celebrating the harvest

It’s been a while since I mentioned the Modern Pagan Prayers project. But today is Lammas – the traditional First Harvest – and this week the third of the books became available to buy on Amazon, so I think it’s a good time to talk about the project again.

I’m really quite proud, as the publication of Turn of the wheel means we – my co-author Lucía Moreno-Velo and I – have managed to complete three books in little more than a year. It’s an appropriate time for us to pause and celebrate the harvest of this writing collaboration.

True, they are not particularly long books, but in total there are 94 poems, prayers, blessings, songs, devotional pieces or whatever you choose to call them, in a variety of voices and styles. Some of the pieces are more poem like and others are more prayer like; some are decidedly Pagan, while others are more introspective meditations that I think would sit comfortably in any spiritual or mindful context.

red poppy

This latest book has 46 pieces in it. The first, New beginnings, marks the start of the year, then there are five for each of the eight traditional Sabbats and five for the Dead Time, which falls between Samhain and Yule.

Unlike the previous two books, there’s no end piece to bookend the collection, as the Wheel of the Year continues round and round, with no pause.

We started writing as soon as Elemental Voices was complete and it was strange to be writing about the winter solstice when we’d barely passed Hallowe’en. It was even stranger to be writing about Litha – the summer solstice – while we were still mostly in pandemic hibernation when the calendar turned to 2021.

pink geranium after rain

But professional writers are used to being adaptable and writing what is needed, when it is needed and not waiting for inspiration. As A A Milne wrote about magazine journalism:

The common joke against the Christmas number is that it is planned in July and made up in September. This enables it to be published in the middle of November and circulated in New Zealand by Christmas. If it were published in England at Christmas, New Zealand wouldn’t get it till February. Apparently it is more important that the colonies should have it punctually than that we should.

And that’s just reminded me that, although we may be celebrating Lammas, people reading this in the southern hemisphere are actually just thinking about spring time and more likely to be celebrating Imbolc or Candlemas.

Lucía and I actually finished writing the words for Turn of the wheel in mid May, though it’s taken a couple of months to find the time to get the layout and design organised and completed. Reading through the proofs together, we both exclaimed in delight at some of the pieces: they were enormous fun to write and seemed to have retained that same sense of joy and celebration.

yellow flower with bumble bee

Lammas was one of the festivals I knew little about when Lucía asked me to help her with the project, so I had to read up on the traditions and folklore of the season before I could write anything. In the end, though, it turned out to be one of my favourites and I loved learning about the multi-talented Lugh, warrior, king and master craftsman.

Here, then, is a celebratory harvest prayer for Lughnasadh:

In honor of Lugh of the Long Hand

Lugh of the Long Hand,
skilled in many crafts,
sun-god and storm-god,
descendent of giants,
wielder of sling, sword and spear,
rider over land and sea,
Lugh of the Long Hand,
we honor you this Lammastide.

Lugh of the Long Hand,
skilled in many crafts,
who spared the life of Bres
to bring us the secrets
of farming the land –
when to plow, to sow, to reap,
Lugh of the Long Hand,
we honor you this Lammastide.

Lugh of the Long Hand,
skilled in many crafts,
we acknowledge your legacy
in modern agricultural machinery,
in the great combine harvesters
that reap and thresh, gather and winnow;
Lugh of the Long Hand,
we honor you this Lammastide.

Lugh of the Long Hand,
skilled in many crafts,
god of the cornfields,
we offer you fresh bread
and fruits from our gardens.
Lugh of the Long Hand,
skilled in many crafts,
we honor you this Lammastide.

single ear of wheat

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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