Lammas – the Sacred Consuming by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

Ceres – Hellenic image of Grain Mother. source: The Great Mother by Erich Neumann, pl. 60.

Lammas, the first seasonal transition after Summer Solstice, may be summarised as the Season that marks and celebrates the Sacred Consuming, the Harvest of Life. Many indigenous cultures recognised the grain itself as Mother … Corn Mother being one of those images – She who feeds the community, the world, with Her own body: the Corn, the grain, the food, the bread, is Her body. She the Corn Mother, or any other grain Mother, was/is the original sacrifice … no need for extraordinary heroics: it is the nature of Her being. She is sacrificed, consumed, to make the people whole with Her body (as the word “sacrifice” means “to make whole”). She gives Herself in Her fullness to feed the people …. the original Communion.

In cultures that preceded agriculture or were perhaps pastoral – hunted or bred animals for food – this cross-quarter day may not have been celebrated, or perhaps it may have been marked in some other  way. Yet even in our times when many are not in relationship with the harvest of food directly, we may still be in relationship with our place: Sun and Earth and Moon still do their dance wherever you are, and are indeed the Ground of one’s being here … a good reason to pay attention and homage, and maybe as a result, and in the process, get the essence of one’s life in order. One does not need to go anywhere to make this pilgrimage … simply Place one’s self.

Kuan Yin as Lammas Goddess – Compassionate One who receives all, and feeds all. (photo Yia Alias).

The seasonal transition of Lammas may offer that in particular, being a “moment of grace” – as Thomas Berry has named the seasonal transitions, when the dark part of the day begins to grow longer, as the cloak of darkness slowly envelopes the days again: it is timely to reflect on the Dark Cosmos in Whom we are, from Whom we arise and to Whom we return – and upon that moment when like Corn Mother we give ourselves over.  This reflection is good, will serve a person and all – to live fully, as well as simply to be who we are: this dark realm of manifesting is the core of who we are. And what difference might such reflection make to our world – personal and collective – to live in this relationship with where we are, and thus who we are. We all are the grain that is harvested and all are Her harvest … perhaps one may use a different metaphor: the truth that may be reflected upon at this seasonal moment after the peaking of Sun’s light at Summer Solstice and the wind down into Autumn, is that everything passes, all fades away … even our Sun shall pass. All is consumed.

So What are we part of? (I write it with a capital because surely it is a sacred entity) And how might we participate creatively? We are Food – whether we like it or not … Lammas is a good time to get with the Creative plot, though many find it the most difficult, or focus on more exoteric celebration. May we be interesting food[i]. We are holy Communion, like Corn Mother.

Meet Mago Contributor Glenys Livingstone


[i] This is an expression of cosmologist Brian Swimme in Canticle to the Cosmos DVD series.



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