I'll admit - I've started this post about 8 times now. I've struggled with what I wanted to say, because I wasn't sure I had the language to do it. It's clearer now, and as usual I have the Wheel to thank for that. Holy days always have a way of helping clarify things for me.
Lammas (or whatever you chose to call the esbatic occasion that just passed) isn't one of the "big ones" that people usually plan their year around. In fact, an article recently pointed out why it is no longer really one to celebrate. ( http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/2015/07/31/why-im-boycotting-lughnasadh/ -- go read it - it's excellent and very relevant)
But whatever it is you like to call the First of August, it's still a time of year for me that rings with importance. A two week convention of medieval minded people straddles Aug 1st, and it's there that I met many of the closest friends I have now, and where I met the love of my life. It's always been that turning point, where the heat of summer peaks and builds and charges for the last hurrah before cold winds sweep in and Autumn hits like a breath that's been held too long. I love this part of summer - it is harvest for me, as I thin the herbs in my garden and start setting them to dry and I gather the seeds off the lilies and the hips off the roses. That will give my roses another bloom before the summer ends, and I'll have at least one more harvest from the herbs, if not two. The lilies will bloom for another month, and it'll be September before I have to start thinking about deadheading them.
We're with the Mother now, as our gardens explode with life and just keep exploding through the heat and the drought. We see her peeking out of vines heavy with grapes and stalks heavy with corn. We see her rustling the long grasses and we hear her at night as cicadas sing. Life is abundant around us and it's hard to think about harvest with summer in such full swing as it is now - but it's important none the less. Thinking about harvest now means we're not hit with surprises in September and October - thinking about famine now means we can take steps to avoid it.
Thinking about the Crone while we're sitting with the Mother means we accept and know the future brings decline. Decline ends with death, and starts again with rebirth. Thinking about that now means we're more ready to deal with the cold and dark that brings us deeper inside ourselves.
We're losing a great lady in my family right now. She's slipping away from us and into the waiting arms of Death. Part of me has come to terms with this, and while my head knows she'll be with the ancestors and perhaps one day on this Earth again my soul is torn and I still weep. This weekend brought clarity as the Wheel turned past a day that celebrates how many have come into my life, and how warm with friends and family my life is, and reminded me that I'm not losing her completely.
So I watch the Wheel turning, and watch the Earth as it tells me it's secrets and shows me it's life, and know deep down that I'll learn another lesson about loss this year, and in the darkest time too.