Astrology and Tarot, Holidays

How to celebrate Lammas and the Sturgeon Moon

The themes of the Sabbat and the full moon are really speaking to me this year. This weekend marks the beginning of the harvest season, and my garden is just about ready to burst forth with all sorts of veggies. I haven’t picked anything but herbs and lettuce yet, and now it’s time! My first tomato is turning red. My peppers re just big enough to pick. My turnips grew so fast, dewy purple bulbs are pushing up from the soil. The first green beans are as pretty plump. I’m planning a Sabbat dinner with some of these home grown goodies. For some top notch vegan recipes, sign up for the Arrow tarot newsletter here! I include seasonal recipes that I’m really digging.

Lammas and Lughnassadh Sabbat- August 1st

Lughnassadh is an ancient Gaelic festival to celebrate the beginning of harvest season. It falls on August 1st, and its a time to feast to break bread,and to grateful for the abundance of the earth. Some Pagan and Wiccan traditions celebrate Lammas, a very similar adaptation of the festival that falls on the same day. Sabbats fall at the half way point between solstices. It’s the height of summer, the heart of the season. celebrations honor the Son God, during his most sacred month. August is considered an auspicious month for handfasting and weddings.

The harvest is depicted as the Grain Mother.Like the vegetables in the garden that are ripe with seeds and abundance, the fullness of the mother holds at her very heart, the seed of all future harvests. The mother is pregnant not only with her daughter within her, but also her daughter’s ovaries, which contain all of the seed for all future generations. As the harvest is gathered, there is food to keep the community alive through winter.

The Full Sturgeon Moon – August 3rd

The names of moons were created by different Native American tribes, and are deeply tied to nature and the cycles of the year. The full moon in August (this Monday, the 3rd) is called the Sturgeon Moon because it was the time of year that it was easiest to catch these big, fresh water dwelling fish. They were abundant, a key resource for survival in the summer. Now, Sturgeons are extremely rare to find due to over fishing and habitat pollution. Some tribes call the August moon the green corn moon, the fruit moon, or the barley moon.

Ways to Celebrate

This weekend and into Monday, you can celebrate the spirit of the season in many different ways. You can find or make yourself a corn dolly, or a grain mother doll. They are made out of stalks of wheat, oats, barley, corn husks, whatever is available. Here’s a video on how to mak corn dollies. The doll is usually kept until Imbolc festivities. Made during Lammas, the corn dolly are believed to hold the spirit of the corn, and were burned or buried at Imbolc, to symbolize the retern of the corn spirit to the earth, thus ensuring fertility for the year ahead.

You can decorate with colorful Indian corn, wheat, red and orange flowers, like sunflowers and marigolds. This is a good time to set protective spells around your home. Create and bury near the entry way to your home: a witch’s bottle full of broken, sharp, pointy things, and a bit of urine (I know crazy – but a powerful protection spell!).

Have yourself a nice dinner on the night of Lammas or the full moon. It is traditional to have cornbread and seasonal vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers. You can make a dessert out of blackberries which are growing ripe and wild this time of year. Or perhapes have some blackberry wine, mead or beer.

This is a traitionl song that would be chanted at Sabbat dinner:

The Earth Mother grants the grain;

The horned God goes to His domain.

By giving life into Her grain;

the God dies, then is born again.

For this month, I invite you to work with Red Jasper, which resonated with the root chakrah. Red Jasper has been used for protection for thousands of years. It is believed to create and help balance aggressive, dynamic energy. A good yoga pose to embody these elements of the season is warrior three (Virabhadrasana III). One leg is extended back, long while the other roots down straight in support. Here’s a video of how to strike this pose. It stretches, the chest, shoulder, neck, belly and groin, complementing your work with red jasper. It clears energy from the crown to the tail. While holding the pose, I invite you try on the affirmation, “My strength is my foundation; my mind is limitless.”

I hope that you are growing full with the season and enjoying the warmth and bounty of the year. I know it hasn’t been an easy one for many of us. If you want to explore your own abundance, and capture the power of your spiritual harvest, I am here to create space and provide insight with tarot and coaching.

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August 30 – September 5, 2018: The Magician

The Magician is number one in the tarot deck; the card of new beginnings and opportunities. The Magician easily manifests what he wants in this world.  He says, “abracadabra,” a phrase with Hebrew origins that means, “I will create as I speak.” He has all four suits of the tarot deck at his altar: wands, cups, swords and pentacles are at the ready.

This card is associated with Mercury, a planet that has some interesting things happening this week. On September 3rd Mercury is in Leo, at a significant angle to Venus in Libra. There will balance and harmony in relationships with others. You should take great care with your words. You are well equipped to promote your ideas clearly, and with style.

On the 5th, Mercury enters Virgo, which will improve your critical thinking skills and help you multitask, handling tedious details with ease. Like the Magician, you have all of the tools you need to accomplish your goals right at your fingertips. Set ambitious goals, and with the best of intentions, get to work!

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August 23-29, 2018: Eight of Pentacles

A craftsman is hard at work, his achievements are on display but there is more to be done. This card represents a diligent attitude, suggesting that you are truly applying yourself to a major task. This is a fitting card for the week, because on August 23rd, the sun enters Virgo, which will you have feeling like a bit of a perfectionist. If you are having trouble staying focused, stimulate your earthly senses by exercising, spending time outside and eating well. Then give yourself some space from other people as you get back to work.

On the 25th, Jupiter is going to be in a unique position to Chiron. Chiron is a comet with an erratic orbit. This interaction will make you feel like you are gaining a deeper understanding of your world view.

It’s important that you pay attention to healing your deepest inner wounds as part of your growth.

On the 26th, the full moon enters Pisces, which will open the flood gates to your emotions and the feeling of perfectionism will grow stronger. On the 27th, Mars, which affects energy, will return to direct motion. Any sluggishness or difficulty focusing will subside. You’ll want to accomplish a lot, all at once. Pace yourself, be patient but assertive.

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August 9 – 15, 2018: Ten of Swords

Here lies a man who has been stabbed in the back; he is utterly betrayed and hopeless. But wait, on the horizon the sun rises in the sky. This is a reminder that suffering is temporary and dawn will always conquer the night. Part of life is experiencing failures, grief and suffering, but you can always rise again.

On August 11th the new moon will rise in loveable Leo. This is a time to embrace the things that make you feel special. What kinds of skills can you develop that will make you irreplaceable? Don’t be afraid to step into the limelight this week.

On the 12th, Mars turns retrograde in Capricorn. If you have been feeling busy and distracted lately, it’s time to recharge and reset your goals. Take a moment to examine the themes of your life. Ask yourself, “what types of responsibilities do I have, and are they necessary for the path that I’m on right now?” Then adjust your goals accordingly. You will begin to feel a new sense of focus and determination.

Stay in touch with your hopes and your fears this week. Know that everything is cyclical, everything changes. Don’t be afraid to try something new and to really check in with yourself from time to time.