Friday Form A Circle – Pagan Family Summer Solstice Ritual

June 5, 2009 at 11:04 am (Ancestors, Children, Circle, Family, Fire, Friday, Fun, Kids, Litha, Magic, Midsummer, pagan, Witch, Witchlets)

Pagan Family Summer Solstice Ritual
From A Wiccan Primer: Rituals for Children by Wind*Dancer,

SPECIAL NOTES: Summer Solstice is the official first day of summer. Called Midsummer or Litha, the day usually falls about June 21st and is the longest day of the year. Midsummer is halfway around the Wheel Year from Yule, so while we celebrate the day when the sun is at its strongest, we also have to note that from here on, the sun will start to lose some of its power as the light slowly begins to wane.

Midsummer Eve has long been associated with faeries and magic. On this night you’re supposed to be able to see faeries, as the veil between the worlds is thinned. In ancient times our ancestors went out to gather their Mugwort on Midsummer Eve. Interestingly enough Mugwort was also called St John’s Wort, in an attempt to dilute the Pagan influence. Is it a coincidence that St John the Baptist’s Day was placed at June 23rd? Probably not.

Our children especially look forward to this ritual because not only does it coincide with the start of their summer vacation, it’s also usually our first picnic of the year. We head to a local campground because there are safe places to build campfires and there’s usually no one else nearby. We try to plan things to be set up by high noon, so we can greet the sun at the highest point in it’s daily cycle on the day of the highest point in it’s yearly cycle. As always, if you can take the kids outdoors to do this one, great! If not, just adjust things so they fit best for you. Remember, it’s not how you do it that matters, but just that you do it!!

This ritual involves making a mini-bonfire. This can be a campfire, your barbecue (those table top ones that can be placed on the ground) or a single candle. If you’re lucky enough to be able to do this outdoors, make sure you take precautions. If you’re having any kind of fire, large or small, be sure to bring a jug of water to put the fire out afterwards, or to quench any sparks that might get away from you. And please make sure you exercise Extreme Caution so this special day doesn’t end with burned fingers or a fire.

Extra Supplies:

  • Kindling for your bonfire (or charcoal or candles, whatever you choose.)
  • Matches to light the bonfire.
  • An aspergill, which is something you dip in water that will allow you to sprinkle or anoint the fire…a leafy branch works just fine.
  • A container of water to dip your aspergill in (if you have a small cauldron that would be perfect).
  • The bell and quarter candles are included here for those who choose to do this ritual indoors. If you’re going to be outside, make it easy on yourself and skip the quarter candles. You’re one with nature, so it should be easy for the kids to connect with Earth, Air, Fire and Water whether they have the candles or not.

Begin your ritual by ringing the bell to establish Sacred Space. The child chosen to be Bell Ringer rings the bell three times and says:

"I ring the bell
To cast the spell
Let sacred time begin
1 – 2 – 3
So mote it be
Let sacred time begin."

Then an adult casts the Circle by saying:

"Great Mother,
Weave around us
A circle of radiant light
Where we can honor
Our Lord and Lady.
Protect us, guide us and love us."

Tell the kids to imagine a silvery-blue light surrounding the table to create a Circle. Explain that this "Circle of Light" means we want to make this a sacred place to honor the Goddess and God. Explain that a Sacred Place doesn’t have to be a church. It can be in your dining room, a special spot in the forest, or even at school, as long as you show the respect and honor the Goddess and God deserve by creating your Sacred Space first. Next we "Call the Quarters." Explain that this is asking the Ancient Ones to add their powers to ours to make our Circle stronger. Because we do this outside (and you don’t want to have too many fires lit!) we pass on the candle lighting and just have the children invoke the elements verbally. It’s a great chance to actually connect with calling the Elements! The child chosen to call the Eastern Quarter faces the East, raises his/her hands and says:

"I call to you
Ancient Ones of the East
Guardian Spirits of Air
To witness this ritual and guard this Circle."

The child chosen to call the Southern Quarter faces South, raises his/her hands and says:

"I call to you
Ancient Ones of the South
Guardian Sprits of Fire
To witness this ritual and guard this Circle."

The child chosen to call the Western Quarter faces West, raises his/her hands and says:

"I call to you
Ancient Ones of the West
Guardian Spirits of Water
To Witness this ritual and guard this Circle."

The child chosen to call the Northern Quarter faces North, raises their hands and says:

"I call to you
Ancient Ones of the North
Guardian Spirits of Earth
To witness this ritual and guard this Circle."

Then the Adult says:

"The Circle has been cast
The Ancient Ones have been called
Now it is time to welcome
The Goddess and the God.
Great Mother,
Whose symbol is the bright night moon,
Heavenly father,
Whose symbol is the fiery sun,
We ask you to join our family
For this Midsummer Celebration."

The adult stands and faces the sun, raising his arms in joyous welcome:

"We greet the sun
At the zenith of its journey
On this day when it rides high in the sky!
Today is the celebration of Midsummer,
The Summer Solstice!
It is the longest day of the year
A day when light rules over dark!
Feel the power of the sun
And rejoice in its light and warmth!!"

Have the children face the sun and, closing their eyes, feel its warmth on their face. Explain to them that the warmth they’re feeling has traveled about 93 million miles through space to reach them today. That’s 400 times farther from the Earth than the moon is! And yet, even at that distance, we can still feel it! Now that’s magickal! To our ancestors, the sun was a God. They couldn’t understand how it moved across the sky, but they knew their lives depended on it. Today, even though we know a lot about the sun, and that it’s a star and not a God, we do acknowledge it’s strength and power, and admit that without it, all life on Earth. the people, plants and animals…would cease to exist. Now the adult turns to the bonfire (barbecue, candle or whatever) and says:

"Since Yule the power of the light has been growing stronger. At Ostara the light was equal to the dark. Today the turning of the Wheel Year has brought us to Midsummer, a day when the light rules supreme!"

Light the fire, letting the flames burn for a minute before continuing:

"We celebrate the Summer Solstice With this fire in honor of the Sun. Burn brightly, Sun! Summer has begun!!"

Have each person around the Circle take up the chant:

"Burn brightly Sun!
Summer has begun!"

You can go around once, or, if the kids are having fun, go around a couple of times! When the flames have died down everyone can take a turn jumping over the bonfire to make a wish. Be very careful! We make a very small bonfire so there’s no great risk, but we still hold the hand of the smaller children when they jump just be sure. Explain that fires were associated with purification, fertility and blessings. Tell them about the traditions of our ancestors, like lighting giant bonfires on the hilltops. It was sympathetic magic to call on the power of the sun. Another was to set fire to a wheel made of dried grass and send it rolling down a hill and into a pond. The fire represented the power of the sun, and the water quenching the flames symbolized the farmer’s wishes that summer wouldn’t be too hot and cause a drought or destroy the crops. Along these lines get your container of water and aspergill and return to your fire. Have the adult say:

"We love the warmth of the Summer Sun
We love its light and radiant heat.
But just as important to the earth
Is the gift of rain to fill our reservoirs,
Rain to water the plants and crops, Rain to cool us."

Dip the leafy branch into the water and sprinkle it like raindrops on the fire saying:

"Not too hot, not too dry
May the summer rains
Keep the Earth green."

Now invite everyone else to take up a branch and sprinkle the fire, repeating the chant until the fire is out.

"May the Summer rains
Keep the Earth green!"

When that’s finished have everyone sit down. The adult says:

"Summer has come again! We celebrate the sunshine, the freedom from school, the long hot days to swim and play! Lord and Lady, watch over your children and keep us safe during these busy Summer months!"

When everyone is finished you can close the Circle. Explain to the children that the ritual is over. Now it is time to thank the Ancient Ones for their help and their guidance. The child who called the Eastern Quarter now says:

"Thank you and farewell
Ancient Ones of the East
Guardian Spirits of Air
Go in Peace."

The child who called the Southern Quarter now says:

"Thank you and farewell
Ancient Ones of the South
Guardian Spirits of Fire
Go in Peace."

The child who called the Western Quarter says:

"Thank you and farewell
Ancient Ones of the West
Guardian Spirits of Water
Go in Peace."

The child who called the Northern Quarter says:

"Thank you and farewell
Ancient Ones of the North
Guardian Spirits of Earth
Go in Peace."

Then the adult says farewell to the Goddess and the God:

"We thank you God and Goddess for sharing this special time with our family. May we keep you in our hearts, and follow your path of love every day. Blessed be!"

Now the Bell Ringer rings the bell three times to release the Sacred Space and says:

"I ring the bell,
Release the spell
And Sacred Time will end.
1 – 2 – 3
So mote it be,
Until we meet again."

Explain that this is the signal that Scared Time is over. The circle has been released and the Sacred Space is no more. Now the adult says:

"The Circle is open and yet it remains a circle. around and through us always flow its magical powers. This ritual is over."

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