Just finished a wonderful midsummer ritual. We were celebrating the beginning of the standstill, the solstice. We began by talking about how we each felt about this turning of the seasons; about the shortening of the days, the lessening of the light; we talked about the Summer King, the Holly King; about Apollo and Dionysos the gods of the bright day-sun and the dark night-sun. We talked about the summer and winter kings battle over the spring maid. then we talked about what we would like to do to celebrate. One of us suggested making wishing poles (a form of talking stick but one which talks between us and the gods).
We began by making our altar on the stones beside the pond. We’d brought candle, incense, flowers and the water was already there.
In my garden I have all the British sacred trees except the alder. We walked round the garden speaking with the trees, asking them if we should take a piece of them; we each ended up with a bouquet of trees. We sat by the pond and made our garlands. As we crafted we were each talking with the plants and with the gods/powers who had inspired us to take them; as we crafted we discovered the story of our garlands. To outsiders it may well have sounded rather odd because here were three women each obviously talking to someone but the someone was likely not visible to outsiders. This is a part of walking between worlds (Thomas the Rhymer’s dictum). Of course, we each could only hear one side of the others’ conversation … and this sounded a bit comical at times especially when one of us said “You what …???” or some such 🙂
We finished the garlands and began to drum …
After a while we each in turn told the story of our garland. These were fascinating.
Each of us had gone into the celebration full of expectancy but without expectations; our cups had been empty, ready to be filled by the wisdom of spirit … and we had each got a bountiful well of wisdom to draw on for the season.
The weather was marvellous. We began the evening in warm sunlight; the evening continued warm and soft but gradually the clouds gathered around and over us. As that last person finished her tale the first drops of rain gently began to fall; they continued light until we had got ourselves and our paraphernalia indoors and were sat together in my study with a cup of tea and some nibbles.
We talked again. The celebration had been beautifully eye, mind and heart opening … the qualities of a good celebration. It had all been spontaneous but built through our focus and intent, our wish to grow … again the foundations of a good celebration. We had trusted in our own spirits and in the powers and spirits of Otherworld with whom we work. Our next celebration will be at Lammas … we look forward to it full of expectancy but with no expectations 🙂
PS … I brought a new friend to the celebration; he came to me down a chimney we had to open, I don’t know him well enough yet to know what he wants with me. He enjoyed the celebration and is now sat in my study, on the mantelpiece while we get to know each other, I look forward to working with him.
PPS … he’s a member of the corvid family.