Lammas: All that rise shall fall again.. says the popular pagan poetry! The newborn Sun-child of Yule has grown to be a rampant and playful youth and lover at Spring, committed man and husband at Beltane and responsible Sun-King at Midsummer. And at the time of Lammas, at the height of his supreme power, the King steps down- or rather gives up his life force to the land! This is harvest time in the fields, where Corn and other such grain are harvested. John Barleycorn is `baked’ and sacrificed. In God mythology, the God willingly gives himself up and the Goddess cuts him down, so that his blood may feed the land. Though it may sound alarmingly gruesome, this is to be seen in terms of symbolism, and not actual! The spilling of his blood is in fact the falling of the grains and seeds to the ground, that they may produce next year’s crops! Just as the fallen seed sleeps safely within the soil, till winter passes and next spring, so the spirit of the Lammas-King enters the underworld.
Autumn Equinox: This is the time when the wheel turns once more, from summer to winter. A time when the dark equals the light, and the night times begin to increase. Trees begin to shed their leaves in preparation of the coming winter, wildlife collects seeds and stocks up for winter and animal migrations begin. We celebrate the second harvest of the year- the harvest of the fruits. We also mark the balance of dark and light. In Wicca we re-enact the mythology of Hades and Persephone – her abduction, entry to the underworld, Demeter’s anguish and the withdrawal from the land, eating of pomegranate seeds by Persephone and her stay in the underworld. We use a spiral path-working to enter the inner-world, and plant seeds of our future ventures, so that we may nurture them during the winter months. In this ritual, coven members take on the symbolic journey of Persephone.