THE SUMMER SOLSTICE
Summer Solstice in the Northern hemisphere falls this year on June 21 2013 at 5.04am UTC
Consult your local time zone calendars for the precise moment. However
it is the sunrise that is generally the point of celebration of the Summer
In the Southern hemisphere the Midwinter
Solstice celebration falls on the same date though sunrise and the all
important sunset times will vary, as will sunrise and sunset for the
Summer celebrations in the Northern hemisphere in different regions.
The Summer Solstice
Heruin, Litha, Midsummer or Summer Solstice around June 20-22 each year
Power, joy and courage, male potency, success, marriage, fertility of all
kinds, especially for older women and for anyone approaching middle age;
for happiness, strength, energy, self-confidence, identity, health, wealth
and career; also for maximising opportunities, seizing chances and
enjoying the present.
This power can be
harnessed for tackling seemingly insoluble problems, bringing light and
life and hope; also for tackling major global problems such as global
warming, famine, disease and preventing cruelty to people under oppressive
regimes and intensive farming methods where livestock suffer.
Cycle of the Wheel
The Goddess gives birth to the Dark Twin and so becomes the Mother
Goddess. In turn the God is now the God King and they enter into a formal
sacred marriage in which he promises to lay down his life for the Goddess,
the land and her people. The God reaches his height of power and God and
Goddess are equal at their coronation.
But by the end of the
day the God knows that henceforward he will grow weaker.
The high turning point as full power begins to wane from this day
Brightly-coloured flowers, oak boughs or tall broad indigenous trees,
golden fern pollen that is said to reveal buried treasure wherever it
falls, scarlet, orange and yellow ribbons, gold coloured coins and any
gold jewellery that can be empowered at the festival, any golden fruit or
Incenses, flower and
Chamomile, dill, elder, fennel, lavender, frankincense, orange, marigolds,
rosemary, sage and sagebrush, St. Johnís Wort, lemon verbena and vervain,
any golden, red or orange flowers
Red, orange, gold
Amber, carnelian or red jasper, sun stone; also sparkling crystal quartz
Litha means light and
Alban Heruin the light of the shore as the sun floods over the land
ripening the crops. But it is bittersweet for the Sun God and Goddess who
want the day to last forever. Because she loved him, bonfires were lit and
sun wheels made of flaming cart wheels were rolled down the hillsides to
prolong the light on this longest of days.
The Goddess, or her
representative, cast her bouquet of summer flowers on a hilltop fire to
add her power to the sun.
The cauldron was the
symbol of the goddess giving forth her bounty on the Solstice and may be
filled with small golden coloured fruits and crystals as coven gifts.
The height of the
festival has always been first light falling on Solstice morn, like a
shaft of gold across standing stones and stone circles, linking the
Stonehenge is oriented
to mark the sunrise and moonrise at the Summer and Winter solstices, built
long before the time of the Celts.
based, it is believed on Celtic ones, are held at Dawn and Noon on the
Summer Solstice at sacred circles such as Stonehenge and some groups and
individuals still keep vigil from sunset on the previous evening.
At sunset of the Summer
Solstice at Stonehenge, another significant ritual point the Heel (Sun)
Stone outside the circles casts a shadow on the Altar Stone, thus marking
the beginning of the dying of the year.
Norse and Anglo Saxon Associations:
raiding and fishing reached its height at this time.
As the longest day of
the year, transferred to the Midsummer celebrations of modern Scandinavia,
the ancient Midsummer tree, linked to the Green man, formed the centre of
dancing and music.
In the ancient Germanic
tradition mountain and cliff top fires were lit on the Eve before the
Solstice and later on St Johnís Eve 23 June to give power to the sun
The Norse god of light
Baldur was slain by his blind brother Hodur.
In the traditional
version of the legend, the young sun god was doomed to remain in the
Underworld until the last battle, Ragnarok. But ore positive version tells
that Hel, the guardian of the underworld, so moved by the tears of his
mother that she allowed the Goddess of Spring, Ostara, to restore him each
year to the world at Yule for half of the year.
The Christian festival
of Midsummer is very close to St Johnís Day on June 24th.
Johnís own mother was long beyond childbearing years and thus regarded as
a virgin birth. In the early Christian Celtic tradition, John was linked
with the dark brother of the Solar deity who would in a variation of the
Celtic myth cycle after the Longest Day rule the waning year.
The ancient maybe pre
Celtic myth of the Oak King who ruled form Midwinter to Midsummer and the
Holly King who ruled form Midsummer to Midwinter became linked to the
Christian tradition and oak fires were burned at Midsummer right until
Married women who wanted
to get pregnant would walk naked in a garden at midnight and pick the
golden herb of midsummer, St Johnís Wort, on the Eve of St John. Young
girls would not eat anything all day and they would pick the same herb to
put under their pillow to dream of their true love.
In the Basque region of
Northern Spain, the Sun is still revered in folk custom as Grandmother
Sun. Her worship has been transferred to the Virgin Mary who is associated
with mother Mari, the Storm Goddess in whose wise bosom Grandmother Sun
sleeps at night.
On Midsummer Eve sun
vigils were held until recently to see the Sun Goddess touch the mountain
tops and dance at Dawn. The watchers would then bathe in streams in the
magical Midsummer waters that are still believed to have healing and
Juno the Roman Mother
Goddess was patron of marriage and of childbirth and she protected women
from birth to the grave. June, her month, is considered to be the most
fortunate for marriages
works as well whether you are celebrating the festival alone or with
others and is based on an old Scandinavian folk custom.
At dawn set a basket
of seven different species of flowers or seven different colours where
they will catch the first light of the Summer Solstice.
At noon each person
should weave the seven kinds of flowers on to a small circle of wire,
using threads in red, yellow, green and blue to attach them
As you/they weave
silently name for each flower over and over again in your mind or a
whisper your/ their dearest secret wish for fulfilment in the next
twelve months whether for lasting love, a child, the success of a
creative venture, happiness, travel, success , health or spiritual
When finished the
circlet/s should be hung on a shady tree and you/the group should circle
the tree nine times deosil or sun wise, nine times in the opposite
direction and then nine times deosil, clapping rhythm till the world
spins, chantingí Come to me as I dance the Midsummer Tree, come to me in
my sleep, come to me in my waking, that when I next dance the Midsummer
tree, I shall know the joy of the seven flowers sweet.í
If you are working
alone you can adapt the chant to fit your desire, for example if for
lasting love, Ďthat when next I dance the Midsummer tree, it shall be my
At sundown take your
wreath from the tree and hang it over your bed. Go straight to bed when
it is dark/ Picture yourself walking as you drift into sleep along a
pathway of flowers into mist that slowly clears to reveal how and when
you will attain your desire. This may continue in your dreams
Leave the wreath on
the wall of your bedroom till it fades and then release the petals to
the wind or use the flowers in incense
Make sun water by
leaving out still mineral water in a bowl covered with film or mesh from
dawn till noon (or for up to eight hours on a darker day). Add clear
quartz or citrine crystals to the water when you put it out (the previous
evening if you prefer) and remove these at noon.
Use the water as an
energiser in baths and drinks in the days ahead and to splash on the
centre of your hairline to open your Crown chakra and clear your aura
when you feel tired or doubt yourself.
Light a gold candle
and set any small gold items of jewellery round it if the day is dark or
cloudy until the candle burns though. If it is a sunny Solstice leave
the jewellery in the sunlight after dawn for a few hours to transfer
the power of the sun into your life as you wear the jewellery in the
Cast golden flowers or herbs into the air from
a hill or open place, a handful at a time, making empowerments for
courage and achievement to the winds and naming for each handful a plan
to begin or bring to fruition starting tomorrow.
Light sun oils,
frankincense, juniper, rosemary, orange or benzoin or burn them as
incense to bring the sun power into your home or workplace as darkness
finally falls. Vow not to let the joy of the day fade from your life and
relight one of the oils or incenses whenever you do feel sad or anxious.
If you live in the
Southern hemisphere you may like to incorporate some of the above into
your Midwinter celebrations especially as in some areas the weather will
be warm and sunny and flowers still blooming.
But you might also like
As the Winter Solstice
night draws in, light a dark candle and in it burn threads or herbs to
represent all you need to leave behind; at sunset light a gold candle
from it, using a taper and then extinguish the dark candle. If you are
working with friends or family, they can in turn light their candles
from the Solstice candle, making wishes for the future.
On the day of the
Midwinter Solstice, go out into the countryside, woodland or the bush
and gather evergreen boughs with friends and family to represent the
potential of new life.
As darkness falls
create a small fire outdoors or in a tiny metal pot and burn sprigs of
indigenous evergreen trees as well as the traditional yew, oak, holly,
pine needles and rosemary herb. In this way you are showing your faith
that the sun will shine again-and ritually assisting it to regain power.
As you toss on each fragrant handful, name someone who cannot be with
you and those causes dear to your heart that will benefit from the
renewed power of the sun.
On Solstice night,
fill a metal bowl with water and either alone or with friends or family
in the age-old tradition take it in turns to drip wax from the candles
on to the surface of the water. You will gain an image as the liquid was
falls on the surface and a second more permanent image as the wax sets.
The first will indicate an area that will bear fruit over the coming
days and the second ways in which you can maximise the energies of the
ascending light. Wash out the bowl between readings.
From clay create your
own santons. These are tiny French nativity-type figures that include
tiny statues of local characters and family members. The scene can be
adapted to the rebirth of the Sun/Goddess myths; paint them and set them
around your tree or in a cave made from rocks and crystals.