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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Midsummer

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How to Make an Oak Leaf Crown

Across the North, the two preeminent sacred trees of Midsummer's are the ("male") oak and the ("female") linden.

On the linden, whose spicy flowering perfumes the longest nights of the year, more in a future post. But for today, the oak.

The Oak is the tree of Thunder, most virile of gods,* whose thunderstorms rumble spectacularly across the prairies at this time of year—the Ojibway call July "Thunder Moon"—and, they say, "holds fire in its heart." (In his youth, the Horned hid the fire of the gods there after he had stolen it from Thunder's hearth, but that's another story.) Fire drills used to be made from oak, and their "cradles" from linden wood. Extinguishing all the fires in the village and kindling the New Fire from wood on wood is an old, old Midsummer's tradition.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Summer Yule

Yule : Midwinter :: Lithe : Midsummer.

8th century Anglo-Saxon historian Bede of Jarrow calls it Líða: Midsummer. Along with its winter equivalent, Yule, it was one of the two hinges of the Old English year.

Like Yule, we don't know what Líða meant originally. According to Bede, the word denotes “gentle” or “navigable” because at this time of year “the calm breezes are gentle, and they were wont to sail upon the smooth sea” (Shaw 49). Likely this is just a guess; it's certainly not a particularly compelling explanation.

In the English-speaking pagan world, many today refer to the summer sunstead (solstice) by its Anglo-Saxon name. If the word had continued in current use, as Yule did, we would today speak of Lithe. (Rhymes with scythe.)

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Janette and Greybeard both: the OED confirms that well into early Modern English "lithe" retained its old association with
  • janette nash
    janette nash says #
    As a Brit, I have no trouble believing it means smooth, and refers to the water - a lot of old sayings relate to the weather, and
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Our best guess is that Litha was a Saxon word that essentially meant June. And "after-Letha" meant July.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn

A Victorian nationalist wrote the lyrics. The king of British folksingers wrote the tune. The father of modern witchcraft made it part of the Book of Shadows. And across the English-speaking world, pagans sing and dance to it every Midsummer's Day.

How good is that?

Poet Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) first published the poem A Tree Song in his childrens' novel Puck of Pook's Hill in 1906. Folk-singer Peter Bellamy (1944-1991) wrote a musical setting for the poem (you can hear it here), retitled Oak and Ash and Thorn; it was released on the album of the same name in 1970.

Meanwhile, some time in the 1950s, Gerald Gardner (1886-1964) had written the last verse of the song into the liturgy for Beltane. How did a Midsummer's song (“Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn, me love/all of a Midsummer's morn”) end up at Beltane? Well, the cross-quarters were the original sabbats of Gardner's revived “witch-cult,” as in Murray, and the quarter-days (solstices and equinoxes) didn't come in until later. That explains the truncation of the lyrics in the BoS version as well.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Summerland of the Snows

Regular readers of this blog no doubt ask themselves from time to time: So, is Paganistan really the matchless Summerland of the Snows that Posch makes it out to be? (Paganistan is the Secret Witch Name of the 13-county Minneapolis-St. Paul metropagan area.)

Well, shown above is a sign that I saw while driving to work this morning. It's 4 blocks from my house.

You decide.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
I and The Village  (h/t Chagall)

or...I was a PSG virgin.

Got back on Monday from my first sojourn to the Pagan Spirit Gathering, one of the largest and oldest Pagan festivals in the country. I've worked with Selena Fox, Dianne Duggan and Lady Liberty League for many years but this festival was simply too far away. Selena is very persuasive and my friend Oriana volunteered to drive, so off we went.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Solitary Midsummer with Lucifer

In Black Rose we celebrate the longest day by honoring Lucifer the Witch King. In our tradition’s mythology Lucifer is the bringer of light and is personified by the brilliant shining sun.  This Midsummer we will be invoking the spirit of Lucifer through an adaptation of one of our most treasured practices known as Kala. During Kala we gather energetic blockages and purify them with the power of our own light. We finish this ritual by consuming this energy, now instead of it being a toxic blockage it is nutritious power that can fuel us. 

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Devin Hunter
    Devin Hunter says #
    Hi Christopher, I am surprised that you haven't, it's at the heart of traditional Wicca and many other traditions. There is a very
  • Christopher Blackwell
    Christopher Blackwell says #
    I have been Wiccan for almost thirty years. I have two hundred in my personal library on various type of Wicca and had not run int
  • Christopher Blackwell
    Christopher Blackwell says #
    I have to admit that is a new one one for me. I have ever heard the claim that Lucifer was a Witch king, nor related to witchcraft

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