This is a post I've been trying to write for some time. And it hasn't come easily. Not because I didn't have any ideas (that is never a problem), but because something else kept catching my attention. It's summer, after all, and the garden is calling and so is the beach and the porch, and festivals and fairs. But a thunderstorm is brewing and I now have time to sit down and write.
In the system of Four Elements (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water), summer is associated with Fire. "No kidding," I hear you say, as we collectively mop our brows. Here in Virginia, the temperature today is approaching 100° and with the humidity it feels even hotter. Now THAT is fiery!
The element of Fire is about change and transformation. It signifies ACTION. The "energy" of this element fuels the ideas we planted in the spring months into bearing fruit. In the literal sense, Fire can be destructive, certainly. But did you know that certain species of plants actually NEED the action of fire to crack their seeds so they can gain a foothold in the earth and begin to grow? Plants like pines and eucalyptus have a resin coating on their pods or cones and they can only open after fire has melted the resin.
To our agrarian ancestors, the season of summer was filled with hard work in the fields, tending to crops that would (hopefully) provide enough food for the winter. But summer also meant festivals and celebrations. August 1st is the feast known as Lammas and it honors the first big harvest of the growing season. The word "Lammas" comes from the phrase "loaf mass." In both Celtic tradition and the old religions, loaves of bread would be made from the first crop of wheat and blessed as a way to give thanks for the bounty of the fields. I like to think of this as a way to pay gratitude forward…being grateful for what's been given and for what's yet to come.
Within our body's energy system, our solar chakra (located in the solar plexus – or mid body) is all about personal power. It's where we gain and maintain the strength to "take action" and achieve our goals. And how about the word "solar" itself? It refers to the Sun -- Earth's source of energy.
Summer brings cookouts (fire) and farmer's markets (harvest) and county fairs (celebrations). At the heart of it all, our traditions haven't changed all that much from the old ways. So I'm going to continue to be outside while the garden and back porch call me. Because the fire of summer will be starting to burn down and I need to gather in my harvest of memories.
Where will you be for the rest of the summer? I'd love to know.