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Lammas – Making space for the chaos and the compassion

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I’m watching two large sycamore trees ripple as I write; the wind is pushing gently from the west to twist half of its leaves onto their backs, revealing their pale bellies to the last of the day’s sunlight. It is a marked change from this morning which was rainy and grey. So much weather in one day! And such a blessing after the intense heatwave we experienced last weekend. I don’t know if this marks a shift in the weather, makes a nod towards the Autumn that is approaching, or if we have more burning days to come before this Summer is through.

For many years, I have used the weather as a way to viscerally describe and reflect the turning seasons. The subtle shift from wet Spring warmth to dry Summer heat. The delicate difference between Autumn and Winter rains. But right now, the weather does not feel subtle or predictable or safe; it feels volatile and extreme. While it is natural in its being, complex human mistakes are provoking the climate into chaos, which makes me afraid and uncertain of this most expressive part of the more-than-human world. That breaks my heart and makes my connection to the Web of All Things feel shakier than I’ve ever known.

Lammas feels like the right festival to be wrestling with this kind of uncertainty and discomfort. A time of sacrifice and space making; Lammas is the First Harvest, the moment when we can acknowledge that life and survival is rooted in death and destruction. The fields of wheat and barley give up their bodies to feed humans and birds and tiny mammals. Many of those creatures, in turn, give their life back to the land as mulch. To benefit from the loss of another life, be it plant or animal or other, requires a sense of gratitude, to honour that sacrifice and to fill the space left behind.

For me, this is the heart of this First Harvest time.


It is traditional, at Lammas, to bake bread and share it with the land, the birds, the creatures and your loved ones in thanks for a good harvest. I encourage you to take a moment at some point over the coming weeks to show your gratitude to the land and the elements that feed us and sustain us amidst this time of uncertainty and chaos. Whether that’s leaving an offering of seed for the birds, watering a neighbours garden or a thirsty verge, or simply saying a silent prayer of thanks before you eat. Those moments can create a space inside your heart, where pain and loss and chaos can sit side-by-side with the beauty, the magic and the hope we all need to survive and thrive.

May a space open in you, this Lammas time
Cleared of the need for perfection or productivity,
Let love and pain and compassion be your harvest
Let a new world grow from its imperfect beauty.

Lammas blessings

Keli x

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