This solar holiday, also known to some as "Midsummer," marks the longest day and shortest night of the year. There is much folklore and myth associated with this holiday, and some traditions consider Midsummer’s Night to be a night where the veil between the human world and the world of the Faerie Folk is at its thinnest—a night the denizens of Faerie might be seen frolicking, making mischief, and dancing in merriment! Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a good illustration of this mythical thread.
Here in the northern hemisphere, Summer Solstice is typically celebrated on June 21. But the actual longest day can take place anywhere between June 20 to 22, depending on the year and your time zone. Summer Solstice is celebrated in many different ways across different cultures, but common themes include flowers, fertility, and fire.
The solar “fire” of the sun brings life to Earth, and herbs gathered on the Summer Solstice are considered by many to be imbued with non-ordinary powers. We've put together three simple Summer Solstice rituals for you to enjoy and honor this celebration of the sun!
“Yarrow, Sunwort, Meadowsweet
Flowers Bloom on Blackberry
Fruit forms on the Apple Tree”
Solstice Flower Facial Steam Recipe
A common activity during Summer Solstice celebrations is gathering herbs to be used in beauty preparations. For a simple beauty ritual, I like to make a facial steam using three flowers that are typically in bloom this time of year here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon: yarrow flowers, chamomile flowers, and meadowsweet flowers. When using fresh herbs, I use 1 tablespoon of each. If you can't find fresh in your area, then here's a recipe using herbs in their delightful dried form:
- 1 tsp dried organic yarrow leaf & flowers
- 1 tsp dried organic chamomile flowers
- 1 tsp dried organic meadowsweet flowers
- Organic hydrosol of choice (optional)
- Place fresh or dried flowers in glass or ceramnic bowl and add freshly boiled water.
- Let steam cool until it’s just warm enough but not so hot that it will burn.
- Drape towel over your head to make a tent over the bowl.
- Steam for 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse face with cool water.
I like to spray my face with an organic hydrosol to close this simple beauty tradition. Organic Rose Hydrosol is my personal favorite for this purpose, but organic St. John’s Wort, Calendula, or Chamomile Hydrosol would also be nice options, as these botanicals tend to be in bloom at the time of Summer Solstice.
“Quickly Soon Midsummer it will be
A time of Joy & Frolicking
Short bright night of lucid dreams”
Herbal-Infused Midsummer Night’s Mead
In the days leading up to Summer Solstice, I like to make herbal-infused mead or wine to share with my loved ones at this joyful time. It’s best to start at least nine days before you’re ready to enjoy.
- 3 Tbsp organic Love Tea or organic Pollinator Tea
- 1 Tbsp organic St. John’s Wort (I prefer to call this herb by the gender neutral name of Sunwort)
- One 750 mL bottle of unflavored mead (a sweet white wine such as a German Riesling can be substituted if mead is not readily available in your area, or if you prefer not to use products made with honey)
- 1 quart mason jar with lid or large cork top glass bottles
- Place tea and St. John’s Wort in glass bottle or jar.
- Pour mead or wine over herbs so they are completely covered and place lid on jar.
- Store jar in a warm spot to infuse.
- Shake daily for nine days.
- Strain herbs out of mead and pour the mead into clean, decorative bottle.
- Enjoy on Midsummer’s Night!
“Celebrating in the fields or at the hearth
Solar Fire that brings life to Earth
And wreathes in flowers this place of our birth”
Solar Fire Self Blessing
In many places, the Summer Solstice is celebrated by lighting bonfires which are thought to bless the people, land, and animals as well as purifying and burning away inharmonious influences. Sacred herbs or resins are often burned in these bonfires to add extra blessing and purification power. Since not everyone has access to a bonfire, we’ve crafted a simple ritual utilizing a candle and sea salt. This ritual can be done on the day of Summer Solstice itself, or in the days immediately before or after.
What you'll need:
- Beeswax Column Candle or Beeswax Votive Candle
- sea salt
- fireproof container for candle (I use a cast iron dutch oven without the lid) & means of extinguishing fire if needed (bucket of water or sand)
- biodegradable piece paper
- pen or pencil
- Place salt in fireproof container and set candle on top of salt.
- Think of something you would like to plant in your life, to grow and harvest over the summer season, and continue to thrive into the future. I chose to plant vibrant health in my life.
- Write this intention on the paper.
- While holding in your heart the feeling that your intention already exists, light the candle and pass the paper over the flame nine times.
- Burn the paper with the flame if safe, or bury the paper in the Earth.
The candle can be left burning (though NEVER leave fire unattended!) until it burns all the way down, or it can be extinguished and re-lit for the next few evenings until the candle is burned down all the way.
We hope these rituals bring peace and harmony to your life as you celebrate this Summer Solstice!
Looking for More Ways to Enjoy the Goodness of Herbs in Your Home?
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