The Duality of Lammas
Lammas is the cross-quarter day which celebrates the start of the annual grain harvest. It is also the first festival which takes place where we are moving towards the long winter nights drawing in, yet much of the northern hemisphere is still baking in the heat of summertime, with gardens and fields providing fresh fruits, grains, and vegetables. There is a contradiction and a duality to this festival – it occupies the liminal space between commencing harvest of the season’s bounty, while not yet knowing whether that harvest will be successful enough to see us through the winter months. When a friend approached me about developing a tarot spread that would not only celebrate Lammas, but also kick-off her upcoming Year In The Wildwood, I found the themes of the season ripe for inspiration!
At it’s heart, Lammas is an agricultural festival.
As such, the themes of reaping what we have sown, harvest, abundance, fertility, and death are all present in equal amounts. Those plants which we harvest are making the ultimate sacrifice of giving thier lives to sustain ours, and we return that favour by carefully selecting the best of those grains and safekeeping them so that we will have the genetic materials available to ensure a healthy crop for the next year.
Even as we harvest, we are already preparing for the next season of plenty.
Reflecting the agricultural festivities, I created a spread that follows the botany of a stalk of grain, plus the process of its harvest. The themes of grounding, supporting, harvesting, sacrificing, and moving forwards are all present, with there being 2 cards each for the harvest and sacrifice positions.
Appropriate for setting goals as we move towards the time of year where many draw thier energy inwards, or as a way to gain clarity in regards to incomplete projects, this spread asks us to assess the choices we are making, and the actions we are taking – what are we on-track to receive, complete, or harvest?
The overall theme of the Lammas Tarot Spread celebrates the duality of the season: Abundance & Sacrifice – what do we sacrifice in order to ensure our abundance?
Card 1: ROOT – The root system sustains and nurtures the plant, holding it fast to the ground when wind blows. What is the base of support that keeps us solidly grounded?
Card 2: STALK – The stalk supports the seed head of the grain, keeping it from being damaged or falling prey to ground-borne disease or pests. What is our elevating strength?
Card 3: HARVEST – To ensure a healthy and bountiful crop, we need to understand the nature of what we are planting. How can we better understand that which we would like to achieve?
Card 4: HARVEST – In order to have a successful harvest, we need to tend to our crop’s progressive growth. What is our best approach to successfully achieving that goal?
Card 5: CHAFF – After the harvest, there is a need to separate the grain from the chaff. What do we need to sacrifice in order to successfully achieve our goal and ensure our own abundant harvest?
Card 6: CHAFF – The ancients discovered that the grain was heavier than the chaff, so could separate it by tossing it in the air and having the chaff blow away. What process will aid us in freeing ourselves from that which does not serve our needs?
Card 7: GRAIN – Safekeeping of prime specimens of grain is what will ensure a harvest the following year. What will sustain our progress moving forwards?
If you enjoyed this harvest, leave a little grain of feedback as an offering towards future growth…
I hope you will find this tarot spread both seasonal and enjoyable, as well as being an insightful addition to your tarot practice! As fellow tarot readers, I’m sure you are aware how valuable the feedback process is – I would love to know how the Speak of Secrets Lammas Tarot Spread reads for you… Please post feedback as a comment on this post so that I may refer to it when crafting future spreads.
May our fields grow lush, our harvest be plentiful, and may we never hunger – a blessed start of the harvest season to you and yours!