Lammas, loaf mass, is the first harvest in Northern Europe. But it’s still rather hot here and I am certainly not ready to look forward to the autumn. At least not until I return to work…
So, we are honoring the spirit of Lammas with baking galore, and including elements of the first harvest like honey and berries.
Lemon blueberry bread- it’s super yummy!
Honey wheat bread
And, to top it all off, I decided to go with another loaf for dinner!
Tonight at our table, I will be conducting the following ritual:
It’s the height of the summer. It is the time of the first harvest, when berries, honey, corn, and wheat are at their peak.
Fruits are at their sweetest.
What is your favorite summer fruit?
Solarly, the days have been growing shorter since Midsummer, but there is still plenty of warm sunlight where we are and lots of summer fun to be had.
What has your favorite part of the summer been?
What are you still looking forward to doing before the weather turns cold?
The times of harvest are times for extra thanks to the farmers who tend to our crops. Who sow the seeds, care for the plants, and pick the parts to be eaten, then till the remainder back into the earth.
Cheers to our farmers.
Hail to Sif, Lady of the grain.
Hair to Thor, whose storms give water to the crops.
Hail to their union, making bounty each year and allowing us to be fed.
Well…I’m going to go ahead and guess a whole bunch of folks. But not me, until just today.
May Day is Walpurgisnacht. The rituals happened at the same time, with different sets of rural farming peoples, who saw the world differently. Celts celebrated in the day and through the night. Northmen celebrated in the night and through the day. The point of the festivities was the same: Yay! Warmth! Sunlight! Our food is going to grow!
Depending on which text you read and from which area the text is derived, Walpurgisnacht is either driving away Witches (or celebrating Witches, as is the modern case) or purely the welcoming of the warm weather with Summer Finding or, another multi-night festival dedicated to Odin.
It is said Odin hung himself from Yggdrasil for nine nights to gain the knowledge of language and the Runes. Walpurgisnacht is then celebrated from April 22 (aka Earth Day) to April 30th. The Celts began their celebration on May 1st with Beltane.
This year, the family is going camping for Hubby’s tiny truck driving competition. We are going to be right smack in the middle of the woods on Walpurgisnacht. How beautifully fascinating is that?
We have sicks with ribbons and bells left over from a friend’s wedding which we will bring with us to celebrate the holiday as we pick a tree to dance around. Perhaps we’ll just dance around the whole camp ground.
Either way, I’m excited to continue to learn more about the Nordic Wheel and develop my craft in line with the gods who have chosen me.
Perhaps next year we will do all nine nights for the gift of the Runes.
There are many variations, which will lead to lots of studying.
Poor me! I have to get my student on! (If I could make a living being a student, I would do so in a heartbeat!!)
Beltane, as I see it, is a fertility holiday. The phallic maypole is decorated to bless the phallus to give seed to the womb. Bonfires are lit and dances are had. Fire is clearly metaphoric for passion, and with passion comes sex and with sex comes the next generation. Dancing is also an aphrodisiac, physical, passionate, firey movements which ignite the senses to carnal activities.
Beltane is a look at “What is the point of life?” If we listen to most music and poetry, the point of life is love. If we look at biology, the point of life is procreation. Both avenues end in the same place: igniting an animalistic passion for the purpose of passing along a genetic code to sustain one’s species.
Blessed Beltane to all! May everyone enjoy the warming weather, the blooming flowers, and the sights and signs that Nature is again fertile and ripe.
Last night as I was falling asleep, I had a poem flow through me. I stubbornly decided I was awake enough at the time of its inception that I would be able to remember the whole thing in the morning. Alas…I had bits and pieces and one line from each stanza. What I remember: sunshine through the leaves, the word “canopy”, “birdsong in the distance”, “gold and auburn dancers”, “bare and barren bark”, and the idea and imagery of buds stretching and reaching towards the sun. Using that, here is what I have created:
After some great inspiration, I began decorating for the season. Leaves and yellow flowers on the entryway table, plastic gourds on the mantle. The first weekend of October, I’ll be putting some plastic pumpkins in the yard, creating a pumpkin patch. Two larger plastic pumpkins will flank the front door and an aluminum caldron will sit at the base of the fire place. Lastly, a ceramic piggy bank, painted as candy corn will sit on the bookcase.