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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Midsummer
The Turning Wheel: Folk Tradition and Myth

 

There’s a house across the hill from mine that has a wagon wheel mounted on a post in their front yard. It’s painted white with eight spokes, and in front of it is a small garden bed with flowers. I’ve seen wagon wheels in yards and even mounted on house exteriors before, but I never thought much about them until recently. When I noticed this particular wagon wheel on the way to my son’s school one morning, it struck me as one of those old traditions that have been practiced consistently for so long that people have forgotten what they mean. But still they use them, out of superstition (a code word for lingering belief in folk magic and religion), a love of tradition, or both.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Does Your Litha Garden Grow?

The first day of summer is tomorrow, and I for one, am imagining lush green plants and foliage. What better way to honor Midsummer than with a Litha garden? Even if you live in an urban setting, you can get adventurous with the right size pots for roots, some potting soil, and cages for the vines to grow correctly.

When thinking of sun colors, I would definitely plant some tomatoes. If you’re in the Midwest, you should still be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor come August, and now there are so many varieties to choose from. Pretty multi-colored heirlooms, lush romas, or the ever versatile and easy-to-grow cherries are all good options. Likewise, some nice orange or red bell peppers would do well planted now. The tomatoes are the ones that need extra room for roots and wire cages to help the vines grow properly up top. For an inexpensive potting option, purchase some large plastic bins from a hardware store like Menards and drill holes in a circle along the bottom. Fill with nutrient rich plant soil and be sure to secure the roots of your tomato plants deep within it. Watering is of the utmost importance, and if you don’t live in a naturally rainy climate, you really need to keep up with this every day. A good amount is needed to truly keep the soil moist for a healthy, thriving plant.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    After Thanksgiving last year I took the pumpkins off the front porch and set them against the back fence. I have some pumpkin vin

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Midsummer Retreat

Sometimes the activity of the waxing year come so thick and fast that by Midsummer you can feel a bit ramshackle. Part of it is due to the aging process. But also, I am the sort of person who needs a good chunk of quiet time to process the emotions around events. So what happens? I get a little bit sick, a virus, just sick enough to take me out of the fray to ponder the imponderables, to think around the large and small circumstances of life, and to put them into perspective.

I felt a bit like this ramshackle old glasshouse seen on an open garden day at Colebrooke House, near Enniskillen in Fermanagh. When spirits and physical energy run low, sometimes it is only a garden and flowers that can be this Bee's balm. That was about the last day we had overcast, cool weather in June. We have experienced surreally hot and dry weather for Ireland in June. Seeing that I am not genetically engineered to withstand more than a quarter of any hour's strong sunshine, I have been indoors. Without pollution our sun is particularly searing. A Factor 30 sunscreen could not protect me for a half hour out on the beach last Friday. Yes, I am that much of a shade plant!

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  • Deb
    Deb says #
    I love this post and can really relate with what you said. As a transplant from the northern area of the USA to Florida for the pa

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I watched fairies dance
in the midsummer twilightb2ap3_thumbnail_fairydance.jpg
waltzing with fireflies
and skimming through treetops.
It is true that they could have
been moths,
but as I stood in the shadows
with my children
all of us gazing upward in wonder
the sky deepening to night
I saw the certainty shining
in their faces,
the enchantment in their eyes
and I knew
without a doubt
that we were seeing the true nature
of these winged creatures.
And we will never forget what
it felt like to watch
real fairies taking flight
right before us
as we dared to name
the magic in the night.


Last week, my sister-in-law hosted a fairy tea party for our little ones at the river. We had an enchanting time eating tiny cupcakes and drinking sparkling raspberry-chamomile tea while wearing fairy wings as the sky dipped toward twilight. Then, we headed home and the kids asked me to stay out and catch fireflies. As we did so, a "fairy" suddenly flew across the sky in front of us and it is this experience that I share in my poem above. It was a priceless, magical, powerful moments with my son and daughter. The next day they wrote tiny notes of thanks to the fairies who let us see them and set up a fairy-sized tea party with tiny cups of cherry juice as an offering beneath the rose bush.

b2ap3_thumbnail_35922919_2107213349490876_2399942611637895168_o.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_35924543_2107578882787656_3993992012419301376_o.jpg

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
In Search of the Sun

How does one weather a soggy Summer Solstice, anyway? Looking forward to one of the big Sabbats of the year is what most Wiccans and Pagans eagerly anticipate reveling in. As I peered out my bedroom window this morning, however, my brow furrowed. Overcast, cold, and rainy. Again. Granted this is Wisconsin, as everyone here loves to repeatedly point out, as if that makes it alright. News flash: it doesn't. My allergies have not appreciated this unduly wet and cooler year thus far. If it wasn't so damp, it wouldn't be a big deal. Even though I'm prone to heatstroke, I don't begrudge the truly hot temps, even when you get the double-whammy of humidity (more extreme wet stuff). I just pace myself accordingly, and don't attend the Ren Faire in a heavy costume, lest I be carried out on a stretcher. I'm beginning to suspect I would do much better in an arid climate, but that's a story for another time.

Back to the Solstice. I often nostalgically recall my first and only attendance to the PSG in 2000. It started out bright and sunny that day, but by mid-afternoon, we all had to seek shelter in our tents due to the thunderstorms rolling in. It wasn't so terrible. Wine, cheese, and a cozy atmosphere all helped. Earth-minded folk tend to be resilient. Things finally cleared up around nine that evening. Eventually, curiosity seekers began to creep and crawl out of their tents to the damp grass, lured by the sound of drumbeats. The natives were restless from being cooped-up the better part of the day and needed to get their dance on. So drum and dance we did, as planned, around the bonfire, until the wee wee hours. It was ecstatic and frenzied and sweet. It was continuing our celebration as planned, and not allowing Mother Nature's mood swings to rain us out completely.

So my best advice today, if it looks dicey outdoors, is to go about your plans the best you can and not lose hope. I'm determined to set up my annual outdoor "Zen Den," whether my hammock gets soaked, or not. If my partner and I can't sit outside and enjoy the sunset later, I will still cook up the ritual din-din as planned, and we can crack the windows and listen to the raindrops. Candles and incense will be lit regardless. I will still bake homemade cornbread and perform my yoga sun salutations on this day, because, why not? I believe it remains important to honor the significance of the actual sacred day and the deities associated with it. The main thing to keep in mind when following an earth-based belief, is that being flexible with Book of Shadow plans and adjusting them when necessary is key. Happy Solstice, everyone, whatever plans that you honor today.

References:

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

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Posted by on in Signs & Portents
Summer Is Here!

There’s not much mistaking it anymore is there? Summer is definitely here! Depending on how you count it, today is either the first day or the midpoint of summer, the longest day and the shortest night. In Britain, the summer solstice has been known traditionally as both Litha and Midsummer, with the former coming from the ancient Celts. Included below is all our content related to the festival as well as various cool tidbits we found around the web. We hope you have a great summer!

--Aryós Héngwis

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A Midsummer Invocation to Earth and Her Two Husbands

Midsummer dark, Midsummer bright:

the longest day, the shortest night.

 

(Horn)

Let us lift up our hands.

 

On this Midsummer's Eve we call

to Earth, mighty mother of us all,

and we praise you for your great good gift of fruitfulness.

We ask that through the summer to come

our gardens may bear abundantly,

so that through this season

and through the winter to come

we, your people, may have plenty to eat.

So mote it be.

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