Summer Solstice – A Celebration of Light
Rejoice in the energy and fertility of the season
Summer Solstice is the longest day of the solar year.
The Sun is at its full strength and the land is most fertile. The seeds are sown and the crops are standing proud and healthy in the fields.
This is time of sexual maturity, of fertility and fertilization, of flowers blooming everywhere awaiting pollination so as seeds and fruits may develop.
June was considered by some to be the luckiest month to be married in, and is the time of the mead moon, or honey moon. A tradition was for newly weds to drink mead daily for a month after their wedding, hence the post wedding holiday being named the honeymoon.
This is a time of beauty, love, strength, energy, rejoicing in the warmth of the sun, and the promise of the fruitfulness to come.
The Battle of the Oak and Holly King
We celebrate life, and the triumph of light, but acknowledge death as the wheel turns, and the power of the Dark Lord which now begins to grow stronger.
At this time of year, games are held involving physical strength and high energy, including tug of war. These games often are symbolic of the constant fight between the light and dark lords / Oak and Holly King.
The Oak King has fought the Holly King and won, and the Summer Solstice is his victory celebration. Defeating the powers of darkness, the Lord of Light is triumphant which ensures ongoing fertility in the land.
However with this fertility he also sows the seed of his own death and as the wheel turns the Holly King grows stronger once more as the light wanes and the days shorten once more.
Mythology and Legend
Also known Couples Day, and Saint John’s Day. This is the time of year when the sun reaches its highest apex, at the Tropic of Cancer.
Midsummer marks the actual middle of the Celtic summer, falling between Beltane and Lugnasadh. Midsummer is known also as a night of magic, made famous by William Shakespeare with his play Midsummer’s Nights Dream, showing the story of the fairy returning to their Summer Court on Earth.
June in Europe and America is historically the busiest month for weddings, hence – All Couples Day. This tradition begins because this time of the year was a time of rest for the Ancient Celts, the time between planting and harvesting. This is best described in an English child’s nursery rhyme.
“…marry in the month of May, most surely you will rue the day.
Marry in June when roses grow, And happiness you’ll always know…”