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Image: Jan ShepherdThe Summer Solstice (cont)

For colours and symbols, whether for decorating an altar or your home, there are two main themes. One is solar, so sun symbols, bright oranges and yellows are suitable. There are a lot of solar symbols from other cultures, including the swastika which was a sun symbol for thousands of years before the Nazis appropriated it. The other set of symbols is Oak leaves and prolific greenery. The Summer Solstice is famous in the UK for being the day when the modern Druids celebrate at Stonehenge. Druids take their name from the Oak Groves where they worshipped, according to the Romans.

Summer Fairs would have been a common feature at this time of year and still exist, often in the form of school and village fetes. These are usually held towards the end of June and into July. In ancient times they would have been a vital part of gathering the community together before the hard work of the harvest started. Now, they serve an equally important function in binding together communities. If you are working the Wheel with an Intent, or simply want to get in touch with the energies, this is a time of expansion. The sun is at its peak and all is about growth and fulfilment. This is a time to apply effort, knowing that in the months to come it will yield results when the harvest comes.

For food at this time of year we like to do a barbecue. Bonfires are a common feature to festivals of the Wheel, and were probably lit eight times a year. They appear to have survived particularly strongly around this festival. At the beginning of Summer, it is lovely to pay homage to these previous great fires with a simple barbecue or even a small fire.

So, at Summer Solstice, acknowledge that the Sun is at its peak and that the Oak King is reigning supreme. This festival is the gateway to the Summer.      [More...]

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