The Summer Solstice – it’s the biggie in terms of festivals for many pagans. It’s a celebration of the sun at its height. We can hope to get outdoors and celebrate the longest day of the year with everything from solemn ritual to wild partying.
As witches or Pagans, we connect with any number of different cycles. The cycle of the seasons. The cycles of the moon. The simple daily cycle of dawn and dusk. You may even have cycles that fall within your specific path, such as the recurring Deipnon and Noumenia celebrations of Hekate.
“I don’t know…I just don’t like to mix politics with my religion.” I can’t count how many times I’ve heard this over the nearly three decades I’ve been practicing Witchcraft and moving in Witchy and Pagan communities.
Whether you’re jumping back into social life or retaining your hermit status this year (it’s a little of each, for me) there’s every reason to take a trip to your local woods, park, or even just a wander around your back garden and see what edible plants are available.
This is the first in a series of posts I’m writing for the Moon Books Blog on the theme of the Wheel of the Year. The idea is that eventually the posts will be compiled and edited into the chapters for a book: Pagan Portals – Wheel of the Year.
Since prehistory, the Summer Solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, and has been marked by diverse festivals and rituals.
To get away with raping Mother Earth of all her gifts, first the population had to be ‘programmed’ into believing they served a superior higher intelligence that was not the Mother Goddess. Humanity would have to be ‘enchanted’ by the ‘Gods’ through their messengers, the priests who were the Gods voice on Earth.
Because humankind has always had a tendency to see images of its gods in his own likeness, we have come to see pagan deities very much cast in 20th century form. Ironically in giving ‘goddess-energy’ the cartoon image of a warrior-princess or a member of the pre-Raphaelite sisterhood, the true mystery of ancient witchcraft has been lost in favor of fantasy creations.
In traditional British Old Craft we echo the thought of the quintessential Japanese swordsman, Mushasi Miyamoto: ‘Respect the gods and buddhas, but never rely on them’. But, who, or what, are the gods of Old Craft witches?
Once, the fate of our planet was in the hands of the Mother Goddess, but now, her fate (and ours) is in the hands of big corporations where profit is King. For the past 100 years or so, nature has been dying at an alarming rate by businesses taking from the earth and not giving anything back. For the world’s governments this is seen as acceptable it seems, with many members of parliament on the boards of the biggest destroyers and polluters of our finite little world that cannot take much more destruction. Earth is a living entity with a fragile ecosystem. Nature is the spirit of the Earth Goddess, without of which, no life can exist.
A sure sign of spring is the arrival of wild garlic, native to Britain also known as Bear leek, Bear’s garlic, Broad-leaved garlic, Buckrams, Ramsons and Wood garlic. It has a lovely fresh garlic smell and taste and is perfect to use in all kinds of recipes such as risotto, pesto, soups, salads and added to bread.
Nothing says spring like planting seeds or enjoying the beauty of bright flowers splashed across your backyard. There is no better way to enjoy both delights than with these super easy seed bombs.