Lammas, space, breath, release, returning to self

Lammas blessings card, from a set of Wheel of the Year Blessings Cards by Danielle Barlow.

Lammas marks a shift for me.

From a time of year I find so hard (summer), towards something softer, more spacious. We begin to speak about turning inwards as the season turns back to meet itself in the weeks and months following the solstice. For me though, before this, there is an opening, a lifting, that can only arise from the letting go of summer’s hectic energy.

Space opens up.

Space to pause, to reflect, to consolidate. Space to breathe.

Lammas is the first of three harvest festivals, followed by Autumn equinox in late September, then Samhain in October/November. The three delicious months that contain these quarter and cross-quarter days are my favourites, every time.

There is nothing like the first morning I come down and open the back door to feel a subtle, yet sudden and new, chill in the air. Nothing like that late summer golden light and – oh – the long shadows of August evenings as they slip away. Knowing the swallows, my joyful summer companions, are fledged and in a month or two will be away to Africa. Poppies and mugwort, meadowsweet and the last of the yarrow, rowan and elder and brambles in their thousands. Moths and butterflies, bees making their last rounds. All of this in my cauldron, simmering quietly. Transformation.

It is a poet’s time, and a witch’s time.

Time to reconnect to those elements of myself, to return to the power and the magic I hold inside. Where summer holds me captive in a web of ‘should’ and ‘have to’, lists and mania, the arrival of autumn is a release and a return to self. I brush myself off, take stock, assess my surroundings. I find my words once more, having been dumbstruck in the heat of May, June, July. I am in love with these early signs of change – this moment, it still feels as though summer will go on and on… yet there is a scent, a sense, of change in the air, and I welcome it with brimming eyes and a swelling heart.

I begin to feel like myself once more. Though I have changed, I recognise myself.

In summer, life feels so manic I get lost. There is so much happening, so much growing. Weekends upon weekends are filled far into the future. Everywhere is busy busy, my phone pinging all day with invitations, activities. In work, our editor Tango is away on her long summer break, and I’m needed in the shop more as Hele’s summer is busy too. I’ve pared back a lot of LRT activities so I can manage it all, but my workload is still double the usual.

During this year’s heatwave in particular, I’ve found myself speeding up against my will. More coffee, more stress, more sensitive to the needs and demands of others. My boundaries more permeable, my roots less firm, a sense of being squashed, somehow, in a loud, bright and sweaty place. I felt like I lost myself in it all.

It happens. It’s okay. I am not here to complain.

I have known all along that this shift will come. That is what I have held onto, rooted into.

Now it is here.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in. I am grateful.

Breathe out. I am present.

Breathe in. I am connected.

Breathe out. I am free.

Breathe in. I am powerful.

Breathe out. I am brave.

Breathe in. I am here.

Breathe out. I am here.

I am here.

PS: I wrote at length about space and slowness a few days ago: The Seven of Pentacles is an invitation to integrate, and my full moon altar was dedicated to connection and integration.

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  1. Maggie says:

    Your writing holds a truth for me, the bringing of change, renewal, acceptance with the light breath of a new becomkng as I absorb the passing of old ideas and ways of being. Time to reflect and welcome this space that holds life and death in all its magic, pain and beauty. Thank you

  2. Yes! I feel the same. So excited for what the coming months will bring. The slowing down… all of it. I’m leaning into being present and hope to truly find a better practice during my most wonderful time of the year.

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