The Pagan Library
Fri, Aug 22 2014

Summer Solstice Group Ritual

The Great Heat Banishing Rite

MIDIgoon


The Gathering

The group will gather inside the circle awaiting the beginning of the ritual.

The Procession of the Priestess and Priest

The Priestess and Priest will enter to drumming

The Call of the Quarters

Priestess:

We Celebrate the time of Midsummer, the time of Oppressive Heat. And call on the Magic Spirits to speak to this time. So we call you to come.

R: Because it is so hot!

Priest:

(to the East)
Summer is for running like the wind, and for being outdoors.
Spirits of the East, dwellers of the Land of the Rising Sun, we want you with us, so we call you to come.

R: Because it is so hot!

He lights the East Torch.

Priestess:

(to the South)
Summer is so Hot we sweat, when we live with the Sun.
Spirits of the South, dwellers of the Hot Land, show us how you live in Heat, so we call you to come.

R: Because it is so hot!

She lights the South Torch.

Priest:

(to the West)
Summer is from enjoying the water, giving thirsty plants a drink. Wearing fewer clothes.
Spirits of the West, dwellers of the Hot and Dry land, we want you with us, so we call you to come.

R: Because it is so hot!

He lights the West Torch.

Priestess:

(to the North)
Summer is when the Earth is hot, the humidity high, the air oppressive. Nothing moves more than it has to.
Spirits of the North, dwellers of the cool country, show us how to relieve our suffering, so we call you to come.

A Reading

All may sit on their towels or other items

A Midsummer's Celebration

Our modern calendars are quite misguided in suggesting that 'summer begins' on the solstice. According to the old folk calendar, summer BEGINS on May Day and ends on Lammas (August 1st), with the summer solstice, midway between the two, marking MID-summer. This makes more logical sense than suggesting that summer begins on the day when the sun's power begins to wane and the days grow shorter. The day is also referred to as St. John's Day, after St. John the Baptist, and Litha, the opposite of Yule.

In England, it was the ancient custom on St. John's Eve to light large bonfires after sundown, which served the double purpose of providing light to the revelers and warding off evil spirits. This was known as setting the watch. People often jumped through the fires for good luck. In addition to these fires, the streets were lined with lanterns, and people carried cressets (pivoted lanterns atop poles) as they wandered from one bonfire to another. These wandering, garland-bedecked bands were called a marching watch. Often they were attended by morris dancers, and traditional players dressed as a unicorn, a dragon, and six hobby-horse riders. Just as May Day was a time to renew the boundary on one's own property, so Midsummer's Eve was a time to ward the boundary of the city.

Customs surrounding St. John's Eve are many and varied. At the very least, most young folk plan to stay up throughout the whole of this shortest night. Certain courageous souls might spend the night keeping watch in the center of a circle of standing stones. To do so would certainly result in either death, madness, or (hopefully) the power of inspiration to become a great poet or bard. This was also the night when the serpents of the island would roll themselves into a hissing, writhing ball in order to engender the glain, also called the serpent's egg, snake stone, or Druid's egg. Anyone in possession of this hard glass bubble would wield incredible magical powers. Even Merlyn himself (accompanied by his black dog) went in search of it, according to one ancient Welsh story.

Snakes were not the only creatures active on Midsummer's Eve. According to British faery lore, this night was second only to Halloween for its importance to the wee folk, who especially enjoyed a ridling on such a fine summer's night. In order to see them, you had only to gather fern seed at the stroke of midnight and rub it onto your eyelids. But be sure to carry a little bit of rue in your pocket, or you might well be pixie-led. Or, failing the rue, you might simply turn your jacket inside-out, which should keep you from harm's way. But if even this fails, you must seek out one of the ley lines, the old straight tracks, and stay upon it to your destination. This will keep you safe from any malevolent power, as will crossing a stream of living (running) water.

Other customs included decking the house (especially over the front door) with birch, fennel, St. John's wort, orpin, and white lilies. Five plants were thought to have special magical properties on this night: rue, roses, St. John's wort, vervain and trefoil. Indeed, Midsummer's Eve in Spain is called the 'Night of the Verbena (Vervain)'. St. John's wort was especially honored by young maidens who picked it in the hopes of divining a future lover.

Altogether, Midsummer is a favorite holiday for many Witches in that it is so hospitable to outdoor celebrations. The warm summer night seems to invite it. And if the celebrants are not in fact skyclad, then you may be fairly certain that the long ritual robes of winter have yielded place to short, tunic-style apparel. As with the longer gowns, tradition dictates that one should wear nothing underneath -- the next best thing to skyclad, to be sure. (Incidentally, now you know the REAL answer to the old Scottish joke, 'What is worn underneath the kilt?')

The two chief icons of the holiday are the spear (symbol of the Sun-God in his glory) and the summer cauldron (symbol of the Goddess in her bounty). It is interesting to note here that modern Witches often use these same symbols in the Midsummer rituals. And one occasionally hears the alternative consecration formula, "As the spear is to the male, so the cauldron is to the female..." With these mythic associations, it is no wonder that Midsummer is such a joyous and magical occasion!

The High Priestess's Introit

I am the Dark Goddess whose ascendancy has begun with the Summer Solstice.
I am the ruler of the Cold Winter. I thrive on the cool and the dark.
I suffer in the bright light and heat of Summer.

She stands with her back to the Priest

The High Priest's Introit

I am the Sun God whose decline has begun with the Summer Solstice.
I am the ruler of the Hot Summer.
I make the seeds sprout and grow.
The cold Winter seems altogether too much work for me.

He stands with his back on the Priestess

The Mother of Us All's Introit

I am The Mother of Us All, the earth, who is most affected by Summer's heat and Winter's cold.
I am the practical voice of reason.
I have need for Summer's Heat and Winter's Cold to sustain my life cycle.

When she finishes this, she takes her seat, upon the throne.

The Faeries Introit

I am The Faierie. I represent all the magical folk that live between the planes.
We are particularly active during the Hot Summer.
We like to play outdoors.
We don't like to wear many clothes.
We like to play in bushes. We like to swim in lakes and streams and ponds.
We like to sleep out of doors.

After he says this, the faery begins to go around the group and repeat phrases, obnoxiously, like "I like not wearing clothes." And, "I like playing outdoors in the bushes." He gets in everyone's face with this activity.

The High Priest's Proclamation

I have warmed the earth and created life anew.
The crops are ripening for the harvest to provide food for the long Winter ahead.
I have worked hard and long to serve the Mother of Us All with only my friend the Dragon for help.

The High Priestess's Lament

I appreciate the Sun God's hard work, but this heat is killing me!
There is no relief while I am tied up in the rays of light.
I cannot begin to work my magic in this heat.
Call off your Dragon now! His fiery breath is oppressive!

Mother of Us All yells "Go brush your teeth!!"

The Mother of Us All rises and sternly looks at both the priest and priestess, then says the following:

The Mother of Us All's Invitiatory and Response

To the Priest and Priestess:

Yeah, yeah, yeah...You two are too much for Color TV!

To the Assembly:

I remember when Her Priestess-ness complained about the cold. She cried out loudly and incessantly, Summer Dragon, We Want You to Come Forth!

R: Show Yourself NOW!

Then I remember the Wimpy Priest freezing his nanoos and begging his Dragon, We Want You to Come Forth!

R: Show Yourself NOW!

Then there was the sissy, I mean the faggot, oh Heck, I mean the Faery sitting huddled under layer after layer of blankets, begging the Dragon, We Want You to Come Forth!

R: Show Yourself NOW!

But, it is too hot. It has been too hot for too long. My roots are getting dark and all the energy is being sucked out of my soil. I need a rest. Where is that Dragon? Maybe if we call him, he'll come and we can get him to lessen his breath! Let's all try it now...

I:...We Want You to Come Forth!

R: Show Yourself NOW!

The Dragon Gradual

The Dragon processes with a lighted candle into the center of the circle and bows to The Mother of Us All.

Priestess:

Make that Dragon behave!

Priest:

He's my loyal Dragon.

Priestess:

It's too HOT!

Priest:

He does what I tell him.

Priestess:

Then tell him to KNOCK IT OFF! She makes threatening gestures with her wand to the Dragon who cowers at her feet and remains there.

The Work of the Circle

Those who wish may take a candle, light it, make a wish and float the candle on the pool.

The Common Feast

The Larger Chalice contains The Nectar of the Gods, the smaller, unfermented Fruit of the Vine.

The Dragon Sequence

Just as the last members are receiving the feast, the Dragon rises and begins to go from person to person with his "heat" once again.

The Dispatch of the Dragon

Mother of Us All:

He's doing it again!

Priestess:

Seize Him, Seize Him!

Mother of Us All:

I can help!

She goes to the Altar and brings out a basket filled with water guns and water balloons and hands them to the members who begin to dowse the Dragon.

When the Dragon is wet, he falls to the ground and all pick him up and toss him in the pool.

The Banishing with Laughter

The Dismissal of the Quarters

By the person nearest the torch.


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