Tag: altar

Summer Solstice

– June 20th – 23rd –

      The Summer Solstice marks Litha, Midsummer, and many other holidays celebrating the longest day of the year.  This is when the sun reaches its zenith in the sky, and the sun seems to stand still. The word solstice comes from the Latin word ‘solstitium’ literally translating to ‘sun stands still’.   In the Northern Hemisphere, this day comes in June, whereas in the Southern Hemisphere the Summer Solstice is celebrated in December.

          The terms Litha, Midsummer in English, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon calendar with the summer months being se Ærra Liþa and se Æfterra Liþa (the “early Litha month” and the “later Litha month”) making the Summer Solstice mid-summer for northern European cultures.  This is a brief break in the farming year when the planting is complete and there is a brief period of downtime. The perfect time to spend with friends, family, and loved ones giving thanks for all we have with a grand celebration.

          On the Summer Solstice, the Sun God is at his highest strength and sits proudly in the sky.  As the God of the forest, he sits on his Throne, basking in its beauty. The energy of the Goddess is also strong as she is ripe with her fertile pregnancy.  The Goddess and God confirm their love and it is on this day they wed. You can see the sign of their blending love as the Earth is in full bloom, lush with growth.

          This day is not only celebrated as the height of the Gods virility but also when the Gods energy shifts from growing to waning.  It is a reminder that everything that grows also grows old and eventually all will pass as the wheel of the year turns.

      Tonight is the night to stay awake, traditionally around the world, people celebrate the shortest night of the year by staying awake all night.  Bonfires are lit in honor of the sun’s great strength and the turning of the year from light to dark. Herb smudge sticks are lit from the bonfire and used to bless animals, crops, homes, and fields.  The ashes from the bonfire are used to make protective talismans and charms. The coals were scattered throughout the fields to ensure a great harvest.

        This is not just a time of fire but also a time to honor the energies of water.  Without water, not much would survive the heat of summer, and on the longest day of the year, the storm and water gods are honored to make sure that the rain will come.

Energy

         During the Summer Solstice, we are surrounded by full active energy.  The crops are ripening and so is the energy. This is a time of action, hard work and celebrating achievements. There is unity, strength, and purpose in the air. This is also a time of changes, endings, and manifestation.

Magick

          On the Summer Solstice, the Magickal Energy is strong.  The Sun’s energy is at its height and lends itself to any magick.

          This is a night to celebrate love and fertility.  There is a practice of young women wearing special charms and peering over a well to see the one they will marry.  The energy of commitment is strong and this is a traditional time of weddings as well as commitment ceremonies to the Gods.

          In Finnish folk magick, Midsummer is a very powerful night, and many spells and rituals are carried out.  It is a time for fertility, much of the magick surrounded finding love and fertility. A common spell was for young maidens to pick seven different flowers and place them under their pillow to bring dreams of their future husband.   On Midsummer, it is also traditional for people to place two birch trees next to the door to welcome and bless visitors.

          Give your wish to a pebble and throw it into the bonfire for it to come true.  To rid yourself of your problems write them on a piece of paper and drop them into running water to wash them away; preferably a river or stream but if that’s not an option a flushing toilet works too.

Altar Decorations

          Oak leaves, fresh berries, mistletoe and freshly collected herbs and flowers.  Use candles the color of the sun.

Deities    

        Goddess: Amaterasu, Hestia, Juno, Phoebe, Sunna or Sol, Vesta, Juno, and Epona.   

        Gods: Ukko, Pan, Jack-in-the-Green, Aten, Apollo, Balder, The Dagda, Helios, Horus, Huitzilopochtli, Loki, Lugh, Sulis Minerva, Mithras, Ra, the Green Man, Surya, Thor, Zeus, the Oak King.

 Plants

          Calendula, St. John’s Wort, Mugwort, Vervain, Elderflower, Chamomile, Rose, Honeysuckle, Heather, Heliotrope, Lily, Oak, Lavender, Ivy, Yarrow, Laurel, Linden, Galangal, Saffron, Mistletoe, Fern, Elder, Wild Thyme, Daisy, Carnation, Lemon, Myrrh, Pine, Holly, Lemon, Beech, and Wisteria.

Stones

          Diamond, Emerald, Jade, Jasper, Lapis Lazuli, and Tiger’s eye.

Colors

          Colors of the sun, yellow, red, orange, gold, bright blue, lush green.

Animals

          Cattle, Horse, Crab, Octopus, Goldfinch, Kingfisher, Meadowlark, Owl, Robin, and Wren.

 

Stay tuned to find out more on the Summer Solstice…

Also, see our Solstice Rituals to honor the Sun 

& one for the whole Family! 

 

Welcoming the Fairies and Kindred Spirits into Your Home

 

Super Moon in Gemini 

December 3rd, 2017

7:46 a.m. PST

8:48 a.m. MST

10:46 a.m. EST

3:48 p.m. UTC

December 4th, 2017

2:46 a.m. AEDT

 

           For this last Full Moon before the official start of winter, let the fairies and their kindred spirits know they are welcome in your home. One of the best ways to do this is to set up a welcoming altar. This is a small space that is decorated with shiny objects and other items that you know to be adored by the spirit you are trying to welcome. You can bring the Gnomes from your garden inside and add them to the altar. You can add objects that you’ve collected from nature to help them feel at home.  The Yule tree, wreaths, and fireplace decorations can also double as this fairy altar.

An example:

Fairy Altar

“Fairies, gnomes, elves, and more

I welcome you and open my door

Here you shall find sanctuary

And through this winter be warm and merry!”

           You can also use this Full Moon to charge an item that works as a beacon letting the local fairies know they are welcome.  These nature spirits love the Yule Tree and an ornament works really well for this. The tree itself works as a place that they can reside through the winter and feel right at home.  

           Choose an ornament (preferably one that is shiny) and find somewhere to sit quietly under the Full Moon.  

Clear your mind and ground in your usual way

           An example: Close your eyes and see a winter landscape. The Earth is quiet and there is no movement about. The dark sky is full of stars each ready to accept your thoughts, helping you to clear your mind. Count the stars giving each one the thoughts that pop into your head until there are no more thoughts. Walk out into the snowy landscape finding a tree to rest upon. Lay your head back and relax taking deep breaths.  You are at peace and warm under a blanket of snow becoming one with the Earth and her grounding energy.

           Cupping the ornament hold it in the light of the Moon.  Watch as it absorbs the Moonlight and the energy of the Mother Goddess. Focus your own energy as a white light coming out of your hands and surrounding the ornament. Feel the warmth in your hands as the ornament fills with this welcoming energy. Now State your purpose.  This can be as simple as saying, “Allow this ornament to be a beacon welcoming fairies into my home for the winter.” It should be direct, and specifically include who you are welcoming.

Place the ornament back on the tree with intent in a place of honor.

           Now a word to the wise when welcoming the fairies into your home. They are mischievous little creatures and they love shiny objects as well as cookies and other sweet treats you may have about. You may find from time to time that jewelry, push pins, and other shiny objects may disappear, but no worries the fairies will return, most of the time.  This is one of the mischievous game the fairies play.  They can also be helpful when you’re looking for something, and also as protectors of your home. You can leave out offerings to encourage their helpfulness.  They like fresh fruit, milk, honey, and shiny items.

           At the end of the day make sure to place your fairy offerings outside or somewhere in nature and not leave them on your offering plate to sour or rot. Somewhere where you feed the birds is great for any fruits and houseplants or outdoor plants love a little bit of watered down milk.

 

Enjoy the company of the fairies and many blessings in this Yuletide season!

Hesperides Garden