summer solsticemeaning: the summer solstice, also known as litha, takes place on june 21 and is the longest day of the year. it is tied to fire festivals, love, beauty, passion and energy. this is a holiday to celebrate passion and success, a holiday of powerful magic, and a time to celebrate the sun reaching its peak as the summer months arrive with a fiery passion. midsummer is a time to seek protection and to purify your space against negative or harmful energy. it is also a time to consider matters of fertility and love. it is a time of bountiful harvest and personal fertility. as well, it is a perfect time to do re-dedications. so if there is something you have been wanting to change, get rid of, or re-dedicate yourself to, this is the holiday to do it.
herbs: sage, mint, basil, fennel, chive, chervil, tarragon, parsley, rosemary,thyme, hyssop, honeysuckle, red heather, white heather, rue, sunflower, lavender, fern, mistletoe, st. john’s wort, mugwort, vervain, meadowsweet, heartsease, feverfew, iris, rowan, oak, fir, pine, aniseed, hazelnut.
flowers: seasonal flowers & fruits both make for great decorations. sprigs of oak and holly. daisies, honeysuckle, and sunflowers.
oils: violet, rose, orange, lime, thyme, citronella.
crystals: ruby, garnet, diamond, seashell, herkimer diamond, clear quartz crystal, amber, citrine, cat’s-eye, yellow topaz, yellow tourmaline, gold, silver, peridot, carnelian, calcite.
candles: blue, yellow-gold (to represent the sun), orange, gold, green.
incense: lavender, musk, violet, tangerine, rose.
- have a midsummer fire (outside, in a fireplace, or in a cauldron) to burn herbs & old amulets.
- cleansing rituals & protection rituals.
- make & charge protection amulets to wear throughout the year (burn in the following year’s midsummer fire).
- paint witches runes (the hagalaz rune), hex signs or other six-pointed figures on wood, paper, or other surfaces for protection (hang indoors or out).
- jump the balefire.
- burn your yule wreath from the previous year.
- this is a perfect time to perform herbal magick, so gather plants in the wild, being careful that they don’t touch the ground after being cut (their magickal energy will drain into the earth). here is a great site on the magickal uses of herbs.
- gather ash sticks at midsummer for wands, walking sticks, staffs, stangs and staves.
- decorate with magickal symbols, feathers, sigils, words, fabric, ribbon, or whatever you want (this is a really fun, free-spirited holiday).
- commune in the garden at daybreak. light votive candles and leave offerings, libations, and gifts for the faeries (cookies or cakes, fruit, a chalice with spring water - covered to keep bugs out - honey, butter, wine or milk). bring the water indoors and use it later in a ritual.
- cut any herbs that are ready for harvest on this day.
- gallop through garden on midsummer’s eve on a broomstick to ensure a bountiful harvest and personal fertility.
- celebrate the day outside doing summertime activities that will remind you of the warm, beautiful time of year it is.
midsummer herb burning ritual: to celebrate the summer solstice burn these nine herbs in the midsummer fire or in a cauldron on your altar: betony wood (or basil), chamomile, fennel (or lavender), lemon balm (or dianthus), mullein, rue, st. john’s wort, thyme, and vervain. use the ritual below for a more specific purpose (such as getting rid of a problem or pain).
midsummer fire pouch: make a small pouch out of white cloth. fill it with any combination of midsummer herbs you wish. be sure to add them in threes. tie the pouch with a red string. hold the pouch in your hand. concentrate on any problems, pain or illness you wish to be rid of. picture these things going into the bag. throw the bag into the midsummer fire.
make a solar wheel: wind palm or grape vine into a circle, twisting as you go. cut two short lengths of stem to be just a bit larger than the diameter of the circle and place one across the back horizontally and one vertically. decorate with symbols of the elementals - stones, feathers, shells, etc. and add yellow ribbons. hang in a tree or inside as a reminder of your deity’s protection.
food & drink: cook spicy main dishes and fresh fruits deserts, drink blueberry mead, eat juicy fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads and dishes with fresh herbs instead of dried (make sure to charge the herbs while cooking).
summer solstice herb bread: 3 cups flour, 1tbs. sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 pkg. dry active yeast, 2 tbs. chopped fresh chives, 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, 1 tsp fresh thyme, 1 1/4 cups hot water, 2 tbs. crisco.
mix 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl. add herbs, water, and crisco. beat slowly, stirring in the remaining cup of flour until smooth. scrape flour from sides of bowl and let rise in a warm place for 35 minutes until it doubles in bulk. punch down and beat with a spoon for about 15 seconds. place dough in a greased loaf pan, patting down and forming loaf shape with your hands. cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes or again until it rises in bulk. bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. brush top with butter and margarine and remove from pan to cool.
sources: image credit, here & livingdeadwoman
The chemical formulas of various substances used to mimic plant-based aromas and flavors.
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