Ecopsychology: Celebrate First Harvest

Time in Nature never fails to remind me, there is a season for all things~that yes all passes, but it too again returns.

And like that, my favorite season of the year has arrived: Driveway flowers time! 

🙂

I can’t even write the words without a swing of delight moving my heart, landing a smile on my face.

Past germinations of floater seeds made it beyond the pots and landscape mulch where they were planted years ago, and now come up perennially through the inches of gravel rocks in the driveway starting every year some time in late July.  It is something I celebrate so joyfully, this simple thrill of the whim and wildness of Mama Nature.  How Nature centers us again and again with reliable, sweet mysteries:

I will never comprehend the massive potential of Life that exists in but a teeny, tiny seed.

The end of July also tips us seasonally towards First Harvest.  Accordingly, this is often when the marvel and wonder of the little elegant gifts of Mother Earth most seem to touch my heart.   I love harvest season. 

Harvest Season:  traditionally–traditional here meaning according to agricultural, indigenous, and other traditions that live/d close to the seasons of Nature–begins with the full moon that is coming this week. Thursday, August 15.  It is the moon known as a mid-summer, or the moon midway between the summer solstice and the fall equinox.

For me, it’s the sighhh deep in satisfaction moon of long, ripe days of Indian summer still to come, of second season food specials with friends you haven’t seen all summer because they’ve been on that grind in town, it means oysterrrs and drowsy naps, long yellow sun and deepening shadows, rustles of coolness in the twilight trees, football Sundays and so much more.

Locally, the Berlin Peach Festival was over the weekend.  This celebration takes us back to a time, in the words of my mother, repeating the stories of her grandmother, when the peach orchards across the way were as far as the eye could look.   It serves to connect us today back to a time when our local culture thrived because of agriculture.  Likewise, in Snow Hill over the weekend they had the Blessing of the Combines, too.

That is First Harvest: the reminder that we don’t need to look too far back to connect to ancestors who lived the experience of being responsible, sacred benefactors of the direct sustenance of Mama Earth.

First Harvest is a time to celebrate this, to acknowledge our interdependence on Nature.

This is true of this time of year the world around: while Harvest festivals differ according to varied cultural beliefs and sacred stories, all cultures traditionally celebrate an integral connection to the abundance of, and our reliance on, Mama Nature.

In China, the mid-Autumn moon festival is celebrated as a time of sacrifice for continued growth and blessings.  It is honored on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.  Similarly, Japanese cultures celebrate moon gazing on the Chūshū Moon on Jūgoya No Tsukimi, or 15th day of the 8th month according to their traditional lunar calendar.   This is a time to literally witness the moon and express gratitude for a good harvest and its continuance.

In Iran, and ancient Persian cultures, there is the Persian Festival of Autumn, known as  Mehregān مهرگان or Jašn-e Mehr جشن مهر.  It is connected to what is known anciently as Mithra or Mihr.  It is a sacred time to celebrate the overall bounty of love and affection.

In Russia, the harvest festivals of August are known as Spas.  There are traditionally 3, each one unique and celebrating either honey, apples, or nuts.

Native American tribes like the Iroquois, Cherokee and Seminole, among several others, celebrate the new year in the early part of August with the Green Corn ceremony, a time for  fasting & purification.

All of these rituals and festivals emphasize making offerings and honoring the cycles of oneness that sustain us, in order to ensure continued harvests.

It is a time that we trust in the momentum of growth, of personal and collective labor and toil to produce a bounty for one and everyone.  It is the time we take stock.

We are connected, all of us, every action, every thought.  In ways fresh and darling as driveway flowers or pure as the brine of a fat bite of local oyster.  We are connected in ways as ancient as festivals that go back to Celts or Druids and as present as that fat big boy tomato, that juicy bite of fresh grilled silver queen corn.

How has your own work produced your own bounty this year?  What has the miracle of light grown this year so far in your own life?

Join us to celebrate.  The Delmarva Free School and Assateague Coastal Trust are hosting a First Harvest bonfire on Assateauge Island National Seashore, Saturday, August 17.  We will host a traditional sacred circle to give thanks, and all are encouraged to bring homegrown herbs or veggies to signify our grateful bounty! All are welcome!   Archeologist Edward McMullen will be our guest speaker that evening.  Social time and continued bonfiring to follow the close of our circle.

This event is to awareness raise about the importance of keeping connection to nature for both our own mental health and for the legacy of our communities.  We will culminate in late fall with a large litter clean-up on one of Assateague’s low lying backroad water sheds.

This event is also a free benefit for members of the Free School.  We are asking for $10 a person for the general public, all proceeds to benefit Trash Free Asateague through Assateague Coastal Trust.

Contact thedelmarvafreeschool@gmail.com or Billy@actforbays.org for more information.

I really hope to see you!