20,,21, and 22 June
Midsummer Eve/Summer Solstice
The Summer Solstice is celebrated between June 20 and June 22-the longest day and shortest night of the year. The festival of Midsummer venerates the potential of the life-sustaining powers of fire and water, forces that were vital to our ancestors’ survival. It was believed that fire would help keep the sun alive and that the blessing of waterwells would continue their flow to nurture the parched earth. Without sun and water, there would be no crops and all would perish.
One of the most popular customs that grew out of the early fertility rites was that of jumping or leaping over Midsummer bonfires. The idea being, the higher one jumped, the higher the crops would grow.
Another symbol that was popularized at this time was the wheel. The turning of the wheel represented the turning or progression of the seasons. Wheels were decorated with brightly colored ribbons and fresh flowers. Lighted candles were placed on them, and then they were set afloat on the lakes and rivers.
Midsummer Eve and Midsummer Night are genuinely thought to be particularly uncanny times. It was reasoned that certain plants were endowed with magickal properties on this night, that, if gathered before sunrise, could be used for protection against all evil spirits and forces.
With the sun at its zenith, Midsummer was, and still is, a time for marriages, family celebrations, and coming-of-age parties.
Symbolically, Midsummer is the time to nurture those goals you made at the beginning of the year as you reflect on the progress you have made toward bringing them into fruition. (See Appendix A for a Midsummer Ritual.)
Midsummer is a celebration of light and life, symbolized by the flame of a candle and the movement of water. A large glass bowl filled with an assortment of floating candles makes a wonderful point of focus for ritual. Choose bright yellow sunflowers, white lilies, and red tulip-shaped candles. Have each person participating in the ritual inscribe his or her desire, with a pin, on a candle. Have each person come forward, place his or her candle in the bowl and light it as he makes his wish. Following the ritual, the bowl is placed outdoors and the candles are left to burn out.
The Sun Wheel
One of the most popular symbols of Midsummer is the Sun Wheel, the turning of which suggests the turning, or progression, of the seasons. The Wheel is decorated with flowers, fresh herbs, and brightly colored ribbons.
The simplest method for making a Sun Wheel is to buy an already-prepared natural-branch wreath from an arts and crafts store. Affix small branches of rowan to form the spokes of the wheel (four spokes to represent the elements and cross-quarter days or eight to symbolize the eight Wiccan Sabbats). Use floral wire to attach fresh flowers and herbs to the wreath. Embellish with brightly colored ribbons. The wheel can be used as the focal point for your Midsummer rites or hung on the front door of your home for decoration.
Celebrating Wiccan Spirituality: Spells, Sacred Rites, and Folklore for Each Day of the Year Lady Sabrina