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Lunasa to Harvest: celebration
by Judy Harrow
Each year at Lunasa, in the old ways, the tribe would ask and
receive Mother Earth's consent to reap the fruits of the land.
Then the people worked long, hard hours in the hot sun. The rewards
of their labor were all around them to be seen, touched, smelled
and tasted. Another year's food was now assured. The people's
joy and gratitude is recorded for us in hundreds of folk songs
and other festive harvest traditions - joy in what the tribe and
the Earth had, once again, created together. This is the happy
season of fruition.
Very few of us are farmers anymore. For town folk, this arc of
the seasonal round actually developed in direct counterpoint to
the agricultural rhythm. Schools were closed in summer because
all possible hands, even the little ones, were needed in the fields.
Then, urban skilled workers began to win those precious annual
vacations. August, when their kids were out of school, was the
time they took off, so the family could have some fun together,
maybe even get to the mountains or the beach. For many of us,
August is still getaway time.
So, get away. Even if you can't actually travel, take some sort
of break from your usual routine. Make sure you include both rest
and fun -- we all have heard jokes about people returning from
an over strenuous vacation in immediate need of a week off to
recover. Although the last thing any of us needs is a goal- driven
vacation, there are some ways our modern vacation time can be
connected to the ancient, land-based seasonal rhythm in which
late Summer is the time of harvest.
Think: the Earth right now is at the peak of Her lushness,
Her abundant, everflowing, nurturant Mother phase. Rest now in
Her broad lap. Let Her nurture you.
- Slow down. Be lazy outdoors. Float in a lake. Lie on the ground
under a tree and watch the leaves and branches move in the wind.
Smell the flowers. Listen to the river.
- If you have the chance, try sleeping outdoors. Take your bedding
up on the roof or out into the backyard. Or go camping, but sleep
outside the tent. Let the Moon and the stars give you dreams.
- Participate in the harvest. This experience is not only for
farmers and gardeners. In some areas, there are farms that let
people actually pick ripe produce right out of the field, charging
for whatever you gather by weight. Or you can gather wild berries,
or clams at the seashore, or whatever (but always be careful that
you're not gathering food from a polluted area). Remember to give
thanks to the land. When you bring your produce back to the City,
drop some of it off at a homeless shelter.
- Nobody really wants to work over a hot stove in August. Try
eating light, simple meals - lots of fresh produce, raw if possible,
dairy proteins. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids to replace
your perspiration. These things will help your body handle the
- Celebrate Earth's abundance with your family and friends.
Have a picnic or beach party. If there are outdoor concerts or
plays in your area, go. If you like sports, go to the ball game.
Even better, play ball. Fly a kite.
- If you can afford it, consider indulging in an eco-tourism
vacation. You'll learn more about Mother Earth. By supporting
eco-tourism, you help local people make their living by showing
off their environment instead of by destroying it.
- In this time of Earth's greatest creativity, nurture your
own creativity. Sketch or photograph or write about whatever you
see or do on vacation.
- If this is your first year working with an expressive art
form, books like:
explain how expressive artwork can be used for self-exploration
and spiritual development, and present a sequence of exercises
for doing this. Find one you like that portrays your own chosen
medium and work through the exercises during this season.
- Freeing the Creative Spirit by Adriana Diaz [from Harper
SanFrancisco, 1992 (about painting)], or
- In-Versing your Life by Cynthia B. Gustavson [from
Families International, 1995 (about poetry)], or
- Right Brain/Left Brain Photography by Kathryn Marx
[from Amphoto, 1994 (about photography)] , or
- Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele L. Rico [from Tarcher,
1983 (about writing)],
- In subsequent years, choose a Craft-related expressive project
that will stretch your skills and take about a month. Do it. Share
the results with the coven or community.
Between Lunasa and Harvest comes Labor Day, one of the major turning
points of the secular year. It marks the end of summer. In September,
there's a quickening of the pace, a nip in the air, and a sense
of anticipation. All through our childhoods, September meant newness:
clothing, books, friends, subjects to learn -- a fresh start.
September has a very different feeling than August, a brisk sense
of purpose. Those deeply rooted habits, with their palpable external
trigger, are very strong within us.
We got away. We are back now, refreshed and eager.
What do you want for yourself right now? Go for it!
written by Judy Harrow
updated: January 19, 2000; © 1998, 2000, by Judy Harrow
the address of this page is: proteuscoven.com/Season-7.htm
You may go on to:
You may go back to:
You may also go to:
Walking our Talk:
the Seasons between the Sabbats.
or off site to visit Wychwood Temple, where you will find Doug and Sandy
Kopf's excellent essay on the
folklore of Harvest
or begin again at Proteus Home or Library