It’s Lammas, first of the harvest festivals. Also called Lughnasadh, but let’s face it – that’s so much harder to spell. It’s the time of ripe wheat fields, stories of John Barelycorn (or the Corn King), sacrificing himself – or being sacrificed – that we might brew beer and bake bread. And then plough him into the earth again so he can rise next year.
Given the plague, I’ve spend most of the last year home alone, and too much time in front of a computer screen. Nonetheless, this has been fruitful in at least one respect: my Lammas harvest is three stories, two submitted and one to submit soon. If rejected, they’ll surely turn up here. If they’re successful, they will turn up here too, rights permitting.
This morning I wrote a Lammas thing. I’m not sure if it reads more like a poem or like an academic abstract, but you be the judge of that. As always, comments and feedback welcome.
It’s Lammas, and the knives are out. Now is the time of sacrifice. We only sacrifice Grain and Gods, not animals, for we are not savages, we are cultured folk, even as we celebrate the wild and untameable.
The Corn King is dead, the Corn King lives. Wanted: John Barleycorn, dead and alive. It’s Schrödinger’s Barleycorn. It’s a Lammas paradox!
Why at the height of heat and harvest do we remember death when others wish to see only the cornucopia? It is the cycle, life needs death needs life needs death needs life… You can’t have one without the other.
The liminality, the edge, the hedge, the bridge, between life and death, between this world and others, between the physical and the imaginary, that’s where you’ll find us.
The Longman on the Hill isn’t just chalk. It’s a holy site. It’s Foucault’s heterotopia, the place that isn’t a place where we celebrate our Lammas ritual, between the worlds, reaping a harvest in all the worlds where we sowed our seeds.
So blessed be your harvests, of bread, of song, of projects complete, of sunny holidays well and truly earned. Blessed be, and rest well your deserved sleep, for soon it is time to plough and sow again.