Rites and Rituals

The Summer Solstice

The morning feels still, the air holds a gentle warmth from yesterday, as dawn kisses the new day with first light. I stand facing the East. My wand is in my left hand, my blade held in the right and I await the new day’s breath. For me, there is a special magick within that initial cool breeze that descends the moment the Earth’s star crosses dawn’s horizon. I open myself with eyes closed, my arms outstretched. I allow the first breeze to pass through me. I can feel it touch my spirit, filling me with a contented peace that emerges, as a smile appears upon my face. I slowly open my eyes to the Sun, now shining brightly yellow, slowly rising over Mt Hood and reflecting its fire off the snow capped summit. I sit down beside the river. I notice its rush down to join the mighty Columbia is seemingly less urgent and I watch a kingfisher decide which branch makes the better fishing spot. The morning grows stronger, filling in the last few places the remnants of night hid within, chasing all but the eldest tree’s shadows away.  I turn my thoughts to this day. The movement of energy is much more subtle now. The struggles of Spring have faded into memory and the great Wheel finally turns with measured consistency. Nature has for a while known its purpose and all within Her realm are clearly focused on fulfilling their destinies. The days are at hand for reflecting on all that has been endured and discovered through Winter’s hold. The warm magickal nights have arrived for celebrating all that has been envisioned and embraced through Spring’s dance. These are the precious few months, enchanted with the ability to dismiss the passage of time and summon forth the youthful innocence of every spirit. As a pagan man, I can not help but smile again and feel a sense of pride, for this is the day I believe encompasses all that I strive to be. I can feel the Sun shining down upon me, not hot, but wonderfully warming my skin and lulling me into a dream. I let myself fall and welcome the visions that begin to take me on a journey. The Goddess is sitting next to a small brook running through a meadow. I don’t see the God, the Horned Lord of the Forest anywhere, so I peer deeper into the surrounding woods. He is standing alone on a rock ledge, overlooking the woods below, looking up at the Sun. He appears deep in thought, very still and quiet as he just breathes beneath the Sun. I find myself mimicking His actions as I stand, yet remain within my dream. I breathe and further embrace the moment, letting the river’s song completely wash over me. It is then that I begin to hear Him softly speak of this exact moment upon the Wheel and what lies within His spirit. I see Him look back over all that has been accomplished in his youth and all that his energy has helped set into motion. I can feel him smile as He remembers the wonder and passion of his Goddesses’ charms. Then I hear Him whisper softly of that which he holds sacred within his spirit. From the unconditional connection he keeps alive between himself and the Earth, to the promised love he shares with the Goddess, he proudly recognizes his true purpose. And now as he stands in the moment, completing the turn from youth to father he wonders how can it be possible to cherish so fleeting a thing as youth. A smile grows anew over his face as he realizes the secret. Then with all the magick, passion and love he can summon, he casts out upon Summer, the illusion of endless days and nights. A brief respite within the turning of the Wheel, before the Fall’s harvest demands our attention and the darkness grows into Winter, where we can seemingly laugh and celebrate our lives, endlessly.  It is in that exact instant though, that I see Him ever so slightly change and recognize that He indeed can not out run the Wheel. There is a balance with all things, a cost to all actions, and in this instance the price of suspending time’s passage is his own demise after the harvest. I watch him make his way off the ledge and down to where the Goddess still sits. When they begin to speak to each other I pull myself out of the dream but not before I hear Her say how long this morning feels and that this day will last forever.

I return to the present, the Sun is nearly overhead and I feel that now is the perfect moment to mark my wand. I take the magnifying glass from my pack and use it to light an offering of sage. Then with a steady hand I focus the Sun’s fire upon my wand and burn another ring around it to mark the year traveled. As I begin to make my way back to my house my thoughts turn to celebrating.  With my wife and our friends we will feast and drink all day and late into the night, cherishing our lives, our world and the magick of Summer.