The gardens are blooming (if not drowning this summer), crops are growing heartily and the earth has warmed up (!). Summer is (or rather should be) in full swing. With the longer daylight hours, we can (or could) spend long sunny afternoons enjoying the outdoors and getting back to Nature. Barbeques are out, turn on the sprinkler, and enjoy the celebrations of Midsummer! The Summer Solstice, which will happen this year on Wednesday, June 21st, also called Litha, honors the longest day of the year.
Did you know that Solstice comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (stay). At the Summer and Winter Solstices, the sun as seen from Earth appears to pause in its seasonal motion and then reverse its path. It is the perfect moment to pause.
In mythology, the sun is a masculine power and many communities celebrated with competitions of strength and daring. It is a time of celebrating the fullness of life and of taking the time to raise our energy to regenerate abundance and manifest our dreams.
Astronomically, it is the longest day of the year, representing the God at full power. Although in UK, the hottest days of the summer should still lie ahead, from this point onward we enter the waning year, and each day the Sun will recede from the skies a little earlier, until Yule (the Winter Solstice, read about its celebrations here), when the days begin to become longer again.
Agriculturally, the crops are in full growth. They are reaching the peaks of maturity and coming closer to the harvest time. Most wild herbs are fully mature by Midsummer and this is the traditional time for gathering medicinal plants to dry and store for winter use. In Wales, Midsummer is called Gathering Day in honour of this practice.
Magically, midsummer’s eve was believed to be a time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest – a time of powerful forces and magical happenings, when fairies were thought to be about and at their most powerful.
Summer Solstice is a perfect excuse to have a celebration evening, you don’t need to go big and if you don’t have anything planned yet, or even if you do, here are some small ideas I hope will inspire you.
Eat outside. It can be a solo date, a diner picnic with your lover or best friend or a party with friends, there is simply no better way to mark the start of summer. The uses of fires, as well as providing magical aid to the sun, were also used to drive out evil and to bring fertility and prosperity to men, crops and herds. This is a perfect excuse to gather friends for a bbq night. If you’re lucky enough to be able to light a fire in your garden (safely, of course!), it is even better.
Light candles. You can fill your home or garden with candles and therefore honour light for the longest day of the year. Why not adding summer flowers? Flowers are bursting from hedgerows and gardens, field and forest; so get out and pick some to bring indoors.
You could also light a white candle in front of a mirror and say your own prayer over it, then allow the candle to burn out.
The Summer Solstice is the perfect opportunity to take some time to reflect and take in all of the extra solar energy. This is the time of year when the sun is at its most powerful so mark the this day by honoring the sun. You could make a “sun wheel” by creating a wreath with the gathered flowers, herbs and moss. Then add strips of paper where you will write wishes (what you want to renew, manifest and release from your life) and tie them to the wreath. The ends of the celebration will see the wreath burning into the fire. You could also create a sun mandala with flower, petals herbs and twigs.
If you live near a water stream, you could float paper boats with blessings on the river/stream to bring luck and love to whatever may find it, or to the land.
Celebrate with foods that honor the fire and energy of the sun, therefore fruits and vegetables are perfect as without the sun there would be none of them (It is even better if you gather them from a local farmer market). The colours of the Summer Solstice are blue, green and yellow, so incorporate as much food as you can in this spectrum of colours. (All green veggies, including all green leafy vegetables, avocados, yellow peppers, corn, lemon, mangos, peaches, nectarines, pineapples, bananas and blueberries are the most obvious ones, but you can also think out of the box and go for green and yellow tomatoes, purple potatoes, yellow beetroots, yellow carrots, yellow courgettes and courgettes flowers). Any grilled foods that use an open flame to represent the sun are welcome.
If you are a fan of yoga, do the Sun Salutation or Salute to the Sun.
I will host a summer solstice breakfast on Tuesday June 20th
to celebrate the event. I will share thoughts and ideas with you
on this special day and its meaning, our connection with Nature
and how to celebrate summer solstice.
Please head to my Facebook page for more details on the event.
Our Summer Solstice celebration will focus on Family and Nature. I will cook a simple diner and focus on those yellow, green and blue colours and I will not forget to bake some treats. There will be flowers and candles in our home, but also outside. I will burn some incense (Sage, mint, basil, Saint John’s Wort, sunflower, oak, rowan, or fir are all midsummer incenses.) and we will celebrate the men of the house.
http://www.mysticmamma.com www.forestholidays.co.uk http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk