Cylch Blodeuwedd

Druidic Grove in North-West Wales

Lammas 2011Gwyl Awst 2011

by Oak King - August 24th, 2011.
Filed under: Past Rituals.

LAMMAS RITUAL 2011

Decorating Bower:

Everyone present to jointly decorate bower of branches with wild flowers, grasses and ribbons etc. to reflect the time of year and the natural/agricultural activities related to it.

Arriving:

Everyone to join hands in a circle, close their eyes and truly “arrive” by breathing deeply, feeling the earth beneath their feet, becoming aware of the wind on their faces and all that they can hear around them.

Greetings to the Land:

This was the first ritual to be undertaken on our newly acquired field, and I definitely did not have to ask the spirits of the place if we were welcome here! Each time I set foot upon this land, such joy pours through me – this land is eager to share with all life forms the magnificent mystery and experience that is Life itself. So I did not call on its spirits to be present; they were already there with enthusiasm and humour. Rather, I asked them to enfold us in their loving energies, and help to guide the movements of our hands and feet, and the intricate workings of our hearts and minds.

Calling the Quarters:

Asking for the spirits, elements and energies of the East, South, West and North to be present to support and guide us. (One person standing in the appropriate direction describes the element and invites the spirits and energies particular to it.)

Calling Peace in the Quarters:

One person walks to each Direction and calls for peace there, ending with a call for peace all around the world.

Tribal Gatherings:

Lammas was and still is the traditional time for people to come together – tribes, communities, families – to pool their energies and efforts in gathering in the precious abundance that Nature – Mother Earth – has generously provided as another growing season begins to come to full fruition and reach its end. Great effort and energy was and is still needed to successfully achieve this.

When the grain and early fruit crops were safely gathered against the barren times of winter, there was much to celebrate – the threat of hunger and starvation had been pushed back; security and continuity of life had been assured for another year.At the height of fresh abundance, there was much feasting and celebrating. Also, because everyone had gathered together, this was the time for grievances to be heard, disputes to be settled, contracts to be made or renewed and marriages to take place.

The Role of “Parent”:

August is the month of the Grain Mother, when our attention is turned to the gifts and nurturing provided by Mother Earth. Where would we be without the free abundance of the Earth? – of this loving natural mother who provides so regularly, unstintingly and generously? At this time, ask yourself how does the natural harvest of the Earth affect you personally? Take a few moments to reflect on this. Perhaps you cannot think of many ways that it directly affects you…. then think again!

This is a good time to focus generally on the role of Mother and the role of our own mothers in our lives, especially when we were little children., which has been vital in helping to form and produce the adult people that we are today. Maybe we have become who we are in direct opposition to our mothers. Or perhaps we did not have a mother. Or maybe we found another adult female ( relative or friend) who fulfilled the role of mother for us instead.

Just take a few moments to reflect on the people who have mothered you in your life; and what affects (for good or ill) this has had on you. Try to always access your life possitively, even if you have never regarded some areas of it in such a light before.

In your turn, how do you help to “mother” and nurture the young and needy around you? What are your mothering qualities of giving love and care? Remember that this is not just a question for the ladies amongst us – both men and women have a feminine side – so these questions apply to the men too!

But as always there must be balance and Mother earth could not pour forth her living bounty if it were not for the masculine energies of Father Sun, beating heat and light down upon the earth and all growing living things. Earth and Sun, Mother and Father, always the two must come together with their particular mix of energies and components to produce the miracle of birth and fruition. So we should also honour the concept of Father at this time too, without whom the Grain Mother would never begin to grow and ripen.

Again think of your relationship with your own father. What has he meant to you in your life? No matter how close or distant, shadowy or pro-active he may have been,try to see his role for what it has been and what it still is, and give genuine thanks to him for it.

In turn how do you fulfil a “fathering”role in your life? How do you stand up for justice? How do you protect and care for those less able and provide a better life for those around you? We all have a masculine side to us – how do you play out the role of father to those around you?

Let us take a few minutes to quietly give thanks for the “mother” and “father” influences in our lives, both in the widest sense as well as specifically to you as individuals.

Personal Harvest:

Could we now spend a little time reflecting on our own personal harvests?

What have you harvested this year? Perhaps you are a gardener or craft worker and have a literal harvest to be thankful for? But we will all have striven for something since the seed planting times of Gwyl Ffraid and the Spring Equinox back in February and March. What have you achieved personally this spring and summer? What new activity or path have you started along? What progress have you made? Maybe it is deeply inner spiritual work that you are involved with at this time? Perhaps it is working at a relationship with a partner, family member or friend?

Think deeply, take your time, and as you do so take it in turn to mindfully and reverently place a symbol or representation of your harvest within or around the edges of the bower…. and give your own personal thanks. If you wish to share what your harvest is with everyone else, you are welcome to do so, but do not feel pressured that you have to.

With these thoughts of achievement and thanks deeply in your mind, take some scissors and go out into the undergrowth and cut some grasses, rushes, flowers, whatever you want. As you go through the motions of this simple “harvest” give thanks for what you are metaphorically harvesting. Bring you “harvest” back to the grove and form/bind it into a certain shape (circle/wreath, cross, ankh, etc.) and decorate with flowers as you wish. At the end of the day, take it home with you and let it act as a reminder of what you have achieved and be thankful for it.

Awen:

All gather round and intone “Awen” that we may be inspired to use our harvest well.

Giving of Bread and Fruit Juice:

I had baked a harvest loaf in the shape of a sheaf of wheat/corn. We all shared this, passing it from one to the other around the circle and bidding each other blessings that we may never hunger, not forgetting to also scatter and give back a portion to the land itself.

We then repeated the same actions and blessings, but this time sharing the juice.

As we all sat on the grass reflecting on the proceedings so far, two of our members had a poem to recite and a story to recount… thought provoking but very entertaining!

Sacrifice:

It is good to remember that there is also always a measure of sacrifice to whatever we achieve in life. The grain plants must be sacrificed and die to provide our harvest and food for the next year.

In our personal lives, our parents almost certainly sacrificed time and energy and their finances to give us a good start in life. If we choose to persue one activity, we will probably have to sacrifice something else in our lives to give us the time and space to do so. There is always something that we must give up, loose or otherwise forgo in the persuit of our own progress or betterment.

This affects us all…. all the time.

Remember, whatever happens to one of us, for good or ill, happens to all of us, for we are all connected by the Spirit, the Divine, that of God within us.

SO what will you decide to “sacrifice” today for the greater good of yourself or your community?

And along with this thought is another question; at this annual time of settling business and making agreements, what can you do…. now, starting today…. to help bring an end to a dispute, disagreement, misunderstanding or argument? It might be with a member of your family, a neighbour or friend, or even a colleague at work. What can you do to extend the hand of harmony, friendship, peace and love?

Removing Barriers:

In some areas, Lammas was the time of year for the removal of fences and the throwing open to common pasturage of lands which had previously been enclosed while crops were grown on them.

By our very nature, by being born into human form, we live a life which is created by endless forme and series of barriers. Our spirit is encapsulated within the barrier of our flesh and skin; we rquire shelter from the elements and each other which causes us to build many barriers of walls and borders. We are extremely vulnerable in our human incarnations so errect emotional and spiritual barriers built from fear, ignorance, insecurity and mistrust. Even in removing barriers, such as we are attempting to do on this land by cutting back the undergrowth, we actually succeed in creating more – perhaps on the edge of open spaces and further away from ourselves, but they are there all the same, as in the edges of our newly cut paths and ritual spaces.

But Spirit has no barriers and to begin our journey back towards Spirit and to bring human existence into more harmonious balance with Spirit, we must learn how to begin to remove some of these barriers, especially the barriers that we have created in our minds.

What physical barrier can you remove from your life?

What mental thought pattern/attitude can you decide to dissolve today?

In your own lives, what fences…. what “barriers” can you remove? What is stopping you from performing some action, completing some task? What division have your erected between yourself and other people? How have you blinded yourself to a situation and “fenced it off”?

Think of something now and resolve to do it!

Tree Planting:

We all helped to plant two new trees around the edge of the grove site…. a small oak in the south and a holly in the north. We hope to eventually plant eight specimen trees around the clearing to represent the eight festivals of the natural year.

Closing:

We all helped to thank the elements and directions…. and the spirits of the place…. and so drew the formal celebrations to a close.

It only remained for us to share the food which everyone had contributed to…. to feast, celebrate our friendship and good fortune…. and return home extremely happy!

1 Response to Lammas 2011Gwyl Awst 2011

  1. Oops, I ought to make clear that this report was painstakingly compiled by Gillian the Grove Mother who also led the ritual. My contribution is merely to have made it public on here!

Leave a Reply

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.