Through my weekly radio show, I strive to create a medium for pagan, and spiritually progressive voices. Mainstream media has neglected these bards, great thinkers, and earth spiritualists. Yet their ideas, stories and songs can help us better understand the connections between earth as sacred entity and living sustainably amongst ourselves and our environment. I hope you enjoy listening to these ideas, philosophies, songs and stories as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.
Happy Lughnasadh. It is the time of the first harvest of summer and the sacrifice of the god of the grain, the oak king. What wisdom do you feel you can harvest from your experiences this year? Have you felt the need to sacrifice anything for the greater good of yourself or your community? Or
do you just love running around in the sun and eating wild berries? Many people experience this time of Lammas differently. In a way perhaps its all a first harvest, a harvest of experiences and memories. What are people but their memories within their physical bodies anyway?
Lughnasadh is also a celebration of the bread and the death of John Barleycorn symbolized in the scything or harvesting of the grain. "John Barleycorn must die!" is so true if we are to see him as an embodiment of all the edible plants we need to harvest or transform into food so we can live. That's what John Barleycorn (An aspect of the god figure, the Green Man) sacrifices himself for, the continuance of Human life.
After he dies he heads to the dark underworld, to face his challenges, his kingdom, or pact, he made with the goddess before he can be born again. The underworld has oft been described in tales as the prison for the dead. Today on the Lughnasadh show of Wheel of Wonder we talk with a Druid by name of Moss, who works in prison Ministry. A clear and present darkness, or some may say "self-induced lease to the underworld," prison, where people must meet and defeat their personal demons to learn and rehabilitate before being born again. It seems an appropriate situation from which to see and learn the meaning of the Lughnasadh season. I am thankful to Moss who chose to sit and talk with me about his efforts, insights and victories as a person in Pagan Prison Ministry. Happy Lughnasadh!
Although the Wheel of Wonder blog remained quiet for June and most of May, Wheel of Wonder is still broadcasting weekly on KAOS 89.3fm in Cascadia. Summers can get busy. I hope you enjoyed many episodes. I'm just back from the road, staying at another Sea Turtle Sanctuary, as I often do in the Summer. Not much to report back about the hatching of baby turtles, unlike last year when 110 of the creatures crawled out of the sand beneath the light of their first full moon. As a Naturalist, I've been enjoying learning and sharing information about the beaches of the wild Pacific Northwest Coastline, most especially in the area of the Salish Sea.
The beaches of
the Salish Sea
appear very rocky, barnacle
ridden and desolate. But they are an incredible cauldron of cold tides and
abundant, resilient life.
One can spend many hours exploring them. For an Earth Spiritualist, Ecologist, Biologist, or Bard, they offer many opportunities for stewardship and stories.
As the Wheel turns, we've passed the Summer Solstice, at which time I had the wonderful opportunity to join the local Sacred Fire Community for ritual. The theme of the evening was sacrifice. Sacrifice of bad habits and things that restrain you from becoming your best self and an asset to your community. As we move forward to Lughnasadh, this idea of sacrifice stays with me, through the dramatic reenactment of the death of the corn king, manifested in the harvesting of wheat and the baking of the bread and brewing of the mead. It also stands with me in the burning of the Wicker Man, the effigy that holds all the unwanted thoughts, going up in smoke. It will also drift through my consciousness in the falling of the Oak leaves to nourish the ground, though I realize I wont see the poetry of that dance until we are closer to Autumn. I hope your summer has been adventurous and educational as well, and may you find a fitting sacrifice of an old, bad habit to improve your life in the coming year!