Summer Solstice

SUMMER SOLSTICE (C. JUN 21)


A. HISTORY

At Midsummer, the Sun-god is at apogee (closest to the Earth), and therefore the longest day of the year. The pagans worshipped and celebrated the abundance of life, even as they recognized that this Solstice also marked the time when the Sun began to wane once more toward Winter's darkness.



The legends are full of the Sun God dying by whatever method, be it burning alive, blinded with mistletoe, or crucified on a T-shaped cross. In ancient times, this often demanded a human enactor actually dying, followed by a seven-day wake. Some pagan cultures have an Oak King, (symbolizing the light half of the year) being killed by his brother the Holly King (symbolizing the darkening half of the year).



"The Goddess, as we have pointed out, is unlike the God in that she never undergoes death and rebirth. In fact, she never changes- she merely presents different faces. At the Winter Solstice she shows her Life-in-Death aspect; though her Earth body seems cold and still, yet she gives birth to the new Sun-God and presides over the replacement of the Holly King by the Oak King with his promise of resurgent life. At the Summer Solstice she shows her Death-in-Life aspect; her Earth body is exuberantly fecund and sensuous, greeting her Sun-God consort at the zenith of his powers-yet she knows it is a transient zenith, and at the same time she presides over the death of the Oak King and the enthronement of his dark (but necessary, and thus not evil) twin.



At Midsummer the Goddess dances her magnificent Dance of Life; but even as she dances, she whispers to us: `Panta rhei, ouden menei.'" (Everything flows, nothing is static). (WBC p.95)



The Lady is in full pregnancy, and pregnant women often lactate. This is a good time to substitute milk and milk products for the Simple Feast, in honor of Her.



B. THE ALTAR



1. Have a small fire (either a red candle or a small fire in the cauldron) to burn a token of your negativities. (See Ritual section of Solitary Practitioner.) Cauldron should be in South.



2. Foods: Fresh fruits, fruit salads, herb breads, cold tomato soup, spicy foods like Mexican/Texican, Thai, Mongolian. Frozen drinks, homemade icecream, lemonade. (See below for recipes) Stick to a theme, like tropical, tex-mex, icecream party, or grill-out. (Hint: for those in city-controlled no-open-fires areas, use the grill as your fire. Just make sure you do cook out afterwards to avoid trouble with the law.)



3. Altar cloth and Candles should be white, or bright sun colors. Sun wheels, sun emblasoned, and other sun/fire symbols should be prominent in altar cloth or on altar. There are stencils available in the craft stores with suns on them for a quick and easy craft project for the entire circle.



4. Circle may be decorated with summer flowers, fruits, green branches, or appropriate flowers and herbs. (see pg. 178-179 in Celebrate the Earth)



5. Craft Projects include making the altar cloth, sun wheels out of vines, God's Eyes (see Sabbats by Edain McCoy). This is also the traditional time of year to make staffs, dream pillows and other herb craft items like wreaths, and witches' ladders.



C. RITUALS



1. Bonfires (symbols of the God's fire aspect) are leapt to encourage fertility, purification, health, and love. Honor the God especially at the height of His power. This is the height of the male aspect's time, so include the men if your coven is lucky enough to have them. Male rites of passage are good, especially, if there is a young man deemed ready for his ritual passage into manhood or a new father to acknowledge his child.



2. Before the rite, make a small cloth pouch with midsummer herbs such as St. John's Wort, vervain, etc. Mentally pour into it all your troubles, problems, pains, sorrow, and illness. Tie it shut with red string. During the rite, burn the pouch with the words on page 136 Solitary Practitioner.



3. Dry herbs over the ritual fire. This is especially good for the sacred herbs to be used in ritual incenses throughout the rest of the year. If they are already dried, at least pass them over the smoke of the fire in a cloth bag to purify and bless them.



4. Coveners are encouraged to "sacrifice" an offering to the God. Donations to a charity are a good idea. The offering should be something of a sacrifice on the part of the giver, not just a token giving.



Also, many pagans have gardens and are beginning to harvest from them. Remember to share with food banks and other charities the fruits of harvest.



5. Wreaths worn at Beltane, then used as amulets until now are burned. If you made yours of silk flowers, do not burn them! They stink! Make a chaplet of dandelions or other real flowers and burn it instead.



6. Collect hatched bird eggs and feathers. According to the species of bird, the shell has a magical property. See "Wheel of the Year" by Pauline Campanelli page 86. The colors of the feathers also have magic properties.



7. Make a witches ladder. (Wheel of the Year page 88) using the feathers you have collected.



8. Make an offering to the nature spirits in a wild place. The fair folk are fond of junk food like Twinkies and strawberry soda.



9. Make a solar disk (Wheel of the Year page 91)



10. Make honey mead, then drink it, contemplating the moon. Midsummer mead recipe is in "Celebrate the Earth". Soft mead can also be made. Recipe for soft meade is in "Guide for the Solitary Practitioner".



11. This is the time of year for handfastings. Beltane greenwood marriages may have resulted in pregnancies in times of old, and it was traditional in some cultures for a bride to be pregnant on her wedding day. In our culture, the youths are finished with school and often marry at this time for that reason. No matter what the reason, celebrate that June wedding with extra fervor and throw that rice (symbolic of fertility) with joy.

For those celebrating a wedding anniversary, make it part of the ritual to renew marriage vows. Pagan wedding anniversaries can alter the traditional wedding anniversary decade markers with pagan alternatives to the traditional gifts. Examples are listed below:



1. Paper, clocks- sundial, hourglass, book

2. cotton, china- stoneware bowl or pot

3. Leather, crystal, glass- blessed crystals, scourge, glass pot for herb making

4. Linen, silk, appliances- ritual robe, altar cloth(s), a bread machine

5. Wood, silverware- wands, herb measures, silver candlesticks for altar

6. Iron, Wood- Iron shod staff, wands

7. Wool, copper, desk sets- Magical books, copper-clad wand, BOS materials like ink, calligraphy set

8. Bronze, linen, lace- Altar cloths

9. Pottery, china, leather- Set of ritual pottery, ceramic statues of Deity

10. Tin, aluminum, diamonds, jewelry- aged wines, ritual jewelry, a tin pie cabinet for herbs

11. Steel, fashion accessories- Incense burner

12. Silk, pearls, gems- Family magical journal, silk cloth for tarot cards

13. Lace, textiles, fur- ritual cloak

14. Gold jewelry- Magickal regalia

15. Crystal, watches- Crystal ball

20. China, platinum- Athames

25. Sterling silver- Goddess images

30. Pearls, diamonds- Elemental tokens

35. Coral, jade- Ritual cups

40. Ruby- Ritual sword

45. Sapphire- Herbal theme baskets

50. Gold- God images

55. Emerald- Flowering trees

60. Diamond- Stained glass pentagram





SYMBOLISM



1. The powers of nature are at their highest point. Great time for herb gathering.

2. Longest day of the year, marks the time when days begin to get shorter again.



Midsummer Incenses

1. 2 parts sandalwood

1 part mugwort

1 part camomile

1 part gardenia

a few drops rose oil

a few drops lavender oil

a few drops yarrow oil



2. 3 parts frankincense

2 parts benzoin

1 part dragon's blood

1 part thyme

1 part rosemary

1 pinch vervain

a few drops red wine



Midsummer Soap is lavendar

Midsummer Annointing Oil is either heather or lavendar

Ritual Wine can be dandelion wine. If you haven't made any, get going! There are also Berry wines.



RECIPES



1. Island Refreshers



Prepare any island fruit Jello as usual, substituting 1 cup cold seltzer, club soda, carbonated lemon-lime beverage or iced tea for cold water. To prepare with orange juice, use 1-1/2 cups boiling water and 1/2 cup cold orange juice.



2. Sunny Fruit Fiesta



(serves 6)

1 cantaloupe melon, halved and seeded

1/2 honeydew melon, seeded

1/4 cup superfine or granulated sugar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 T. fresh lemon juice

1 T. orange-flavored liqueur (optional)

1-1/2 t. grated lime peel

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1 cup black or red seedless grapes



Using melon baller, scoop flesh from melons into balls; set aside. In large glass or ceramic bowl, combine sugar, lime juice, lemon juice, liqueur, and lime peel. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Add melon balls, strawberries, and grapes. Toss gently to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refridgerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors, stirring once or twice. Spoon fruit into serving bowls or hollowed out melon halves, dividing evenly. Serve immediately.



For a tropical flavor, substitute kiwi slices, pineappple chunks, papaya slices, or mango cubes for some of the melon balls. Add a little grated ginger. A dash of coconut extract may also be added to juices mix. Serve. Also, use a watermelon, make balls of it, and serve in a watermelon boat.



3. Sparkling Berry Salad



2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

2 cups cranberry-raspberry drink

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup club soda

1 cup creme de cassis (black currant) liqueur (optional)

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp grated orange peel (fresh is best)

3 cups assorted berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.)



In saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup cran-raspberry drink and let stand 1 minute. Stir over low heat until dissolved. Add Sugar and stir until dissolved.



In bowl, blend above with remaining ingredients, including extra one cup of cran-raspberry drink, except the berries. Chill, stirring occasionally, until mixture is consistency of unbeaten egg whites. Fold in berries. Pour into a six-cup mold or bowl; Chill until firm. Unmold and serve with more berries, and sour cream as a dip in center of mold if you used a ring-style mold.



4. Holiday Ambrosia



1 can (20 oz) chunk pineapple in juice or syrup

1 can (11 oz) mandarin orange segments

1-1/2 cups seedless grapes

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup nuts

3/4 cup dairy sour cream or vanilla yogurt

1 T. sugar



Drain pineapple and oranges. Combine pineapple, oranges, grapes, marshmallows, coconut, and nuts. Mix sour cream and sugar. Stir into fruit mixture. Chill. Makes 4-6 servings. (This is very popular, so I suggest trebling this recipe at minimum! Serve in the largest glass bowl you have!)



5. Simple food ideas with little or no work



a. Banana Split Party- everyone brings a pre-set icecream item like nuts, sprinkles, sauce, bananas and has chipped in (in advance) for large tubs of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate icecream.



b. Pizza Sun Wheel- Make Pizzas and use the toppings to make Sun wheels and Sun faces. Don't forget lots of cheese to give it that golden appearance.



c. Braided Bread Crowns- Get someone to make bread braids in the shape of wheels. Brush with butter for a golden crust. Bread machines on the manual/dough settings make this a snap. Add sunflower seeds or make saffron bread for a really showy bread. (Tumeric is a cheap substitute for expensive saffron)



Drinks and Frozen treats-



1. Texas Tornadoes for Adults only



1 (6-oz) can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed and undiluted

1-1/2 cups orange juice

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup tequila

1 T. chopped canned jalapeno peppers, drained



Combine all ingredients in blender. Process until smooth. Pour mix into 3 inch ice cube trays. Freeze one hour or until partially frozen. Insert small plastic cocktail forks in center of each cube. Freeze until firm.



2. Deep Blue Sea Pops



2 cups sugar

2 cups milk

2 cups half-and-half

12 drops liquid blue food coloring

Bite-sized fish shaped chewy fruit snacks



Combine first 5 ingredients. Spoon mixture into paper cups or popscicle molds. Drop snacks into each cup or mold. Freeze one hour. Insert a wooden craft stick into cups; freeze until firm. For molds, just insert base of mold on immediately and freeze until firm.



3. Cran-Orange Surprise



2 pints orange sherbert, softened

2 cups cranberry juice cocktail

1 cup lemon-lime carbonated beverage



Combine all ingredients. Spoon in to cups or popscicle molds. Freeze as above.



4. Frozen punches of all kinds can be found with a bit of searching. Make an ice ring mold and put in frozen berries and other fruit of the same substance as the punch to keep it chilled without dilution.



5. For a tex-mex theme, make a Sangria wine and add fresh citrus fruit slices.

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