Bewitching Midsummer

Wheel of the Year

Tonight is the night that the Fae and all the other magical creatures come to play tricks and cast pixie dust as we slumber, If The Bard is to be believed that is. Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream has been a favourite of mine for a long time. But for many years before Puck, Bottom, Tatiana and Oberon Midsummer or the Summer Solstice has been celebrated. In the ancient past when we were a farming culture all our holidays and celebrations were based on the calendar and Midsummer, the longest day marks a portal. Neo-Pagan beliefs state that the cross quarters of the calendar each bring their own energy and Solstice is the counter point to Yule (which our Australian readers will be celebrating this weekend instead). 

Part of the pagan mythology tells the story of the fertility of Mother Earth, in spring she is fertile but at solstice she is pregnant; blossoming and restful. All the planting has been done and it’s not yet time to harvest so we can relax and enjoy the gentle prosperity that surrounds us. The Sun is highest in the sky, the harsh winds have passed and we have a period of restfulness. 

Like a pregnant mother in the last few months we begin the nesting process taking care of our self and energies and nurturing the world. 

While this is all beautiful and esoteric how does this relate to a modern witch living in a housing estate?

While I always try to sit outside and watch the sunrise on Solstice morning, I’ve always dreamt of watching it rise of Stonehenge, and while I’d never wish it on anyone, COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown will allow me to finally tick that off my bucket list this year. English Heritage, an organisation which cares for over 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites will be posting it live for people to view worldwide, and you can do so by clicking here

This will make a big change from how I usually observe the day, as I mentioned up top. Usually I’ll start my day around 4am, sitting and journaling, and working on my Book of Shadows while enjoying those first golden rays coming over the horizon. Sure there’s a good chance my neighbours think I’m mad, as I’m typically in my jammies, sometimes with the bonfire already lit, but oh well.

Generally I will try and make some herbal tea, if I’ve been efficient it will be a dandelion and honey tea from my own garden, although I am afraid that this year it might have to be a store bought blend, because even though my garden was packed with all the beauty that is the first flowers of spring, I totally missed my window to collect them! 

I usually perform a small candle ritual at my outdoor altar, when I do this I am looking for healing, balance and grace. All of which are perfect for this time when the seasons are in balance.

I find comfort in the following quote: “The Goddess at Summer Solstice gives us not just what we need, but extra. We can feel close to her by being generous, giving more than we’re asked to give, doing more than our fair share. That way we make abundance for all.” which is from the book, Circle Round: Raising Children in the Goddess Tradition and you can grab that on Amazon by clicking here. This is particularly relevant as my plans for the weekend involved tidying and planting in the local community garden, as part of my work with the Branching Out Community Initiative (BOCI).

Tending plants and herbs isn’t just a great way to celebrate solstice but also can help to gather resources to make things like Sleepy Sunny Honey Bear Cookies, which were originally in their basic form a Solstice cookie. 

Normal years would usually end with my traditional Solstice BBQ where I’ll provide food, drink, music, dancing, bonfires and general merriment for my friends and family. Unfortunately this year’s festivities will be curtailed and I’ll have a more sombre bonfire and instead work to restore balance and hope that by Yule I’ll be able to have everyone around my fire pit once more.

Magically speaking summer solstice is the time to celebrate the sun protection spells and fire magic which are currently active. You can make protective amulets to be empowered by the fires lit on Midsummer’s eve. Those who are looking for a transformation, a new career, create a new or strengthen an old relationship should collect herbs. Especially St. John’s Wort, which if you collect on the eve of this sabbat will bring luck and enhance the herbs’ power. This is a time to renew your wedding vows or just enjoy time with your friends and family. This is also a great time to communicate with faeries and seek their help if you wish to do so. Be careful though, because as stated up top with Puck, faeries can be tricky. 

For those of you interested in learning a little bit more about modern witchcraft, you can check out this interview I did for the site a while back.

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