Happy belated Lammas or Lughnasadh or whatever else you may call it. (I guess it’s over now. I get confused with these traditional-style holidays that last from sundown to sundown, essentially extending into two days of our modern calendar.) This is a time, in the Northern Hemisphere anyhow, to celebrate the beginning of the harvest. It also marks the beginning of the end of summer. That seems a long way off in the middle of this heat wave, but the “back to school” ads are appearing in the paper, and we painted Xy’s new school room not long ago, so I guess that’s what time it is.
I took Persephone to her first Lammas celebration this past weekend. This was organized by New Orleans Lamplight Circle and was specially planned for kids. It was my first such thing as well, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.
What we found was all very sweet and beautiful and meaningful. We did some chants and songs with hand motions, honoring nature and the elements. There was some face painting and story-telling. We shared a simple but satisfying feast with an emphasis on bread. We also made corn dollies. Actually we made horsies, and (corn husks not being readily available) we made them out of grass. The one I made was a little on the shabby side, but I was holding a toddler on my lap the whole time.
Next year I hope to make some bread.
Participating in this celebration fulfilled a longstanding goal. I want my daughter to have a broad and well-rounded religious education. Mainstream Christian doctrine is easily encountered, but rituals such as this are a little more obscure. I want her to see that religion comes in many forms and varieties, and that it needn’t take place only in a church or a mosque or a synagogue.
But it’s more than that. I’ve been interested in religion myself for as long as I can remember, and in the last few years I’ve studied a bit about the diverse practices loosely grouped under the umbrella term of contemporary paganism. I find it endlessly fascinating, not to mention aesthetically compelling, and after so much reading it was gratifying to encounter the actual thing.
I’m looking forward to the autumnal equinox already.