Happy Solstice! While today and tonight are the actual Solstice, on June 23 we celebrate St. John's Eve and on June 24 St. John's Day, which are hugely important for folk herbalists.
Likely a Christian adaptation of the pre-existing Summer Solstice festivals, St. John's Eve honors midsummer with bonfires and herbal customs. The phenomenally powerful herbal ally St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum, internally taken as an anti-depressant, internally and externally applied as a potent anti-bacterial/anti-viral) blooms right around this time each year, turning beautiful yellow flower-faces to the Sun.
On St. John's Eve, venture into the garden at midnight and gather your St. John's Wort flowers. Allow them to dry, flat on cookie racks or a baking sheet lined with a linen towel, for a day or so. Then, loosely chop and place the flowers, leaves, and stems in a jar. Cover with olive oil, jojoba oil, or your favorite other skin-friendly oil. Place the jar in a sunny window or on an outdoor altar for a few weeks, shaking gently on a daily basis. The oil will deepen into a wonderful shade of red. The depth of the red color, in Polish folklore, is indicative of how much love surrounds the maker of the oil. After a few weeks, strain this oil and use it topically as a moisturizing and cleansing oil for topical skin conditions. I typically mix in some comfrey root, peppermint leaf, calendula flower, and lavender flower as well, and the resulting oil is my all-purpose treatment for itchy skin, healing wounds, scars, eczema, and for softening rough spots.