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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Midsummer

Posted by on in Signs & Portents
Summer Is Here!

It’s Midsummer, also known as the Summer Solstice or Litha! Alternatively viewed as either the midpoint or the start of summer, Midsummer is the time when one hemisphere of the Earth (the Northern Hemisphere in this case) is at its maximum tilt towards the Sun, resulting in the longest day and an increase in temperature. Of course, for our southern kindred, it’s Midwinter.

Here at PaganSquare we’ve gathered a large number of posts both from our own website and others to celebrate this day. We hope you enjoy today’s festivities and have a wonderful summer (or winter if that’s where you are)!

-Aryós Héngwis

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Midsummer Behind a Cyclone Fence

Yesterday we (the Wiccan circle at San Quentin State Prison) did a combination Midsummer and Fathers’ Day celebration, after the noisy Juneteenth celebration in the main prison yard.  We have to meet when and where permitted, and with limited access to such things as water for bathing or bonfires.  (There is water for drinking.)

Most times we meet in a little storage room off the breezeway where the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Islamic chapels are.  It is literally a storeroom, with stacks of folding chairs and tables and old file cabinets.  Since I’ve been going there the file cabinets were moved.  At this point, it’s been cleaned out enough that we only have two tables and a bunch of stacked chairs.  It’s considered to be the Minority Faiths Chapel.

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Kick-Ass Traditional Scandinavian Midsummer's Recipe

By Midsummer's, the garden is really starting to kick in and feed us. There on the traditional Scandinavian Midsummer's Eve table, along with the caraway cheese, the deviled eggs, the new potatoes and dill, the cucumbers in sour cream, the roasted baby beets, and the strawberry-rhubarb pie, is this absolutely stunning puree of asparagus and fresh garden peas: the very essence of green life.

If ever you've wondered what Midsummer's tastes like, this is it.


Green Pea-Asparagus Puree

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Night on Witches' Hill

The cop car careens up into the park, right over the grass. It slams to a stop; two doors fly open simultaneously and a cop leaps out of each one, hands on holsters, poised and ready to go.

Welcome to our Midsummer's Eve.

There we were, up on the highest hill in the metropagan area: us and folks from our sister coven. We'd decked ourselves and the picnic tables with oak leaves. We'd sung the songs, danced the dances, and shared the feast of new foods.

Now it's sunset, and everyone's gone up to the top of the hill to bid farewell to the Sun at its latest setting of the year.

Except for me. Here's old Uncle Steve, right in character, down in the park running around with the kids. There's even one sitting on my shoulders.

I don't know what the cops were expecting. Something nefarious, I suppose. Something occult. Black hooded robes and a virgin in a white gown.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Fire in Water

Midsummer's Eve 1940, German-occupied Denmark.

For the first time in perhaps 3000 years, no Midsummer bonfires burn in Denmark.

The Nazis have forbidden them.

Throughout Scandinavia and the Baltics, Midsummer's Eve is the greatest summer feasting of the year. Bonfires burn on every hilltop. In the countryside, one can see them literally from horizon to horizon.

In Denmark, a nation of islands and coastline, it is long-standing custom to build these solstice fires on the beach, where, in their reflections, one may behold the mythic fire that burns in water.

But a surprise awaits the occupiers.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Rhymes with Blithe

Midwinter is to Midsummer as Yule is to —?

If you answered Litha,'re mostly right.

Midwinter and Midsummer are ancient. Cognate names survive in every living Germanic language, so they must have been known back in Common Germanic times, more than 2500 years ago.

Both holidays have by-names as well. The Hwicce—the Anglo-Saxon tribe ancestral (some say) to today's witches—also knew Midwinter as Géol and Midsummer as Líða.

Down the centuries Géol morphed into Yule. Líða didn't survive the passage of time, but during the 80s pagans rediscovered the word and gave it a new lease on life.

It's unclear what either word originally meant. Some have suggested that “Yule” may be kin either to gel—because it marks the coming of winter—or to yell, because “crying Yule” is a fine old midwinter's custom. In northern England, after Christmas services, people used to join hands and dance through the church shouting “Yule! Yule! Yule!”

I'll bet the vicar just loved that.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Milk of the Mother

Taste the milk, the milk of the Mother:

drink from the fountain, the fountain of life.

(Paganistani chant)

Roughly 9000 years ago, some of my ancestors underwent a genetic mutation that enabled them to continue drinking milk into adulthood.

Boy, am I ever glad that they did.

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