A few weeks ago, one of my co-workers asked, what exactly do you do for the Summer Solstice? And while I had any number of answers for her, about typical Midsummer traditions and rituals, all of them boiled down to: enjoy your life and all the pleasures that life brings.
Turning to the Summer Solstice, feeling the power of the Sun and standing on an awakened Earth, when all that lives is busy photosynthesizing, eating, mating—the wonders and gifts of being embodied are so evident. There is joy in stretching our muscles, feeling the Sun on our skin, eating that first juicy peach, smelling cut grass and flowers. Summer Solstice is a moment to revel in all our senses, to take in all the sensations of the season. But this beauty and pleasure is not just for the Solstice Day itself, but permeates the whole Season. The magick of Summer is not bound up in the moment when the Earth is closest to the Sun, although that is a profound and magickal moment. Summer's magick is bound in passion and pleasure and experience.
Maybe it would have been more appropriate to invoke Maeve or Mebh for Midsummer. But this is a Celtic roundhouse built in a magical woodland garden by a Smyth. Brighid, as we know, looks out for all smiths, even those with a y in their name. The man had the vision as well as the craft. Between them, Tina and Johnny have made some magic on their land that lies a country mile from the Shannon Pot, where the River Shannon rises in Ireland.
Quick– how many 45s can you rattle off that contain references to the sun? If you are a music lover, chances are good that you are hopping on the vinyl train and building up your collection. If not, get in touch with your best record geek pal who also owns a player. The plan: a Super Summer Solstice Backyard Record Spin. You will need a functional player (it is always good to have an additional one back-up) and some vintage discs. Invite your guests to tote their 45s and 33s, even 78s if they have them hiding in a closet. 33s especially come in handy so that you don't have to keep hopping up to flip the record. Also, don't just have one designated DJ. Encourage everyone to get in the mix and take turns spinning the tunes. That way, a natural flow will emerge and you will enjoy an eclectic variety of music. If one person is being a little piggy though, be sure to gently nudge them off the turntable so that everyone does in fact have a chance to play.
Break out the folding chairs and a long table for snacks and beverages, buffet-style. The signature cocktail should of course be a "Sunny Sangria:"
I have been thinking about the direction this blog should take; how best to illustrate how my spirituality is tied to my daily life and my relationship with my family--how can/will my spirituality see me through the present circumstances of my life. In short, how do I become the person I want to be, and who can guide me there?
I realized the best way to start was to ask. What do I need to know? I didn't ask anyone--I just presented the question and waited for an answer. The answer that came to me over the course of a few days amid dishes, laundry, library trips, preschool story hours, homework help and Play-Doh projects was simple, and yet so very complex.
Litha has passed; Summer is upon us. The Full Thunder Moon is softly waning, and the warm July night is jeweled with the twinkling fairy lights of fireflies. The air is scented with the powdery sweet musk of milkweed blossoms luring the monarchs, frogs offer up their throaty love calls, and my heart trembles with the holy joy of this peaceful night. There’s nothing easier than being a Goddess-loving Pagan at this moment.
When life is lovely, devotion to Her flows like silk, a shimmering thing of weightless beauty. My prayers are poetry, signs and messages abound, and my feet tread lightly on the Earth. Moments of inexplicable bliss catch me unaware, leaving me breathless with gratitude. But inevitably, the sky darkens, the seasons change and one day the world seems encased in ice as freezing rain chills the bones and wind whines and howls. Staring into the void outside the window, I feel alone, made of glass moments from shattering. I feel betrayed, forsaken; I can’t hear Her in this cold sunken place of despair and doubt.