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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Summer Solstice

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

We stand in a circle beside the enormous maple branches that lie across the road, a sort of honor guard to a fallen land Wight. Claire, on whose lot the maple stands, greets each newcomer by name; Susan, who lives across the road and has a gas stove, offers coffee to folks without power.

Scarlett informs us, with a seven-year-old's precision, that the kids (seven at last count, though the number fluctuates as neighboring families walk or cycle past, witnessing our changed landscape) have collected ten earthworms. They've all been presented to us as holy offerings before being released back to the greater Mystery that is the rain-soaked boulevard. Summer has arrived with a bang.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Oh What A Beautiful Solstice

"Oh What a Beautiful Solstice, Oh What a Beautiful Day…"

These are the strains I remember waking to coming from an enthusiastic fellow Pagan Spirit Gathering camper some years back, on the day of the summer solstice. It stuck with me, and I have very fond memories of the experience. The gathering has gotten quite large and sadly, I have not been able to return– but the spirit of PSG stays with me. Drawing on some of that energy and a few of my own Litha gatherings since, here is my idea of the perfect Midsummer camping trip, on a much smaller scale.

I find that state parks have a lot to offer in the way of ample space, good upkeep and natural beauty. I cannot sing the praises enough of my own Wisconsin State Park System! Of course, if you know someone with access to private grounds, by all means, take advantage of that first. But when reserving at a public place, always be sure to request a woodsy, secluded spot, preferably on an end of the campground. You don't want to be sandwiched between others and most park administrative staff that you talk to can tell you of just such a site at their facility. If you find a park with a lake, there are usually the added benefits of a boat or canoe rental opportunity, swimming, and the soothing sounds of the water at night when you are drifting off to sleep.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Editor B
    Editor B says #
    We have our reservations at a state park, and I had some rough idea of how we should celebrate, but you've helped to crystallize t
  • Colleen DuVall
    Colleen DuVall says #
    Glad to hear it!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

For many, the Summers Solstice is a time for Sun, Sea and Sand, the longest day and the official start of summer in the West--a good time to create a shadow box altar to honor this turn of the wheel.

Before we get started, I want to tell you why shadow boxes are important. They are not only seasonal reminders of our 8 holy days, but they take concentration and focus. By thinking about the elements that go into the box, you are also centered on the meaning of each box. What represents Beltain? Should I include a maypole? What can I use from my environment to honor the gods at Imbolc? (The image below is a Beltane altar--in miniature!--and made from clay, beads and found objects.)

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Beltane-altar-closeup.jpg

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

St. John's Wort 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.

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