The online version of our seasonal Tree of Life Cycles newsletter for First Fruits 2021.
First Fruits | Lammas | Lughnasadh | Second Cross-Quarter
(Click here to read about the names we chose for the annual cycle of traditional festivals throughout the year, and why we chose them).
Welcome to our newsletter for First Fruits!
First Fruits | Lammas | Lughnasadh | Second Cross-Quarter
GATHERING IN : HARVEST : GRATITUDE : CONSERVATION
First Fruits marks the early stage of harvesting, when there is enough wheat to make the first loaf of bread — the Christian festival name ‘Lammas’ is from the Anglo-Saxon word hlaf-mas, meaning ‘loaf mass’. The gathering in begins here, and continues over a period of three months until the nights become darker and we celebrate Deep Roots at the time of Hallowe’en.
This is a time to assess your productivity and congratulate yourself on how far you have come, being aware that you have more to do. Nothing else can be planted for the time being, but caring for your ‘crops’ is an ongoing activity during the long hot summer.
The goddess Demeter (pictured) presides over harvest activities and we acknowledge the feminine, mothering aspect of Nature who provides for us. Her green springtime cloak, when she visited as the girl Persephone, has matured and she asks us to acknowledge her loving potency. We should never take her for granted. Just because we can now visit a supermarket and collect fruits and vegetables out of season, airlifted in from other parts of the world, doesn’t mean we can ignore the fundamental cycles of growth.
Staying in touch with the dynamic energy of the natural seasons is essential if we want to understand the best way forward for our species, a new vision for living in harmony with the hidden power of the gods and goddesses, the fairy folk and nature spirits. This harmony will support life, even when the supermarkets find it hard to keep their shelves and freezers stocked.
Something to do
Make a loaf of bread! If you can make a plaited loaf that would be lovely to share — and give you a really special feeling of having created something as a ceremony to honour the Harvest goddess. Buy some ‘fruit of the vine’ — that could be red grape juice, pomegranate juice, or red wine if you are okay with alcohol.
Invite family or friends to share your bread and juice (or wine) as a celebration of life. Find local produce and check out what is ripe for eating. Make a dish based just on seasonal food, available in your area. Always light candles for a special meal and say blessings for the gods and goddess, or the nature spirits. Then send gratitude to your local growers. You can sit around the table telling each other how things are coming along in your life generally, and especially whether your plans or goals for the years are maturing towards a good harvest.
Take quiet time outside in natural surroundings, away from the bustle of the town. Look for signs of blackberries ripening, or apples looking like they will soon be ready to fall. Observe the coming and goings of the birds and any other wildlife.
Write in your Journal, describing how you feel about your projects for this year, and for the longer arc of your life journey. Have you arrived? Are you just setting off? Perhaps you have completed something and you are ready for a new beginning?
The heroic welcome
The festival of First Fruits always arrives during the second ‘decan’ of the fire sign of Leo. A ‘decan’ is a 10° segment of a 30° zodiac sign. The Egyptians used decans as a time-keeping system and they have been incorporated into astrological systems. In recent years, decans have become popular, following the publication of Austin Coppock’s in-depth book, The 36 Faces. (Unfortunately, this is currently out of print, no second-hand copies are available, and keen astrologers are eagerly awaiting the second edition, for which there is – so far – no publication date. (Click here if you want to be notified when it’s available).
Another astrologer who covers decans — this time in videos — can be found at spencermichaud.com. Spencer has what he calls an inter-disciplinary approach to divination – he uses a combination of astrology, tarot and I Ching.
The Golden Dawn approach to tarot included using minor arcana cards to represent each of the thirty-six decans. The Ace in each suit is excluded, leaving nine cards in each of Pentacles (Earth), Swords (Air), Wands (Fire) and Cups (Water). Nine cards in four elements makes the thirty-six allocated to each decan.
The second decan of the sign of Leo is represented in the Golden Dawn tarot as the 6 of Wands, and in the classic Rider Waite deck we see a hero returning home, greeted by laurels to signify success.
This year, 2021, the First Fruits festival has a very special vibration, as it coincides almost exactly with a New Moon. (The cross-quarter festival of First Fruits has the Sun at 15°, while the New Moon will be at 16°).
Think of this New Moon as an opportunity for self-reflection, where you can chart your personal heroic journey so far, acknowledging successes — and failures. Every hero will have had her challenges! When the hero ‘returns’, this is not the end of the story, it is an opportunity for renewal — and this is signified by a New Moon. Under a New Moon we can clear old karmic patterns, discarding old patterns of behaviour, while at the same time affirming the positive choices that lead to getting those laurels. If you haven’t yet collected the accolades or recognition you feel you could achieve, then this is the time to reset your compass. That recognition doesn’t have to be public, like an Olympic gold. It can be acknowledgment within your personal, private sphere of influence, or within your family or work place.
- Successful research and development.
- Shefa Method Special Offer.
- Webinar announcement.
- Shefa Method book this Autumn.
- Revised Newsletters.
Successful research and development
Our recent research and development campaign, where we invited subscribers to enrol on The Shefa Method at no cost, so we could test responses and find opportunities to improve the online system, was very successful, with many students being totally committed to their twice daily meditation program. We got lots of positive feedback and that gave us the confidence to reach out to a wider audience, so a big thank you to all partcipants!
Shefa Method Special Offer
Having gone through our rigorous research and development phase, we have now announced the full price in the website shop, with The Shefa Method at £997 and Shefa Expansion at £497. BUT, as a subscriber, you are the first to know about our very Special Offer during August.
Enrol on The Shefa Method at only £597 (discounted by £400) and get Shefa Expansion as a FREE bonus. This will be a total saving of £897… AND you can pay on an instalment system of just £199 a month over three months.
We will very shortly be announcing a free teaching webinar all about why The Shefa Method is such an amazing technique, quite unlike any other, and there will soon be more free YouTube videos that also touch on the subject, so look out for messages in your Inbox when these are available.
Shefa Method book to be published this Autumn
Exciting news – I am presently working on a new book about The Shefa Method which will be published this Autumn by Balboa, an Imprint of Hay House. This will mean The Shefa Method can reach a bigger audience. I’ll keep you updated when I get a firm publication date – and we’ll be making a Special Offer on this for all our followers.
In the Golden Boughs Tree of Life Cycles newsletter we announced we would be cutting the content in our newsletters. We found they were getting very long, so we thought this through carefully and decided to use the newsletter format to cover topics directly associated with the changing seasons, based on our SoulSchool calendar of festivals. Although we have included SoulSchool news in this First Fruits newsletter, we will be keeping news announcements for occasional emails to our followers. This way, when there is some news you will hear it immediately! In order to reduce the length of the newsletters we are also cutting out Recommendations but, as with news items, if we come across something special by way of a book, movie or web content, we will send you a message.
Make sure you stay in tune with Mother Nature’s cycles by celebrating the passing seasons and giving thanks…