- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock / non-vegetarian version)
- 4 cups chopped ripe tomatoes or canned Italian tomatoes, drained
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
- 1 Tbs chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
- 1 cup milk, half and half, or heavy cream
- Sugar, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Chopped chives for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over moderate heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and sauté until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, tomatoes, potato, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Puree in a food processor or blender in small batches until smooth, straining through a fine sieve if desired. Stir in the milk or cream and season with sugar, salt, and pepper. Serve garnished with chopped chives.
Serves 6 to 8.
- 1 to 4 oz (30 to 120 gms) each of the following five herbs:
- dried chamomile
- Whole oranges & lemons
- cinnamon sticks
- allspice berries (optional)
- myrrh or frankincense resin lumps
- Scraps of lightweight cloth (4 – 7 inches / 100 -175 mm, two for each bag)
- optional: bits of ribbon, embroidery floss, scraps of lace or a few small beads
Take the first five dried herbs and mix them in whatever proportions you desire/have on hand. More Mugwort will lead some folks to more psychic dreaming, more hops will lead to a sounder sleep for some others, more catnip may encourage feline pillow sharing. As the night passes, eat the oranges, and use the lemons (minus their peels) in teas/punches/hot drinks.
As you use them try to remove the peels in large chunks or in easy to work with sections. Using a spoon, carefully scrape out as much of the white inner rind as you can without damaging the zesty outer peel. Scatter the remaining outer peels on a cookie sheet and dry them on low heat in the oven (200 ° F. or less). Watch them to make sure they are drying but not scorching. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool. If you have a fire or incense burner, burn some of the incense resins, saving most to use in the pillows. Crumble the dried peels up into smaller bits, break up the cinnamon sticks up into smaller pieces, and add the spices, resins and peels to the herb mixture. Mix well. Gather up the scraps of material, and sew up small bags: 3 – 6 inches / 75 – 150 mm should be fine. Leave one side open: small openings will make it more difficult to fill the bags later. If you want to use the ribbons and floss to embroider protective or other magical symbols or representative designs, it will be easier to do before you stitch the sides together. Work on this to keep you awake, thinking of the season and what it means to you as you do it. If these are intended as gifts, think kindly and lovingly of the folks you will be giving these to. Fill each of the bags with the herb/spice mixture, but not so full that it is hard: people will want to smell them, but they need to be soft enough to sleep on. Fold the last side inward, and stitch closed. If you want, a small loop of ribbon may be added at this point at the top. After the sun rises, and you have finished your celebrations, set these aside, and finish them when you have/make time during the day if they aren’t done. When you go to bed, slip one or more of these into you pillow case, and inhale deeply as you relax before sleeping. Watch for special dreams as you sleep. For those who are sitting up all night on the Solstice, this is a special dream pillow you can make for prophetic dreams when you go to sleep the next night or throughout the year. (If you are not sitting up a vigil, go ahead and make them anyway – I get some interesting quirks to the dreams when I use the spices in the dream pillows.)
From Garden of the Midnight Moonchild
Envision a spiral blaze of sparks from a comet’s tail.
"Protect this child and guard her aim
from any evil, harm, or bane."
When ready, step into your ritual space.
Cast Circle Envision the same comet tail that formed your shield at the tip of your hand, wand, or athame as you cast from your projective hand beginning at the southern quarter and moving deosil (clockwise).
"Now mystify midsummer magic and satisfy midsummer charms.
Midsummer power charge my spirit waxing as the summer warms."
Call Quarters Facing south
"Flames of the midsummer bonfire. Heat of the midsummer sun. Heart of the midsummer starlight. Your purity holds me guides and enfolds me. Welcome Spirit of Fire to my rite."
light the red candle.
Call Quarters Facing west
"Cascading midsummer rivers. Powerful midsummer tides.
Wellspring of midsummer delights. Your empathy holds me
guides and enfolds me. Welcome Spirit of Water to my rite."
light the blue candle.
Call Quarters Facing north
"Towering midsummer mountains. Fertile the midsummer field.
Unyielding midsummer earth-might. Stability holds me guides and enfolds me. Welcome Spirit of Earth to my rite."
light the green candle.
Call Quarters facing east
"Wind of midsummer sirocco. Midsummer mantle of life. Breath of the midsummer twilight. Your clarity holds me guides and enfolds me. Welcome Spirit of Air to my rite."
light the yellow candle.
Invoke the Sun raising projective hand in the symbol of the sun (first finger and Little finger extended, like horns, other fingers folded beneath thumb)
"Midsummer Sun King of wisdom and might. The power of summer and life at its height. Your energy holds me guides and enfolds me. Welcome Sun King to my rite."
light the gold candle
Invoke the Moon raising receptive hand in the symbol of the moon (hold your whole hand in a "c" shape like the crescent moon)
"Midsummer Mother. Queen of the night. The power of magic
fulfilled in moonlight. Your spirit holds me guides and enfolds me.
Welcome Midsummer Queen to my rite."
light the silver candle
Invoke your Guardian Invoke your Guardian tracing a pentagram in the air before you with your hand, wand, or athame
"Spirit within me empower me now with your charge. Stir midsummer memories. Rouse midsummer mysteries. Awaken midsummer magic. Guide me, hold me, teach me, enfold me.
My hands in yours. Your heart in mine. Be with me now."
light the incense
Complete the circle with your purpose sit or stand as you please
"The circle is cast and we stand between the worlds
beyond the bounds of time. Joy and sorrow, day and night,
The past and tomorrow, death and life meet here as one.
Blessed be. "I come now between the worlds to celebrate the power of love, the power of midsummer, and the power of magic with this turn of he wheel."
Light the Cauldron candle.
"No longer day shall turn. No brighter candle burn. No wish shall be denied on this midsummer night."
Take the candle which represents your self and carve your name and any appropriate symbols upon it. Anoint it with your favorite scent, stub to wick, and light it from the cauldron candle
"I am (say your name). The power of light is mine. The power of midsummer is mine."
Set that candle in a holder and take the candle which represents your trouble and carve the name of your trouble and any appropriate symbols upon it. Anoint this candle with saltwater, wick to stub, and light it from the cauldron candle.
"You are my trouble. You are (name your trouble). I banish you and now… you are gone."
When the trouble candle burns past your carvings blow it out as you say "you are gone" and wrap that candle stub (to be buried off your property) in a mixture of salt and sand.
Now take the candle which represents your desire and carve the name of your desire and any appropriate symbols upon it. Anoint it with your favorite scent, stub to wick, and light it from the cauldron candle.
"I am (say your name). I come between the worlds with my desire. My desire is (name your desire). All powers that be, grant me this desire. Harming none, this be done."
Watch this candle burn, holding your desire firmly in your mind, until this candle burns out of it’s own accord.
"On Midsummer all desires are granted."
Wrap this candle stub, along with your "self" candle stub, in soil and sand and bury them somewhere on your property where they will remain undisturbed.
"Now it is done with no reverse to bring upon me any curse."
Ground (touch something from the earth with your projective hand, or just feel the excess energy drain from your body back through your feet to replenish the earth below you)
Simple Feast: Herbal tea or Fruity Juice and fruits from whatever summer bounty is available and freshest. Make liquid offerings to the elements. Thank the Guardian Make the sign of the pentagram with smoke from the incense stick (if it is still burning) or trace it in the air before you with your wand, or hand
"Spirit within my spirit, my thanks for the blessing of your attendance at my simple and solitary rite. Stay or go as you shall please. Hail and farewell."
Thank the Moon raising your receptive hand in the symbol of the moon (hold your whole hand in a "c" shape like the crescent moon)
"Queen of the midsummer night, my thanks for the blessing of your attendance. Stay or go as you shall please. Hail and farewell."
quench the silver candle
Thank the Sun raising your projective hand in the symbol of the sun (first finger and Little finger extended, like horns, other fingers folded beneath thumb)
"Mighty midsummer King, my thanks for the blessing of your attendance. Stay or go as you shall please. Hail and farewell."
quench the gold candle
Thank the Quarters taking the appropriate positions as you thank and release them and quench their candles as you bid them farewell.
"Midsummer winds of clarity, Spirit of Air. Midsummer stones stability, Spirit of Earth. Midsummer tides of empathy, Spirit of Water. Midsummer flames of purity, Spirit of Fire. My thanks for your attending me. Stay or go as you shall please. Hail and farewell, and blessed be."
Release the Circle beginning at the Southern quarter and moving widdershins (counterclockwise) draw the energy into your receptive hand, wand or athame. When you have finished re-calling the energy, compress it into a little version of the comet you started with in your receptive hand and absorb it into your body.
"The circle is open yet still unbroken. Merry met, and merry part, and merry meet again."
Rose Spell For The Fey
Said to be from a 17th century work
Midsummer is a time when the Fey are out and about, so it seems like it would be a good time to try to attract some to your garden – if you want to. Roses attract the Faery to a garden. Their sweet scent will lure elemental spirits to take up residence close by. Roses can be used in Faery love spells. When performing the spell, sprinkle rose petals under your feet and dance softly upon them while asking the Faery for their blessing on your magic. Roses are loved by the fey so you can plant Roses in your garden to attract fairies. Wild Roses are best for this purpose and you need to say the following spell as you plant your baby Rose bush:
"I ask a fairy from the wild,
To come and tend this wee rose-child.
A babe of air she thrives today,
Root her soul in the Goddesses’ good clay.
Fairies make this twig your bower,
By your magic shall time see her flower!"
Summer Solstice: Ura, the Night of the Heather
by Sarah the SwampWitch,
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
The moon is perhaps humankind’s oldest form of marking time. According to some scholars, the Celts used a Lunar Calendar that consisted of 13 months, each 28 days in length. Each month of the Celtic Lunar calendar bears the name of a tree, which also stands for one of the consonants in the Celtic ‘tree alphabet’. There are basically two different versions of this Lunar calendar: the Beth-Luis-Nion (which begins on the Winter Solstice) and the Beth-Luis-Fearn (which begins on Samhain). I work with the Beth-Luis-Nion simply because it seems to work the best for my style of Witchcraft.
Beth-Luis-Nion version of The Celtic Tree calendar
- B – Beth, the Birch Month (December 24th – January 20th)
- L – Luis, the Rowan Month (January 21st – February 17th)
- N – Nion, the Ash month (February 18th – March 17th)
- F – Fearn, the Alder Month (March 18th – April 14th)
- S – Saille, the Willow Month (April 15th – May 12th)
- H – Huath, the Hawthorn Month (May 13th – June 9th)
- D – Duir, the Oak Month (Jun 10th – July 7th)
- T – Tinne, the Holly Month (July 8th – August 4th)
- C – Coll, the Hazel Month (August 5th – September 1st)
- M – Muin, the Vine Month (September 2nd – September 29th)
- G – Gort, the Ivy Month (September 30th – October 27th
- Ng – Ngetal, the Reed Month (October 28th – November 24th)
- R – Ruis, the Elder Month (November 25th – December 23rd)
The five vowels I, A, O, U, and E have corresponding tree names to the nights of the solstices and equinoxes:
- I – Idho, the Night of the Yew, Winter Solstice Eve
- A – Ailm, the Night of the Silver Fir, Winter Solstice
- – Herb too sacred to have a Celtic name, the Night of Mistletoe, Day after Winter Solstice
- O – Onn, the Night of the Gorse Bush, Spring Equinox
- U – Ura, the Night of the Heather, Summer Solstice
- E – Eadha, the Night of the White Poplar, Alban Elfed or Autumnal Equinox
Here Is Lore On The Tree Of The Summer Solstice – Heather:
- Latin name: Calluna vulgaris
- Celtic name: Ura (pronounced: Oor’ uh)
- Folk or Common Names: Common Heather, Ling, Scottish Heather
- Parts used: herb, flowering shoots.
- Herbal usage: Heather’s flowering shoots are used to treat insomnia, stomach aches, coughs and skin problems. The plant, used fresh or dried, strengthens the heart and raises blood pressure. It is slightly diuretic and a Heather Tea is often prescribed in cases of urinary infections. Heather is sometimes used in conjunction with corn silk and cowberries.
- Magickal History & Associations: Heather is associated with the sun, and with the planet of Venus. Its color is resin colored and its element is water. Heather’s bird is the lark, and its animal association is the honey bee. In ancient times the Danes brewed a powerful beer made from honey and Heather. And for centuries the heather flowers have also been a special beverage to the bee, who in return creates delightful Heather honey! Its stones are amethyst, peridot, and amertine – and it is a feminine herb.
The herb is sacred to many Goddesses: Isis, Venus-Erycina, Uroica, Garbh Ogh, Cybele, Osiris, Venus, Guinevere, and Butes among them. White Heather was considered unlucky by Scottish loyalists because of its connection with the banishment of Bonny Prince Charles. Haether is the home to a type of Fey called Heather Pixies. Like other Pixies, the Heather Pixies have clear or golden auras and delicate, translucent wings. But these faeries are attracted specifically to the moors and to the Heather which covers them. They are not averse to human contact, but they don’t seek them out. They have a pranksterish nature.
Magickal Usage: Heather is sacred to the Summer Solstice. Heather is used for magick involving maturity, consummation, general luck, love, ritual power, conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water magick.
Charms made with Heather can be worn or carried as protection against danger, rape and other violent crimes. This flower represents good fortune and Heather can also be carried as a lucky charm. It was believed that wearing the blossom associated with your month of birth would bring exceptionally good luck – therefore people born in the month of Heather (August) should carry White Heather, for even better luck throughout the year.
Legend has it that a gift of white Heather brings luck to both the giver and the receiver, whereas red Heather is said to have been colored by heathens killed in battle by Christians, so is less lucky. Heather is associated with secrets from the Otherworld.
A sprig of white Heather placed in a special place of silence and meditation has the power to conjure ghosts, ‘haints’ or spirits. After picking a piece of white Heather at midnight, place it in a glass of river water in the darkest corner of your home. Sit and think of a departed loved one and it is said that the loved one’s shadow will visit you. Heather is said to ignite faery passions and open portals between their world and our own. Heather represents solitude because it thrives in wide open spaces, and Faeries who enjoy living in such undisturbed places are said to feast on the tender stalks of Heather.
The Fey of this flower are drawn to humans who are shy. Heather is useful for Solitary healing work (going within). Heather, if used along with Mistletoe, creates powerful healing medicine in both spiritual and physical aspects.
Heather can be used at Midsummer to promote love – carry red Heather for passion or white Heather for cooling the passion of unwanted suitors. If you give someone a gift of Heather it means: ‘Admiration’. A charm bag filled with Heather can be carried for decreasing egotism or self-involvement. As a water herb, Heather is very useful in weather magick. When burned outdoors with Fern, the herbal smoke of Heather attracts rain. Bouquets of Heather and Fern can also be dipped in water to call rain.
***Document Copyright © 99, 00, 01,02 by Sarah Nunn (Sarah the SwampWitch). This document can be re-published and shared only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others. Other uses of this document must be approved in writing by Sarah Nunn.
Mead and How To Make It
posted by Aradiann
Mead, or honey wine, is probably one of the most ancient known alcoholic beverages known to mankind. Making good mead is not difficult, so long as you keep your equipment perfectly clean and you use the best available ingredients. As for legalities, its perfectly legal as long as you brew it non-commercially and entirely for the use of you and your friends.
You can find a recipe for non-alcoholic mead here.
Here’s what you need…
- One gallon jug
- Brewing pot, 4 to 6 quarts (steel or enamel, not aluminum)
- Clear glass primary fermenter, 6 quart
- Fermentation lock and stopper
- Wire mesh tea strainer (used for skimming the froth from the mead when you boil it)
- Long-handled brewing spoon, plastic (if you use a wooden one, you must boil it every time you make a new batch of mead)
- Racking cane
- Plastic siphon hose, about 3 ft. long and intended for handling foods
- bottle brushes, assorted sizes
- Bottles (recycled wine bottles will do)
- Plastic Funnel
- Corks (for the bottles)
- Bottle capper/cork compressor
- Sulphite Tablets, to terminate fermentation before final bottling (optional)
Explanation of Equipment:
- One gallon jug – Your typical "MoonShine" jug
- Brewing pot – any large pot will do, as long as its not aluminum (poisonous)
- Clear glass primary fermenter – Your typical "Moon Shine" jug
- Fermentation lock and stopper – A small device that fits upon the top of the jug. It allows the gases from fermentation to escape while preventing air and dust from entering you jug.
- Wire mesh tea strainer – self explanatory
- Long handled brewing spoon, plastic – Any long handled spoon as long as its clean
- Racking cane – (see fig. 1) It’s a long tube that has a cap on one end and a hole about inch from the bottom on the other end. The siphon hose attaches to the cap, and the end with the hole is inserted into jug. The purpose of this device is to siphon the mead from the sediment without aerating the brew and exposing it to airborne bacteria (which will quickly destroy your mead)
|| ———————- Racking cane
|O| ———————- Hole at the bottom
- Siphon hose, plastic – used for transporting the mead from one jug to another, use a hose made for handling food
- Bottle brushes, assorted – brushes on the end of wire handles
- Bottles – Recycled wine bottles will do ( make sure that they are cleaned and preferable have been boiled and have been allowed to cool)
- Funnel – every household has at least one ( Don’t use the one you use to add oil to your car…)
- Corks – Self explanatory (don’t use old corks)
- Bottle capper/ cork compressor – for putting the corks into your bottles
Ingredients for Mead:
- 2 quarts of water (purified, bottled, or distilled water is best)
- 2 1/2 lbs Honey
- 1/2 cup lemon peels ( Alternate: 3 teaspoons of Malic Acid)
- 1 tablespoon strong tea (Alternate: 1 1/2 teaspoons Tartaric Acid)
- 1/4 teaspoon Grape Tannin
- 1 teaspoon yeast energizer
- 1 packet mead yeast ( Alternate: Champagne yeast, Montrachet yeast, Tokay wine yeast)
Makes 1 gallon of mead. All items can be found at your local Brewers shop, check the yellow pages. Stir the honey and water together, heating slowly. Stir in the lemon peel and tea (or the malic and tartaric acid). When it gets hot, stir in the grape tannin and the yeast energizer. Most brewers will then bring the brew to a full boil, though this is not really necessary. Use the tea strainer to skim off the froth that rises to the top. Let it cool for a while, then "rack" or pour into your primary fermenter and let the brew cool overnight. The next day, carefully pour it through the strainer into your gallon fermentation jug. "Pitch" or add the yeast, stirring a packet of yeast into four ounces of 80° water (more or less), let it sit for about 10 minutes and then stir it into your brew. Carefully move your jug into a dark, moderate-temperature place where it will be completely undisturbed, and put on the fermentation lock. Make sure you set the jug into a large bowl or pan of some sort to catch the foam-off that occurs during the first few days of fermentation, and clean it up after a few days. Otherwise the bottle shouldn’t be touched except when absolutely necessary.
After a few days the mead will start to clear, and there will be a good bit of sediment at the bottom of the jug. "rack" (siphon) the mead into another jug, being careful to leave the sediment behind. Then top off the jug (with the mead) with distilled or purified water, and reattach the fermentation lock. Clean out the jug with the sediment. If after a week or two the mead again has sediment, rack it again into another bottle. It’s a good idea to check monthly for sediment, and re-rack if there’s more then a trace. When your mead has gone for a month without sediment, it’s ready to be bottled and corked. At this point many brewers prefer to terminate any residual fermentation by adding a sulphite tablet, crushed and dissolved into two ounces of water and then stirred into the gallon of mead. After allowing the mead to set overnight, it is funneled into bottles and corked. If you don’t want to use the sulphite tablets, you must make sure that all fermentation has ceased, or you might have a few of the bottles explode from pressure build up caused by residual fermentation. Let your mead age for three months or more. Then when the mood strikes you, pop open a bottle and enjoy! 🙂
- Malic acid, citric acid, or grape tannin will hasten the fermentation
- Unless you pick the lemons your self, soak the store bought lemons in hot water for a few minutes to remove wax, dirt, and insecticide contaminates
- Mead making takes time, BE PATIENT!!!!
- While fermentation is taking place, the mead will become very cloudy. Sometimes it will clear up, and then become cloudy once again as secondary fermentation takes place.
- As a general rule of thumb, the mead should be ready for bottling when you have been able to read newsprint through a gallon jug of it for at least two weeks (If you used a dark variety of honey, then your mead will be dark and this rule doesn’t apply, instead shine a flashlight through it, if you see that the mead is clear and has been for at least two weeks, then its probably ready for bottling)
- Find a good area around your house or garage where you can leave your brewing jugs safe and undisturbed, with a temperature range of 55 to 85° Fahrenheit.
- Get your honey from a Bee Keeper, if possible; if not buy it at the supermarket and make sure its RAW honey (processed honey sucks for making mead) The darker the honey the better the mead will taste!
Make Your Own Gel Air Freshener
You can make your own gel air fresheners, using liquid potpourri, or from scratch.
For one version, you will need:
- 2 cups of distilled water
- Essential oil / fragrance of your choice.
- 4 packages of Knox gelatin
- Food coloring (optional)
Heat 1 cup of water almost to a boil. Add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat add another cup of distilled water, 10-20 drops of oil/fragrance, and food coloring if desired. You can place the jars in the refrigerator if you need them to set more quickly, but be aware that the smell will permeate the fridge. To use, place the jar on the stovetop (not directly on the burner!) while cooking, heat in a potpourri burner, or simply set out on a table and enjoy the aroma.
For the next version, you will need:
- 1 c. concentrated liquid potpourri
- 2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
- Empty jar
I have made my own gel fresheners by using the concentrated liquid potpourri (1 cup) instead of water and essential oils. I buy this at my at the local "dollar" store so the investment is small – and I don’t have any problems with mold growing. Heat potpourri until almost to a boil. Remove from heat and add 2 envelopes of gelatin. Stir to dissolve gelatin and pour into clean decorative jar. Place piece of plastic wrap over jar and secure with rubber band. Either place in refrigerator for quick set or leave out overnight on counter. Cover with piece of starched "lace" and wrap with ribbon to decorate. Before using, remove plastic wrap and recover jar with lace cover.
Tips: Having a problem with mold? Adding 2 tablespoons of salt to the mixture to inhibit the growth of mold. Or add a splash of vodka.
Note: This is not the same as Gel candles!!
Litha Ritual For Covens
- A decorative wreath made from natural items, i.e. branches, flowers, feathers, etc.
- Fresh, clean water. (Amount depends on how big you like your fires.)
Decorate the altar with roses and other summer flowers. A bonfire is constructed in the center of the circle. The wreath is also placed upon the altar. The Priest bears a God figure made of woven twigs and sticks. Coveners and guests also wear flowers.
All enter the circle from the west, to face the rising sun. The fire is lit, and the Priestess says:
"We celebrate the Mid-of-Summer, held in honor of the Sun King. All of Nature vibrates with the fertileness of the Goddess and of the God. The Earth basks in the light and life of the Sun. The ever turning Wheel of the Year has made the light ever stronger. The light has kept growing longer, until today… The light is at its peak, Litha, Midsummer’s Day, Summer Solstice.
From here, the light begins to fade, until once more the Wheel turns to the time of darkness. As the light dies, so the Lord of Light dies Himself, and sets sail across the dark seas of time, searching for the isle of light that is rebirth. Yet, for today, the Sun is high, the light is bright, the Earth is warm. As the Sun God blazes above, may the fires of our rite flame below."
Purify, cast the circle, and invoke the Goddess and the God. All dance around the fire, chanting:
"She is luminous
She is white
She is shining
Crowned with light!
He is radiant
He is bright
He is rising
He takes flight!"
The priest dances with the God figure in the center of the circle. The coveners place flowers on the figure until it is covered with blossoms. As the power grows, the Priest and Priestess dance closer to the fire. At the peak of the power, the priest tosses the figure into the flames and the chant stops as all meditate on the blazing blossoms.
The priestess carries the wreath around the circle, holding it up to each person’s face so that they can see the flames through it. She says,
"See with clear sight."
Each person puts a hand on the wreath and projects their troubles into the wreath. After making her way around the circle, the priestess holds the wreath aloft and says:
"Great Goddess and Great God, from Thee all powers flow forth.
Lord and Lady, Great Spirits of All-That-Is,
By Thy powers, and the powers of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth,
By Thy powers, and the powers of the Sun, Moon, and Stars,
We banish these negatives from our lives."
The wreath is then thrown onto the fire. As the fire burns down, douse the ashes with the water.
"As the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so let this water purify and renew. Mother Goddess, bless this water so that it may renew me. Father God, may your rays of the Midsummer sun bless and nourish me. Lord and Lady, may your blessings sustain me as I journey anew."
Ground the power, share food, and open the circle.
A Midsummer’s Eve Honey Spell For Beauty
From Dancing with the Sun: Celebrating the Seasons of Life by Yasmine Galenorn
Summer is a time of beauty and honey is a food connected with beauty, both inner and outer. This is a simple spell to perform on Midsummer’s Eve and you can enchant enough honey to last through the year until next summer! You can double or triple the ingredients depending on how much you’ll be using.
On the Full moon before Midsummer’s Eve, gather the following:
- 1 Lb honey
- 1 sliced vanilla bean
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1 inch sliced gingerroot
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- fifth of Apricoy Brandy
- your hairbrush
In a heavy pan, stir together all the ingredients. Stir over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Strain into a pretty jar with a tight fitting lid. Store until Midsummer’s Eve. Near dusk on Midsummer’s Eve, take your honey, a fifth of apricot brandy, a hand mirror, and your hairbrush outside (if it’s raining you can perform this at your Litha altar). Set up the mirror on a tree stump or rock so you can see yourself in it. Place the honey jar, the brandy and the brush on the rock with the mirror on it. Cast a circle and invoke the elements. Say:
"Queen Mab, Queen of faerie, Your blessing I ask
Reflect your beauty in my looking glass."
Look in the mirror and see your unique beauty, Say:
"Like honey my words will both charm and enchant
Stirring memories of wine and the labyrinth dance."
Eat a teaspoon of honey and hear the sweet sounds of your voice. Say:
"Like brandy my presence bewitches and glows
With elegance strength and the power of poise."
Drink a teaspoon of the brandy and feel your carriage shift, your posture straighten and your demeanor take on an otherworldly refinement. Say:
"Be it shorter or, I find in my hair
The power of beauty, my looks they are fair."
Take up the brush and brush your hair, feeling the strength of your beauty ripple from your inner core to radiate through your body and in your face. Meditate on your individual and unique beauty, comparing yourself to no one and then close the spell saying:
"Queen Mab, Queen of Faerie, bless my mirror and my brush,
To my lips bring bright crimson, to my cheeks, a fair blush,
To the honey bring charm and the power of song,
To the brandy bring strength for the winter so long,
To my heart bring both courage and the power to see
The beauty and glamour belonging only to me.
Devoke the elements and open the circle. Take the honey and brandy and keep them on your personal altar or vanity table with your brush and mirror. Each evening eat a spoonful of the honey and drink a spoonful of the brandy.
A Midsummer Night’s Lore
by Melanie Fire Salamander
From Widdershins E-zine
Cinquefoil, campion, lupine and foxglove nod on your doorstep; Nutka rose, salal bells, starflower and bleeding-heart hide in the woods, fully green now. Litha has come, longest day of the year, height of the sun. Of old, in Europe, Litha was the height too of pagan celebrations, the most important and widely honored of annual festivals.
Fire, love and magick wreathe ’round this time. As on Beltaine in Ireland, across Europe people of old leaped fires for fertility and luck on Midsummer Day, or on the night before, Midsummer Eve, according to Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. Farmers drove their cattle through the flames or smoke or ran with burning coals across the cattle pens. In the Scottish Highlands, herders circumambulated their sheep with torches lit at the Midsummer fire.
People took burning brands around their fields also to ensure fertility, and in Ireland threw them into gardens and potato fields. Ashes from the fire were mixed with seeds yet to plant. In parts of England country folk thought the apple crop would fail if they didn’t light the Midsummer fires. People relit their house fires from the Midsummer bonfire, in celebration hurled flaming disks heavenward and rolled flaming wheels downhill, burning circles that hailed the sun at zenith.
Midsummer, too, was a lovers’ festival. Lovers clasped hands over the bonfire, tossed flowers across to each other, leaped the flames together. Those who wanted lovers performed love divination. In Scandinavia, girls laid bunches of flowers under their pillows on Midsummer Eve to induce dreams of love and ensure them coming true. In England, it was said if an unmarried girl fasted on Midsummer Eve and at midnight set her table with a clean cloth, bread, cheese and ale, then left her yard door open and waited, the boy she would marry, or his spirit, would come in and feast with her.
Magick crowns Midsummer. Divining rods cut on this night are more infallible, dreams more likely to come true. Dew gathered Midsummer Eve restores sight. Fern, which confers invisibility, was said to bloom at midnight on Midsummer Eve and is best picked then. Indeed, any magickal plants plucked on Midsummer Eve at midnight are doubly efficacious and keep better.
You’d pick certain magickal herbs, namely St. John’s Wort, hawkweed, vervain, orpine, mullein, wormwood and mistletoe, at midnight on Midsummer Eve or noon Midsummer Day, to use as a charm to protect your house from fire and lightning, your family from disease, negative witchcraft and disaster. A pagan gardener might consider cultivating some or all of these; it’s not too late to buy at herb-oriented nurseries, the Herbfarm outside Fall City the chief of these and a wonderful place to visit, if a tad pricey. Whichever of these herbs you find, a gentle snip into a cloth, a spell whispered over, and you have a charm you can consecrate in the height of the sun.
In northern Europe, the Wild Hunt was often seen on Midsummer Eve, hallooing in the sky, in some districts led by Cernunnos. Midsummer’s Night by European tradition is a fairies’ night, and a witches’ night too. Rhiannon Ryall writes in West Country Wicca that her coven, employing rites said to be handed down for centuries in England’s West Country, would on Midsummer Eve decorate their symbols of the God and Goddess with flowers, yellow for the God, white for the Goddess. The coven that night would draw down the moon into their high priestess, and at sunrise draw down the sun into their high priest. The priest and priestess then celebrated the Great Rite, known to the coven as the Rite of Joining or the Crossing Rite.
Some of Ryall’s elders called this ritual the Ridencrux Rite. They told how formerly, in times of bad harvest or unseasonable weather, the High Priestess, on the nights between the new and full moon, would go to the nearest crossroads, wait for the first stranger traveling in the district. About this stranger the coven had done ritual beforehand, to ensure he embodied the God. The high priestess performed the Great Rite with him to make the next season’s sowing successful.
In the Middle Ages in Europe, traces of witchcraft and pagan remembrances were often linked with Midsummer. In Southern Estonia, Lutheran Church workers found a cottar’s wife accepting sacrifices on Midsummer Day, Juhan Kahk writes in Early Modern European Witchcraft: Centres and Peripheries, edited by Bengt Ankarloo and Gustave Henningsen. Likewise, on Midsummer Night in 1667, in Estonia’s Maarja-Magdaleena parish, peasants met at the country manor of Colonel Griefenspeer to perform a ritual to cure illnesses.
In Denmark, writes Jens Christian V. Johansen in another Early Modern European Witchcraft chapter, medieval witches were said to gather on Midsummer Day, and in Ribe on Midsummer Night. Inquisitors in the Middle Ages often said witches met on Corpus Christi, which some years fell close to Midsummer Eve, according to Witchcraft in the Middle Ages, by Jeffrey Burton Russell. The inquisitors explained witches chose the date to mock a central Christian festival, but Corpus Christi is no more important than a number of other Christian holidays, and it falls near a day traditionally associated with pagan worship. Coincidence? Probably not.
Anciently, pagans and witches hallowed Midsummer. Some burned for their right to observe their rites – we need not. But we can remember the past. In solidarity with those burned, we can collect our herbs at midnight; we can burn our bonfires and hail the sun.