Midsummer is upon us! Blessed Litha and Merry Solstice to all who are celebrating! This Summer Solstice is especially important as it is exactly six months out from the 2012 Winter Solstice. The upcoming months will bring a lot of change for the world as well as the individual–be on the lookout and keep your connection to the Earth’s energetic grid strong as the wheel of the year turns toward the energetic shift in December.
Summer solstice celebrations date back to ancient times, where agrarian societies would gather to celebrate the coming prosperity of the harvest as well as fertility. People would gather various herbs believed to be associated with healing, as this was considered to be an auspicious time to do so. Among these herbs were calendula, good for soothing irritated skin, and St. John’s Wort, which has many uses but may be most popular as a holistic treatment for depression (use carefully, as St. John’s Wort interferes with the effectiveness of birth control pills). These celebrations usually involved a large bonfire to keep away “evil” or mischievous spirits and sometimes dragons. Often individuals or couples would jump over a bonfire as a prosperity ritual. It was believed that as you jumped across, your troubles “burned up” in the fire. The day is also associated with love, as Shakespeare touched on in his work A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There were several rituals open to young women who wished to see or dream of the man they would marry. As Christianity was introduced to these cultures, the Midsummer traditions were kept, but the day was said to celebrate St. John the Baptist instead and was called St. John’s Eve.
In contemporary times, many cultures around the world still celebrate the summer solstice, especially in Europe. Neo-pagans also observe this day as a holiday. If you would like to participate in the celebration of Summer, here are a few easy ways…
- Place a candle on the ground (preferable outside, not around anything flamable) and–carefully–take turns jumping across it. Just BE CAREFUL for any clothing on your person or anything around the candle that may catch fire. When doing fire rituals, always have lots of fire ready just in case.
- Eat a meal of fresh fruits and vegetables–share with friends and family!
- Meditate on the fact that this is the longest day of the year, and what that means in the Wheel of the Year
- Enjoy some beautiful weather by doing an outside activity (see previous post)
- Make herb sachets involving calendula or St. John’s Wort
Want more ways to celebrate? Follow us on Twitter @themermaidtree or visit our Facebook page. Is there something special that you are doing in honor of the solstice? Please share with us below!