The World Turns To Ice

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Lughnasadh or Lammastide

Now the Summer is at its height and the gathering of the harvest can begin.   Bonfires are lit to honour the Corn Mother as she gives birth to the grain, her harvest child. 'Demeter, the Corn Mother represents the ripe corn of this year's harvest, and Persephone represents the grain-seed who lives in the dark throughout the winter and reappears in the Spring.  Persephone's descent into the underworld is a mythical interpretation of the seed lying in the ground during the dark Winter months, and her appearance of the young maid, or the new sprouting seed, in the Spring', (from 'Sacred Celebrations' by Glennie Kindred).

I went to see a perfomance of this story by the Kindle Theatre company which was set in Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean.  The audience were all guests at the wedding of Persephone and the King of the Underworld and the story moved through the caves which were all lit up by candlelight.  It was one of the most magical things that I have ever been to.  I wish I could bottle the effect that it had on the audience and somehow reproduce that in my artwork.

Lammas is a time for feasting.  I am reminded of the harvest feast in Thomas Hardy's 'Far From The Madding Crowd', particularly the film with the lovely Alan Bates playing Gabriel Oak. How important it must have been then to get the harvest safely in, something that we don't even have to think about today, living in the West.

My little soulmate, Jasper the spaniel, and I are off for a walk now.  Perhaps I can find some corn on the edge of the fields to make a corn dollie or a garland. I like to try and keep these old traditions going if I can.

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