Welcome to the Summer Solstice Oracle
We have officially started the summer. Here in Florida it is difficult to distinguish the seasons but there is no denying we know summer weather. It is hot and humid most days with occasional thunderstorms. As I write this the clouds are building and the thunder is clapping. We have been in the 90s for so long I cannot remember winter. As of June 1st we are also in hurricane season that will last until the end of November.
Unfortunately, my health has denied me the chance to go outside much. I have made short runs to check plants and can happily report I picked the first blueberries of the season. They weren’t very many but they were tasty. I love biting down on a warm berry and have the juice squirt in my mouth.
I have also been checking on the butterflies and my heart was full when I saw a Gulf Fritillary laying eggs on the passionflower vine. Now we have a Gulf Fritillary chrysalis that looks like a dead leaf and two Monarch chrysalis hanging from the soffit. It is amazing the number of butterflies that use the passionflower as the host plant. Just like the Monarchs share milkweed with the Queens. I was lucky to catch a glimpse of a Giant Swallowtail the other day. She was going back and forth between the milkweed and a mint plant.
We saw someone make a post on Facebook about hummingbirds so we thought it was time to bring out the feeders. As soon as I walked away from the feeder I saw a jewel colored hummingbird look at the feeder for a few seconds and then take off. I am glad they are back and love watching them fly.
My husband went out back a few weeks ago and opened the pool box where we store supplies and a family of southern black racers came darting out looking for a place to hide. Apparently they hatched only a few days before because they were about six inches long. The mother has made her home in the pool heater. One of my granddaughters brought me a snake skin from a black racer that is complete. There are eye holes and everything. It is about four feet long and now has a place of honor on the bookcase in the girls’ room.
Now a little bit about the solstice. The summer solstice is one of four solar festivals along with the winter solstice and the two equinox. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. The word ‘solstice’ comes from Latin and means ‘sun stands still.’ We celebrate Midsummer when the sun reaches the most northerly position and occurs in the constellation of Cancer the Crab.
There is a problem with the date though. The solstice generally falls around June 21st but Midsummer Eve is fixed on June 23rd, also known as St. John’s Eve and Midsummer Day as St. John’s Day on June 24th. This may be partly because of the change in calendars.
In ancient China the summer solstice was consider feminine, the yin for the year and the winter solstice male, the yang. This gives balance to the year. The Celts and Druids celebrated the marriage of the sky and earth with bonfires. They also believed there were two different suns depending on the time of the year: one for the waxing and waning parts of the year. There is also a great battle that takes place at this time of year. It is the battle between the Oak King and the Holly King. In the Norse tradition, this is the midpoint of the year. They called the month of June Aerra Litha and July was Aeftera Litha meaning “after Litha.” This led to the belief that Litha was the summer solstice.
There are several customs associated with Midsummer. They celebrate the light and the power of the sun. Circle dancing, rolling wheels set on fire and having bonfires are just a few customs associated with the summer solstice. It is good for divination and healing and torchlight processions. This is a festival of fire.
There are several types of divination you can try. Here are just a few ideas: tarot, runes, playing cards and Ogham. I have recently heard of using scrabble tiles for divination. This is also a good time to make contact with faeries.
In the Dianic tradition the summer solstice represents the union with creative, sexual and sensual side. She is fertile and gives birth to creations. It is a great time to give birth to a project. Show your creative side. You can make or write something. You can sing or dance. Be free with your expressions. We also honor the fire and heat we hold inside. Honor this part of yourself by sitting by a fire pit or bonfire. Light a red candle and honor a mother goddess.
May you be blessed this Solstice Season.
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All photos by Dawn Thomas
Dawn “Belladonna” Thomas is a High Priestess and Elder of The Apple Branch, a Dianic Tradition. She is the editor and book reviewer for the Oracle and was the Treasurer for The Global Goddess, a non-profit organization. She recently graduated from the University of Florida fulfilling a lifelong goal of completing her college education. She has been published in several magazines for her paper crafting designs. She is the owner of Belladonna’s Garden and makes homemade soaps. She is an avid gardener and lives in Florida with husband. Other book reviews can be found on her blog: http://becomingbelladonna.blogspot.com/