The wheel of the year keeps turning, and this time, we are taking a closer look at Lammas, the pagan festival that falls on August 1st.
I love this festival, probably more than most. This is the first of three harvest fstivals, where the first crops of the season are harvested and the community would often get together to celebrate! Grains were the major harvest of this time, so Lammas was often seen as a bread festival. Grapes were traditionally harvested at this time as well, and wines were made and stored away to ferment. Fruits like apples, peaches, and pears were also harvested at this time, and summer squash was picked and stored away for the winter.
I love the warm harvest of August. This is the time of year that features county fairs and long days in fields on tractors. I remember my Mamaw baking fresh bread in her kitchen, and my papaw handing me empty buckets to go collect beans and tomatoes from the garden.
In my own garden, the last of my blueberries are ripening and ready to pick. My tomatoes were late this year, so they still look rather green, but my roses are experiencing a full second bloom. The last of my lavender seedlings from last month are finally starting to sprout, and my very-late sugar pumpkins are flowering!
This year for the holiday, we are keeping it low key. I don't have anything to harvest, beyond a handful of blueberries every day or so. It's fun seeing my late fall veggies start rolling in, though. I think I will spend the day working in fiber arts. I am almost finished with a campfire hoodie for myself and I have the yarn ready to go to make a simple lap blanket for this winter. When fall rolls around, I almost always have a crochet needle in hand!
I hope that you all have a safe, festive, fruitful Lammas, and we will look forward as the wheel of the year rolls around to Mabon in September!
Before I start today's post, I want to take a moment to say Happy Juneteenth!
Today we celebrate the end of one of the most horrible and bleak periods in US history, and to see it finally recognized nationwide makes my heart sing.
Black Lives Matter. I love you all!
The wheel of the year is turning again, and this time, the northern hemisphere is heading into the Summer Solstice!
I love this holiday, mostly because I love the warm, sunny days of summer. There is nothing in this world that energizes me like warm air, sunshine on my face, and a big, beautiful tree to sit under and enjoy the shade. Before we moved, every summer day you could find me hanging in my hammock in my backyard or swimming at my friend’s pool.
And the summer solstice has been a favorite holiday of mine for years!
Midsummer, Midsommar, or Litha is the celebration of the longest day of the year. During the summer solstice, the sun will have its longest time in the sky. In some pagan lore, this is the time when the horned god reigns supreme and the earth is at its most green and lush. The sun celebrates triumph in the sky over the darkness of night. The holiday itself is considered a fire festival, with many people burning candles and enjoying the warmth of a late night bonfire.
The summer solstice falls somewhere around June 21st, sometimes a day before or after, depending on the year, usually between the 20th and the 23rd.
For this year, me and my husband will be celebrating the best way we know how: hikes and cooking! During the day, I’ll be brewing sun tea by adding a few tea bags of choice (I’m thinking a lovely black tea with lemon peel) to a tall mason jar of water. All you have to do to make sun tea is leave the jar in a bright, sunny location and let nature do the rest! Sun tea is a slow brew that yields a delicious, rarely bitter tea, and was one of my favorite drinks as a child in Appalachia!
Once the work of the day is done, we are heading out to the forest. I love being out in nature and a holiday like Litha calls for communing in the forest. In case of rain (which is, sadly, a risk this year), we will be staying inside and watering our plants with moon water that I collected at the full moon before last (not the eclipse!). I’m thinking about making a flower chain for my bookshelf as well.
For a meal that night, we have opted to grill up some fresh salmon and fresh veggies! We’re going to be grilling asparagus, tomatoes, onions, and broccoli to go on the side of our lemon-soaked fish. And for desert, I am making a variation of honey cakes by following this recipe. I have never tried it before and I am very excited to give it a go!
And, of course, the husband will be enjoying mead while I sip on a bottle of watermelon wine while we light out candles and enjoy the rest of our quiet, wonderful evening.
Can you tell that I love Litha?
I hope that your summer solstice is as enjoyable and loving as mine is shaping up to be. Snack on some fresh fruits and veggies! Light a candle or settle in around a bonfire! Put flowers in your hair and turn your face up to the sun!
Until next time, my friends!
May Day. May 1st. Beltane.
AKA, my favorite time of the year!
Beltane is the next holiday in the wheel of the year, arriving just around the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. It arrives in the height of Spring for us Northern Hemisphere folks, and is celebrated on May 1st.
I absolutely adore Beltane. I love Springtime, and Beltane always arrives just as my spring allergies are leaving, which is a wonderful celebration for me. The world around me is always in bloom, and any leftover winter blues that may be residing in my heart and chest just melts away into nothing. This is always the time when I start my seeds, plant any garden veggies that I have picked up from local greenhouses, and when I fertilize my blackberries, blueberries, and roses!
In old god lore, Beltane is when the maiden goddess and the god of nature come together as woman and man to conceive the horned god, who will be reborn at Yule. Many view Beltane as a passionate holiday, and there are some that celebrate with personal festivities under the sheets! My partner and I have been known to celebrate in these ways as well! ;-) It's a lovely time to connect with another person and celebrate the fertility of the new, blossoming earth.
Some of my favorite things to do at Beltane involve fire and flowers! I always try to have a fire going in the fire pit, just to enjoy the warmth and the flames and turning the world back to ash to be reused again. With flowers, I love to go flower picking during these times. Dandelions are picked to turn into tea or to feed to my pet bearded dragon. Clovers are made into chains that are worn around the neck and in the hair. I like to cut a few tulip poplar blossoms from the trees behind our home to give our living space a wonderful floral aroma. One year, I made a lovely wreath for my front door that was made from fern cuttings, and another year, I enjoyed a fresh bottle of dandelion wine that had been gifted to me by an old friend.
For this year, I am planning a nice little meal at home. Nothing fancy, just some simple roasted chicken with a fresh green salad and lots of sweet, ripe fruit. I may even make a fruit loaf for desert... blueberry and lemon sounds lovely!
I hope that everyone enjoys a wonderful, blessed Beltane!
I don't know about you, but I have been looking forward to SPRING! I've got the winter blues for real, and in West Virginia, the cold is so strong that it seeps into your bones and gets stuck there. I've been so desperate for sun and warmth that I've taken to writing by an open window on sunny days, because even though its 40 degrees outside, I can at least feel like it's summer!
But before we get to summer, we've got to hit Spring!
Other than the waves of pollen that mess up my sinuses, Spring is my favorite season. I love to feel the weather change and the air turn warmer. Spring rains are my favorite things to watch for hours on end. And planting seeds and tending to my garden is my favorite thing to do outside of writing. In fact, I've already started a few seeds for this year's garden, and I'm already nurturing a few sprouts!
Spring is amazing.
And Spring officially starts on March 21st, the Spring Equinox.
The Spring Equinox means a lot to many people all around the world. Humanity has always watched the sky for signs, and watching the sun rise into the sky with the warming of the earth always heralded good news. The spring equinox not only signified that warmer weather was coming, but that crops would start growing and the world would bloom. Food was coming in all shapes and forms, and it was a wonderful reason to celebrate!
For those who are interested in the wild world of witchy goodness, you'll be happy to know that March 21st is not only the beginning of spring, but it's the start of everything! The holiday, also known as Eostara, or Ostara, is celebrated as a sun holiday! On Ostara, the day and night are the same, but after, the daytime lasts longer than nighttime. It's a time for celebrating new life, and many Ostara decorations will have eggs, which symobolized new life. Sound familiar?
I like to spent my Spring Equinox outdoors if possible, even if the weather is colder than I would like. I usually take this time to plant seeds, like wildflower mixes. If I can't be outside, I like to visit local greenhouses and garden centers, admiring the new plants and planning my garden for the year to come. Me and my husband also like to buy up a new plant or two, just for the fun of it!
We also tend to burn a lot of candles around the spring equinox. We burn lots of yellow, pink, and green candles, and we use a lot of bright floral scents in our home. I have friends who will "seed bomb" the places around us by scattering wildflower seeds in open areas, hoping that they will sprout and grown and beautify our world. My own dad will take this time to tend to his garden, turning the soil, adding fresh soil from his compost pile, and preparing everything for his yearly vegetables.
I hope that the spring equinox brings about wonderful changes and new growth for you in your life!
If you like this series, I am going to be writing about the holidays of the wheel of the year for the next bit! 8 holidays stretched out over the year, all with significant meanings to those who practice real witchcraft in their everyday lives. I may write about wild and crazy magic and love, but I also have a deep respect for the ways of old. And it's so fun and rewarding to write about the wheel of the year!
Until Beltane, friends!
Just me, a paranormal romance author with big dreams and even bigger crushes!