A Beginners Guide to Lammas

A Beginners Guide to Lammas

It’s been hot and I’ve felt exhausted. Maybe I’m exhausted by the energy the elements are putting out. The sun has been blanketing our region in heat and the earth takes it, its head bowed in surrender. I’m feeling empathy for the steady exertion of the fruiting tomato and pepper plants. The grass is a shade of tired green; the trees are in maintenance mode, no longer working on growing, instead simply retaining their health during these hot weeks.

This is not life to me; this is perseverance. I’ve been on auto-pilot, waking, writing, eating, working, then coming home and trying to be enthusiastic about something, then feeling guilty when I just can’t pull it off. How can someone who has so much be so meh?

Then this morning, I heard it. At first the sound didn’t register, but then suddenly the sound broke through my sleepy mind and I quickly stepped outside.


The sound of crickets is weirdly nostalgic to me. The sound of crickets means the slowing of summer, shorter days and longer eventide, where we can sit outside in the dusk and yet it isn’t bedtime. The sound of crickets fills in the silence when conversation drops. In fact, sometimes there’s no need for conversation at all. It’s like sitting at a folk concert, listening contently to see what emotions are evoked by the music.

I wondered about this time of year when the gardens are putting on their grand finale yet the leaves are still green. Harvest speaks of autumn, but the beaches are still full. I’m tired of summer, but not yet ready to put away the flip flops. The season is changing from one of growth to one of completion.

I was delighted to find that this season does indeed have a name. Lammas.

Lammas falls on August 1st, but historically it is a season. Festivals celebrating early harvest were held by the Celts, and Shakespeare chose Lammas-eve as Juliet’s birthday. In Anglo-Saxon England, great significance was placed on the “loaf-mass” made from the first grains of the harvest. It was a time of celebration because by now the stored and preserved fruits of last year’s harvest were used up. Some modern pagans still celebrate Lammas.

I felt like I had discovered something unique and wonderful even though Lammas predates me by many centuries. I’m delighted that the dancing of celebrants throughout time still dance in my heart.

While Lammas celebrations can be quite elaborate involving grains and labyrinths and offerings, my Lammas celebration will be quite simple this year. I will truly appreciate the sweet flavor of those first grape tomatoes and acknowledge the magic of growth and sun and rain and soil that brought it from seed to my taste buds. I will put my bare feet on the earth and experience and appreciate the energy it gives and receives. And I will be grateful for all experiences, from the dreariness brought on by lingering heat to the sweetness of a cricket’s song.