Hail Lughnasadh Harvest!
The festival took place yesterday heralding the time of Summer harvest which would normally indicate the decline of Summer. The weather and the seasons, now in many places though, are interfused.
The Celtic festival is usually celebrated midway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumnal Equinox. It is the 3rd of the Earth festivals (Imbolc in February; Beltain April/May and Samhain in November); and the first of three Autumnal harvest festivals (Mabon and Samhain).
Said to be named after the god Lugh, whose Mother, Tailtiu, was associated with agriculture in Ireland. Hence, the association with harvest time.
Several nights ago, in a vivid dream (they all are) I’d been given a massive basket of real breads from a baker in another time and was inhaling their delightfulness, and searching for raw, unsalted goats’ butter! I still salivate thinking of it.
Also called Lammas (loaf mass), when wheat was treated very differently and left to dry in sacks instead of being fast-dried in heaters; or named the Festival of Bread, Cornucopia (the horn of plenty) or First Fruits and others. I remember my Mother referring to it as: “Bilberry Sunday” (akin to blueberries) when they picked those berries to make desserts.
My harvests from earlier in the year, include nettle leaves for infusions (below, dried in the dark after this photo); and later nettle seeds to eat (left, sun dried with windowbox chamomile flowers).
As I have no drying sheds for larger quantities, I buy quantities of organic herbs when my locally collected ones have run out.
But, if we have more heatwaves and storms in September or October or even November, who knows what plants may proliferate?
Angaangaq, the global Shaman of Greenland, relates that his Shamanic ancestors told him, although cultures the world over all had the same inherent knowledge of Earth/Cosmic changes at 2012, no-one really knew precisely how these evolutions would take place.
When pressing his Mother further for an answer, she smiled and said: “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and then … nothing!” He noted that the snow in Greenland was months late and not much of it, for the first time he’d known in his life and that the seasons themselves were changing significantly.
Certainly, in Britain, we had a very delayed and brief Spring in 2013 leading to alterations in the insect kingdom which affects birds and mice as well as the trees.
When I returned from the moist, mossy moors of North Yorkshire, Margravine was in drought with trees releasing their branches in order that the whole tree survives, purple thistles were brown, bright blue cornflowers and orange poppies gone. The grass and long grasses were yellow, dry and crisp.
Permitting this drought to affect flora and fauna (one woman did her best to feed a sapling with tap water) seems unevolved given the underground springs in this area which used to be an enormous market garden a few hundred years ago (and there are many underground rivers all over London). The spring water is amply used by Queens Tennis Club for their lawns with revolving hoses!
Fortunately, I had harvested a supply of precious linden (below) for infusions as well as elder flowers (more detailed in a previous post) to dry before the drought along with the nettle leaves and nettle seeds above.
A Tree of Lemon-coloured Linden Flowers
After the spectacular, flashing storms, the grass became a little greener, the chickweed returned, the magnolias are reflowering early, some of the the ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) is up to my chest when barefoot; and the plantain (I use the leaves in juices) grows rapidly as soon as it’s been cut.
The pollution levels in all major cities in the UK have been over the legal limit for many years so our green spaces are a divine gift to be treasured. Plantain – when it grows high, indicates that pollution levels are low. In Margravine, there are 6.2 hectares with over 300 trees which absorb and clear toxic waste. The area has mowed, winding paths, to allow people to walk between the flowers and grasses which form a charming meadow. Thank you trees.
Lush green meadow – plantain leaves may be used in juices or chopped small in salads
Quinoa is a not a grain but a seed. Lightly cook the quinoa for about 5 minutes and leave to stand for another five to get light and fluffy.
You can add anything you wish to quinoa such as avocado, mushrooms, tempeh, goats cheese, fish or chicken if you eat it.
I wanted plenty of flavour so I added: one tablespoon dried nettle seeds, freshly snipped chives, purple sage, parsley, thyme, rosemary and lilac thyme flowers; chickweed, salad sprinkle seaweed, 1 teaspoon kelp powder, sesame seeds, cayenne pepper and turmeric, a little barley miso, garlic, Pink Himalayan Salt and Seggiano Olive Oil and Balsamico di Modena, mushrooms gently warmed in coconut oil and avocado – adjust ingredients according to taste.
I wish you an abundant harvest for both body and soul.
Kwak wha, Lolmani
(thank you, may there be good things in the future.)
from the Hopi Prayer for Peace letter
by Kikmongwi (Village Chief) Lee Wayne Lomayestewa
PS My window boxes were over 30 inches high including the red clover blossoms. After the big harvest trim, three of these mysterious mushrooms grew. If anyone can identify the species, I’d be most grateful. I gave them to one of the mushroom growers at the farmers market for analysis but no reply so far.