As the song tells us, John Barleycorn must die today, Lughnasadh. We're exactly midway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox, and it's the time of the first harvest. As TM and I strolled – actually TM never strolls, so I should say 'strode' – through the sunny lanes with their views across to Dartmoor the first combine harvesters were indeed shearing the barley at the top of the hill, so I took a handful from the spill slewed across the tarmac for our fire celebration yesterday evening.
This time last year I thought TM's and my relationship was done, but – like John Barleycorn – it rose again, and stronger.
So we had our fire ceremony, with fine food – the first significant harvest – from our vegetable plot. And I cast the handful of grain into the fire as a libation to the fire god Llew, or Lugh, and in the knowledge that phoenixes rise from the ashes of the old.
Here's a reblog of my Lughnasadh poem from 2012:
On the hill, the barley is dancing.
Heart, make your first harvest:
extend your arms like rays of the sun
to gather in all whom you love
and all too who feel themselves unloved:
the broken, the lost, the abused –
shadow-dancers all. Gather them in –
give them all bread. Give them
cause for laughter, for love.