Five Easy Ways to Celebrate the Midsummer Sabbat
What's Midsummer All About?
Midsummer, also known as the summer solstice, is the official first day of summer. This is a day that has been celebrated by our ancestors all over the world for thousands of years (possibly millions). It is a liminal time, when the day is the longest it will be all year long and the night is the shortest. We celebrate the warmth of the sun's rays on us and its illuminating and nourishing effect on the earth itself—on the plants, trees, and even the waters. We sunbathe, we swim, we visit the beaches and cooler places, we eat summery fruits, and cook outside. We camp and play.
Midsummer is all about celebration of the sun. Our ancient ancestors believed the sun was the life force of the earth, and they were right! So why not celebrate it? Why not give thanks for the sun's warmth and revitalizing energies? Summer solstice was a perfect time to honor the sun. The summer was also a time when the seeds sown during the spring would grow and begin to produce their fruits. The Goddess was thought to be in her Mother form during the summer season, heavy of womb with child (the God), preparing to give birth during the Harvest season. We know the lore behind the Midsummer sabbat, now here's five easy ways for you to celebrate!
1. Get Outside!
Probably the easiest and most important way to celebrate the Midsummer sabbat is to get outside! This spiritual path is all about honoring nature and connecting with nature and the best way to do that is to actually be in nature. You can't do it as well if you're sitting inside on your couch, now can you?
There are so many fun things to do outside on a summer's day. What better day to get out and go exploring in a nearby park or forest than on the Midsummer sabbat? If it's extremely hot where you live, be sure to take a lot of water with you to hydrate and maybe even a couple swimsuits in case you run into a creek. You could take a dip in a lake or creek to cool off.
Go to the beach on Midsummer. Not only do you have the sun to enjoy and honor on Midsummer, you also have the water which is also a big element of the summer. This is the time when the sun moves into Cancer, which is a water sign. Fire and water together make summer one of the best seasons to go to the beach. Build a sandcastle near the water and let the ocean take it away, along with your worries. Swim, tan, and hang out with your family. This is an easy and fun way to celebrate Midsummer. Don't forget to collect a few seashells and items from the beach to add to your Book of Shadows or to your altar!
Throw a party or cook-out for friends and family. They don't have to know it's a celebration for Midsummer, tell them it's a summer celebration! If you have a pool, even better!
If all else fails, and you can't do any of these things, get outside in the morning before the day gets too hot and do a morning meditation. Welcome the sun to the sky. Greet its warmth with open arms and a grateful heart.
2. Honor the Fairies!
Midsummer is known throughout folklore and mythology to be a time when the fairies abound. What better way to celebrate the sabbat than to honor the fairies?
Make a fairy house for your yard or garden by hand or using a pre-made birdhouse from a craft store. You can have your kids (and you) paint the houses bright colors to appease the wee folk. Then hang or place the fairy houses around your garden or in the trees in your yard. Don't place them too close to your house, as fairies can be rather mischievous and you might not want to invite extra mischief into your home on Midsummer (especially if you already have active pets or kids!)
Leave treats for the fairies. They particularly love sweets, for example: cakes, cookies, brownies, doughnuts, sweet-breads and more! They also adore milk, cream, butter, as well as a hearty alcoholic beverage. Some of the drinks they like are mead, wine, ale, and brandy. You can try almost any food or beverage but they typically like the sweet and boozy kind. Be sure to put some thought and effort behind your fairy offerings and don't thank the fairies. They hate being thanked!
What is one thing that nearly everyone loves to do? Eat! What's a great reason to eat a lot of yummy, healthy food? The Midsummer sabbat, of course! Our ancient ancestors celebrated nearly every holiday with large feasts. Sometimes they'd give part of their bounties to the gods, but I suspect they kept the majority of their food to themselves (who wouldn't when one worked year-round to grow and harvest their own food supply?)
Invite friends and family over (if you want to share) and have a large dinner or cook-out. Ask others to bring a dish for a potluck, this way you don't end up buying and cooking food for lots of people. Some great summer dishes include: seafood (crab, shrimp, fish, oysters), beer-can chicken on the grill, watermelon, berries, lemonade, avocado, summer squash, and baked potatoes.
Or if you wish to keep it more low-key, plan a summer feast for just you and your closest friends and family. Don't forget to have a cooler of beer or a couple bottles of wine!
The perfect time to craft your own suncatcher is the Midsummer sabbat!— Nicole Canfield
4. Make Suncatchers!
Ever had a suncatcher? Aren't they pretty how they catch and reflect the sunlight from in a window? The perfect time to make your own suncatcher is for the Midsummer sabbat. This is a great activity and craft for the whole family, as even small kids can help make their own suncatchers. A bonus is that it honors the sun all year long! Just make and hang them in a window in your house that receives a lot of sunlight and you'll get year long enjoyment out of your Midsummer craft.
There are kits you can buy online on Amazon, ToysrUs, Etsy, and more. You can also find kits at your local craft store like Michael's, Hobby Lobby, or Joann's. Don't forget to bless them before hanging them up!
5. Have a Bonfire!
While the winter seems like the best time for a bonfire, the Midsummer sabbat is also another great time because it is a celebration of the sun and therefore also of the element of fire. To our ancient ancestors, fire was a representation of the sun and they thought if they honored the sun with large bonfires that perhaps the sun would continue to return every summer. Of course we know this to be true now, but at a time when things were about survival and life wasn't certain, they did what they thought would help.
So this year for Midsummer, think of making a bonfire, whether large or small. The best time to do this is at night, sit around the fire, tell stories and make s'mores together. It's a family-bonding moment or invite your friends over for a summer bonfire party. Either way, the gods and the sun will appreciate the effort.
© 2017 Nicole Canfield