Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Stonehenge Summer Solstice Sunrise
Today is Litha, the Summer Solstice also known as midsummer. I wish you a happy and blessed day! This day is the longest day of the year and the shortest night. It's only appropriate that I have been up since very early this morning as one shouldn't waste a precious moment of such a beautiful day.
At the moment, I am watering the gardens of Enchantments as this is also supposed to be one of the hottest days of the summer, reaching almost 100 degrees! Now, even for a witch, that's hot!
I'd like to share some interesting tidbits about Litha, that you may not know about. For instance today is the first harvest. Not a food harvest, that happens in August on Lughnasa, but today marks the first harvest for medicinal and magickal herbs and flowers. With the Sun at its zenith in the sky, the magickal essences within plants are at their peak also, making this a perfect time to cut and dry herbs for the rest of the year. I will be harvesting St. John's Wort today trapping its medicinal and magickal essence in and drying it so it can be used throughout the upcoming year. St. John's Wort grows wild on Enchantments property, truly a gift from the Goddess.
Today is a time for faeries to come out and play. One time, around this time of the year I actually saw a real faerie. We had just lost our cat, she had grown ill and passed away and I was very upset and grieving and had just buried her beneath a yew bush in our yard. I lit a candle and was sitting nearby sending prayers and blessings to her spirit. I saw a being, glowing white (it was nearing dark) reach around the yew bush and it lifted its head and it looked at me. I looked at it. I knew our cat would be safe and cared for on the other side. I just knew it. I've never seen a faerie since, but I know they exist. There is an old legend that if you sit near the base of an elder tree around dusk on this night, and stay very still, you may see a parade of faeries,led by the faerie king, troop by playing instruments and dancing.
In Great Britain, The Summer Solstice is celebrated by the thousands around Stonehenge as its believed that the megalith was created by those who celebrated the Solstices. There is one stone that at the moment of sunrise on the Summer Solstice the sun lines up perfectly and shines through a key stone marking this moment. There is a picture at the top of this blog that demonstrates this phenomenon.
Litha is an ancient name, some feel it is the name of an ancient Celtic Goddess of Summer, but my research fails to confirm this. It may be a Saxon name or even Germanic as the ancient Celts were a migrating agricultural culture that moved from far Eastern Europe to far Western Europe over the course of many centuries. Yet, I don't mind not knowing the origins of the word Litha, to me, it speaks of summer, dancing around a circle in a large field of green grass, feasting and making merry.
In America, this day is referred to as the first day of summer when in truth it has traditionally been called midsummer for centuries in many countries. I call it mid summer because it makes summer longer for me. I start celebrating summer on May 1st and continue until November 1st, a full six months. But again, it matters not as long as you have the spark of summer within and can find your own way to celebrate.
In the past I've done many things on the Solstice from Handfasting couples (performing weddings) to hosting a goddess festival, to holding large open circles (ritual services), conducting drum circles and many times in the past I've stayed awake 48 hours or longer just to get everything done. I even celebrated Summer when I was growing up, and not just by taking a vacation from school.
When I was a girl, growing up on a dairy farm I would often lay down in a hay field and gaze at the sky and marvel at the clouds, playing in the woods and trying to find natural clay along the edges of the brook that I could sculpt and play with. I always had many things to do growing up on the farm and celebrating Summer was one long glorious event. I rode horses, made make believe while playing on stone walls and climbing trees. Always outside, always happy to be outside!
Today, I will sit under a beautiful old maple tree ad gaze at my garden, blooming profusely with flowers and herbs. Watch the cars drive by and look for the bunnies that have made their home under the front ramp of the Enchantments store. I will separate my St. John's Wort into little bunches and wrap them in tissue paper and ribbon making them ready for sale and just enjoy the day. It may not sound like much, but to me its peaceful, enchanting and just what I want to do. I hope you get to do just what you want to do today, also.
Peace and Happiness
© 2010-2012 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited.
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at Wednesday, June 20, 2012