Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lammas Basket For Sale!

By the light of the moon and the dark of the sky,Make sure to get a Ritual Basket for Thy!
Lammas Ritual Basket

As Above So Below,
This way to Merkin's Moon Go

Buying the basket today or tomorrow ( Thursday July 25) should most likely arrive by August 1.

Lammas Rituals

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Lammas Ritual
Scott Cunningham

Place upon the altar sheaves of wheat, barley or oats, fruit and breads, perhaps a loaf fashioned in the figure of the Sun or a man to represent the God. Corn dollies, symbolic of the goddess, can be present there as well.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones.

Recite the Blessing Chant.

Invoke the Goddess and God.

Stand before the altar, holding aloft the sheaves of grain, saying these or similar words:

Now is the time of the First Harvest,
when bounties of nature give of themselves
so that we may survive.
O God of the ripening fields, Lord of the Grain,
grant me the understanding of sacrifice as you
prepare to deliver yourself under the sickle of the
goddess and journey to the lands of eternal summer.
O Goddess of the Dark Moon,
teach me the secrets of rebirth
as the Sun loses its strength and the nights grow cold.

Rub the heads of the wheat with your fingers so that the grains fall onto the altar. Lift a piece of fruit and bit, savouring it flavour, and say:

I partake of the first harvest, mixing its energies
with mine that I may continue my quest for the starry
wisdom of perfection.
O Lady of the Moon and Lord of the Sun,
gracious ones before Whom the stars halt their courses,
I offer my thanks for the continuing fertility of the Earth.
May the nodding grain loose its seeds to be buried in
the Mothers breast, ensuring rebirth in the warmth
of the coming Spring.

Consume the rest of the fruit.

Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.

Celebrate the Simple Feast.

The circle is released.

It is appropriate to plant the seeds from the fruit consumed in ritual. If they sprout, grow the plant with love and as a symbol of your connection with the Goddess and God.

Thank you Stormy Raiyne
Blessed Be.


Celebrated August 1st.

Lammas marks the middle of summer and beginning of the harvest season. Lammas is considered a time of thanksgiving and is the first of the three Pagan harvest festivals. The Sun's strength begins to wane and the plants of spring begin to wither and drop their fruits or seeds for our use as well as to ensure future crops. At this time, we become conscious of the sacrifice the Sun God is preparing to make. We experience a sense of abundance at the same time we begin to feel an urgency to prepare for the death of winter. First grains and fruits of the Earth are cut and stored for the dark winter months.

Lammas also represents the culmination of the marriage between the Goddess and the God that took place on Beltane. The God now becomes the product of that blessed union - the bountiful fruits and grains - and must be sacrificed. He is the personification of the crops that must be harvested for the survival of the people.

Underneath the symbolism of sacrifice is the theme of rebirth. The Corn God must die, and He has to do so in order to return. Without the sacrifice, the cycle stops. Although His strength is waning, His essence is still palpable as His energies begin to merge with the harvested crops. It is at this time that the Sun King has reached the autumn of His years, and His rival (or dark self) has just reached puberty. The Sun God has reigned supreme over the ripening grain during the hot summer months. His dedication, perseverance, and action in tending the seeds sown in spring brings a ripe and fruitful bounty.

Although Lammas is the first of the harvest festivals, fertility imagery may still be found, as there are still crops in the field continuing to grow and livestock and game that have yet to be killed. As the God is honored for His harvest, so the Goddess is honored for bringing forth the first fruits, much as a new mother is honored.

Lammas is also known as Lughnasadh, Lammastide, and First Harvest Festival.


Symbolism: First harvest festival; aging of the Deities, honoring of Sun Gods

Symbols: Corn dollies, cornucopia, grains, the Sun

Foods: Breads, grains, potatoes, summer squash, cider, blackberry pies and jellies, berries, apples, roasted lamb, elderberry wine, meadowsweet tea

Plants & herbs: Ash, camphor, caraway, fern, geranium, juniper, mandrake, marjoram, thyme, sunflowers, wheat

Incense and oils: Allspice, carnation, rosemary, vanilla, sandalwood, aloe, rose

Colors: Red, gold, yellow, orange

Stones: Aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx

Animals and mythical beasts: Roosters, calves, the Phoenix, griffins, basilisk, centaurs

Some appropriate Goddesses: all grain, agriculture, and mother Goddesses; Alphito (Greek), Ashnan (Sumerian), Bast (Egyptian), Bau (Assyro-Babylonian), Ceres (Roman), Demeter (Greek), Gaia (Greek), Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian), Isis (Egyptian), Libera (Roman), Persephone (Greek), Rhiannon (Welsh), Robigo (Roman), Tailtiu (Irish)

Some appropriate Gods: all grain, agriculture, Sun, and father Gods; Cernunnos (Celtic), Dagon (Babylonian), Lahar (Sumerian), Liber (Roman), Llew (Welsh), Lugh (Irish), Neper (Egyptian), Ningirsu/Ninurta (Assyro-Babylonian), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian)

Decorations: Corn, hay, gourds, corn dollies, shafts of grain, sun wheels

Activities: games, country fairs, making corn dollies, baking bread, gathering fruits, visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells.

Spell/ritual work: Offering thanks, honoring fathers, prosperity, abundance, generosity, continued success, connectedness

Lammas: The First Harvest

by Mike Nichols

It was upon a Lammas Night
When corn rigs are bonny,
Beneath the Moon's unclouded light,
I held awhile to Annie...

Although in the heat of a Mid-western summer it might be difficult to discern, the festival of Lammas (Aug 1st) marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. The days now grow visibly shorter and by the time we've reached autumn's end (Oct 31st), we will have run the gammut of temperature from the heat of August to the cold and (sometimes) snow of November. And in the midst of it, a perfect Mid-western autumn.

The history of Lammas is as convoluted as all the rest of the old folk holidays. It is of course a cross-quarter day, one of the four High Holidays or Greater Sabbats of Witchcraft, occuring 1/4 of a year after Beltane. It's true astrological point is 15 degrees Leo, but tradition has set August 1st as the day Lammas is typically celebrated. The celebration proper would begin on sundown of the previous evening, our July 31st, since the Celts reckon their days from sundown to sundown.

However, British Witches often refer to the astrological date of Aug 6th as Old Lammas, and folklorists call it Lammas O.S. ('Old Style'). This date has long been considered a 'power point' of the Zodiac, and is symbolized by the Lion, one of the 'tetramorph' figures found on the Tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune (the other three figures being the Bull, the Eagle, and the Spirit). Astrologers know these four figures as the symbols of the four 'fixed' signs of the Zodiac, and these naturally allign with the four Great Sabbats of Witchcraft. Christians have adopted the same iconography to represent the four gospel-writers.

'Lammas' was the medieval Christian name for the holiday and it means 'loaf-mass', for this was the day on which loaves of bread were baked from the first grain harvest and laid on the church altars as offerings. It was a day representative of 'first fruits' and early harvest.

In Irish Gaelic, the feast was referred to as 'Lugnasadh', a feast to commemorate the funeral games of the Irish sun-god Lugh. However, there is some confusion on this point. Although at first glance, it may seem that we are celebrating the death of Lugh, the god of light does not really die (mythically) until the autumnal equinox. And indeed, if we read the Irish myths closer, we discover that it is not Lugh's death that is being celebrated, but the funeral games which Lugh hosted to commemorate the death of his foster-mother, Taillte. That is why the Lugnasadh celebrations in Ireland are often called the 'Tailltean Games'.

The time went by with careless heed
Between the late and early,
With small persuasion she agreed
To see me through the barley...

One common feature of the Games were the 'Tailltean marriages', a rather informal marriage that lasted for only 'a year and a day' or until next Lammas. At that time, the couple could decide to continue the arrangement if it pleased them, or to stand back to back and walk away from one another, thus bringing the Tailltean marriage to a formal close. Such trial marriages (obviously related to the Wiccan 'Handfasting') were quite common even into the 1500's, although it was something one 'didn't bother the parish priest about'. Indeed, such ceremonies were usually solemnized by a poet, bard, or shanachie (or, it may be guessed, by a priest or priestess of the Old Religion).

Lammastide was also the traditional time of year for craft festivals. The medieval guilds would create elaborate displays of their wares, decorating their shops and themselves in bright colors and ribbons, marching in parades, and performing strange, ceremonial plays and dances for the entranced onlookers. The atmosphere must have been quite similar to our modern-day Renaissance Festivals, such as the one celebrated in near-by Bonner Springs, Kansas, each fall.

A ceremonial highlight of such festivals was the 'Catherine wheel'. Although the Roman Church moved St. Catherine's feast day all around the calender with bewildering frequency, it's most popular date was Lammas. (They also kept trying to expel this much-loved saint from the ranks of the blessed because she was mythical rather than historical, and because her worship gave rise to the heretical sect known as the Cathari.) At any rate, a large wagon wheel was tak

Thank you Stormy Raiyne

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Earthships and Ecofriendly Homes

Hey out there. I was watching the weather channel last night and they had this show about Ecofriendly Homes. Specifically Earthships. Now I have actually known about these types of homes for many years. My father used to be in real estate and actually sold a couple. Plus we used to live in the mountains and Earth and Eco friendly homes were plentiful.

Anyway I was wondering who out there knows a lot about the different types of homes. I know a little about straw bale homes as well. But I love the idea of Biotecture. I have always wanted to live off the grid. Another byproduct of my hippie parents.

And for those of you that don't have a clue what I am talking about but would like to know more. A little about Earthships:
Earthship Biotecture creates buildings that...
heat and cool themselves naturally via solar/thermal dynamics
collect their own power from the sun and wind
harvest their own water from rain and snow melt
contain and treat their own sewage on site
produce food in significant quantities
utilize materials that
are byproducts of modern society
like cans, bottles and tires.

Also on the weather channel they were talking about this EcoManor. It was built by the daughter of Ted Turner. She has always been an advocate for the environment. And so she wanted to walk the talk but still do it in a luxurous way. Her home was fantastic. It was what the typical American dream home would be, but with all of the ways to reduce our carbon footprint. They used solar power, reused water from the sinks to flush the toilets, called gray water. They used sustainable materials to build the house. And they used geothermal energy to heat and cool the home. Plus they collect rain and snowmelt to be used in the home for drinking water and for other uses in the home.

So we all should be learning now that we can still have most of the thing we have become accustomed to but just be gentler to the Earth when we use them.

Please leave any comments about other websites and other places for information. I would love to hear from all of you.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Washington Post: On Faith: Paganism May Not Pass Relgious Muster

Paganism May Not Pass Religious Muster

Charles W. "Chuck" Colson
Founder, Prison Fellowship ministry

Charles W. "Chuck" Colson is founder of Prison Fellowship, a Christian outreach ministry to the prison population of this country, as well as to ex-prisoners and crime victims. The "On Faith" panelist's daily radio commentary, BreakPoint, is aired daily on over a 1,000 radio outlets nationwide. Colson also is a syndicated columnist, lawyer, and author of 23 books, most recently The Good Life (2005). He served as special counsel to the late President Richard M. Nixon (1969-73). After pleading guilty to a Watergate-related charge of obstruction of justice in 1974, Colson served seven months of a one to three-year federal prison sentence. His 1973 Christian conversion was documented in the internationally best-selling book and film, Born Again. He founded Prison Fellowship in 1976. In 1993, Colson was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion and donated the $1 million prize to Prison Fellowship. In the last 28 years, Colson has visited more than 600 prisons in 40 countries and, with the help of nearly 50,000 volunteers, has built Prison Fellowship into the world's largest prison outreach, serving the spiritual and practical needs of prisoners in 93 countries including the U.S.

Paganism May Not Pass Religious Muster
It is debatable whether paganism is a religion, per say. It is generally defined as a pre-Christian state, but it takes a wide variety of forms—all the way from relatively benign New Age-style nature worship, to pantheism, to witchcraft, and even human sacrifice.

Those who publicly identify themselves as pagans are at best a marginal number and are basically no different from dozens of other cults.

I see no reason why Wiccans or pagans generally should have the services of taxpayer-paid chaplains. It is perfectly appropriate, if a group meets court tests for religion, that outside priest/ministers be allowed to come into federal facilities and minister. But historically, with standards that have been spelled out carefully by the courts, chaplains are appointed to represent mainline religions.

The more difficult question is whether I would vote for a pagan for public office. The answer is that on one hand I fully respect the fact that there should be no religious test for public office; on the other hand, I would have great difficulty supporting an explicit Wiccan or pagan for high public office. There are tenets of their belief that, I think, are incompatible with the requirements of American democratic governance.

Lest this sound discriminatory, I think it is very clear from reading the writings of our founding fathers that a sound adherence to the values of the Judeo-Christian tradition—or at the very least, deism—was essential as a basis of the moral law that would sustain a free society.

The writings of all the founders are clear on this. I would refer anyone interested particularly to Michael Novak’s book On Two Wings, in which he describes the influence of the Judeo-Christian tradition on one wing and the influence of the Enlightenment on the other. They were finally balanced in our founding. But everyone, devout believer or deist or otherwise, saw the necessity of a strong moral law which would provide self restraint. Without self restraint, free governments cannot succeed.

John Adams famously wrote, “We have no government, armed in power, capable of contending with human passion unbridled by morality and religion . . . our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” And George Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to a political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

Not being as familiar with paganism in its various forms, I do not wish to condemn it unfairly. But from what I know of it, I do not think it can provide the “indispensable supports” Washington wrote about.

So I would not appoint pagan chaplains, nor would I, as a personal decision but influenced greatly by the founders, vote for a pagan.

Posted by Charles "Chuck" Colson on July 5, 2007 10:36 AM

Please make sure to leave comments. Or repost. I hate the fact that there are people out there that do not believe that Relgious Freedom should not only be allowed but protected, accepted, and rejoiced!

Blessed Be!