At the beginning of this month is the holiday of Lammas, or Lughnasadh (named after the Celtic god of skilled workers and craftsmen, Lugh), a holiday that celebrates the growth and harvest of the grain, especially in the form of bread and grain. This holiday is the first of several harvest holidays for pagans. For Christians, it is celebrated by blessing loaves of bread.
Coincidentally (or not), a few days after Lammas, one of my favorite tarot deck illustrators, Ciro Marchetti, who is working on a new deck, posted on Facebook, asking for feedback on the 7 of Coins. Many tarotists responded to his post with their ideas and insights, but one term used repeatedly was “harvest.” You can see why when you look at this 7 of Coins from a previous deck of Marchetti’s, The Legacy of the Divine Tarot.
Here, the farmer or worker seems to be contemplating the results of her labor. Fruit bends the branches as the heavy heads of grain bend their stalks.
Looking at the card, you might wonder what the woman is waiting for. Isn’t time to pick the fruit and cut the grain? Isn’t it time to press the fruit into cider and grind and bake the grain into bread? Stomach growls and mouth waters in anticipation.
Maybe. But, the card suggests two considerations before picking up your scythe, considerations for you to be aware of before attempting to reap the rewards of your creative work.
1. Harvesting before ripening. Any farmer will tell you that it’s not a good idea to harvest your crop before it is ready. No, you don’t want bad weather to ruin the crop but you do want the crop to be at that just-right-point of ripeness for its full flavor. Knowing when to harvest and when to wait comes with experiences of success and failure. Waiting is hard but impatience can sabotage the harvest. The woman examines her crop to determine if she must wait or act now, just as you must be sure your creative work is at its best.
2. Contemplation instead of action. This feels like the other side of the Coin, so to speak. Too much examination and contemplation. Waiting for perfection (a tatic that is often engaged in out of fear). The perfect moment to harvest, the perfect moment of ripeness. Should you fertilize a little more, wait for the perfect sunny day, find the best market for your product first, or get someone else’s opinion on your crop? Wait too long, strive for too much perfection and storms or vermin will undo all your hard work. Don’t wait for perfection (and don’t stand around too long admiring your handiwork). When it’s time to harvest, do it…before it rots in the field.
As creatives, as writers, it is tempting to keep fiddling with your crop as a way of avoiding the risk of putting your work out in the world. And sometimes you are tempted to hurry its growth, to harvest before the work is truly finished, all the revisions and edits and details taken care of.
Honor your work’s seasons. Don’t rush it, but don’t wait forever either.
Reap your harvest, then celebrate and honor it.
And prepare to plant new seeds.