Thursday was Lughnasadh for those of us who call ourselves pagan. It's a holy day in honor of Lugh, an ancient Celtic god often represented by light and a powerful sun. My path is Goddess-centric, and so I acknowledge the day as the first of the three harvest festivals (the second is the Fall Equinox, the third, Samhain--Halloween). The very first seasonal ritual I consciously observed as spiritual practice was Lughnasadh, about 17 years ago. I remember rising at dawn so I could go into the park across the street from us before the neighborhood awoke, and there I made offerings of corn muffins, gave thanks, and rejoiced at the turning of the Wheel. This year I honored the day in part by slow-roasting and then freezing tomatoes from a local farm, giving thanks for the bounty that will sweeten Winter evenings.
But I don't like alot of things about Summer; it's a season that leaves me squirming in discomfort, languishing in heat and humidity. I'm deeply grateful for the bounty of this time of year; I know this morning the farm market will yield apricots and plums, tomatoes and zucchini, herbs and corn. And I love that the place I work is closed on Fridays most of the Summer. Friday mornings on the porch, drinking coffee while soaking in the glory of the morning glories and the songs of the birds are a blessing I don't take for granted. I'm kind of backwards; this is my hibernation time, the time when I have little choice but to dream and plan. I come awake as the days grow shorter and the nights cooler, when pumpkins and apples replace tomatoes as farm market staples. But still, there is a harvest here in our corner of the world....
We gathered our first garlic today! We've never grown it before, and got 28 heads for 72 cloves planted, but there it is, hung in a never-gets-direct-sun north-facing living room window, with a window fan below, our very first homegrown garlic! We have several notes of things to do better in the future (remove the Winter straw mulch and fertilize come Spring among them), but for a few months, we'll savor this very first garlic.
Garlic is a fascinating thing; for those who haven't grown it, you plant individual cloves. About nine months later (!), after it has lived in the dark, put out tall green shoots into the world, and those shoots have danced in Summer breezes and then died back, you get big heads of the stuff, and you plant individual cloves from the best of those heads....if you get it right, you sow what you reap and then sow the best of that harvest. Isn't that a great metaphor for spiritual growth?
What are you harvesting this month as Summer begins her final songs?