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August 1, Lammas, one of the eight key Celtic Pagan holidays on the Wheel of the Year. Lammas, traditionally, was the beginning of the harvest, when the early crops are coming in and the summer fruits are ripe. In Ireland, it was Lughnasad, the festival of the sun-God Lugh. “Lammas” comes from “Loaf-mass”—the loaf made from the first-harvested grain. It was a time of fairs and feasts, of hopes and fears, when the grain is ripening in the fields but not yet brought into the barn.
Here in northern California, Lammas generally marks the beginning of the driest, most dangerous time of the year. We are midway through our long dry season, with all the moisture burned out of the grasses and the trees beginning to thirst. A spark, a careless cigarette butt, a bottle of water left in the field that serves as a magnifying glass can start a fire that will rage over thousands of acres. Water tanks are running low, springs dry to a trickle, and rain is still weeks away.
For that reason, I chose Lammas as the date of the Uprising, and its anniversary, in The Fifth Sacred Thing book. “In the dry time of year, the dangerous time, the risk time, an old woman climbed a hill…” so begins the story. “Like most people in the southern part of the city, she called the season El Tiempo de la Segadora, the Time of the Reaper. The hills were dry, the gardens dependent on the dwindling waters of cisterns, the rains still weeks away. A time of ripening, but not yet of harvesting, when nothing was certain.”
Incidentally, I was originally going to call the novel The Time of the Reaper. Bantam thought that sounded too much like a Gothic novel or horror film, and someone in their editorial offices suggested The Fifth Sacred Thing. Thank you!
As I look at Kickstarter today, I realize we may well reach our first funding point on Lammas—or very shortly thereafter. A first harvest, indeed!
Lammas is also a time for gratitude, and I am deeply thankful for all the wonderful support we have been receiving in so many ways. The movie is far, far from its ultimate harvest point, and our funding point on Kickstarter, we hope, will not be an end point but an important marker—and a moment of huge relief as after that, we know that we will actually be getting all the funds that people pledge! But what a powerful first harvest! Thank you all so much for being part of this wonderful adventure! May your own harvests be abundant and your endeavors yield sweet fruit!
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