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 water wells 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 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 made toward bringing them into fruition.