The Summer Solstice has arrived!
I find myself both festive and sad at Midsummer. The arrival of summer is certainly a joyous celebration, however I lament at the thought that it's the peak of the Sun's brilliance, and that after today He'll begin to wane into winter. It's a bittersweet sabbat to me indeed.
This year I celebrated the Summer Solstice at Wickerman, in Artemas, Pennsylvania. It's a fantastic event of the Pagan kind, full of inclusion, self-expression, gifting, self-reliance, participation and so much more.
At Wickerman I met so many interesting and fun people. They were both open and encouraging- just the sort of people I need in my life right now. I grew in several ways, learning to push my boundaries, step outside my comfort zones and be more confident, and I'm learning acceptance- mostly acceptance of myself. All of these were wonderful Midsummer blessings.
As Pagan celebrations go, the Summer Solstice is one of the biggest. Often rituals will take place at sunrise, while others are late-night bonfires. Sometimes both! It's traditional to gather herbs at Midsummer, with the belief that they're at their most potent at this time. Another great way to celebrate is to take time for summertime activities, such as swimming, playing yard games, picking wildflowers, enjoying the outdoors, and most appropriately... sunbathing. There's nothing like soaking up some of the Sun's rays on its most powerful day. Just don't say out too long. Sunburns aren't a blessing.
Since my "big" celebration was at Wickerman, I took some time today to do some small personal celebrations, including tending to my garden and catching a little sun. The sun just set, and I took a moment to say "farewell," knowing He'll be just a little weaker tomorrow. It's a mourning process I'll continue until the Saturnalia when the Sun once again regains his power.
You know I typically celebrate with food and share a recipe. My Wickerman celebration included my previously posted Dandelion Wine. After a weekend of really good eats, I'm sort of recovering with a 24-hour fast and a light dinner. I do have lots of fantastic Summer Solstice recipes, even though I didn't make any of them today.
This is a fun recipe that I plan on making soon. When I do, there will be a photo.
6 ounces gelatin
1 cup hot water
1 cup cold water
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 can mandarin oranges
Mix the gelatin and hot water in a bowl. Add the cold water, orange juice and coconut milk. Pour into a 8 by 5-inch pan.
Place pan in the refrigerator. When the mixture begins to congeal but is still liquid, sprinkle the chopped walnuts.
When gelatin is firm serve walnut side down in a bowl, with mandarin orange pieces on top.
And so with that I sit here and watch the last remaining streaks of pink in the sky fade away as the sky grows dark- a sure sign that tomorrow will be another bright and sunny day, a fraction of a minute shorter.