Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Eve 2013

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This entry will cover the August Eve / Lammas / Lughnasadh ritual and celebration for the Circle of Open Traditions!

I recently posted a full entry with extra images and a detailed description of the altar I put together for August Eve.  If you haven't seen it, head over to that blog entry by clicking here.

Like most of our celebrations, this one began with a dinner.  Everyone in the circle participates by bringing one dish to the table.  The theme of this harvest was wheat and corn, so most of the dishes brought involved at least one of those ingredients.

After dinner, we headed downstairs to do the ritual.  As per most of our rituals, I like to spice up the circle area with extra decorations.  This one was no different.  Tall wheat and dried plants leaned against the altar with green ribbons.  A large wooden kitchen fork and a kitchen witch straw doll also adorned the center of the circle.  On the altar sat two large jars of corn kernels.  I left the hanging mesh ribbon of white and gold up from Midsummer since the colors were appropriate for August Eve.  You'll see many of these decorations in the pictures below.

The first step of course is to open the circle.  We do this by spreading salt, lighting candles at the corners and charging energy within the center of the circle.  You can see the latter of the three above.

Above are three pictures from the lighting of the candles at the appropriate corners.  Usually four people out of the group choose a corner that they feel especially connected to.  That person will then call that corner and light the candle at the beginning of the ritual.  They'll return to close it and thank the quarter when the ritual is complete.

This sabbat's ritual was written by Rosa.  It is my strong belief that everyone in the Circle should have a hand in creating our celebrations and beliefs.  Most of the members by now have had a chance to write a ritual for a holiday.  Rosa chose August Eve and her ritual was very to-the-point and spot-on!

There was more energy raising, of course.  Each ritual also gives everyone a chance to call upon a deity, energy or other spiritual influence they most associate with the holiday.  Each person in the Circle has a different pagan belief, so it's important to me that they get that chance.

The next step of Rosa's ritual was to give thanks for the people and events in your life that made you who you are today.  We did this by carving the rune Eihwaz into a green tealight candle as so:

Eihwaz is a rune that represents a yew tree.  It is the rune of strength and change, which is appropriate for the passing of any holiday or season.

After carving the rune into the candle, we lit them. We then began calling out things we were thankful for, such as the Circle itself, friends, family, and events in our life.  We would write them on a torn strip of paper and burn them in the middle bowl.

After giving thanks for people and events in our life, I then handed out rolls.  For each bite we took, we named an accomplishment we achieved this year.  For example, one of my big accomplishments was losing 40 lbs and maintaining my other blog, The Progressive Planner.  

With that, Rosa read the following poem by Tory Adkisson, aptly named "First Harvest," as I began preparing for the full moon portion of the ritual.

Watch how he lessens
his gait. The brim of his hat
tilts slightly, a halo

of salt encircling
his brow, just visible in the shadows.
I’m attracted to the metal

rivets of his tractor. It wallows in oil
before meticulously picking
through the cornfield, one

stalk at a time. I’m new to this
whole idea of harvesting.
The desert I love is full of needles

& no one ever picks them.
The moon’s seasonal orange
has never been, for me, a mask

celebrating the coming
winter. Here the leaves change
color, wither,

& die. Nature reminds us, not too
subtly, that this is what we all do.
For now this boy will have to hold

my attention. I’ve watched him
change along with the weather,
his summer tank top

gilded with sweat. His spring
jersey, autumn wool & flannel.
Still the strain of work

persists like a flame. Still the sweat
persists, the crotch of his jeans
stretching thin, the stench

of manure & compost caked
into his boot heels. The exact point
of hunger, the soles

I must follow. Some nights
he’s alien. Like the moon,
he doesn’t notice me idly

paging through a book. Some nights
he doesn’t notice he’s the one
who’s smiling. 

Our full moon rituals are simple, involving the passing of bread and wine (or any appropriate sabbat or esbat drinking liquid, such as beer, tea or water depending on the season).  We give thanks for the earth that nourishes us, the water that quenches our thirst and the world for providing.  

We then discuss the goals associated with the moon.  This full moon focused on relaxation, so we discussed our favorite hobbies and some things we want to get back into doing. This is the final step of any ritual.  We then close the circle and release the energy.

"Blessed be!"
After completing the ritual, we headed upstairs and made corn dolls.  Corn dolls are an important part of Lammas traditions.  Each year, you make a new one to replace the old.  Here's the old one from last year:

And here's my new one!

Here's everyone with their new corn dolls!

And that concludes our August Eve festivities!
From my family to yours, have a blessed Lammas!

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