Let’s Talk the Summer Solstice – 2017 Edition
“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” — Maori proverb
We have finally arrived at the mid-point of the year and the summer solstice. Solstice is a joyous celebration where people stay up all night in order to greet the rising sun. At Summer Solstice, the Sun and Earth align in such a way as to assist all growing things to come into their fullness. Thus, the Summer Solstice ceremonies are often full of dancing, singing, costumes and theatrical performances, feasting. It is a time when Earth and all her inhabitants join in mutual celebration and ecstasy. A time of rejoicing for the blessings bestowed from the marriage of Heaven and Earth. Midsummer is also sometimes referred to by some pagans as Litha. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southward again. Generally speaking, shamanic Summer Solstice Ceremonies focus on the themes of fulfillment, enlightenment, abundance, sharing, and the joy of living on this beautiful home. The Sun’s warmth provides the heat necessary for all living beings to prosper.
The solstice represents high-spirited, enthusiastic, and exuberant energy that will promote a love of adventure, change, and exploring new territory. You won’t be satisfied to be confined to the same safe, familiar, secure little world all the time. It will stir up your restlessness and yearning for something greater than anything you’ve yet experienced. Your dreams and visions for the future will be stronger than ever. The possibility of discovering something new will propel your curiosities in whatever realm you choose to play in. You will feel the desire to break free of any earthly bonds that keep you from pursuing your higher self’s ambitions and goals. You want your wings to soar. Visions will seem larger than life. The ability to zero in on minutia and yet perceive the big picture, general patterns and principles will only enhance any light work you pursue.
I want you to let the radiance of the sun inspire you as we all begin this journey to our new way of life, believing, thinking, learning and growing. Release all your concerns about what may happen in the future as this will only hold back this process of changing. Remain focused on all the positive aspects of your life and prepare to release all those things that have hampered you till now. Release them into the winds and let the angels and spirits carry them away. This is your time for cleansing your mind and preparing yourself for this growth. Do not let negative thoughts stop you from this journey no matter how hard this road becomes to travel. Remember to spend time in nature to recharge and regroup. Allow your true radiant being to truly shine.
On a spiritual level this is where we are blossoming and flowering in terms of our spiritual growth for the year. Re-dedications to our loved ones and to our Gods and Goddesses are excellent ritual choices for this energy. Your passion is slowly being returned to you. The fire in your belly will once again be reignited. Our fire is ready to burn. Our passion is ready to ignite. Just as the Solstice signifies the time when Gaia is at the fullness of her strength, fertility, and abundance, so we too can celebrate the strength in joining together, pollinate our spiritual consciousness through sharing, and do ceremonies of thanksgiving for the abundance in which we partake daily. Your intention must be to honor the Universe at ALL TIMES. There is nothing more sacred to you now than these gifts from the Universe. What anyone else says or no matter how they contradict you, these things matter not to you. You have been given the gift of enlightenment and these energies magnify it to astounding possibilities. The relationship of Earth, Sun, and Moon is the matrix within which all living beings evolve during their sojourn here on Earth. As the sun wanes and the moon takes its place as the ruler of energy we move from drawing down the energy of the sun which is a fire that ignites our soul to the drawing down of the moon, an energy that is filled with the mysterious and mystical. WE must seize the opportunity to complete our major growth using the sun’s energy before the Fall Equinox is upon us and we must shift our focus to different tasks at hand. Allow yourself to be consumed in the flame of growth and energetic blossoming that comes with the Summer Solstice.
The Practical Side
Midsummer Eve is the evening of herbs. The herbs and flowers gathered this night are considered exceptionally potent. St John’s wort, burdock, thorn, and nettle, harvested on Midsummer Eve are hung on doors and windows and placed around the home for protection. Houses are decorated with fennel, pine, St. John’s Wort and birch branches. Royal Fern seeds which are gathered on midsummer are said to make the possessor invisible. They who find Royal Fern blossoms on Midsummer’s eve become wise, lucky, wealthy and all around happy folk. Women wear braided circlets of clover and flowers, while men wear chaplets of oak leaves and flowers around their heads. In times past livestock were also decorated with garlands made of flowers, foliage, and oak leaves.
Foods: Fresh vegetables of all kinds and fresh fruits such as lemons and oranges, summer squash and any yellow or orange colored foods. Flaming foods are also appropriate (barbecues represent the bonfires….) but especially chicken or pork. Traditional drinks are ale, mead (since honey is now plentiful), and fresh fruit juice of any kind and herb teas. Pumpernickel bread is also appropriate.
Herbs and Flowers: Mugwort, Vervain, Chamomile, Rose, Honeysuckle, Lily, Oak, Lavender, Ivy, Yarrow, Fern, Elder, Wild Thyme, Daisy, Carnation.
Incense: Lemon, Myrrh, Pine, Rose, Wisteria.
Woods Burned: Oak
A Prayer for the Earth
“Great God, Father of the Earth,
Shine down on this, your strongest day.
Blessed Goddess who gave us Birth,
Bless us who honor your ancient way.
As Summer’s light falls to the ground,
lending crops and trees it’s power,
the Summer winds blow warm and round,
touching the corn silk and the flowers.
We give you thanks, our Mother Earth,
We praise you, fire of the Sun.
We dance this Solstice day with Mirth,
from dawns’ first light ’till the day is done.”
Fire Purification Spell
You will need:
1 Red or White Candle
1 Black Ink Pen
1 Small Square of White, Unlined Paper
1 Pair of tweezers or tongs
Timing: Noon on a day when the moon is in the waxing phase, preferably as close to the Summer Solstice as possible.
What to do:
• Think of one bad habit you have that you would truly like to rid yourself of.
• Write it down in the center of the of paper.
• Fold the paper top to bottom, then left to right, so that it is folded into fourths with the writing inside. As you fold the paper, visualize that habit being trapped inside the paper.
• Light the candle and meditate on its flame for a moment.
• When you are prepared to continue, hold the paper in a diamond shape, with the writing down at the bottom.
• Take the tweezers and hold the bottom tip of the diamond into the flame. Visualize the habit burning away with the flames. As the paper burns, chant the following or similar:
• “Great spirits of fire, grow and consume this habit of evil so goodness may bloom.”
This spell should be cast outside, so that the ashes of the paper can fall to the earth. As they do so, visualize the earth as taking your habit and absorbing it. Be sure to leave a gift for the earth in exchange for taking your habit.