Lammas Musings and Tarot Spread

It’s harvest time! Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere will be celebrating Lammas, or Lughnasadh, on August 1 or 2, depending on your preference.

Lammas is a holiday that tends to get overlooked a lot of the time, although it is one of my favorites. Like its sister holiday, Candlemas (or Imbolc), on the opposite side of the wheel, it is the beginning of a major seasonal transition. While August is often one of the hottest months here in Oregon (in fact, we are supposed to be over 100 all this week, possibly even up to 113, setting a record for the hottest temperature ever recorded here), the gradual shift to autumn is apparent in the shortening days and the autumnal slant of the light as we move toward September.

This is also a time of abundant harvest. In my area melons, peaches, blackberries, cucumbers, corn and tomatoes are ripening quickly, and I’m enjoying fresh local fruits and veggies with every meal. I am, however, a little worried about what this week’s excessive heat might do to the harvest, and will be keeping my little tomato plants well-watered this week. Thank Goddess that we had a wet winter with a lot of snow in the mountains, so we still have plenty of water available for irrigation for our farmers right now.

In our personal lives, this is a good time to take stock of our year so far and see where we are. What have we harvested so far this year? What can we be grateful for? And what might need to be sacrificed in order to keep ourselves on track towards our goals and dreams?

Sacrifice can be a scary word, and it can come with a lot of baggage in a culture that often tells women that they should sacrifice their own health, dreams, time, and comfort for the sake of others. But Lammas is the season of sacrifice, when plants are harvested and die to feed us and other animals, continuing the circle of life.

Sadly, it is true that we can’t have it all. To make positive changes in our lives, we will have to sacrifice something to make room for it, whether that is a limiting belief, a way of interacting with others, an attitude, an activity that we may enjoy, or perhaps one that we simply use to procrastinate. I’ve been learning this lesson lately as I work to limit the time I spend watching Netflix so that I have time to read, paint, journal, and do other activities that really fill me up instead of just zoning out in front of the TV (I still get to do that occasionally though—balance!). I can’t watch a lot of TV and read lots of books and create lots of art, there just isn’t enough time in the day. I had to decide which of these things I was willing to sacrifice. But giving up our habits is never easy or comfortable.

This Lammas tarot spread explores these themes of harvest and sacrifice as we move through this transitional season toward Autumn Equinox.

Question: What do I need to know during this next turn of the wheel? (From Lammas until Autumn Equinox)

  1. Overall Theme
  2. Key Opportunity
  3. Key Challenge
  4. What is my most important harvest at this time?
  5. What might I need to sacrifice in order to ensure a full harvest?
  6. What action(s) can I take to share my abundance with others?

It has not been the easiest year, and I am feeling that, too. If you feel like you haven’t harvested anything, that none of your hopes and dreams for the year seem to be manifesting, try not to give in to a sense of despair. The cards you draw will show you that something is being harvested right now. It may not be something huge, it may be simply that you have made a small change, like drinking more water, that is benefiting your health. Or perhaps you’ve taken up journaling again, and as a result are starting to listen to your inner voice.

I feel like the Wheel of the Year often gets associated with working on big, lofty goals and dreams, and that is wonderful, but that isn’t appropriate for all of us at all times. Some of us may be making small, but important, changes to improve our lives. Celebrate those little harvests, too. I got just as excited about the first tiny tomato that ripened on my plants as I will about the large tomatoes that I will soon be harvesting. In fact, when they all start ripening at once it can actually get a little overwhelming as I try to figure out what to do with them all! So celebrate your small victories and your tiny tomato harvests, because they matter, too.

Also, if you are looking for something delicious to make to celebrate Lammas, I made this Cheese, Herb & Garlic Quick Bread last year, and it was so delicious. I highly recommend it!

Blessed Lammas to you all!

15 Quiet Minutes: Spending Time Outside

This 15 Quiet Minutes practice is a simple one, and one of my favorites: simply go outside.

If you live somewhere that you don’t have access to the outdoors, you might have to find a nearby park, cemetery, school yard or anywhere else you can find a bit of quiet and green space, but if possible, I recommend just spending time in your yard or on your balcony.

This is the perfect time of year for this practice, and I spend time on the porch pretty much every evening during the summer. Sometimes I read or journal, but quite often I just watch the birds at the feeders, or lay in my chaise lounge and watch the trees above me dance in the breeze.

The only parameters for the practice are taking fifteen minutes of quiet outdoors. Very simple! But if you want to add something to your practice, you could try the Elemental Centering Meditation. Or you could do a bit of nature journaling by writing down what you observe happening around you: the temperature, the weather, the birds you see, the flowers that are in bloom or how your garden vegetables are coming along (I will cover nature journaling in more detail for our next 15 Quiet Minutes practice).

But mostly, just take some time to be still and quiet outside. Listen to the birds calling and singing. Lay in the grass and look for shapes in the clouds. Watch the ants scurrying across the sidewalk, the bees visiting the flowers, the fireflies flickering in the dusk (we don’t have fireflies in Oregon, so enjoy them for me if you have them!). Rest your feet in the grass and dig your toes into the warm soil. Notice what you smell and the feel of the air on your skin. Let your mind wander. Take a deep breath and relax. It’s summer, take a break and enjoy it!

Until next time, may you be blessed by the peace of long summer evenings!

15 Quiet Minutes: Intuitive Collage

So far for our 15 Quiet Minutes practice we’ve tried meditation and mindful walking. This time, we get to practice playfulness and creativity by making intuitive collages. This practice is simple, and requires NO artistic ability, so even if you feel artistically challenged, you can absolutely do this. In fact, this process may introduce you to creative abilities that you didn’t know you possessed!

Supplies:

  • A magazine or two that you can cut/tear up (some of my favorites include O Magazine, Live Happy, Yoga Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, and National Geographic, but if all you have is Popular Mechanics or Guns & Ammo you’ll find something there, too!)
  • Scissors (not necessary if you choose to tear your images instead of cutting them)
  • Glue stick (other glue will work in a pinch, but a glue stick helps keep your paper and images from rippling/warping too much)
  • Blank paper or your journal to glue the images & words onto
  • Any other art supplies you might want to use to decorate your pages (completely optional)

Intuitive collage is one of my favorite creative practices because it is fast, easy, and there is no pressure to make something “perfect”. As you can see from my collage examples in this post, I was definitely not going for perfection! I am sharing some of my collages to illustrate this post, but they are really just for me, not something I’d generally post on Instagram or share with other people. The purpose of creating intuitive collages is to have fun, listen to our inner wisdom, and allow our creativity to come to life on the page.

I created a video of my process of making an intuitive collage, to go along with the instructions below. This is my first video, so be gentle! I know I talk too fast, so sometimes it is hard to understand me—I will try to speak more slowly if I make another video. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about the fact that I sound like a teenager—young-sounding voices run in my family! (I’m not sure if this is a blessing or a curse!) The password is: collagefun.

To get started, gather your art supplies and find a quiet place where you can work undisturbed. The entire process may take you more than fifteen minutes, so you might choose to tear out images and words during one session, and then glue them down another day. Of course, you can always spend more than fifteen minutes working on your collages if you have the time to do so.

You can light a candle or some incense if you’d like, and set an intention for your session. It could simply be, “To have fun and play with words and images,” or “To listen to my inner voice,” or you could even treat it like a divination and ask a question and see how the images and words you end up choosing relate to that question. I recommend creating your collage in silence, but if you really want to listen to music, try to choose instrumental music. You want to listen to your own voice and wisdom here, rather than another person’s words and feelings.

Now, just start paging through your magazine, and tear out any words or images that catch your attention. You don’t have to know what you are looking for, or why something is calling to you. If you like it, or your attention is drawn to it, just tear it out. You may end up with a large pile of words or images, or only one or two. Either way is good.

Once you have collected your words and images, take your piece of paper or your journal, and start pulling out the images and words that are calling to you most strongly from your piles. Again, you don’t have to analyze them or have a theme in mind, just listen to you heart and your intuition. You can start arranging them on the page in any way that pleases you. This isn’t about perfection or creating a beautiful composition or a piece of art, so let that go. Just put things where you want them. You can glue them down as you go, or lay them out and rearrange until you get them the way you like, and then glue them down.

You most likely won’t use all the words and images you’ve collected, or you might, either way is fine. Just go with what feels best to you as you lay out your collage. As you can see from my examples, sometimes you might use a lot of images and few words, or a lot of words and few images. Some collages will be simple, some will be really busy. Just allow yours to be what it wants to be without a lot of thought or anxiety.

Once you have everything glued down and it feels good to you, you are finished! If you have art supplies and would like to, you can add paint, stamps, stickers, doodles or any other decorations you’d like to your pages, but it isn’t necessary.

Now it is time to listen to your collage and see what it has to say to you. For instance, I created the “live happy” collage below on a gray winter day when I was feeling pretty down. I was surprised that it ended up being so cheerful! But it did make me feel more hopeful and positive, and reminded me to add some play and fun to my life, as well as reminded me that winter doesn’t last forever and sunshine and butterflies would come again.

What is your collage saying to you? If you posed a question for your collage, how does it answer that question? Does you collage speak to any issues or events that have been happening in your life recently? Does it give you any advice? Does it speak to you about something that maybe you have been avoiding and need to deal with? Or does it remind you of something that you are grateful for or some positive action you should take in your life? You may want to answer these questions in your journal.

A lot of times the message of your collage will be pretty obvious to you, but if you are feeling confused about the message, you may want to write a story about it in your journal. Pretend the images and words are from a book, what story do they tell? You could also meditate on some of the words and images and see what insights they reveal to you. The message of your collage may not be clear to you right now, and that’s okay, too. Be sure to always date your collages, because you may come back to them and find they make perfect sense once you’ve gotten some distance from them.

If you have left-over words and images that didn’t make it into your collage, you may want to collect them in a folder or envelope for future use. I occasionally go through my magazine collection and rip out images and words I like and store them in folders. Then when I want to make a collage, I go through my folders and choose the words and images that are speaking to me in that moment. This is how I chose the images and words I used in my demo video.

I hope you will give this process and try, and I’d love to hear how it works for you or to see your collages if you want to share. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, too.

Until next time, happy collage making!

Supply Notes:
In my video I am working it my current journal which is a Pentalic Hardbound Sketchbook, 8 x 5.5 inch. I love it! It lays flat and takes acrylic paint well.

Another journal that I have worked in and really liked is the Aquabee Super Deluxe Sketchbook, which has a heavier paper that works well with watercolor and other wet media. This is what I use for nature journaling and other journals where I know I’ll want to use watercolor. I also have used and liked the Canson XL Mix Media book, which also can handle watercolor pretty well.

The glue stick I use in the video is Pioneer Photo Square Glue Stick, but really any glue stick will work for this process.