Lammas Journeys

Kentish Wheat

Continued Lammas blessings from sunny Kent!

We've had another beautiful week of lovely weather here that magically hasn't turned to rain the minute the weekend arrived. My journey to work takes me through the country lanes that zig zag across an area known as the Weald, an old English name meaning forest which it once was, now villages and farmland both agriculture and live stock. 
Local Hay Bales at Linton with
Oast Houses in the background 
Every day this week I have seen reminders of the start of Lammas harvests as the earthly gifts from the Mother come to fruition, and yes I mean tractors and combine harvesters everywhere! Some are heading off to harvest and some are piled high with hay bales, whilst I drive past busy fields where balers are at work or silent empty fields where huge log like bales wait silently like vast draught pieces waiting to be put away for the winter. This year as I have been walking with Ker, I have sat behind them as they chug along slowly with greater patience and interest than before, watching and anticipating the changes in the fields I have seen all my life with fresh eyes and a greater familiarity. What a beautiful county I live in!
As I have been calling Ker in at my altar I have been consciously asking for Her strength and blessings to bring all my projects successfully to fruition
An Unexpected
Harvest
or completion so that I can enjoy the harvest of my own personal labours as well as a literal harvest from the allotment. This includes an ongoing Diploma I am studying for at work which has been a bit of a slog, renewed with fresh determination I've managed to crack on with it and am making headway with it again, at last. I also had an unexpected but very welcome harvest - some Danish Schnapps and Beer given to us by our lovely neighbours Naomi and Gary for feeding their cat whilst they were away and ten minutes later another neighbour popped round with some strawberries and cherries a thank you for a long forgotten favour - how blessed are we? The schnapps is called Akvavit made from either potatoes or grain and flavoured with herbs (how perfect a gift for me is that?) which is traditionally drunk on festive occasions after a meal - that's a perfect excuse for us to get together for
Ker - Gold Woman
some kind of celebration! 

I've also felt a bit more artistic this week and stopped procrastinating and finally decided to draw an image I had in my head of Ker as a Gold Woman (as opposed to the Green Man) and started sketching, not even giving up when I found that all my water colours were dried up beyond redemption and finished the work in coloured pencils. Not bad for a first effort! Time to dust off the brushes and buy more paints maybe.....
Folkestone Beach



Yesterday I was heading to Folkestone for a belated Lammas ceremony with the Folkestone Pagan Circle, I decided rather than take the car, I'd take a train and have a different kind of  journey for a change. I took a book to read en route and managed to buy 4 more books that were calling out to me in a charity shop I wouldn't have passed had I been driving. With titles such as Native American Myth and and Mythology and The Ancestral Continuum, how could I resist? I also had time for a stroll round the harbour to eat some
Old High Street
lunch and people watch, before climbing back up the Old High Street in the Artist's Quarter to find the Pop Up Temple hidden below the Cauldron of Inspiration - literally! After a warm welcome, Laura our lovely priestess told us how she was inspired by workshops on honouring our ancestors and cave art at last week's Goddess Conference in Glastonbury and that our own mini workshop pre ceremony was indeed Cave Art. I don't know how many people have seen cave art of red or ochre hand prints? It's been suggested that they are hand prints of blood following childbirth, either form the mother or the grandmother or elder women presiding as midwives, or even hand prints made during birth with the wall as a support
Beautiful Altars
for the mother, ouch! I've also always wondered how they managed to get the effect of a hand outline in silhouette - hollowed out bones acting as paint blow pipes don't you know! After this we grounded or centred ourselves in front of these beautiful altars before a chanting ceremony to honour  the Mother and the Ancestors. As I've said before I'm really not much of a singer but I was happy to join in warbling away out of tune not even deterred by Jenny's wonderful voice next to me! 
As we decided many centuries ago everyone would have sung or chanted practically daily and with no way to record it, no one was really aware how they sounded, which was probably a good thing! Either that or our egos were less fragile........ 

I particularly enjoyed this simple chant:
A Gift of Gleaned Grain

 Ancient Mother by Robert Gass*

Ancient Mother, I hear you calling,
Ancient Mother I hear you song,
Ancient Mother, I hear your laughter,
Ancient Mother, I taste your tears

After a wonderful afternoon filled with chanting, art and laughter with people who once were strangers and are now becoming friends, complete with an altar gift of grain 'gleaned' by the highly resourceful Jason, I took the train home surrounded by cheerful American families and tourists who were remarking how beautiful our county was - watching out of the window as the train devoured the miles of track home, not for the first time this week I agreed with them, new treasures in paperback forgotten whilst I watched familiar fields and hills unfold before me. 

                           Thank you for sharing my journeys with me.
Have a Blessed and Fruitful Week x x 


         
     Naomi's Lammas Basket
Folkestone Harbour


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*http://thepaganjourney.weebly.com/chants-and-songs.html

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