Though the heat of Summer still burns bright and strong, the sunlit hours wane with every passing day. Now is the time of Lammas, the pagan Sabbat of the early harvest. Lugh, the Celtic God of light, waits for you on the summit of a hill, ready to guide you in the mysteries of life and rebirth held within the living land and your living body.
The sun has begun is downward arc toward the horizon, and a panoramic view of golden fields, ripe for the early harvest, spreads out before you.
“Behold the great exchange of life,” Lugh says, “the mysteries of sunlight turned into grain to feed the hungry bellies of this world. But there is a price for this miracle: something must die to nourish the living, and for something new to be born. Everything has its season. One cycle ends so another can begin.”
With a wave of His hand, the scene shifts, revealing the elemental forces that underlie the golden fields. All is not well. The earth is parched and barren. The air is filled with contaminants. The fire heat of the sun is too harsh. The water in the nearby stream is clouded with murky sludge.
“Like the turning of Nature’s cycle of light and life at Lammas, humanity is also coming to the end of a cycle,” Lugh says, “For too long, your kind has forgotten the ways and rhythms of the Mother Earth. You have taken, and taken, and taken, despoiling the air, water and land that sustain you. This imbalance has come to an end point, and a reckoning is upon you.”
Lugh is grave and silent, leaving you to consider the import of His words. The stark evidence of humanity’s environmental excesses and disregard surrounds you. The Mother Earth is weighted down and weary, with Her fragile, precious systems stressed and failing.
“I don’t share these things to burden you with a vision of despair,” Lugh continues, “Look to Nature as your guide, with its Lammas teaching of the miracle of the harvest. Within everything is the seed of a new season, with its promise of a fresh beginning and future harvest.
“You too have come to the end of a cycle,” Lugh says, “and your personal healing and evolution are intimately intertwined with that of humanity and the Earth.
“The imbalance you see before you is also inside of you, side by side with your personal imbalances and discontent, and those of your human society. And the seeds of the new are there as well, within your living body and life story. With these seeds, you can mend and renew your life and this world.
“But there is a price to be paid for this miracle. Something must die, must be sacrificed, for something new to be reborn. You must be willing to change in profound ways.”
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I’m deep in ritual at California Witchcamp in the redwoods on the northern coast. The night is dark, cold, yet a bright hearth fire illuminates the center of our magic circle of warmth and power. A woman approaches me, takes my face between her hands and says: “Thou art Goddess.” Then she kisses me gently on my brow and moves on.
I, in turn, take the faces of others in my palms, men and women alike, and repeat: “Thou art Goddess,” and then kiss their brows.
Even as I write this many years later, still I feel my heart swell in response to this simple voice of recognition that applies to each and every one of us: We are Goddess. We are Divine. We are beautiful, powerful, worthy beyond our wildest imagination.
I didn’t grow up with these words. No one talked about the Goddess or Inner Divinity, and the only beauty, power and worth that came my way were meted out by outer voices, according to standards I had no say in and could never measure up to.
Once I reached adulthood, I inhabited a strange, disconnected zone of business woman in my work world, and sex kitten in my social life. I had two wardrobes, each with their own set of rules of conduct and outer masks. I did this unconsciously, seeking power and value from the meager, soulless options from the culture I’d been entrained to.
My stomach clenches as I write these words. Because that’s how I lived in those days, with my guts seized up and pushing down the true power and beauty inside of me.
The outer voice is all-pervading. From the moment we’re born, this voice kicks in, speaking through our family, friends, school, community, the books we read, and the media we watch, varying its message depending on our gender, the color of our skin, body type, ethnic background, economic status, and countless other external variables, and telling us over and over who we are, how we should live, and whether we’re worthy or not.
This outer voice works its way inside of us, and rewires our self-concept and self-love. By the time we reach our adult years, we’re entangled in its trap, and the outer voice is what we hear inside our head, and use to chart our life course and determine our beauty and value.
Yet the other voice, that connects us with our Inner Goddess, is also all-pervading. We just need to know where to seek this alternative voice, and then choose to listen and learn in new, empowering ways. Nature speaks in this other, alternative voice, and is especially clear in Summer when the powers of light and life are at their strongest.
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Photo Credit: Vero Photoart on Unsplash
I reach out to you as the Summer Solstice approaches with its peak in the powers of light and life, and the seasons turn to Summer, gifting us with Nature’s transformative magic of beauty, abundance and goodness.
I reach out to you as I struggle daily with the onslaught of bad and depressing news that relentlessly reinforces the worst of our humanity, the mess we’ve made of this world, and our seeming inability to alter our destructive ways.
I reach out to you knowing that I’m not alone in my angst. We all sense, deep down, that change is coming at us, hard and fast — change that profoundly matters to our personal lives, to those we hold close and dear, to our children and children’s children to come, to our Earth home, and to our very future as a species.
I reach out to you to offer a different voice, and a positive, empowering vision and path of change in the face of the noise and negativity of the daily news cycle that locks us in a mindset of scarcity, fear, and gross imbalances in power, wealth and wellbeing. This outer mindset is just one possibility and path for our human society, and another path, arising from the life-centered ways of the Goddess and Nature, is flourishing outside your doorstep at this very moment.Walk With Me
Come, take my hand, join me as I walk on a fine, sunny June day, following the same path that’s guided my questing feet for twenty years — down a secret forest trail on our land that leads to a tranquil, rural road surrounded by farmland.
There’s a powerful juxtaposing of realities going on right now: one is the world as we know it, with an ethos of fear and scarcity, and an ugly underbelly that’s so evident in the daily deluge of horrific news; and the other is a life-centered ethos revealed in Nature’s emerging summertime landscape of stunning beauty and overflowing abundance.
Two realities, two ways of living and engaging the world around us, two different outcomes for our lives, human society and Earth home. At this moment, both these realities are turned on high, in our face, shaking us awake and asking us to choose.
This isn’t a comfortable discussion to have. It’s near impossible to take in the horror that’s become our daily news, without trying to hide from, deflect or rage against the toxic brew of sexism, homophobia, racism, violence and the myriad of other ills that pervade our human psyche and collective behaviors.
These terrible events and human ills aren’t isolated, disconnected aspects of our society. They’re symptoms or outcomes of a reality of fear and scarcity that rules our world, where there isn’t enough food, money, jobs, power, social status, and even love to go around. In a reality where the dominant, aggressive and greedy rise to the top of the pile, gathering life’s goodies to themselves, things are going to get nasty and ugly.
Here are three simple, potent lessons from Nature that can help you revision your life and our collective reality in alignment with the powers of life in Summer.
1. Abundance is real.
In the sun-bright days of Summer, abundance isn’t an illusion or utopian ideal. It’s real and substantive, woven of the raw elements of sun, earth, rain, soil and seed that, through the wondrous miracle of life, produce the foodstuff that feeds the hungry bellies of this world.
Nature’s abundance expresses itself in an ethos of generosity, of giving more rather than less, and taking only what is needed. Take a single cherry tree, not only does it offer up delicious fruits for humans and creatures alike year after year, but the pits of the fruit provide the seeds of future plants and harvests.
Imagine living in harmony with Nature’s ethos of generosity by giving more of yourself rather than less, and only taking what you truly need by walking lightly on this Earth.
Imagine conceiving this same abundance in our shared society, where a decent standard of living is a given, and power, worthiness, love, and other markers of personal satisfaction and social value are infinite and available for all, each in accordance with our deep, true needs.