Summer Solstice is traditionally one of the most festive of the Pagan/Wiccan Sabbats of the year. What better way to celebrate than with some Sun Salutations and joyous chants? Depending on whether you have your most energy at sunrise or sunset, plan your party according to your own natural rhythm. Invite your fitness-buff friends. Have everyone bring a yoga mat, lounge-worthy apparel and a healthy snack to share. Lead them through a series of easy postures, including Prayer Pose and Raised Arm Pose. There are some good ideas and tips courtesy of
If you are able to do these outside in your backyard, all the better. If nothing else, open all the windows and let the sunshine in. Be sure to keep you and your guests hydrated with some Sun Tea. If having a morning party, prepare the tea the day before. If holding at sunset, you can start your tea the day of! And the recipe is:
(Adapted from Chef Garlic, food.com)
4 family-size tea bags (I know some people prefer one brand over the other, so you can decide which you prefer)
1 1⁄4 cups sugar or sugar substitute to taste
water, to fill container
lemon wedge, for garnish
1 gallon container or jug, with a screw on lid.
About 9 a.m., fill your pitcher with the water, and tea bags.
(The reason for the screw on top, is so that ants don't get to the tea.) Let the tea sit in the sun for most of the day, a prime full sun location is best. In the summer, the heat from outside can be enough to dissolve the sugar later.
When done heating, combine the sugar, tea, and more water to make one gallon.
Serve with thick 1 1/2" wedges of lemon. It usually takes 4-6 hours of being in the sun in order to steep. You can eyeball the tea and bring it in, after the tea looks dark enough.
Since the tea is best served cold, put it in the fridge right away. It does not last as long as boiled tea for some reason, and I usually leave the tea bags in the jug until the tea is gone. Then, I take the tea bags and sprinkle them in my flower garden, or over my roses.
A rousingly energetic series of Kirtan chants can be shared on the wah! Loops N Grooves recording. A sampling of this inspiring music can be found at http://www.wahmusic.com/music_loopsngrooves.php
Typically Kirtan is a call/response effort, but with this recording you could sing along, dance, or do whatever moves you. When everyone has reached a sufficient state of bliss, sit down and feast! Blessed be and namaste.
For a list of common Kirtan chant lyrics that you could print out copies of:
For more info about Kirtan:
Photo by ponsuwan at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
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In the midst of a lengthy Anglo-Saxon charm, Æcerbot, there's a little chant in praise of the earth. I've always thought it needed music, so I've made an attempt at doing that (see below). I can easily imagine the folks carrying out the elaborate steps for the charm singing this part as they renew the field's fertility.
The charm requires many things: removing four pieces of sod from ground, taking it to be blessed, reciting prayers like the Crescite and Pater Noster over it and even adding "oil and honey and yeast, and milk of each animal that is on the land, and a piece of each type of tree that grows on the land, except hard beams, and a piece of each herb known by name, except burdock [glappan] only, and put then holy water thereon, and drip it three times on the base of the sods"....
The more traditional American holidays can leave some of we Wiccans and Pagans feeling a little left out and blue. Here are some ideas for taking pride in ourselves and where we live– as the old Francis Scott Key ditty goes: "the land of the free, and the home of the brave." Get your magical-minded buddies together for an outdoor picnic. For this, I would suggest your friendly, less populated county or state parks. If you are concerned about the forest ranger making the rounds, hold the festivities in your own (or co-host with one of your guests') big back yards instead.
Cook special dishes of significance to you. Cakes and Ale or Cakes and Wine are always an easy crowd-pleaser. Per Patti Wigington, at the about.com website: "The Wiccan ritual known as Cakes and Ale is often celebrated as a way of thanking the gods for their blessings. Cakes are usually just cookies prepared in the shape of crescent moons, and the ale can be alcoholic or it can be apple cider, juice, or even water." Here is her recipe:...
The Name holds the story and mystery of who it represents. The Name is the energetic sigil that connects and refines all parts of that individual. The Name holds the power and promise of greatness as its sound moves through space and time affirming our manifest existence. Mundanely, we may be named for a favorite relative, as predictor of the qualities that are hoped we will possess or we may be given a name selected for the rhythm and resonance with other family member’s names. We may be named for a favorite character in a play or movie or to honor someone of achievement and greatness. Regardless of where that name originated, it is our symbol etched in the written word or the oral tome. We hear our name called by family and friends and as we grow and mature that name acts as identifier for all of our choices, interactions, achievements, failures and everything in between. Our signature of name opens doors, seals the deal and holds us accountable for how we move through life and our affairs. As we form lasting relationships we hold on dearly to our given names, take that of another or blend and weave the energies of our loved one’s name and our own in creation of a new energetic pattern.
Magickally, we select a name that will embody our perception of the intent we have for our spiritual work and the path we have chosen. Often names of Deity will be incorporated into or used as the magickal name. Names taken from the natural world, the celestial realms or goal of evolved attributes may be selected. This name becomes the magnetic attractor of what we wish to become and the working tool that declares who we are in sacred space; aligned and moving in accord with our Divine nature. We invoke our magickal name and in so doing declare and call our magickal/spiritual persona into action. This name is our signature on the astral and becomes the representation of the deeper level of our Being in communication with our guides, patrons and Deity. In Ancient Egyptian belief, the Ren (name) was considered one of the five parts of the Soul. The name given at birth was guarded and protected as having power over the individual to whom it was given. The name was only shared with those who meant no harm to the individual as great magick could be worked upon the individual through the knowing of his/her name. The calling of an individual’s name affirmed the life essence within that individual and if used often and well, ensured their survival long after death in the form of legacy left by that name and the way in which the individual lived their life within its power....
Once per month on the 4th Tuesday at 8pm, I host a Tea and Chanting session at my shop, The Sacred Well in Oakland, CA. For each session, I prepare an intention for the group to consider, a new tea recipe to try, and a mantra that we will all chant 108 times. We then settle in to our meditation space, sip tea, chant, and increase our overall wholeness, wellness, and quality of energy with this practice. There is something really satisfying about this ritual. It clears and opens significant channels of energy and healing via the throat chakra.
I extend this experience in myTea and Incantation class in The Witch's Garden series as an exploration of how the art of drinking tea and chanting can positively affect the body, mind, and spirit. The throat, an important gateway of speech, song, breath, and consumption of food and drink, deserves lots of warm, kind, honeyed love. How many times per day do you find yourself talking, talking, talking or listening, listening, listening, and longing for silence? How often do you feel like you can't even catch a breath because you feel overrun and overwhelmed? We all feel that way sometimes. Drinking tea and chanting can be a great antidote to a loud and stressful environment, job, or life circumstances....