Saturday, 2 August 2008

Lammas (Lughnasadh)

The first day of August is the Festival of Lammas or Lughnasadh which marks the time of the first (grain) harvest and is named after Lugh, a Celtic deity of light. Summer is still at its height but the days are shortening and autumn is on the way.

Today I met up with some people from the Avebury Forum for a walk from Avebury up to the Ridgeway. When I turned up as planned just before mid-day, it was still raining and the forecast said 'heavy showers' all day. Avebury worked its magic however, and the skies cleared, the breeze freshened and we enjoyed rather lovely wildflower walk up to the Ridgeway.
The original objective of our walk - to find the mysterious Polisher Stone was not achieved on this occasion as our guide and Stone expert, PeteG had been unable to join us.

The walk back down was just beautiful, the sun was shining, there was a warm wind blowing and the golden grain stood high, ready for harvest. Crows rose from the downland fields and filled the sky with swirling symmetry.

It had turned into a perfect Lammas Day (albeit the second day of August).

Now came fulfilment of the year's desire;
The tall wheat, coloured by the August fire,
Grew heavy-headed, dreading its decay,
And blacker grew the elm trees day by day.
About the edges of the yellow corn,
And o'er the garden grown somewhat outworn
The bees went hurrying to fill up their store;
The apple-boughs bent over more and more;
With peach and apricot the garden wall
Was odorous, and the pears began to fall
From off the high tree with each freshening breeze
(William Morris 1834 - 1896)