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A Meal Blessing
by Kristen Madden (Ofelas)
We thank you for the gift of this food.
We send blessings of peace, love, and
release to all
whose bodies and energies went into
bringing us this nourishment.
We honor you in our enjoyment and
utilization of this meal.
May it bring us health and joy,
reminding us of our interconnections with
All That Is.
As we receive, so do we give back
And give thanks for this gift in the
Cycle of Life.
I stood before my altar at Lammastide, and asked the Lord and Lady to be my guides...
"Please show to me a vision that I may see... what sacrifice is worthy to give to Thee."
They showed to me an apple without a core... They showed to me a dwelling without a door... They showed to me a palace where They may be, and unlock it without a key...
How can there be an apple without a core? How can there be a dwelling without a door? How can there be a palace where They may be, and They may unlock it without a key?
...My spirit is an apple without a core... ...My mind is a dwelling without a door... My heart is a palace where They may be, and unlock it without a key...
I stood before my altar on Lammas night... and gave my Lord and Lady bright... the sacrifice They asked for - with spirit free... Upon that Lammas evening, I gave Them me...
August 1: The Festival of Green Corn
by Edain McCoy
While European-oriented Pagans are celebrating August 1 as Lammas, a festival of the first harvest, Native North Americans are observing a similar holiday of their own. Like Lammas, the Festival of Green Corn is a communal event, largely honoring the newly-cut grains. The Native peoples enact ancient, sacred rituals to thank the Corn Grandmother for her bounty, and make mock sacrifices of the grain in her honor. Rough competitive games are played while the feast is being prepared, then the tribe dines on rich foods and breads made from the newly-harvested corn. After everyone is full, the community gathers for traditional storytelling.
by Patricia Telesco
On or about June 22nd, Summer begins with a flurry of activities. But, other than the 4th of July and Lammas, many people are unaware of some of the other holidays which have been (or are) observed around the world during these months. Here are a few:
July 6th, Festival of the Tooth (Ceylon):
A holiday which commemorates a holy relic of Buddha, his eye tooth. Crowds gather in the streets to glimpse the elephant which carries the sacred item, while spinning prayer wheels en route to the temple rejoice in Buddha's tranquil teachings. This is a good day for personal introspection and prayers for peace.
July 15th, Swithin Day (England):
St. Swithin was a bishop who was virtuous and most beloved by the people. When he died he asked to be buried near Winchester Church in an area where workmen passed regularly. At some point, the Church felt that such a man deserved better accommodations and tried to move the body only to be discouraged by 40 days of rain. Taking this as a sign from God, this day has ever since been a good time to divine or observe omens pertaining to weather signs. Now if it rains on St. Swithin's Day, 40 days of rain are thought to follow.
1st Sunday in August, Blessing of the Sea (Brittany, France):
A beautiful city was once believed to have risen gracefully off the shores of this French village, only to have been washed away in a high tide. Every year the priests go to this fabled spot and bless the waters while observers lean over the sides of boats hoping to glimpse remnants of the city. This might be a good day to consider any spells or rituals pertaining to water and hidden truths.
(The above "Summer Holidays" is quoted directly from Llewellyn's 1994 Magical Almanac, page 185, Llewellyn Worldwide Publications, 1993)
A Sample Ritual:
This Ritual can be performed either during the day, perhaps late afternoon, or during the early evening hours, just after Sunset. Sweep area, starting in the North and moving deosil, with your magickal broom to cleanse the Circle area and "sweep away" any lingering negative energies. You may want to outline the perimeter of your Circle with corn meal, the grain most sacred to this sabbath.
Set up the Quarter candles (North-Green, East-Yellow, South-Red, West-Blue) and/or other items symbolizing the elements at the Four Quarters (use a compass if not permanently marked out). Set up your altar as desired, and face it to the North, covering it with the golden yellow altar cloth.
For this Ceremony, you may want to have upon the altar items from the harvest, particularly corn and other grains. In honor to the Sun Gods, you may also want to place golden stones and Sun Wheels upon the altar. You will also need a loaf of bread - preferably cornbread, and some sort of juice or wine. You will also need a plate or bowl to remove the harvest offering. In addition to your usual tools and props, upon the altar should be:
Golden Yellow, Orange, or Red Altar Cloth
Sun (God) and Moon (Goddess) Candle Holders, with Gold and Silver Candles, respectively.
(or whatever colors you prefer to represent the deities)
Incense, Summer Blend or Horned God Incense
Ears of Corn, Squash and other Harvest Items
Golden Stones (such as citrine, amber, tiger's eye, carnelian, topaz... )
Sun Wheels or Sun Symbols of some sort
Small Loaf of Bread (preferably Cornbread - for the Ritual)
Anything else personally deemed appropriate or necessary
When all is set up, take a shower or bath for purification and don your ritual robe or other ritual attire. Be sure to wear your magickal jewelry. Sit quietly and meditate for a little while - to ground and center before beginning the Ritual. When you feel ready to begin, play some soothing, peaceful music for the ritual.
After the Circle is cast, begin the Lughnassadh sabbath Ceremony... Pick up your Wand and hold it in your power (right) hand, face the North and with your arms outstretched (kneel or stand) and when you feel ready, begin your ceremony with these words:
"The Wheel of the Year turns on and on,
bringing us all to and from each Season,
and from and to another.
What will be is. What was will be.
All time is here and now in this Sacred Space.
I now pause to watch the Wheel turn
and cast this Circle on this blessed eve to celebrate
the Season of Lughnassadh - the First Harvest -
when the bounties of Nature
give of themselves so that we may survive.
I come here now to praise the bountiful Goddess
and the benevolent God.
I wish to give thanks for the bounty of the fertile Earth,
and to feel myself as a part of
the relentlessly turning wheel of life, death and rebirth.
O Great God of the Ripening Fields,
who has been known as
Lugh, Tammuz, Adonis, Attis and Dionysus -
Grant me the understanding of sacrifice
as you prepare to deliver yourself
to the lands of Eternal Summer.
O Great Goddess of the Corn and Grain,
who has been known as
Brigit, Ishtar, Aphrodite, Astarte and Demeter -
Teach me the secrets of rebirth
as the Sun wanes in its strength
and the nights grow cold."
Place your Wand back in its place on the altar. Spread your hands out over the harvested foods on the altar and say these words:
"Blessed be the bounty of the harvest,
fruit of the womb of the Goddess.
Blessed be Mother Earth...
Today I honor the deities in their aspects
as the Grain God and the Corn Mother."
Pick up the loaf of bread (hopefully cornbread) and say these words:
"Blessed be the harvest,
manifestation of the sacred marriage of the deities.
Blessed be the fruitful Corn Mother.
Blessed be the God of the Harvest.
I partake of the First Harvest,
mixing its energies with mine,
that I may continue on my quest
for the Starry Wisdom of the Mysteries.
Many blessings I have been given.
I count them now by this bread
of the grain of Mother Earth."
Now name all the things you are currently thankful for, one by one. This part of the ritual should be spontaneous - DO NOT use a script for this, go with your heart. With each thing that you name, break off a piece of the bread (or cornbread) and eat it. Sip from the goblet of fruit juice as well... When you are finished doing this, say these words:
"Thank you Great Mother and Great Father.
O Lady of the Moon and Lord of the Sun,
gracious Ones around whom
all of life spins its thread...
I offer my thanks for
the continuing fertility of the Earth...
May the blowing grain lose its seeds
to be buried in Mother Earth,
ensuring rebirth in the
warmth of the coming Spring...
I ask that you humbly accept my offering
of this bread and juice.
I offer it to Mother Earth,
and to her consort, the God.
And I ask that it may also be used to feed
the faeries of the fields and
the animals of the woodlands."
With these last words, place some of the bread and pour some juice into the libation bowl. Cup your hands around the offering (libation bowl) and say:
"I consecrate this offering
back to the Blessed Mother Nature from whom it came,
to her consort, the Great Horned God of Nature,
Her animals and Her fairy beings. Blessed Be.
Offerings given in love
return three times over.
Blessed Be this gathering,
the giver and the gift."
After a brief pause to catch your breath, continue with these words:
"All things have their Season.
Tonight the Wheel has brought us
to the Season of Harvest.
A time of beauty and time of toil.
A time to reflect on the Summer
and a time to prepare for the Winter ahead...
To everything there is a Season...
A time for every purpose under the heavens...
A time to be born... a time to die...
A time to plant... a time to harvest...
A time to destroy... a time to heal and rebuild...
A time to cry... a time to laugh...
A time to grieve... a time to dance...
A time for scattering stones... a time for gathering stones...
A time to embrace... a time to stay back...
A time to find... a time to lose...
A time for keeping... a time for throwing away...
A time to tear... a time to repair...
A time to keep silent... a time to speak up...
A time to love... a time to hate...
A time for war... a time for peace...
Blessed Be the Great Mother whose womb
contains and births all life.
Blessed Be the Grain God whose seed plants all life.
Blessed Be the grain of the Earth, and
Blessed Be this Season of Lughnassadh!"
Now is the time for meditation and any spellworkings you may need or desire to end your sabbath celebration. Good Lammas spellworkings include: connectedness, career, health, and financial gain. If no spellwork is to be done at this time, then proceed with the Cakes and Ale Ceremony, followed by Releasing the Magic Circle.
Please note this ritual is based on the Northern Hemisphere correspondences of elements and their colors, and directions and so on.
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