I am gone into the fields
To take what this sweet hour yields….
Where… all things seem only one
In the universal sun.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‘The Invitation’
Happy Lammas, everyone!
Now begins the harvest cycle. Summer is ending, and the harvest opens. Now it’s time to work in the fields.
I have a friend who, when she goes to meditate, describes it as going into the field. If you’ve hit that place in meditation, you know it: it’s wide and peaceful, and you witness the linkages and causalities between things. You see them rising and taking shape and going again out of being, like clouds threading and tangling themselves together in the sky. And then releasing. This field is the place where magic happens.
The physicist Lynne McTaggart describes the ‘zero point field,’ the great causality plane that underlies all the cosmos, all manifest and apparent reality, and connects it all from beneath. It’s the Ein Sof of Kabbalah: the vast, brilliant field from which all things proceed, and into which, when they are done, all things return, and connects and communicates all things. When you do magic, that’s the plane you are trying to co-operate with, and as you gain wisdom, humbly seek to understand.
If you translate that shining field as a real field, of dirt and plants, rows and furrows, you can start to see how harvest magic works. There are periods of planning, of preparation and seeding, periods of growth and maturation, periods of reaping and of rest. There is a long and universal wheeling cycle of how all things come to fruition. Events don’t have to time to the earthly harvest cycle exactly: they can take longer and shorter, but they do answer to the pattern.
During the Summer, we mostly leave the great fields alone, for Sun and rain to bring their own magic to bear on what we planted in the Spring. We can defend our projects and wishes against pests and marauders, but for the most part, things aren’t ready to come forth. They are busy developing on their own, according also to the larger plans of the Sun and the rain. But Lammas calls us back to involvement, beckoning our wisdom to look at how things are maturing and kindly steward them to the best possible harvest.
Whether we believe in magic or not, there is a basic magic in the way that we live our lives. The choices we make, the outcomes we envision for ourselves, and the way we act towards those outcomes, even if they don’t come true, determine the kind of life that we have. Any tarot reader will tell you that a spread shows not a finite prophecy, but the way things will go if they keep going as they are. So if you don’t like the look of your first fruits, you have a chance, at the hinge, to influence the final harvest. The hinge is the Lammas of magic: you can change outcomes, even a little bit. But that last push calls on our gumption, takes effort to activate.
Remember that Lammas is celebrated not only by baking bread and blueberrying, but also with the games of Lugh, masculine competitions of strength and skill named after the god of this feast. I think one reason for these games is that they rally our vigor, after the languor of the Summer. They are the contests of the country fair, collecting and consolidating our energy. A great push is needed to bring in the harvest; it won’t collect itself! You have to go out to get it, and that takes passion. You have to remember why you want it, and let your love draw your determination.
We celebrate the start of the harvest, knowing that work is still far from done. We don’t get to rest, yet, or feast fully. So we bake ourselves some bread and munch a handful of berries and keep going. Look at how you are writing your story, for now’s the time to see where it’s tending. You might not be able to guarantee all outcomes—what farmer is?—but you are able to make choices for beauty, for happiness, kindness, and nobility.
Our life is a great work, that does not end while we are alive. We are all tenders of the field.
Blessed be your harvest! To Lughnasadh, and Love!