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Midsummer

Posted by Tony on June 7, 2016 at 1:10 AM

I've never had strong feelings about Midsummer. In a modern setting, it often carries forward traditions that were celebrated at Beltaine. In some countries, for instance, they dance the maypole at Midsummer.

Shelley, and excellent student in the dedicant program asked be about Midsummer, so I did some reasearch.

This is what I found, mostly from Alexi Kondratiev in "TheApple Branch," but most of this was verified by other reasearch. Midsummer is kind of odd in modern times. A lot of Midsummer trads are actually Beltaine traditions moved forward, as I mentioned.. But there are some differences. Of course it is the solstice. The Celts devided the year into Samios (summer) and Giamos (winter) The Celts had almost a Yin and Yang concept where at the hight of a situation, it contained the seeds of the opposite. So, Midsummer is the solstice, it is the longest day of the year, but also the height of summer. After the solstice the days get shorter. Though, its the height of summer, but it has the seed of the death of summer in it.

Since it is a liminal day, it is a day when the worlds colide. The spirits can come through much as they can on Samhain. This is why we have the world of fairie among its associations, such as "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Shakespeare.

 It is not quite the first harvest, which is Lughnasa, but it is the time when medicinal herbs are collected. Bonfires are associated with Midsummer, because it is the sun's warmth brought to earth and preserved to carry us through. We take the energy of the sun at this time when it is at the height of its strength and bring it to earth in the form of a bonfire. By interacting with the fire, we keep the sun in our hearts as its strength begins to wain.

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1 Comment

Reply Ragnhilta
2:41 PM on June 8, 2016 
Midsummer also marks the death of the Oak King (Cernunnos) and the birth of the Holly King (I'm all about Cernunnos, I'm unsure of the alter-identity of the Holly King? I kind of associate them as the same being, but Cernunnos is born at Yule, marries at Beltane, and dies at Midsummer, so I've always been a little fuzzy on this anyways). It is very much a changing of power and an interesting juxtaposition, especially considering the associations of holly with St. Nicholas/Father Christmas/Father Winter and that motif (since the Oak King is born and rules at Yule). There are . . . a LOT of oxymorons in Celtic culture and history, and I almost think that's intentional. The beautiful duality that is so much a pillar of everything that they are (as you've commented with regard to Brigid and her multifaceted and seemingly unrelated nature and domains) is truly singular and spectacular, in my humble opinion. I certainly want to do more research; I don't know a lot about Midsummer, honestly, apart from Shakespeare. But, to the point of it almost being a continuation of Beltane: I find that rather fitting considering that it is my god's last hurrah before he allows the reborn Holly King to watch over his kingdom while he rests and gains strength back as the Wheel of the Year turns. It's really quite poetic and beautiful, actually. Just my $0.02!