A Meditation for Lammas

In the season of John Barleycorn, the heat hangs heavy in the air as you enter into the clearing...

Reprinted with permission from "Wiccan Meditations" published by Citadel Press, a division of Kensington Books.

This is the season of John Barleycorn, the European God of the grain. Grain is a staple of life in many cultures, and their religions reflect this reality. Rites that celebrate the transformations of the grain, from planting to harvest, are at the heart of many festival cycles. One recurring theme in such rites portrays the essence of the God being absorbed into the grain. He is then cut down, a harvest sacrifice for the good of the tribe. In His rebirth each spring, we see the continuity of the cycle and the renewal of life.

The heat hangs heavy in the air as you enter into the clearing. It is accented by the loud humming of June beetles and the buzz of bees. There is hardly any breeze. A brook is beside you. The flowing waters of the brook look appealing. You think about removing your clothes and jumping in, but then you hear the sound of pipes in the fields on the other side of the brook. You're curious about what's happening, and go to find out.

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You cross the brook using stepping-stones and make your way up the gentle slope. There is a fence around the pasture. You find the gate, open it, and enter the field. The hay smells sweet and strong. The crickets are chirping. They hop out of your way as you walk through the tall grass. The grass tickles your hands and rubs against your legs as you make your way through it. A hare scampers and hides, camouflaged among the browns and greens.

You reach the garden that was planted last spring. You remember the planting rites and notice that the vegetables are full and lush. You reach out and part the large, rough leaves of a zucchini plant to see the shiny green fruit hidden beneath them. The cornstalks are tall-almost as tall as you. Nubs of young ears line their surface. The tomatoes are not quite ripe, but the peas and beans can be picked. You snap off one of the pea pods and break it in half. The fresh green scent is released. You place the peas in your mouth and savor their sweet taste.

You walk through the garden admiring the growth. The musical sound that beckoned to you is coming from the other side of the hill. With the excitement of discovery, you walk on.

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