Wednesday 31 July 2019

Lammas Visualisation: The Wise Woman's Cottage

It is Lammas Eve. Lammas is the festival of the first fruits of the harvest, at the time of year the grain crops are brought in. It can traditionally be celebrated by baking your own bread or making a corn dolly. However, if you don't have the necessary skills, ingredients or inclination for cooking or crafting, here's a guided visualisation you can do to honour this festival in the wheel of the year.

Lammas Guided Visualisation: The Wise Woman's Cottage

Find somewhere safe, where you will not be disturbed. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Take three deep breaths in and out and relax, then visualise the following in your mind's eye:

Visualise that you are in a baker's shop, in a small village in the countryside. It is Lammas, at the start of August, when the fields are ripe and the crops being brought in. You have been asked to deliver a basket of freshly baked bread to an old woman who lives on her own in a cottage on edge of the village, beyond the first field.

Taking the basket, you walk out of the door of the baker's shop and into the village street, It is a hot, dry, sunny day. Your journey takes you first along a street of old cottages, with gardens full of flowers.

At the end of the street there is a fence with a stile and beyond that a field that is golden with ripe grain. You cross the stile and enter the field. A path leads around the edge of the grain field. You see poppies and other wild flower and herbs growing in the borders. Beyond that you see that the grain crop is being harvested under the hot, August sun.

You watch the ripe grain being cut down in neat rows as you walk along the path. Crows circle in the sky above, and perhaps you catch a glimpse of other birds or animals. In the distance is the farmer steadily harvesting the crops, absorbed in his work. Observe what is happening as you slowly walk along the path. What do you see?

At the far end of the field is an old hedge, and after a while your reach it. In the hedge is a gate. This gate leads into the old woman's garden behind her cottage. Open the gate and walk into the garden, carefully closing the gate again behind you.

The garden at first seems overgrown, with tall trees at the sides, shrubs and bushes and tall plants, it offers cool, dappled shade from the August sun. You make your way further into the garden and see flowers growing everywhere. It is full of bright colours. You see bees going from flower to flower, you hear birds singing and notice the sign of other wildlife too.

You then see the old woman. She is harvesting berries and putting them into a basket. You go up to her and greet her. She smiles and greets you in reply. Then she invites you in to her cottage. She opens the door and you follow her inside. Look around, what do you see there?

The old woman invites you to sit at her table and put down the basket of bread, then she offers you tea. She prepares the tea using leaves in an earthenware teapot, and brings out a jar of fresh jam she has made from berries from her own garden, with butter and milk that she tells you is from a neighbour's farm.

You join her for tea. The fresh bread and the jam and other produce are delicious. You talk with her as you enjoy your tea together. What do you talk about?

When you have finished your cup of tea, she asks if you would like her to divine your future or answer a question, by reading the patterns in the leaves at the bottom of the cup. If you do, let her see the cup.

She turns it three times clockwise and then holds it to the sunlight that streams through the cottage window. Then she answers your question and gives you an idea of what the future might possibly hold for you. If you want, she can show you the patterns in the leaves and how she has interpreted them too.

Then it is time for you to leave. You say goodbye and stand and stand up, picking up the empty bread basket. As you are about to go, the old woman presses a final gift into your hands. You look at it and thank her, then put the gift into the basket and wave goodbye as you go out of the cottage door.

You walk back through her garden, through the gate in the hedge, along the path at the edge of the field and over the stile into the village. You walk back along the street and return the basket to the bakery shop, where you began your journey. But you may keep the gift that the old woman gave you, and you remember the things she told you.

When you are ready Shake your arms and legs and open your eyes to the real world.

I always recommend having something to eat and drink after doing a guided visualisation, or any ritual or magical work, as it can help you ground properly. After this visualisation, you could have a harvest feast - or just some fresh bread and jam and a cup of tea. You could even have a go at tea-leaf reading too.

You can find more guided visualisations in my book Pagan Portals - Guided Visualisations.

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