Midsummer is a classic time for magic of all kinds. Shakespeare's wonderful play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" brought much attention to this time of year. Although not traditionally celebrated as one of the Greater Sabbats, it's still a great time to feast and celebrate the power of the sun at His peak.
In pre-historic times, summer was a joyous time of the year for Aboriginal people in the northern latitudes. The snow had disappeared; the ground had thawed out; warm temperatures had returned; flowers were blooming; leaves had returned to the deciduous trees. Some herbs could be harvested, for medicinal and other uses. Food was easier to find. The crops had already been planted and would be harvested in the months to come. Although many months of warm/hot weather remained before the fall, they noticed that the days were beginning to shorten, so that the return of the cold season was inevitable.
This time of year, between the planting and harvesting of the crops, was the traditional month for weddings. This is because many ancient peoples believed that the "Great Rite" of the Goddess and God occurred in early May at Beltain. Since it was unlucky to compete with the deities, many couples delayed their weddings until June. The month of June is named after the Roman Goddess of Marriage, Juno; whose blessings were sought out in new unions, thus making this month a favorite time for marriage even in today. In some traditions, "newly wed couples were fed dishes and beverages that featured honey for the first month of their married life to encourage love and fertility. The surviving vestige of this tradition lives on in the name given to the holiday immediately after the ceremony: "The Honeymoon."
This holiday represents the Sun King in all His glory. It is a celebration of passion and of making sure the crops will grow tall and abundant. The Goddess is pregnant at this time, and as Her belly grows with life, so too does the earth. In many pagan celebrations, Midsummer is when the Oak King (representing the Waxing Year) is defeated by the Holly King (who represents the Waning Year). Healing and Love magick is particularly strong at this time as well.
Focus of Midsummer
On this day, the noon of the year and the longest day, light and life are abundant. We focus outward, experiencing the joys of plenty, tasting the first fruits of the season.
Ravenna's Summer Solstice 2011
This year's solstice celebration was pretty quiet. Much like the one I had a few years back in 2006, I spent the day playing with my boys and relaxing, which is always a good thing. I didn't really have much planned in the way of ritual, though I did get to do a nice 5-minute ritual that I found from the Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom website... which I might add is pretty awesome!
So what did I do for soltice? Well, for starters I sat and contemplated the meaning of Summer Solstice to me and actually had a moment for private meditation. It was really. The boys were still in school, which is a first for us... I'm pretty sure I don't like them in school past the summer solstice, which they were. Anyway! So after I had my meditation time I made dinner, which consisted of Moroccan-style chicken, buttery herbed asparagus and honey poached apples. Oh, my Goddess! It was delicious!! Then my partner came home and built me a fire for my ritual and the night was over. Quiet, simple, and not a lot of fanfare. I remember a time when I used to like to make a huge deal out of the sabbats, have full on ritual complete with incense and bonfires and all the trappings. Then I had kids, and the Gods gave me many gentle reminders that not everything needed to be "perfect". Sometimes, a quiet sabbat spent with the family and a simple recognition to the Gods is all that needs to be done.
Either way, Summer Solstice this year was pretty nice. It was exactly what I needed.
Ravenna's Summer Solstice 2006
So this year I was pretty bummed out for the Solstice. While my children and I had a lovely day together playing in the kiddie pool and eating nummy barbecue that I cooked up... it somehow seemed to depart from what I'm used to doing for the solstice. I had been planning on a bonfire to start right near sunset and then enjoy the night from there... but my honey decided he'd rather be fishing, and knowing how important the day was he left me to sit with the kids. I was pretty angry, and really sad that I wouldn't have a bonfire for solstice.
But I got over it. I realized that not every sabbat has to be the way I want it to be - perfect. I need to remember to be flexible and enjoy life for what it is. And I really did have a beautiful solstice celebration with my family, and in the end that's all that really matters, isn't it?
~ Ravenna Angelline
Ravenna's Summer Solstice 2005
Well, this year's Midsummer was definitely interesting. We celebrated the power to choose and change. It was AMAZING!! I was surrounded my many of my Sisters and Brothers and the ritual was really simple, yet elegant. We all made affirmations about our power to choose and change, and learned how Saturn (the Roman deity of Time) often forces us to change... even if we don't want to.
It's interesting though, because I've been feeling a major change in the works for me. I got a tarot reading from one of my Sisters, and it affirmed a major life change is in the works over the next six months. I'm curious to see what will come... and yes, even a little scared, too. I received a prediction this past January that cautioned me that I would spend a lot of time this year in tears. But the prediction never said if they were happy or sad tears. I wonder?
Anyway, I have a nice private ritual planned for tomorrow, which is the actually date of the solstice, and I do look forward to it.