First Harvest is a fire festival
Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.By Kate Braun / The Rag Blog / July 25, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011, is a good day to celebrate First Harvest, a fire festival also known as Lammas and Harvest Home. And truly, with temperatures soaring into triple digits here in Austin, Texas (and through much of the country) it will feel very fiery!
Although fire is an important element to this Sun’s-Day celebration, I urge you to respect burn bans and closely monitor any fire you may build, even one in a grill, chiminea, fire pit, or cauldron. I also urge you to wait until late in the afternoon or after sundown to begin your festivities and to provide plenty of water for your guests to drink.
Incorporate the colors red, orange, gold, yellow, bronze, and citrine into your dress and decorations as well as your food and drink choices.
Corn is the focus of First Harvest, so it should predominate in the menu. Cornbread, corn sticks, corn on the cob, corn custard, corn chowder, creamed corn, corn muffins: all these and more corn-rich dishes are possible inclusions to the menu, as are summer squash and other yellow vegetables, berries galore, roast or grilled meats or shish kebab, lite beer or ale. Add some legumes (peas, lentils, beans) and dairy (cheese, yogurt, the milk that goes into custard, chowder, creamed dishes) and you will provide your guests balanced protein as well.
If your celebration is a pot-luck, be sure to apportion any leftovers so that each guest takes home some food he/she did not bring. Sharing food at this festival is a ritual promoting prosperity.
An important part of this festival is giving thanks: to Mother Earth for her bounty, without which we would not live; to friends, without whom we would live lonely lives; to family, without whom we would not be. While you enjoy the good food and good company make time for each person to say whatever it is that they want to thank Mother Earth for.
Another appropriate activity is to recognize what you no longer need in your life and release it by writing it on a piece of paper and burning the paper in your ceremonial fire (or by burning the paper and grinding the ash into dry dust which can then be strewn onto the lawn or garden).
First-quarter moons are times to create plans to be fulfilled by the next first-quarter moon, but in order for the new to be admitted into your life, the old needs to be released. What you release can be anything that has outlived its use, or become something you no longer want or need, or that has changed from a positive to a negative in your life.
Remember that 2011 is a year of change but that we are not likely to fully grasp the extent or meaning of the changes until 2012. I strongly recommend keeping an open mind and going where the flow takes you. If you don’t like the beach you are taken to, catch the current and see what the next one is like.
[Kate Braun's website is www.tarotbykatebraun.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. See Kate at the Soul Explosion and Green Living Expo at the Westin Galleria, 5060 West Alabama, Houston, TX, Saturday and Sunday, July 30-31, 2011 Read more of Kate Braun's writing on The Rag Blog.]
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