Bringing in the Sheaves: a Joyful Harvest

Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves;
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

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This Protestant hymn was one of my favorites growing up.  Of course, as a child, I didn’t fully grasp the liturgical message of the lyric, especially in the (omitted) third verse*.  But, I did enjoy the idea of celebrating at labor’s end. — Rejoice in the harvest; reap that which has been sown.

Lammas (also called Lughnassadh) is the great festival of Lugh, the Celtic Sun god, in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu.  The first of three harvest festivals, it is a time for gathering in and giving thanks for abundance. Our hard work will help feed us through the winter, as well as provide the seed for next year’s rebirth, regeneration and harvest.

I do like to use this time of the year to look back to the intentions I had at Imbolc and see how far I may have come in order to achieve my goals. Since I am a Great Procrastinator, I usually find that I have somewhat fallen short.  But, this harvest holds at its heart the seed of all future harvests.  For me, the celebration lies in the fact that I always have another chance to succeed, as long as the seeds of my desires live on.  As I carefully save the seeds from the fruits gathered from my garden, I am reminded to hold onto my dreams and tend them until they do reach fruition.

But, underlying this celebration is the knowledge that, as the Sun wanes, it is a time of change.  The darker days of winter are around the corner. It is time for me to take stock of the preparations I have made.  I may have a bountiful harvest from my garden to enjoy in the dark of winter, but do I have more preparations to make to realize the personal goals I may have set for myself?  So often, we have our “eye on the prize” — and risk falling, — tripping over bumps we do not see in the road.

I’m thinking of my favorite image of The Fool in my Hoi Polloi tarot deck. Like him, I see a new adventure in front of me, every day.  But, also like him, I risk falling if I am not prepared for what may lie ahead.  One step at a time, one day at a time, one harvest at a time.

I wish you blessings.

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*Did I make you Google?