Monday, June 15, 2009

Midsummertime!


This is one of my favorite times of the year, probably because my element is fire and this is the time when that element reigns supreme... for a day. Below is the text from part of the Midsummer entry I have in my personal BOS. Some of the specifics were gleaned from Sabbats by Edain McCoy.

Midsummer

Date: June 20th-25th (Date of Summer Solstice)

Also Called: Litha, Summer Solstice

Related Holidays: Litha/Vestalia (Rome), Gathering Day (Wales), Feill-Sheathain (Scotland), Alban Heflin (Anglo-Saxon), All-Couple’s Day (Greece), Feast of Epona (Gaul), Thing-Tide (Scandinavia)


Midsummer marks the time of the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and the height of the sun’s power. Each day forward, the days will wane in length as the sun begins to recede from the sky. At Midsummer the Goddess is heavy with pregnancy, just as the earth is pregnant with the coming harvest. Fertility rites are still carried out at this time so as to insure the growing crop came to fruition, as livestock and fields could be blighted. The Sun God should not be forgotten, though, and his fatherhood should be celebrated as well.


Fire is a part of nearly every Sabbat celebration, but it is most prominent at Midsummer. The balefire can be used to bless protective amulets – such as God’s Eyes. Herbs are typically ready to harvest by Midsummer, and are cut and stored for winter’s use at this time. Various cultures have also used this time to gather sticks that were then turned into staffs or walking sticks. Wood can also be gathered to create wands. Of all the Sabbats this is one that is most often celebrated during daylight hours. Traditionally, festivities began early with a greeting of the rising sun and lasted throughout the hours of the year’s longest day. Many cultures bless the land and trees at this time. These blessings are a magical ward against withering in the summer heat.


Just like at Beltane, Faery folk are quite active at this time. Folklore says that the fae are at the height of their power on Midsummer. Tales of their mischief effecting animals caused people to hang herbs and other charms out to ward off the pesky faeries. Contrarily, this time can be used to make friends with the fae around your property by leaving out food for them such as dairy products, honey, wine, or bread.


Animals are blessed, and it is customary to bring pets or familiars into a sacred circle to bestow a blessing upon them. Likewise, protective talismans can be easily made and slipped onto their collars. Milk can be substituted for wine at this time as a tribute to the continued lactation of mothering goats and cattle. Fertility magic, as always, is a part of this celebration, and women used to walk in the fields to promote conception. This is also a traditional time for marriage.


It is also said that the Oak King and Holly King battle again on Midsummer, just as they do on Yule, but it is the Oak King who is slain and the Holly King who takes reign. This is a perfect opportunity to have an outdoor summer celebration with the family complete with food, fun, and family

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