Thursday, July 29, 2021

The cross-quarter celebrations: when I feel it, I DO it!

part of the garden

If you are a Pagan, chances are you are looking forward to Lughnasadh, or in its Christianized, more recent guise, Lammas (Loaf-Mass) on August 1. Heathens follow a different calendar and as far as I know, they did not have a summer harvest festival. But since I have been pretty much doing my own thing with more reference to what the natural world and other non-material entities (Gods and Goddesses, if you will) have told me, celebrations of thanks for harvests fit well into my practice.

There are three times during the year that elements of harvest figure strongly in my spiritual workings. I call them First Harvest, ThanksGiving and WinterFinding.

First harvest is... about now! yes, I have been harvesting and we have been eating and putting by a bit now and then, from the first bites of lettuce to the abundant flush of peas just past, for which we do give thanks as we tend, pick, process and eat. But around the beginning of August, there is a change in the feel of it all.

When I lived in wheat growing country (eastern Washington state) the wheat harvest began in August and with the addition of other locally grown grains, carried over to September. Evidences of it were everywhere, from the combines working the fields to harvest the grain, to the chaff in the air (which caused me to stop eating wheat for the month, to abate my apparent allergy, thanks to the advice of a wise chiropractor) to the trucks heavily laden with grain trundling more slowly than many motorists liked, toward the grain silos for unloading. 

chard, with deer damage
While I know we grow wheat here in Maine (and I have indeed done so) it is not obvious in my area. But sometimes -- like today -- the harvest abundance just reaches out and hollers "HARVEST TIME!!" as I work the garden. Today I picked snap beans, dug the first "new" potatoes, brought in the first onion, as its top had fallen over, picked the first two picking cukes (one of which the dogs mostly ate!) and another zucchini, 4 large heads of broccoli and a large "mess" of Swiss chard that has bounced back very well from the deer munching a while ago.

carrots and garlic harvested
As I set to processing the beans and broccoli for the freezer, I was prompted to make our supper from some of the beans, a few of the 'taters, the onion, carrots pulled a day or so ago and stashed in the fridge, the first few beets, some beet greens with some of the chard and some broccoli. To top off this home grown meal, I grabbed a chicken breast from one of
some of the broccoli!
last year's meat birds and dredged it in locally grown flour from a local mill.

So, tonight we celebrate First Harvest. The time is right and as we eat, serenaded by the rain which is predicted to fall through the night and into the morrow, giving us and the garden a good inch of water, I give thanks to the natural world, the Gods and Goddesses and wights and spirits that have worked together -- as I do alongside them -- to make this happen.

Chard, deer munched