Mid-Summer Eve Celebration
What is the Solstice?
At the Summer Solstice the Sun appears to rise in the same location upon the north-eastern horizon for a period of three days – hence the name ‘solstice’ which means, in Latin, ‘sun stand-still’ – before it reverses course and appears to travel southward once again. The day upon which the Sun begins its southward journey again is referred to as Mid-Summer’s Day, and is typically acknowledged to be June 24th. Celebrations of the high point of Summer most often take place upon the evening prior, that is, Mid-Summer’s Eve, June 23rd. It is significant to note that amongst pre-industrial revolution era peoples, a ‘day’ was from sunset to sunset, not from midnight to midnight as it is now, so Mid-Summer’s Day began at the sunset prior to the sunrise of June 24th. When we look across the calendar 6 months, we see that Christmas is upon the 3rd day following the Winter Solstice. This is the day when the Sun, after having come to a full standstill for three days, begins its journey back to the north.
Why is Mid-Summer Eve significant?
As humans we are hard wired to the cycles of time’s passage. Our sleep is pinned to the night, our work to the day. Variations upon our allegiance to this simple cycle induces measurable stress and debilitation of health. Women’s cycles of fertility and menstrual cleansing are keyed to the monthly periodicity of the Moon. Even the human gestation of a child is reflected in the 260 day presence of Venus above the horizon, both as Morning Star and as Evening Star. Researchers at Harvard have shown that humans are naturally entrained to a 24.65-hour circadian rhythm (the natural solar day-night cycle on the planet Mars). Our bodies and psyches echo the rhythms of the Sun, Moon and planets. We are indelibly wedded to the cosmos.
You have heard the adage “No matter how long and dark the night, the Sun will rise!” The inherent message is simple: Trust. Mythically, and developmentally, trust is a character trait modeled by our fathers (in the best of circumstances). The essence of trust is validated in our experience of the consistency of the rising and setting of the Sun each day. When we sit in observance of the Moon in its monthly cycles, that trust is verified. Our observance of the Equinoxes and Solstices extend to us a perspective of the grander nature of the Sun’s seasonal regularity. However, as the possessor of a hard wired reliance upon the constancy of the Sun’s recurring appearance at the noted station upon the horizon at the Equinoxes and Solstices, it is the time during which the Sun stands still, rising from the exact same visible location for three days, that challenges our acceptance of trust that the Sun will continue its swing forth and back through the course of the year.
Now, ok, as a modern person you might say “Oh, but none of that affects me! I understand the science of the seasons.” But the hard wired part of the human animal’s brain and psyche responds regardless, just as we all find ourselves staring into a fire, captivated by its magic, even though we ‘know better’. And so do we respond, at a pre-conscious level, to a solar stand still with a lurking ancient instinctual voice that says “But what if the Sun doesn’t return?” But of course the Sun, after those three days of figurative nail-biting consternation, does move from its stand still once again, and all is well once more! And with that, the construct of trust in our psyche is renewed. But only for those who are paying attention. It is those who are so disconnected from the cycles of nature’s rhythms that appear to live in the greatest stress, anxiety and untrustworthiness. While the empirical materialists in our midst might claim to be the ones unaffected by the ceremonial significance (superstitions they call them) associated with the celebration of seasonal transitions, nonetheless it is they who suffer the most from that disconnection, for they never experience the mythic renewal of trust in their psyche.
Observance of – and participation in – the ceremonials around the Mid-Summer’s Eve is a potent means of renewing and engaging trust in our lives. It is the high point of the Sun’s greatest presence and duration. And at that most dynamic moment of the Divine Masculine’s greatest light… at that very precise moment…does He dedicate the culmination of his life to the emerging power and presence of the Divine Feminine as She proceeds to envelope us in her deep, dark, fecund embrace. The days grow shorter, the nights longer, the crops ripen, the gifts of the Mother to her children are received by us, prepared and laid away to sustain us in the winter months to come until… until… in that moment of the Mid-Winter’s Eve, so does She, in turn, surrender her dominance to the returning Sun. And so the grand cycle of life spirals on.
How to Honor the Mid-Summer Eve
- At sunset light a candle or build a fire.
- In the midst of the encroaching darkness, call up your Dragons, ie, your tears and fears, your sufferings, sadness and sorrow, your terror and traumas.
- Feel, from within your bones, deep in your Soul, the comforting presence of the Fire and that which it represents: The Sun, Light in the Darkness, Trust.
- Beckon your Ancestors. They live within you (Recent studies of epigenetics show that we carry, within our cell structures, the emotional memories of our predecessors… our Ancestors. We Earth Peoples have been telling you this all along!). Call upon them for guidance, blessing and their embrace.
- Call your Dragons into presence. Ask your Ancestors to usher your Dragons, allowing none to escape.
- Command the Dragons into the Fire!
- As the Fire consumes the Dragons a beautiful Golden Light is released.
- Make a portion of that Golden Light an offering to the Ancestors in appreciation for their assistance.
- Extend a goodly amount of the Golden Light to your family members, calling out each by name.
- Send a blessing to your clan/community.
- What remains of the Golden Light receive into yourself as a blessing and healing to sustain you as you go forth into a new season, the emerging Feminine, of your life.
- Complete with a song. Sing a song from your heart. Or play one that speaks to your life. I like this one: Lay Down Your Burden by Susan Osborne and Paul Winter.
You may also join in with me, via Facebook Live, at 8:30 pm MDT on Mid-Summer’s Eve, June 23rd, 2018. I will be offering a ceremony similar to what I have described above. You may want to have a candle on hand for your own participation.
To view the video of this ceremony, please click here:
Blessings upon this Mid-Summer’s Eve!
~ Jade Grigori