poeitics. they evolve. The on-line versions are different from those in the paper copy of the book.
NOTE re the name “Lughnasad”: There has been conversation amongst Goddess scholars about the name for this Seasonal Moment after Summer Solstice. It is commonly named amongst Pagans as “Lughnasad” after the Celtic Sun/Grain God Lugh, but as Lawrence Durdin-Robertson seems to suggest in his book “The Year of the Goddess” (Aquarian Press 1990, p.143 quoting Adam McLean “The Four Fire Festivals” 1979, p. 21), originally the Deity of the harvest was the Goddess named Tailtu (reportedly Lugh’s “foster-mother”) so the name Tailtunasad has been suggested by Cheryl Straffon editor of Goddess Alive! Many (including myself) have preferred the name of Lammas, but some think it is a Christian term: however some sources say that Lammas means “feast of the bread” which is how I have understood it … and surely such a feast pre-dates Christianity.