The Poppy: Strength and Sacrifice for Lammas

Red poppy flowers in grass

I wasn’t intending on writing this evening.

But as I sat and watched the poppies that I planted in the spring, daintily dancing in the evening breeze, I gained some insights. The sort of insight that pull together random experiences and snippets of conversation into something that gives meaning.I am watching them now, dressed in bright scarlet petals, redder than red, teasingly bending and swaying on wafts of air. There is something supremely innocent and fluttery about them, something intangible, fairy-like.

In contrast there is also something slightly sinister about them. They remind me of blood. Under their dainty skirts, there is deep blackness. Their long slender stems and silken petals look oh-so-fragile and yet even the characteristically strong local winds can’t beat them. They speak to me of Sex. Og Strength and Success. Of War and Warriorship. Of Sacrifice and Renewal.

All of which are themes closely related to the Witch’s celebration of Lammas or Lughnasadh.As they are often associated with this Sabbat I also have them on my altar.

As I look in my Book of Mirrors from last year, I see that at Lammas 2013 I was all about the sacrifice; the moving forward; the leadership and the warriorship. I couldn’t wait for the autumnal season to begin.  This year I felt resistance. I wasn’t ready to address sacrifice, not just yet, wanting rather to put it offi for the next Sabbat of Mabon.

Why? Because I didn’t feel ready. I haven’t accomplished nearly enough of all the things I set out to do this year. I felt cheated… by not having enough time, not enough resources, not having done enough… here we are at Lammas and what has happened to the hope and dreams and seeds set in early spring?

Well. They are the types of seeds that need more than half a year to take root and form. They are not poppy seeds, but perhaps they are fruit trees…. trees that need long incubation, slow growth, tender loving care and temperate patience before they bear fruit. And that fruit… that which feeds us gives us sustenance, and help us grow, is perhaps the most rewarding and delicious of all. But it doesn’t come without a price.

For me the price is impatience. For me the price is that knowing that I just don’t have the time to do all that I want to do. For me the price is in the waiting. And the knowledge that some dreams will have to be sacrificed… to be reborn again…. because there are more prominent things that need my time, attention and space right now. Like my young family. Like my home. Like my relationships. All things that I hold dearest to my heart, that represent love and sustainence and abundance in my life.

This year, Lammas has felt more like Lament! Lamenting feelings of frustration. A feeling of lack of time and progress and energy available to us to focus on my career… my spirituality… to go deeper, perhaps be more authentic and true to certain parts of my soul. I appreciated the beauty of what I have, but I mourned things that I felt were missing in my life.  Actually, my poverty/lack of abundance mentality was off the charts… given that this is the time to be celebrating abundance more than ever!

Some seeds need slow growth, and can be left to develop for a while. Some plants need constant attention and care, or they will go to seed or be over-ripe before we have had a chance to even recognise and enjoy the real fruits of our labour.

Just as I am enjoying the beauty of the poppy that I have nurtured into being. Without my efforts, minor as they might have been, she would not have existed as a bright red flower today. The poppy bends and dances with the winds instead of resisting them and being uprooted. She stands tall and playfully impertinent, shining in  riot of colour; for a short season only, but oh! how brightly she shines. Her life is short, she finds time to set hundreds of seeds, never knowing if her efforts will be rewarded or not. As I write, she is still frivolously dancing, still teasing me.  She knows that really, there is plenty of time. She knows that she will be back.

As will I.

I wish you, dear reader, a wonderous abundance for the season. Don’t forget to acknowledge it!:)

 

And do feel free to write reflections on Lammas in the comments below.

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