Season and Spirit: Magickal Adventures Around the Wheel of the Year
The Wheel of the Year is the engine that drives NeoPagan practice. Explore thw magick of the season beyond the Eight Great Sabbats.
Feral Roses: Soaking in the Sun at Midsummer
With the Summer Solstice on June 21, the Summer season commences with the Sun at its peak! The longest day pours the power of light and heat upon a dazzled Earth, and every living thing celebrates. We celebrate through dance, and merriment, and flirtation, while everything green photosynthesizes as hard as it can. The bees are at play among the wildflowers, the birds are flying sorties overhead, as a warm wind stirs the branches. It's Midsummer’s Day, also known as Litha, and the whole world goes Ahhh!
At noon on Litha, I go into the garden and cut roses for the altar. It never ceases to amaze me that June 21 and 22 is always the precise time that the sunflowers bloom, when suddenly the tiger swallowtail butterflies appear in my neighborhood. It's the time when I go outside and notice that the seed-heads on the tall grass have turned from tender green to pale gold. We are that the tipping point, the whole Earth is vibrating at its living, breathing, teeming limit, lit by a Sun at the peak of its power. We are at the crest of a wave, sitting at the very top of fountain of life unfolded in its glory. In the waxing part of the year, we sense that “Everything is Possible.” Today, on the Summer Solstice, all possibilities are present, in this very moment. It's beyond possibility: everything is happening right now! Everything is at its furthest extreme: the Sun is brightest, the shadows are deepest. We feel the ecstasy of desire and the pang of jealousy deeper. On Midsummer we are balanced on that furthest point, ablaze and joyful on this longest day.
Timing is everything, of course, because we cannot remain at this intensity forever. Although the beginning of Summer signals a season of intense heat and growth, we are descending into the waning half of the Year, each day getting a little shorter. I'm always aware of this as I pick the roses. I'm afraid I neglected pruning the bushes this Spring, so there are dozens of roses at all stages of bloom. It's been so hot and dry that the open ones are wilted and drooping in just a few days of opening, but plenty of buds ready to open are right behind them. Cutting roses for the altar is all about timing as well, because the practice is to find roses at the peak of their loveliness, at their own perfect moment. And that moment is brief indeed, as the warm the of the Sun and the wind will bake the fresh loveliness of the rose a little each day, as soon as it emerges from its tight bud. Because they have been neglected, the roses are at their own riotous extreme, having gone almost completely feral. The thorns are as exquisitely sharp and new as the blossoms themselves are beautiful, and picking the roses for their loveliness and fragrance, for their sensory lushness, involves risking a painful pricking of my fingers. It always feels appropriate to spend a drop of blood in gathering the Solstice roses.
The magick of the Summer Solstice is in recognizing the lush abundance that rains down on us all the time. Because the divine energy of creation is present everywhere, we can tap into it a number of ways. We can revitalize and renew our tools, toys and practice by aligning with the intense light of the Midsummer Sun:
Make sun tea! The quickest way to bring the power of the sun into your body is to brew up a big jar of sun tea, setting the intention that the tea will steep in the Solar qualities you want (magnificence strength, play, beauty). You can place a citrine crystal in the water to amp up the Solar energy. Just remove any crystals before placing the jar in the fridge. Drink and enjoy.
You can charge all your crystals by leaving them out under the Midsummer sun. I am leaving mine out all day and night to bathe in the twin powers of the Sun at its peak PLUS a Full Moon!
Summer solstice is a time of sensory pleasure, so revel in the pleasures you love best: fresh peaches, cool water, beautiful scenery. Whatever feeds you, feast on it!
This is a great time to take a quick look at any magickal goals or plans you set out for the year, just to see where you are. Put your dedications and intentions on the Litha altar, and re-charge them, aligning your will with the strength of the Sun.
Take your magickal tools outside and clean them under the Midsummer Sun, so that soak up the sun's energy. While it's not the best idea to leave your tools out int hr sun for any length of time, a minute or two soak up all that luscious solar power will do them good.
Happy Midsummer, everyone! Enjoy!
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