The eternal dance continues. We are edging ever closer to June 21, and the Summer Solstice.
This is the moment when the long evenings, the early dawns, and the energies that infuse our days, come to a peak.
As our hemisphere completes its tilt towards the life-giving sun, on this date we experience the maximum amount of sunlight and daytime. This date is commonly celebrated as Midsummers Day.
For many centuries and across numerous cultures, this powerful point in the calendar has been recognized. In Pagan Europe, this date was of huge significance and is still celebrated every year with bonfires across the Baltic countries and Scandinavia. These people keep the Summer Solstice tradition burning, literally.
It remains a high point on the Magickal Calendar, as the maximum flow of energy between Sun and Earth empowers Rituals and Spellcasting. We take full advantage of this at the Coven, standing in the streaming sunlight to carry out ceremonies on this most special of days.
What is it about the Summer Solstice that is so special?
Essentially, the Summer Solstice is a midway point. We have passed through the transition from winter to spring, and now we enter the heart of summer. In the great wheel of life, it is a checking point that rings with significance. We use it to empower ourselves, but also to take stock of who we are and where we are, on a cosmic scale.
Ancient cultures and civilizations have long recognized this day and its vital importance. These people would have clearly seen the link between the seasons and their daily lives, how their very existence was linked with the pattern of the sun.
One of the most ancient examples of this is the ancient Stonehenge complex in England. This massive network of standing stones were raised almost 5 millennia ago, by a group of people we have very limited knowledge of.
How these ancient people managed to transport these massive stones huge distances (hundreds of miles in some cases) without machinery remains a mystery, but we know that the Solstice was uppermost in their minds when they constructed this sacred space.
The site was constructed with a special ‘entrance’ gap between the stones that would perfectly frame the sunrise only on the morning of the Summer Solstice. This sunrise could then illuminate special rituals and ceremonies to honor the deities. Only on Solstice days would this alignment occur, pointing to a very articulate and deep-seated appreciation of this solar event.
Thus, the Stonehenge site was both an astronomical and ritual site of much importance. It was continuously in use for several hundred years, and has been re-embraced in the 20<sup>th</sup> century as a focus for modern Druidic activity – especially on this unique date.
The ancient Britons were not the only people who appreciated the power of the Summer Solstice.
Around 2000 BC, the Great Pyramids of Egypt were constructed. A massive technological achievement, only on Midsummer Day would the sun sets directly behind the head of the Sphinx and exactly halfway between the two great pyramids of this complex.
This is itself a highly symbolic image, as the head of the Sphinx appears to ingest, or ‘take in’ the sun as it reaches the exact midpoint between the pyramids. This indicates a great understanding that this is a powerful mid-way point – significant enough to dictate the construction patterns of these huge structures.
A closer example in North America is the great Serpent Mount structure in southern Ohio. It is a fine example of the Summer Solstice being acknowledged in ancient architecture. This deep and winding ‘groove’ was excavated by Native Americans over a thousand years, to mirror the image of a great serpent twisting through the landscape. The ‘head’ of the serpent directly faces the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.
This is proof that the importance of this event is truly international, being honored by a society that carved a cosmic salute to the day out of the bare ground.
Magick flows especially powerfully on the Solstice date. If only we could go back in time to witness the great events that doubtlessly occurred in these special places on the solstice dates. As modern practices spread, the Christian world took to terming this date ‘St John’s Day’, in honor of St John the Baptist. Christianity choose to match this event with one of the most important figures in the New Testament.
In many respects, we here at 7witches Coven mirror and pay tribute to the early innovators with our own practical rituals on this date. These rituals often focus on protection, as well as ensuring that we and our loved ones enter the next half of the year in health and happiness.
The great surplus of energy that this lengthy day provides gives us the fuel we need to ensure the most effective and powerful conditions for Spellcasting. Magick that draws from the Earth is especially potent on this date.
Wiccans often make time for a special celebration on this date. It’s not uncommon to see circles and gatherings take on a special significance, on this date, for those who follow these beliefs. This makes perfect sense when you examine Wiccan beliefs – as any communion with the Earth will always take the Sun into account, and on this date the two are inextricably linked.
As the mirrored celebration of Yule is the time when we celebrate the turn back towards the sun and light, Midsummer is the date when we celebrate our current bright period coming to its full fruition.
What sort of ceremonies are the best choices for the Summer Solstice season?
This being a date when the great sky above is illuminated for the longest period; I tend to opt for outdoor ceremonies. In our ceremonies, we also make use of organic materials and plants that flower and blossom in this midsummer period.
I find this use of natural material allows us to more closely resonate and celebrate in tune with this special day.
Paying particular attention to the Sun and its special path throughout the sky on this day can also be very beneficial. If you give the Sun the focus that it deserves on this date, then its potency will be reflected in your Spellwork.
It goes without saying that group rituals can be a very good choice as well. The Summer Solstice has always been a time for group celebration and joy – what better way to channel the spirit of this time than with those who are close to us?
Do you have a Summer Solstice tradition that you keep? Do you mark this day and give thanks in your own way? Or do you enjoy spending it with friends and relatives?
Let us know your thoughts on the Summer Solstice via a comment below, or feel free to connect with us and others via our Facebook Page. I hope this Solstice finds you and yours in an abundance of sacred peace.
My blessings upon you,
J. Roslyn Antle
High Priestess, The 7witches Coven