The First Harvest

Today is one of the lunar festivals that slip into the gaps between solstice and equinox. It marks a turning, not the crossroads of a solar milestone but a moment of reorientation in the year. Lughnasadh, on August 1st is a time of turning away from the height of summer to look toward the gradual circling down to autumn. In the Chinese Five Element system too, the year begins to shift away from the peak of Fire at high summer toward the nourishing Earth season of late summer and harvest time.  

I can’t help thinking of the wildfires burning in Greece, Italy and much of the world and the relief from the fires’ destruction offered by cooler weather. Although there is value in the exultant power of fire to raze old things to the ground, ready for transformation and a new phase, there is a tipping out of balance as the planet becomes warmer, thanks to decades of human irresponsibility. Too much Fire and we become scattered, detached and unable to orient to reality. We are unable to root, rest and grow.

In the Pagan tradition, this time of year offers an opportunity to reflect on responsibility, to grow in maturity as you literally and metaphorically look to reap what you have sown. Right now some serious growing up is desperately needed to face the reality of the changes that are already underway and to act with responsibility and conviction.

I am asking myself how to do this, whilst I also get serious about what I am offering during my time here in this human body. What harvest of learning can I make good use of now, what do I have to share? I am using the mood of Lughnasadh to turn these questions over and draw out the kernels.

The Fire of summer represents initiation and the passion, potential and pure energy of youth. The Earth phase that follows corresponds to the adult years when the creation of home, family, community and livelihood can nurture centredness, belonging and expansion. As much as I love the free-wheeling creativity of high summer, as I have got older I tend to feel a sweet and soft relief when the wheel turns again to the yielding Earth, when I can slow down, reflect on what anchors me and take in what I have to be thankful for. Its the season to build material reality from schemes & visions, take courage, and take responsibility.

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