Of all of the Pagan festivals celebrated through the year the most enduring one has to be the Midsummer celebration, or Summer Solstice as it is more commonly known.
This is the one day of the year – generally around the 21st June, when the Sun remains visible in the sky for the longest time and when the night hours are at their shortest.
It is time loved by everyone in the Northern Hemisphere for the joy and sense of fun that it brings with it.
Turning of the Wheel
The book Midsummer by Deborah Blake is one in a series by Llewellyn that catalogs each of the Wiccan/Pagan festivals in turn.
In this publication Blake; herself a popular author of several books on Witchcraft, explores the various strands of old and ancient beliefs that surround the Solstice.
She begins by explaining how many ancient ceremonial sites all around the world were built with reference to this important date in the annual calendar. She also explains how the word solstice roughly translates from the Latin to mean ‘sun standing still’. This of course refers to the fact that the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky on this day but also highlights that this is a time when the agricultural season is it its maximum and that for many in the countryside it is time to look towards the season of harvest.
A great deal has changed in the world since those ancient days of Solstice celebrations but today the day is still marked by various community activities. For a modern Witch midsummer is a time when the magic of life can be both celebrated and fully engaged with.
Recipes and Crafts
In her book Blake offers many different aspects to modern Solstice celebration. This includes the performing of elemental spells, various forms of folk divination, as well as being a good time for making ceremonial objects as part of the festivities.
Midsummer also includes a number of tasty recipes using foods that are prevalent at this time of the year. These include salads, cookies and cakes.
Blake also suggests that this is aGolden time of the year for working with herbs for it is said that they are at the height of their magical properties during midsummer.
Magic and Meditations
For those readers who are active participants in practical magic the author devotes a section to both group rituals and solitary observance of the Solstice. In her list of recommended meditations she references a number of ways in which to align to the energies of the Earth and the Sun as well as affirmations intended to align the reader to the forces of the natural world.
As for the structure of the Solstice celebrations Blake includes rituals for drawing down the Sun and connecting to the Goddess. In closing the book the author includes lists of Summer Solstice associations, bibliography and an index.
Our Review of Midsummer by Deborah Blake
I have enjoyed Deborah Blake’s other works on Witchcraft as well as the other titles (also by other notable Wiccan authors) in the Llewellyn Sabbat Essentials series.
So given the subject matter and the credibility of both the author and publisher it comes as no surprise to me to discover that Midsummer is also a fun and entertaining book.
If you are an owner of others in this series you will be aware of the standard format that they take and the information that they cover in their presentation of modern Paganism. All of these offer an interesting and enjoyable way by which all members of the family can engage in the turning of the year.
Midsummer is perhaps not as heavily illustrated as the other books in the Llewellyn Sabbat Essentials series but it does have that light and engaging characteristic which typifies Deborah Blake’s energising approach to modern Paganism.