Reaper’s Harvest

Lammas / Reaper Altar
Lammas altar featuring the Reaper by JPC, from “The Sacred Wheel,” an oracle deck-in-progress

It’s a month past the midpoint of my 70th year as we move into Lammastide, the season of the Reaper.

As I metaphorically sort, thresh, and grind, gathering in the First Harvest, my thoughts circle round …

Stephanie Li Chinn, 1990 - 2022
Honoring the memory of a dear goddess-daughter who died much too young last February
  • I’m well aware that I have lived longer than my mother did.
  • My chronic health challenges are invisible to others but impact my daily life in big and small ways.
  • In some ways my life feels like it is contracting, and in other ways it’s more expansive than ever.

I still grieve over loved ones who didn’t live to see 32, or 16, or 47, or 63, or 70.

I’ve been gifted with seven seasons on the Sacred Wheel and may live to move into the eighth.

Still, we never know.

Every day is a gift.

A wise woman* once said we are here to learn about and express love; and to contribute and serve.

In the last couple of years, my thoughts have often returned to the theme of:

How much time might I have left?


How do I want to spend that time?

These questions are not maudlin; rather, they are essential.

The answer falls into place like the click of a kaleidoscope making an exquisite pattern of sparkling clarity:

  • Spend time with people I love.
  • Love up the natural world as often as I can.
  • Keep making art, keep writing, keep calling the circle.

And so it is.

4 of Air / Lavender, Herbcrafter's Tarot
Four of Air / Lavender by JPC, from the Herbcrafter’s Tarot


(*The wise woman was Angeles Arrien.)

Thank you for listening.

May you consider your own sweet Reaper’s Harvest, whatever your chronological age or life circumstances.

May you the find answers that give you clarity and peace.

May you express love and be of service.

6 thoughts on “Reaper’s Harvest

  1. Thank you so much for this Joanna. I needed to be reminded to observe Lammas–possibly by writing about what I am harvesting–or have harvested, possibly by working with my sweetheart in his garden, partly by taking my sweet Birdie girl for a walk in the woods. Yes, those essential questions. I am away from my Tarot decks right now, but when I go home tomorrow, I will consult them. Yes, how much time do I have? My middle sister and my husband of 30 years both died in the same year at age 59. As I continue to miss them, I also feel incredibly blessed to be almost exactly midway through my 71st year. I believe I have much more to explore, much more to harvest, and hope to make the absolute most of the time I have left on this planet. Thank you for being one who helps so many of us to consider these crucial questions.

    1. Thank you, dear Judith. I resonate with all you say. So glad to be walking the Wheel with you, always. So grateful you are still expressing your gifts of love and poetry. Blessings!

  2. Having a father and grandmother who passed at 94, a grandfather who passed at 98 and a mother who passed in her 60s… I’m reminded that my life could go very long, or not. I’m reaching a place at 54 where I find myself craving the simple. Being around loving friends, holding love close while letting it breathe… trying to put my health first even though it’s so hard to take care of myself… this essay reminded me to breathe. Much love your way. Xoxo

    1. Yes, that’s the tricky part, isn’t it, MaryKate. Having longevity in our genes doesn’t prevent us from getting hit by a drunk driver or any number of tragedies. I love your phrase “holding love close while letting it breathe” ?. Looking forward to seeing you soon at Aldermarsh.

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