Friday, June 21, 2013


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  Midsummer Eve, June 2013                                                             

Midsummer's Eve.  E.R. Huges, 1908
Tonight is Midsummer Eve, the night before the Summer Solstice.  It is midnight here on the beautiful central coast of California.  The moon is a cool, gravid curve in the glimmering dark.  It will be entirely full within two days, on St. John's Eve.

Outside tonight, the entire natural world seems to me to be especially alive, aware, waiting, intelligent, and hushed in anticipation, almost as if it is holding it's collective breath, yet still joyful, exultant and lush. There really is an incredibly strong sense of magic afoot tonight!  All the natural world remembers, even if people forget.

In years past, when living on the East coast where the woodlands are green, moist and leafy, I was blessed to be in Summer Solstice ceremony with others I loved, praying, singing, fasting, and strongly building community.  I remember my old friends, still tonight fasting, praying, and truly in a holy and altered state, with love and admiration.  Prayer of this sort strengthens the world, and helps to ensure the ongoing of all that is good.

Tonight's Midsummer moon, as seen from my house
My strong feeling is that this is a very special time, a doorway through which we can walk.  Tonight is full of magic, a time when you can pray, do ritual, dream, or remain awake and aware of the natural world and all the spirits.  They surely are aware of you.  I encourage any willing to sleep out of doors tonight, and over the next few nights.  Some of you may be doing as your ancestors did, and enjoying Midsummer bonfires.

Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, the point of greatest light. I believe that this is prime time to come into balance with anything in your life which is not quite right.  If you have fallen out of balance with another for whom you care, or have been neglecting something which you know you should attend to, or in some other way are not in right relationship with the world, there is no time like the present to cleanse and renew.

A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Henry Towneley Green, 1895
This is best done via a ritual bath very early in the morning, as the sun rises.  Bathe by pouring a solution of spiritually active ingredients (Hoodoo Roots Spiritual Cleansing Bath is a wonderful choice!) over yourself while standing in a small tub or in your bathtub, with the drain plugged.  Think hard on what you need to change, and vow to do so.  Pour the solution over yourself, letting it sluice down your body from head to toe.  You may do several pours.  Focus intently, then step away from the tub.

Allow yourself then to air-dry.  Scoop up a cup of the bath-water.  Dress in clean clothes.  Carry your bath-water to a crossroads.  Stand, and cast the water towards the rising sun.  Then turn around and go back home without looking back either figuratively or literally.  Enjoy the beautiful day!  Be outside and be joyful!  Celebrate the beauty of the world.  Be good to others, and reach out in loving greeting to those you know!  It is a new world and a new life.  Remember your vow, do your best, and know that the world conspires towards goodness. Change has come.

Bonfire on St. John's Eve (Ivan Kupala).  Henryk Siemiradzki, Polish, 1880.  St. John's Eve is June 23.

I also feel strongly that the Summer Solstice is a fantastic time to ritually and respectfully harvest plants for herbal medicine, whether for physical or for subtler emotional, mental, and spiritual purposes.  Remember that a plant's life force is strongest in the flowers when it is in bud and flowering; in the leaves when leafing;  in the fruit, if it is fruiting; and in the roots when it has died back for the winter.  Harvest with this in mind.

Sunflower.  From the Hortus Eystettensis herbal, 1613
Avoid harvesting from areas close to roadways, close by agricultural run-off, and other sources of pollutants.  Always ask permission from the plant prior to harvesting.  Never take more than you need.  If you have a specific problem you are harvesting the plant for, express your need and ask for it's assistance.  Wait until you are sure that you have received the plant's agreement that you may continue.  If not, do not harvest, for what you take without permission will not work well for you, especially on the subtle levels.  Worse, the plant will remember your misbehavior, and will tell all of it's relations.

 I will be harvesting roses and other plants and flowers on the Solstice, myself. I will also prepare some potions and some flower remedies.  I have made flower remedies on the Summer Solstice in previous years, and have always felt that those remedies had a noticeably potent vibe.  These are very easy to make, and I will post soon about how I do this.

Midsummer Dance.  Anders Zorn, 1897

The radiant Summer Solstice is a day of joy and celebration the world over, and it should be part of our awareness as well.  Cultures from every corner of the earth have long celebrated this night and day!  No matter what race you are, no matter from which tribe you come (and everyone belongs to a tribe, or tribes), the overwhelming likelihood is that your ancestors were aware of this night and day, and at some point, celebrated both.  Dancing (often about an erected pole, like the interesting traditional Swedish Midsummer maypole, shown in the painting to the right), singing, bathing in natural waters, and large bonfires are common threads in Solstice celebrations.  Make them yours as much as you can, and mark the beautiful turning of the year with reverence and full enjoyment!
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Wishing you all the blessings of the season.
Happy Summer Solstice!

Dara Anzlowar
Midsummer Eve, waxing gibbous moon in Scorpio

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  1. beautiful, and happy solstice to you. it is a wonderful thing to be consciously part of Nature's cycle.

  2. It really is a wonderful thing!
    Thank you so much for your kind comment, Yvonne.
    I wish you a very Happy Solstice as well!

    All the best,


  3. That really spoke to me, Dara. Last night I sat outside and gazed at the nearly full moon as I listened to the gentle sounds of night. I thought about some very needed renewal and made some vows on that. This morning was glorious as I walked through my garden and smelled the fragrances of my flowers and herbs. And now as I write this I am sitting by the shore of the mighty Hudson watching the sun glimmering on the water. I wait for the sun to set over the hills and the renewal to begin with the new dawn. Blessings of love, joy, peace, and hope! Dagmar

  4. How very beautiful, Dagmar! I too feel so strongly the renewal that this day brings. Thank you for the strong, fine visuals you have given me, and thank you for your loving wishes! Wishing you and yours all the very same!

    Every good thing,



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