Thursday 1 August 2013

Tarot Blog Hop - Lammas 2013

'Prairie summer storm'. Copyright Alison Coals
Welcome to Alison’s Alembic!   You may have arrived here as a stop on the Tarot Blog Hop from either Bonnie Fernandes's blog or Christiana Gaudet's blog.  Or you may have found this through TABI’s Facebook page, or though one of the many wonderful tarot bloggers in the ether... It doesn’t matter – what does matter is that you’re here!
For anyone outside the community who might be reading this and who's not yet familiar with Lammas (!), it’s the festival of the harvest.  Also known as Lughnasahd, the cross-quarter fire festival, it’s celebrated on the evening of the 31 July and on the first three days of August. More specifically, Lammas is the first harvest (usually of grain and fruit – the basic food that sustains us through the winter), when farmers begin to reap the rewards of their hard work.  It’s associated with baking bread from that first harvest of grain, but has also been called ‘the festival of gratitude and first seeds’ because the grain is also the seed that becomes next year’s harvest – a reminder of the cycle of life.

6 of Bows, Wildwood Tarot
Lammas celebrates the alchemy of Water and Fire - we’ve just left the water sign of Cancer and are now in the fire sign of Leo.   The sun still carries enough energy to help the crops to ripen, but we need rain as well.   Lugh, the Celtic god and Sun King, gives up his power at Lammas, just as the sun starts to wane and lose its power.  We too need to give up something of our outer selves as we prepare for the inner journey of the winter.  It’s a time for assessment, as well as celebration.

Sharman-Caselli Tarot

Although I associate Thanksgiving (that’s my North American upbringing coming through!) with giving thanks for the harvest, I’ve come to see Lammas as a time to give thanks for abundance as well.  A time to share what we’ve harvested, both together  and individually.  With this in mind, the Tarot Blog Hoppers have been asked by our Lammas wrangler the following question: ‘what can I share from my table to enrich my community?’

Well, I haven’t grown anything edible in my garden this year, so that’s out!  Last year though, I had lots of tomatoes, more than I could eat at once, so I turned the excess into chutney. I thought I’d share my recipe (actually my mum’s) for green tomato chutney:

1 kg (2 lb) green tomatoes, washed and chopped
225g (8 oz) cooking apples, peeled and cored
225g (8 oz) onions, peeled and chopped
5cm (2”) root ginger
100g (4oz) dates, stoned and chopped
225g (8 oz) brown sugar
300ml (1/2 pt) spiced vinegar*
1 teaspoon salt 
Bruise the ginger and tie it in a square of muslin. Put everything in a heavy pan, and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring it to the boil, then simmer until the mixture is thick. Remove the muslin bag. Put into warm jars and seal.

(* Spiced vinegar: 1 litre/1.75 pints malt vinegar, 25g/1 oz whole allspice, 25g/1 oz mustard seed, 15g whole cloves, 15g black peppercorns, 7g root ginger, dried chillies)
Now, back to the tarot table.... a Lammas spread, and the cards that I drew from the Wildwood Tarot.
What is ready to be harvested from this year?
What still could benefit from the light and warmth of the sun?
What needs watering to bring it to fruition?
What seeds can be preserved and nurtured for the future?

I drew the following cards from the Wildwood:

The Ten of Stones tells me that I can begin to harvest the fruits of my labours in terms of feeling more ‘at home’ in the community.  It’s true that I’m starting to feel a sense of belonging, just over a year after moving here, and that my efforts to become part of the community are starting to reap rewards.   

The Four of Bows suggests that I could allow myself a little more time to enjoy these rewards, celebrating with my friends, old and new, before starting on the next phase.

The King of Vessels, represented by the heron (and sitting just after Lammas on the Wildwood’s Wheel of the Year!), indicates that I need to keep watering my long-held beliefs in justice and equality so that they don’t wither and die – a timely reminder not to allow myself to become too jaded!

The Two of Vessels – ah, what a lovely card to see in this position! ‘The initial attraction and exploration of potential’, to quote Mark Ryan and John Matthews in the accompanying book to the Wildwood deck.  The seed of a new beginning - a new friendship or relationship of some kind, perhaps - build from the abundance of the past year, to nurture... 
Thank you for stopping off here on your journey through this LammasTarot Blog Hop!  Please do come back and read some of my other posts.    

The next stops on the Tarot Blog Hop are - depending on whether you’re moving backwards or forwards through the list – Bonnie Fernandes' or Christiana Gaudet's blog . The Master List can be found here.

Sharman-Caselli Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections.

Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections.


  1. Great read and I love your 'Priaire Summer Storm' :-)

  2. Thanks for the Chutney recipe Alison! And that's a wonderful spread too! I love the way you're being encouraged to 'be' and to just enjoy the energies around you at the moment. I sometimes get so caught up in thinking about the things that need to be done I forget about that :)

  3. Thanks much for the Chutney recipe, and I am full-on digging how you are present tracking your process. Best to your wisdom shining, and you being wise in time in the moments that enhance your abundance. ~ Jordan

  4. Nice reading! The Wildwood is a deck I want to work with some day. And I love the recipe - I'll have to try that! Definitely a chutney fan :)

  5. Not sure I've ever had green tomato chutney but I love a bit of red tomato relish, so I'll give this a go. Thanks :)

  6. Great chutney recipe. Thanks!

  7. I am incorrigible when it comes to food ...that chutney recipe has been filed away for use soon....together with your wonderful spread thank you... HEY! Chutney...Spread..get it? get it?:p

  8. Great recipe! I'll try your Chutney :) hehehe Lovely!

  9. Love this spread a lot! Chutney isn't something I familiar with...well my mother had two orange cats, Chutney and Marmalade so I know it is a spread. I'll have to investigate. I love green tomatoes. Where I'm from? We fry them in cornmeal. :D

    1. Frying in cornmeal also good - haven't had them cooked that way for a long time. Cornmeal not so easy to find here!

  10. Chutney! Ah, the memories! I think I only tasted it once, though. Different flavors together, right?
    Love the Tarot spread for this, both the questions and the deck choice. Wildwood is perfect here!

  11. Love the sound of your chutney, and that spread is wonderful! Great concept, that some things still need some sun or water to fully ripen, and that the harvest is also the seed for the future :)