We were driving through the toll booth as we do everyday. I was soaking up the attention of the old toll booth driver who we have named “Wilfred.” All in a day’s work really – talk about the weather, laugh about the traffic, anything to have some small talk with a stranger.
But this day he says something unusual:
Only a few more weeks until the longest day of the year!
I exclaimed my surprise, we waved our goodbyes, and drove on.
From the backseat Mr P berates me joyfully:
REALLY Leonie! What kind of PAGAN are YOU!!! Not even knowing about Summer Solstice! I mean REALLY! I thought you would have been up a hill celebrating it naked with your womens friends or something!
I laugh at my pagan ignorance. I’ve never had the opportunity to celebrate a solstice before in other circles, but now I have my own circle, and the opportunity lay before me.
A seed was planted, a resolve grew:
YES, I must celebrate summer solstice.
So I sent out the call. A few responded, as I expected. Christmas falls so close to Summer Solstice, I knew my sisters would already have plans.
I did some research, and felt like I was learning about a history I hadn’t heard before. I knew about Christian festivals created in the last two thousand years, but what of before then? Cultures all around the world have celebrated the longest day of the year with various festivals. In the ancient region of Sweden, a midsummer tree was set up and decorated in each town which would be danced around. Women and girls would bathe in the local river as a magical rite to bring rain for the crops. You can read more about the traditions of summer solstice here.
Last night I drove to the local river, dressed simply in a blue skirt, a black singlet and a serendipitous, sacred goddess necklace received in the mail today, woven with love from the hands of Darlene.
Another woman soon arrives by the river, and after waiting some time we decide the Universe has gifted us with the opportunity to experience a two woman circle.
We walk through water to create a simple circle of white summer roses. We ground to mother earth, watch father sun descending into the mountains, meditating, sending healing energy out into the world, chanting, telling stories of the old days, praying for rain, honouring the warmth, energy and light that the sun gives us.
When we close I follow the old swedish practice. I leap into the river water, baptising myself as the light fades, calling the rains with laughter.
When we leave, we look back. I say to Mich
“Would we have done this? If I’d said to you – meet me at the river, just us two, to meditate as the sun went down, would we have done it?”
I’m not so sure – and yet we DID.
And that is the most beautiful thing of all about this work ~ doing things we never thought possible, living life in the wildest, most alive way possible.
Happy Summer Solstice.
May your world be blessed with ancient traditions, divine guidance and ceremonies “just because.”
Today a rain descends. I cannot stop from smiling.