Reflections on Lammas

Read more about this sacred time and it's invitations for our present from Creative & Executive Director, Marissa Percoco.

I truly love this time of year here in Appalachia. The unpredictability of the weather in these mountains is in stark contrast to my upbringing in the dry hills of north eastern California, where we could set up outdoor rooms for months at a time, knowing no rain would fall; but not here in the Carolinas! A few days ago, I hardly crawled out of the river where the salamanders and I laid low in the shade, watching the water swirl amongst the stones as temperatures soared close to 90 degrees. Today, I have a tiny stick fire going to chase the damp chill away after almost an inch of rain. Unpredictable to say the least. 

What we thought would be a hot, sun-soaked Firefly Gathering in late June emerged as the wettest gathering we have ever seen – by far! Everyone who stuck out what has been dubbed “Rainfly 2023” deserves an honorable mention! Amidst the downpour, we were so touched by how mutual aid, tenderness, vulnerability and authenticity became the theme of the event. As I sit now, watching the fireflies in my yarden, I see how they find each other in the darkness by shining their lights. This really solidifies all that I gathered at our event this year. My favorite memories center around mutual aid and people helping each other get through the challenges of living outside together through a tropical storm. It is to me the perfect metaphor for how we will weather the coming storms together. 

Historically in the northern hemisphere around the globe many cultures over time have held celebrations this time of year, honoring the first harvests of the season, giving thanks for the incredible abundance that we receive from our benevolent and generous planet. In my own life, I am surrounded by evidence of this fruitful time by the sheer plenitude in my garden. 

With so much abundance evident all around us – especially in this season – how did we end up in our current state, with credit scores, debt and an epidemic of scarcity mentality? We’re on a collision course with environmental catastrophe as we endlessly consume, amassing “wealth” and trying to fill the holes in our beings due to disconnection from the vital life forces abundant in natural systems.

In What Indigenous Culture Can Teach Us About a Fair Economy, Rebecca Adamson, a member of the Cherokee and founder of First Nations Development Institute and First Peoples Worldwide, offers Indigenous views on scarcity, gifting economies and capitalism, highlighting how endless growth models are destructive in a finite system. Adamson redirects us to embrace mutuality and gifting economies, where the sole purpose of amassing wealth is to give it away! Imagine if the richest 1% of the world– who since 2020 control $26 trillion (63%) of all new wealth, while $16 trillion (37%) went to the rest of the world put together–decided to share. Imagine if each of us began to heal our relationship with money and resources, to renegotiate this social contract to reflect the kind of connection, gratitude, and collective health we wish to see? 

This is what we need to unite and work towards: equitable redistribution of wealth, resources and power. When the endless growth model is finally collectively rejected and traditional indigenous land management practices are reinstated, we may begin to know true freedom, freedom from endlessly wanting more. 

What steps can we take to achieve these ideals today?

Firefly Gathering’s Bookkeeper, Kimberly Dunn, wrote a blog to begin exploring this question. Read her post for a digestible overview of how our relationship to money began, and the short time frame in which it became what it is today. With her historical and astrological perspective on money, this is a great way to begin challenging what beliefs you may have inherited about money. 

The article 5 Ways Scientists, NGOs, and Governments Can Support Indigenous-led Conservation offers some perspective on why it is so important to center indigenous voices when developing policy around land management and concrete actions leaders can take. Sherri Mitchell’s inspiring book “Sacred Instructions” also offers incredibly detailed ways that we can enact change in our own lives. When former president Barack Obama was asked, “What can we do?” He said, “Raise awareness, gather allies, and unify your voice.” Angelo Villagomez said, “I challenge you to do the same. You are an ambassador for yourself. You are an ambassador for your people and your education is your weapon. So take that education to reach for the stars; get jobs in the White House, become Tribal chiefs, and go out there and change the world.” 

In this season of gratitude for the abundance of life, we extol you to do the same; let us expand our awareness and understanding, equipping ourselves with traditional skills and knowledge, ready to build a vibrant new reality in which the wellness of all beings is centered. 

Together we create our current stories around money, power and life in general. United, we are capable of great change. 

In Gratitude,
Marissa Percoco
Creative & Executive Director

About the Author

Marissa Percoco is the Executive Director of the Firefly Gathering. Having grown up in the concrete labyrinth of the San Francisco bay Area, Marissa escaped to the wilds in college and has never looked back! She is a naturalist by heart, and  is deeply rooted in the Earthskills movement, anti-oppression work, her garden, and the old Appalachian soil.


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Labor Day Reflections

This celebration was designated a national holiday in 1894 in honor of all of the hardworking laborers in the country and the struggles they faced to secure fundamental human rights and safe working conditions. More than 100 years later, however, workers are still fighting these same kinds of battles.

Reflections on Lammas

Read more about this sacred time and it’s invitations for our present from Creative & Executive Director, Marissa Percoco.

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Subscribe to our newsletter for updates on all things Firefly, including Perennial Workshops, Firefly's Book Nook, and Annual Gathering News.

Kimberly Dunn

Finance Manager (she/her)

Having grown up in a multicultural family, Kimberly’s love for languages and traditional cultures is infused into everything she creates. After many years overseas, she now calls the Appalachian mountains her home and continues to keep the adventure alive by staying close to the wild. Kimberly is a singer songwriter, dancer, women’s circle facilitator, personal finance astrologer, bookkeeper, yoga teacher, and chef.