Early in August some of us may embrace the seasonal celebration of Lammas. Should we be greeted by a sunny day, we can bask in the golden splendour, vigour and radiance found only at the height of Summer! This is the first of the harvest festivals where we honour the emergence of the first seeds, grains and other yields of the year. The vibrancy and productiveness of this period reminds us psychologically of 'what is possible' as we witness the vast, cumulative power of the life force - just as we are beginning to move towards the darker, more reflective months of the year. Lammas is when we start to gather together all that will nourish us physically and emotionally over the Winter. It is our optimal period for outer growth and expansion before we wind down and return to looking within.
As it is 'holiday season' this is a time in which many of us may 'let go' and allow ourselves to be more 'free' or open than at other stages in the year. We might find ourselves being increasingly 'wild'; paddling in streams; jumping in to the ocean; lazing back in long grasses or being struck by the brilliant colours of the flowers that we see all around us in dazzling full bloom. We may feel more 'joy' and find it easier to open our hearts to and connect with others. This is also perhaps a timely moment in which we can reflect on the nature of Love. We can often forget that love is a verb, an active 'doing word'. Too frequently we see people using this word without applying it. Lavishing many insipid “I love you” statements can be a way of attempting to control or even manipulate others in to doing what we want and thereby meeting our own needs. This is lazy and deceptive and renders the word meaningless. To live in a world that sees love like this, as a commodity or narcissistic tool, would leave us losing faith in the power of love itself. And perhaps we almost did?
Authentic 'love' is always wise and considered. It is not wasteful and does nothing without meaning. It is passionate, fierce and protective and it never gives up, not even when under attack and up against all odds. Love in it's primal sense is tenacious and generous. It holds no expectations but it gives freely because it can and because it is right and necessary to do so. It holds its ground and is not easily drawn in to life's dramas; other's self serving agendas and all that is vacuous or unnecessary. Love looks at what is needed and is drawn to the edges that most have given up on. It strives to meet challenges and aims to bring change or growth where there is most resistance. To love is to be alive, even when it hurts, because if we close ourselves down to pain we close ourselves down to joy and miss out on the depth and range of our experience. To love ourselves is to allow ourselves to open up and be vulnerable, to have the courage to let ourselves 'be' just as we are in the moment.
When looking for guidance on how to connect with genuine love and vitality we may look to the spirit of 'Sunflower'. Sunflower knows how to remain strong and true in its own glorious majesty. Its brazen stealth of growth, uprightness and incredibly strong stem reminds us to know how to stand tall in our conviction; especially when facing the injustices of this world and the evident assaults on nature. Sunflower helps us to see that we are worthy of love, honour and glory. It helps us to know that we deserve better care, thoughtful acknowledgement and that we have the right to claim this with warmth; in grace; whilst showing our gratitude to life for presenting this opportunity for growth. Sunflower, like Love, never loses its integrity. Real love is not afraid to say 'No'.
|A field of sturdy sunflowers gazing at us with their wide, fiery, open faces demonstrates the immense power that we would find if we were all to stand tall together; claiming our collective victory as we rise together as 'one'. As we look to the years ahead of us as 'Humanity' perhaps we can hold on to this image as we re-embrace 'active love' and bring about the world we know we can create when we truly come together.|
Summertime, time to be happy and relaxed, time to sit and watch the wonders of nature all around you, to be at ease, to sing a happy song and let the energy of summer nourish and soothe you. Let your troubles go.
We are also more active doing jobs around the home and busy in the garden, for this we need energy and vitality!
Nature provides an abundance of wonderful foods to sustain us: greens, salads, radishes, and soft fruits.
We can observe the pattern of energy change occurring in summer. We can say that it is more active, upward and outward energy. Everything in nature is expanding and growing abundantly.
Ancient Chinese culture named the changes of energy as "The 5 Transformations." Summer is also known as “Fire Energy” the time of the most active expansion of energy. At midday when the sun reaches its peak overhead, the cycle of energy is at its most expansive state, diffusing actively in all directions. Hence this is the most productive time for growth.
The two organs associated with this time of year are the Heart and the Small Intestines. The associated taste is bitter flavour.
When the Heart and Small Intestine are functioning well, we experience a feeling of tranquility and gentleness, whereas over-excitement and excessive laughter show some imbalance.
To maintain balance during warmer weather we make our cooking lighter, eating more salads and seasonal green vegetables and soft fruits, such as strawberries. As usual, we are best to eat locally-produced food, appropriate for our own climate.
If you want to do your heart a favour, reduce the amount of animal protein and dairy products during summer as excess fats may lead to heart problems. To nurture the small intestine eat fermented foods, fibre-rich foods and lots of vegetables.
Chigong practice or yoga can helps to keep the energy flow through the heart and small intestine meridians.
The following correspondences among personal, social and planetary health are taken from : The book of Macrobiotics, The Universal Way of Health, Happiness & Peace by Michio Kushi and Alex Jack (2013)
With my permaculture hat on I can acknowledge this work as valuable to our continued understanding of how everything is connected!
The sun, global air and water circulation.
Heart disease, hyper-activity, prejudice and discrimination.
Global warming, solar storms, air and water pollution, communications breakdowns.
Rivers and streams, biodiversity.
Poor blood quality, weakness, indigestion.
Toxicity, nutrient decline, industrial accidents, genetic engineering, overpopulation, species extinction.
|Many global problems can be resolved in the garden and in the kitchen!|
In a small pot bring to a boil the apple juice and rice milk, adding the salt and agar–agar, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the flakes melt. Dissolve the arrowroot in a few table spoons of cold water, Slowly stir in the boiling mixture and cook for a few minutes Add the rice syrup and white almond butter, if using. Place the strawberries in a flat baking dish, pour the hot liquid on top and allow to cool. When set blend until smooth and creamy. Serve decorated with mint leaves and fresh strawberries.
Top the above with Almond Cream if desired.
Preheat oven to 160 degree C, gas mark 3. Place the almonds in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. Place soya milk, rice syrup, vanilla and sea salt into a blender. Blend for 10 seconds to mix and add the nuts. Continue blending the mixture until smooth, then chill for 35-45 minutes in the refrigerator. Makes about 2½ cups.
Recipe from "Macrobiotics for All Seasons" by Marlene Watson–Tara