“Hark! Hear the children sing/Glory to the Holly King”
Friday, June 20, 2008 is the Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer, Litha, St. John‘s Day and Day of the Green Man. Friday is Freya’s day, bringing feminine powers into play as we celebrate not only the longest day/shortest night of the year but also the beginning of the half of the year when feminine energy becomes a more dominant part of the planet’s balance. The old folklore calendar lists summer as beginning on May 1 and ending on August 1, so to identify this date as Midsummer is appropriate in more meanings than one.
Once again the Oak King and Holly King enact their ritual dance. This is the season for the Holly King to win. He is god of the Waning year and will rule until the Winter Solstice. We are now entering the dark half of the year, when we contemplate our actions and make the plans we will implement in the coming year. It is important to remember that the words Dark and Light have no reference to Evil and Good; they serve to indicate the perspective of activity or contemplation in the course of the year, nothing more. Both are necessary.
Decorate your altar and table with the colors white, red, golden yellow, green, blue, and tan. Dress yourself using these colors and encourage your guests to do likewise. For a centerpiece, you could fill and surround your cauldron with fresh flowers and ivy, but use fresh, not artificial. If you have a pot of heliotrope in the garden, use it as your centerpiece as heliotrope is especially good to use on this day. The preferred candle colors to use are light blue, green, and yellow; red and gold are also acceptable.
This is a fire festival. A backyard barbeque pit will serve city-dwellers’ purposes quite nicely; country celebrants have the option for a bigger fire, possibly a bonfire. If neither option is available to you, light a lot of candles. Remember to include animals in your celebrations, be they pets, familiars, or work beasts. It is also important to include fairies, elves, and sprites in your plans as they are more prominent in their activities on this day. Leaving some food, herbs, fruit juice, etc. for them will suffice and if any should present themselves during your celebration, drink a toast to them.
As you bless yourself, your friends, pets and plants, remember that this is also a time to destroy any amulets you have made that have outlived their usefulness. The preferred method is to cast them into the ceremonial fire. When the ashes cool, scatter these ashes throughout the garden. This brings blessings to the land. You may also perform magick for love, healing, and prosperity. Yellow is the color signifying prosperity at this festival, not green.
Serve your guests lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially yellow and orange food. Lemons and oranges are appropriate, as are summer squash and pumpernickel bread. All flaming foods are also appropriate, so your menu could include shish-ke-bob. Traditional drinks for this festival are ale, mead, and fresh fruit juice.
At this celebration it is important to have fun and play. We are filled with delight and joy, life is good, food is in abundance, the future lies before us as an unrolling path that will take us to delightful places. Adventure abounds. The possibilities are infinite. The only taboos are: do not give away any fire, do not sleep away from home, do not neglect your animals. Respect these taboos and have a Wonderful Time!
Reminder: I will be Elaine Ireland’s guest on her live-on-the-internet-radio-talk-show, Going Global For Spirit, on Thursday, June 19, at 9 PM CDT. Log on to www.bbsradio.com , select channel 1 and from the drop-down menu select Going Global For Spirit. There is a toll-free number for listeners to use to call in with questions, comments, or to get a short Tarot reading from me.
Kate Braun / The Rag Blog