Text Box: Whispering Lake Grove, ADF
Erie, PA
Text Box: Ritual & Liturgy

 

 

 

Midsummer

 

Midsummer is the celebration of the Summer Solstice and the Sun at the height of its power.  It is at this time that the solar Deities possess their most strength and greatest importance. The date of celebration for this High Day varies from the twentieth to the twenty-third of June depending on the Solstice date. There is some evidence it may have been celebrated as late as June twenty-fourth.

 

Midsummer appears to be yet another High Day imported to the Celtic lands by the Norse. To our Norse Ancestors Midsummer was known as the Feast of Great Blessings. A day that celebrated the shortest night of the year was a time of great rejoicing for the Norse people. Midsummer is a particularly holy day to Balder, as well as, Thor and Sif.

 

As in many ancient celebrations, fire played a significant role. Midsummer was the day that, according to Celtic legend, serpents would roll themselves in a ball and form the ‘serpent’s egg’, or ‘Druid’s egg’. Anyone who had one of these ‘eggs’ was said to posses great magical powers. Dew collected on Midsummer morning is believed to have great healing powers, especially for the eyes and water gathered from sacred wells, ponds and streams was believed to also have greater powers during this season.

 

It is around the time of the Summer Solstice that the green world has reached its full bloom and it is on Midsummer’s Eve that all herbs are at their greatest strength.  Herbs with special magical properties at this time are: rue, roses, St. John’s wort, vervain and trefoil. St. John’s wort being used to divine for a future spouse. Birch, fennel, St. John’s wort, orpin and white lilies were used to decorate doors. 

 

 

 

 

 

Shrine to Balder Midsummer 2005.                             This is the ship that carries Balder, Nanna and their grave goods to the Otherword.

Balder and Nanna make their journey to the Otherworld at Midsummer 2005.

Rituals

 

·           Midsummer Ritual 2003 (pdf)

·           Midsummer Ritual 2004 (pdf)

·           Midsummer Ritual 2005 (pdf

·           Midsummer Ritual 2006 (pdf)

·           Midsummer Ritual 2007 (pdf)

·           Midsummer Ritual 2008 (pdf)

·           Midsummer Ritual 2009 (pdf)

·           Vedic Summer Solstice 2009 (pdf)

·           Midsummer Ritual 2010 (pdf)

 

Another Celtic custom of the season was the making and blessing of the brat Aitmeithe, Airmid’s mantle. This custom celebrates the story of Airmid whose brother, Miach was killed by their father, Dian Cecht. 365 healing herbs grew from Miach’s grave and Airmid laid each one out to show how it was used. Dian Cecht then scattered them so the knowledge would be lost to humankind forever.

 

It has become Whispering Lake Grove tradition to re-enact the “Death of Balder” during our seasonal enactments on Midsummer.  Members of the Grove make gifts (grave goods) for Balder, a long ship is made, as well as images of Balder and Nanna.  A funeral is held in Norse tradition and the ship and its contents burnt in the Sacred Fire. 

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