When I went to bed last night I had a plan that I would do the Summer Solstice celebration with my friend K, this evening when she came for drinks. After a hard days work we would sit down together, as we often do for a quite little ritual and enjoy each others company. But after receiving more inconvenient news about my potential schooling I angrily went out to “cry to a tree” as I told my mentor in sheer frustration. He was trying to help and patience is completely what I am supposed to be working on this week but once again my desire to know my path rather than walk it got the best of me.
I prepared my “traveling altar” to just go out to the small open space behind my house. As I worked on what to bring I decided to bring my summer solstice ritual from the Solitary Druid Fellowship to read over it. I found myself packing my offering bowls, tobacco, whiskey, water, candles and incense. Into the bag went my Tarot cards, Goddess Shawl and DP manual. I said to myself…”If I find the right spot, I’ll do this ritual.” I was still so angry. How could I conduct a High Day ritual in such a mindset?
The high noon sun found me not at the open space behind my house but at a park snuggled between the mountains and river valley. It’s a small preservation space that isn’t terribly popular. I stumbled across a wedding party just leaving and stepped over the bridge into the space. There is a large field with local grasses growing tall and free. There is a small amphitheater in this park which would have been perfect but it sits at the end of an intersecting neighborhood trail popular with people walking their dogs.
I sought deeper woods, hidden away between the ferns and tall grasses. The edges of the park are covered in big Crack Willows and Green Ash. There are lots of native plants and flowers with plenty of birds and small wildlife about.
I headed into the foliage and found a nice spot hidden from traffic but where I was still able to see the open fields and blue skies. This is where I set up my altar. At the base of a fairy tree that looked like the pregnant mother. There were lots of ferns all around and wild squash. I laid down my goddess shawl and set up my alter for the Summer Solstice.
I was still upset at this point so I took several minutes to clear my mind. “I will do this well and with honor” I knew the spirits would calm me when I stepped into the work with honesty. I used the ritual Teo Bishop constructed for the ADF solitaries, since it had all the necessary liturgy, and included solstice specific statements of purpose. I read it basically as written and felt a good connection. I repeated the purification 3 times as I felt it resonated and I needed a little extra help.
I had to whisper the statement of purpose due to dogs and people close by and not wanting to explain what I was up to, dropped down into a whisper. but between the tree and me..I felt the spirits heard me just fine.
I bask in the radiance of the sun!
The sun is at its peak of power and I drink in that energy!
The fire in my heart is a Solstice fire,
Balanced between the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer!
Today I honor the sun,
And the zenith of its power.
The Earth Mother provides,
And the Sky Father encourages
The increase of the life all around.
This is the moment to remember
That even while I practice in solitude
I am a living being, interconnected with all life.
I am the tree. I am the river.
I am of the earth, shining in the Solstice Sun,
Supported by the Kindred.
Hail, the Sun; Hail the Summer!
I used Manannan Mac Lir as my gatekeeper for the ritual as I was unsure of who else to use. Halfway thru I kind of felt like I should have used the fox spirit (liminal being) instead because I was more familiar but I think Daddy Ocean helped my little ritual out just fine.
I did have a noticeably stronger connection with the Other world gates within this ritual. Placing my hand on the tree I felt the enveloping presence of the other world. It was like a cool blue flame had enveloped the entire tree ( well cup or candle holder) and when I placed my hand on it, felt a distinct connection. …like placing my hand in a bowl of water that’s just room temperature.
I chose no gods of occasion as I was not sure whom to choose.
I drew the 9 of Cups as the omen for general solstice guidance, what I should know about this particular solstice and the spirits around it. The 9 of Cups is a card of Contentment, achievement and Dreams. I felt this card was telling me that I am not alone when I come in honest supplication. For many around me worship and show their dedication much as I do. Now is the time for rejoicing and celebration. Life is good and I am surrounded by love ( and sunshine)
I did no specific workings and closed the rite. The world was quite beautiful and still around me. The ferns blew in a soft wind and the trees reached up gladly into the blue heavens. Without care or worry, for a moment I too, was still. When one remembers connection, family, love and the warm sun shinning upon the head, life can not be too bad.
I packed up and came home, leaving only my offerings of tobacco and whiskey and water. I shared with the tree that sheltered me the same water I shared with the shinning ones. At the end of the night my friends K and B came over and we had a nice night chatting, sharing summer drinks a warm fire along a river to take our words and prayers to the gods. I learned that even when other things attempt to upset life, one can always find peace in the careful and honest practice of ritual….even if it is only for a moments time. The shinning ones know no time. They only see a Child of earth, now and forever, offering sincere thanks for the sun on her head and love in her heart and that is good enough.