Sacrifice of the King / John Barleycorn
“Here we stand at the edges of Lammas – time of Harvest of the corn. Time of enjoying the rewards of all our hard works so far. Time of celebration, and rejoicing for all the good that we already have.
It is also the time of the Harvest God. The seeds of the sacrificial Corn King must fall to the ground so that the land can be fertile again next year.. In farmlands, the first ear of corn from the first harvest is symbolically kept at this time, and ploughed into the land after winter.. the following year!
Why do you come? We ask the people gathering at Lammas.
`To Kill the King,’ people usually answer,
Why the Kill? The Harvest Queen will ask. `To feed the land..,’ the people will say.
`What feeds the land?’ Harvest Queen asks. King’s party answer: `The blood and Honour of the King’.
“Is the King pure of heart? Does the fire of courage run through his veins? And does he love the land?”
“Yes, yes, yes..!” King will reply.
And the Harvest Queen will say `Then the King is welcome!’
What then ensues is a ceremony, and at the end of which..the `King’ or rather John Barleycorn will kneel at the sacred altar, offering his energy to the land, and the Harvest Queen/ Goddess *symbolically* cuts him down!!! John Barleycorn’s body is covered up. Everyone praised his deeds and mourns his passing. Then he is resurrected. All then feast and celebrate the Harvest festival.
That’s the old fashioned traditional ceremony.
In these modern times, those old ways, custom and traditions..don’t quite work.. mainly because it’s very hard to find a true responsible, honourable King or Queen. Sad but it’s rare! And we are tired of making painful sacrifices.. again and again.. for the good of the people we love, while outsiders and power-mad villains and politicians benefit from our sacrifices!
For our Lammas ceremony, we have begun to make adaptations!
Do we have to be Jesus..or Odin.. over and over again?
Gone are the symbolic sacrifice of one Volunteer ritualist dressed up in corn and wheat and hay and looking like John Barlycorn. It’s not his responsibility to accept the projections of all of us..and be the symbolic sacrifice. Because we all do offer so many of our own sacrifices…day in day out.
What we want is release from all that… It’s all rather very `christian’ and we have to move on from that mindset …that we have to keep suffering in order for other people we love..to live happily..or even ourselves to live well in the future.
(I really don’t see millionaire bankers and corrupt politicians doing all that..do you?!)
So..what we do in our ritual is the following..
Magic-1: Personal sacrifice
In this first magic, You will acknowledge all your own painful personal sacrifices of the past – and let them go. Close your eyes…and be still.
In myth & legends, the concept of personal sacrifice occurs again and again. It is often coupled with some quest and a reward to gain something important.
-The Sacrifice of Odin / the God who hung upon the World Tree – was to gain the secrets and mysteries of the Runes.
-The sacrifice of the Corn King / Barley Corn is for harvest and to renew the energies of the land.
-And on the darker side, Hern sacrificed himself on a Windsor Oak tree, for vengeance and Justice.
Now think about your own lives. Think about your own struggles and challenges and quests, and the sacrifices you keep making..over and over.. again and again.. day after day… months..and months..year after year.
-Take a moment to think about these personal sacrifices..
-Have they produced the rewards?
-Have you got the results you were seeking? If not, why not?
Sometimes, more often, in order for magic to happen, you must let go..
For some new good to come in, the old must be sacrificed.
It must be a willing sacrifice.. You must willingly let go.
- Take a stone..any stone (that you are willing to loose or let go off). Hold it in your hands.
- Put the energies and memories of all your past personal sacrifices into this stone. Take your time. Remember all the key moments.. moments where you gave up something for the well-being or trade-off for something else…(and worse..found it didn’t happen anyway).
- Now go to some natural place- a woodland, a flowing stream, sea side, a deep lake.. And throw away this stone..
Magic-2: Power to Mankind (Mannaz rune)
Lammas is a time when the person in power for too long realises their time on the Throne must come to a natural end. They must step down and let the next good Ruler take that responsibility. In return the previous ruler can now enjoy personal time – and reel in the service he has given..
BUT there are those who would hold on to power longer for selfish reasons – the Dictators, Conspirators, Manipulators, selfish Kings, Queens, Rulers & corrupt Politicians.
When that happens, it’s the time for people to rise up and depose of those.
So this magic is about us empowering the people.. here and every where in all the lands.. all over the world!!
This work is simple- chant the rune that symbolises Mankind – `Mannaz’.
- Think of the power of ancient witches and wizards flowing to all the people in difficult circumstances..
- Let that power permeate all the people.
- Let the people of the world be strong and empowered, as you chant the Mannaz rune.
Note: The above are extracts from a community Lammas ritual that my ritual team and community have performed several times in past years, and will be doing so again in a few days at time of Lammas. Yesterday I was writing it all up (updated) yesterday, writing invocations to Harvest Goddess, and Harvest God. This morning I had a private Hindu ceremony of fire and purification. And then i thought…why not share this with everyone? So here I am..