For the last few years, I’ve been taking a sabbatical from public workings and focusing on my personal spiritual foundation. Now that I’m back in Minnesota, the Gods have told me this summer that it is now time to awaken and serve fellow Pagans again. As a result, I began serving as a volunteer Wiccan chaplain at the MN state correctional facility in Moose Lake, MN. My first service there was yesterday, for their Lammas sabbat. It felt good to be back in those shoes, carrying the torch of Light into the Darkness of prison. I’m excited to help the men there develop and grow the lights in their hearts.
In the past, I always had a hard time really understanding the meaning of Lammas. The books all say that it’s the first harvest of the crops, etc. but it seemed very redundant to me with Mabon, but without the solar influence. This Lammas, it became a lot more clear to me, thanks to the words of Lugh’s wisdom.
What I learned is that Lammas is a time of Judgement. Not the judgement people normally think of, where sinful Christians are sent down to hell. Instead it is a time to take stock of your situation. The crops were sown in the spring and grew all summer, but they are not quite ready to harvest yet. You can look at them and get a good idea about how well they are doing, though. Do your ears have corn in them, or are they barren? How are your potatoes doing? Are they getting large, or rotting with blight? Some things might be harvest-able now but the main harvest is yet to come.
By judging your situation now, you can plan for the coming winter. Is it going to be a bountiful harvest and you will eat well? Or is it going to be a winter of hardship and trial?
This is how Lugh described it to me, and how it differs from Mabon. Mabon is the actual harvest, and a time to give thanks for what you have gathered. Lammas is a time of discerning and predicting and making any necessary changes in preparation for winter, as they may be needed.