, Lammas is about loss.
And not just the safe, sanitised experience of ‘losing’ all those pesky disappointments and unwanted occurrences in our daily lives so we can move on feeling lighter and learned. But the brutal disappearance of something that no one is ever, truly really ready to see go : Life.
In story, the Corn King loses his life at Lammas, sacrificing his love and his later years for the good of the Land. He is cut down in his prime, not when he feels ready or has reached a ripe old age. He is at his peak, with the whole gradual descent of age and decay before him. Years of living, of Life. Taken. Given. Gone.
Which is why at Lammas I always honour the sacrifice of Life in the name of our continued existence. I acknowledge all the little deaths that occur in plants, trees, animals so that I, and those I love, might be nourished and live. The Land gives up a great sacrifice at Harvest time; so much of what it has worked to produce through the growing season. Do we ever ask how it feels about that? Do we ever wonder if the sacrifice if freely given?
In story, the Corn King is cut down by his lover, the Goddess, the Queen of the Land itself. This Lammas I have wondered much about her loss – a loss of love and of innocence. How does she accept that loss and her part in it? More importantly how does she grieve?
I imagine her grief as a wild, feral thing. A heavy weight that fuels intense action and intense repose. Just as the World becomes busy throughout the Harvest before finally falling, exhausted into slumber, so too I imagine she dances and wails her way across each empty orchard and fallen field. She works hard and long with blood on her hands to honour her loss, to make the sacrifice worthwhile and to experience the grief in all its violent, jagged glory. So that finally, eventually she can move through it, into acceptance and remembrance and gratitude for Life lived (and lost) well.
And only then will the Wheel turn.