Lughnasadh marks the first of the three harvests: the Grain
Harvest of Lughnasadh, the Harvest of Fruits at Mabon, and
the Harvest of Game at Samhain. Ancient peoples celebrated
Lughnasadh as a time of great happiness, enjoying the gifts
of the earth. Yet the harvest also began the waning half of
the year, when it became time to stock up for winter. Our ancestors
put aside the abundance from the seasons of growth to see them
through the barren times ahead, making the harvest a time of
self-sacrifice as well as bounty.
Taking a modern psychological view in this age of plenty,
we can view this time of year as a period of purification,
mourning, and austerity. In the Pagan and Wiccan belief system,
we liken it to the dying of the God. When we harvest the grain
we harvest his body. We shed his blood when we harvest the
fruit, and we make a life-giving sacrifice when we harvest
game. On an internal level, we reenact the symbolism of rebirth
and reincarnation. We shed unnecessary things and turn the
Wheel of our souls so that we can progress and evolve.
During the waning half of the year, we seek the labyrinth
of inner-world journeys. Even as the God descends into the
Underworld where he will rule until he is reborn to the Mother
at Yule, we undergo introspection and transformation in our
own lives. One way to experience this journey is through use
of the tarot.
A Tarot Ritual for Change
To begin, set up your altar with a black cloth. Place an ear
of corn on the left side, a beeswax taper candle in the center,
and a chalice of wine or grape juice on the right side. If
you like, cast a Circle. From your favorite tarot deck, remove
these cards: the Hanged Man, the Empress, the World, the Three
of Cups, and the Two of Pentacles. Settle yourself in front
of your altar and light the candle. Take three breaths, slowly
exhale, and place the Empress face up in the center of the
altar. Focus on the energy of the protective Earth Mother.
See a sphere of brilliant green-earth energy surrounding you
and comforting you.
meditating as you cover the Empress with the Three of Cups.
Visualize all that is good and abundant in your life
and give thanks. Think of what you have harvested in this year,
what projects you have completed, and what rewards you have
gathered. Enjoy the feeling and be proud of your achievements.
Then, place the Two of Pentacles atop the Three of Cups. Imagine
the cycle changing, and accept that life is ever-moving and
that there is always more to do. Think about the things you've
accumulated—ideas, concepts, beliefs, and material goods—that
might get in your way as you shift into a new cycle.
this point, place the Hanged Man over the Two of Pentacles.
Envision yourself making the sacrifices necessary to open the
doorway for change. Imagine what you need to remove from your
life—faltering friendships and relationships, old goals
that are no longer applicable. See yourself now, making changes
and creating a space for new experiences and people to enter
your life. Know that if you have the courage to make room,
positive change will come.
Lastly, place the World atop the Hanged Man. Feel the Wheel
turning, and feel the Universe responding to your call. Know
that serendipity will fill your life as you let go of outworn
and outdated concepts and ideas. By surfing the crest of the
Universe, you flow with the current of change rather than attempt
to ride against it. Now pick up the chalice of wine or juice
and toast yourself, this holiday, and the spirit of change.
For only by embracing the void can we hope to attract new experience.
A Spread for Taking Stock
For this spread turn each card over in turn as you concentrate
on the question: What should I be focusing on in this aspect
of my life?
Card 1: Intellect
Card 2: Career
Card 3: Physical environment
Card 4: Magic
Card 5: Spirituality
Card 6: Health
Card 7: Emotions
Card 8: Sexuality
Card 9: Fate and what you can't control
2001 Tarot Calendar ~~