Lammas after Lockdown by Laura Shannon

Today, August 1, 2020, is Lammas, the Celtic festival of late summer, the ‘feast of bread’, time of harvest and of golden grain. Here in the UK, Lammas arrives just as we are emerging from our coronavirus lockdown. It’s hard to feel a personal sense of ‘harvest’ when most people’s lives have been on hold since the spring.

Confined to our homes, many people could throw themselves into tending their own gardens (if they had one), but most of us could not cultivate the symbolic gardens of our lives and work in the way that we wanted. Many have faced deep loss, the withering of seeds planted in the past which could not now come to fruition.

Despite the tragic times, the earth continues to dance to the sacred rhythms of sun and moon. The trees are full of fruit, the fields are full of grain. Although I too have had my share of sorrow and grief in recent months, today I feel moved by the season to look at what we can harvest from our experience of the coronavirus pandemic.

Continue reading “Lammas after Lockdown by Laura Shannon”

Demeter – Mother of Creative Potential

JassyThis short paper was part of a series of assessment pieces for university where we had to imagine ourselves as people living in a number of ancient cultures. It addresses a very direct question: “Imagine you are in Ancient Greece sometime during the 5th century BCE and a family member is preparing to be initiated into the Mystery Rites at Eleusis. You have come to support them and join in the festival. Briefly describe your experience?”

It is the month of Boedromion (Late September/Early October) and the sixth day of the Eleusinian festivities held annually in the great city of Athens. I travelled some distance to take part in the nine-day festival held in honour of the ‘Greater Mysteries’ for which my niece prepared as an initiate. The city is alive with women, men and children from near and far. Many have come to take part and fulfil the countless functionary roles associated with the festival, along with the great crowd of initiates who have spent the past three days fasting and ritually preparing. Continue reading “Demeter – Mother of Creative Potential”

Winter Solstice – When Darkness Nurtures Light by Judith Shaw

Judith Shaw photoIn the Northern Hemisphere Winter Solstice, usually December 21,  heralds both the time of deepest darkness and the beginning of the return to light.  It is a liminal day offering a transformation from darkness to light.

In the mid-latitudes in the ten days after the winter solstice the hours of sunlight increase by only a few seconds up to a minute or so.  The world slows down allowing a time to relish the quiet of long nights and the inspiration of winter dreams.

Continue reading “Winter Solstice – When Darkness Nurtures Light by Judith Shaw”


While I would not wish to argue that Greek Orthodoxy is in any way a “feminist” tradition, the shadow of the Goddess falls long over the two great festivals of spring and midsummer.

In Greek Othodox tradition, there are two major spiritual holidays– Easter in the spring and the Dormition/Assumption of the Virgin at midsummer.  The Panagia, She Who is All Holy, also known as Mother of God, Virgin, and Mary, is a central figure in people’s faith–dethroned neither by the Reformation nor by Vatican II.  Indeed when I speak of the need for the “rebirth of the Goddess” in Greece, I am often told, “the Panagia is our Goddess.”  This may not be theological orthodoxy, but it expresses a truth of practice. Continue reading “SHADOWS OF THE GODDESS IN GREEK ORTHODOX TRADITION: EASTER AND THE DORMITION OF THE VIRGIN by Carol P. Christ”

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