Tag Archives: Midsummer

Solstice Sun Shirt

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All you need to make this festive sunny attire is a sun-colored shirt (perhaps one you’ve tie-dyed in light sunny colors), contact paper, scissors, an iron, a piece of cardboard the width of your shirt, and fabric crayons.

Prewash the t-shirt and iron out any wrinkles, if necessary. Insert the cardboard inside the shirt to give you a hard surface to work on. See my tutorial for making tissue paper sun faces, and use that method to cut out a design with the contact paper, keeping the design simple.

Next comes the tricky part– peel off the back of the contact paper and lay your resulting sticky stencil on the front of the shirt. Use your fabric crayons to color in the features of the sun face and other details, and along the edges, fading as you go out from your design. For best results, use colors that contrast the colors of your shirt, so the design will show up. When finished coloring, peel off the stencil. Follow the directions that came with your fabric crayons for setting your design permanently into the fabric.

Solstice Sun Shirt

For more Summer Solstice fun, see Kids’ Activities for Midsummer / Summer Solstice.

easy drawstring bags

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I’ve been making some drawstring bags for the kids of my grove to use for the Midsummer sun coin hunt. These sturdy little bags made from sunny bandanas are so simple to make. To make one, all you need is: a bandana, matching thread, sewing needle (or sewing machine), scissors, iron, a ruler, pins, a safety pin, and a 30 inch cord or ribbon.

STEP 1: Iron creases out of your bandana and turn to the faded side. Bring the corners in to meet in the center, or as close as they will get, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Iron the edges to make a crease.

STEP 2: Flip the bandana over and bring corners to the center again. Iron edges to crease.

STEP 3: Measure about and inch in, all around the outer edges. This is your sewing line. Mark with pins.

STEP 4: Sew all the way around, through all layers, by hand or with a sewing machine. Don’t sew the corners closed- this will be a casing.

STEP 5: Attach a safety pin to the end of your cord to thread it through the casing.

STEP 6: Thread it all the way around to the beginning and tie it to the other end of the cord.

STEP 7: Pull cord to gather the top of the bag closed. You can pull some of the cord out at the opposite opening to create two handles for your bag. Attach trinkets (beads, buttons, bells) to the ends of the cord, if desired.

Notice the inside of your bag has eight little side pockets! The layers created in folding helps this bag stand up on it’s own.

easy bandana drawstring bagsFor more Summer Solstice fun, see Kids’ Activities for Midsummer / Summer Solstice.

Midsummer Flower Boat

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Making a Midsummer flower boat is a fun and memorable way to commemorate the Summer Solstice, that kids especially love. For your paper boat, you can use any kind of paper. Why not use something you were going to throw into the recycle bin anyway? Newspaper or what we call “good on one side paper” is fine. A rectangular shape works best.

paper boat instructions

1. Fold paper in half with the fold at the top.

2. Fold the top two corners down to meet in the center.

3. Fold one layer of the bottom strip of paper up.

4. Flip over and fold the back bottom strip of paper up to be even with the front. (Right now you have a hat!)

5. Open it up, turn it on it’s side, and press down flat.

6. Fold bottom point up to meet the top point.

7. Turn over and do the same to the back.

8. Open, turn on it’s side, and flatten again.

9. Open up into a boat!

Decorate the boat and dip the top of the sail and side ends in oil. Fill it with flowers (and prayer slips, if you like). Set it in a stream and light it on fire at the top and sides. Watch it sail it off, blazing like the summer sun, to carry your prayers and wishes to the realm of gods and spirits.

Green is Gold.
Fire is Wet.
Future’s Told.
Dragon’s Met.

Midsummer Flower BoatFor more Summer Solstice fun, see Kids’ Activities for Midsummer / Summer Solstice.

salt dough sun plaque

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With the Summer Solstice coming up this month, I thought I’d share this fun little sun plaque craft.

I used strong salt dough, because I had a batch on hand, but you can use regular salt dough as well. After mixing and kneading the dough, I rolled it out thick and cut it into a five inch circle using a lid for a template and cutting around it with a pizza cutter. I made a circle indention in the middle with a small jelly jar, for the face. The nose is just a small coil shape placed in the middle of the circle face and smoothed down with dampened fingers at the top. (Remember to dampen the surface of the salt dough before adding pieces.) I used my fingertip to make indentions for the eye areas. The lips are made from three tiny balls of dough pinched up on the ends. I attached two flattened dough balls for cheeks. I found two little amber-colored beads to press in for eyes. Then when it came time for the sun rays, I looked around my kitchen for something triangular or sun-ray shaped and spotted the ends of my fine mesh metal sifter- perfect! If you decide to make a sun plaque with your little ones, remember to press a hole in the back for hanging when you flip it over to air dry the back. If you have leftover salt dough, make some little sun medallions!

salt dough sun plaqueFor more Summer Solstice fun, see Kids’ Activities for Midsummer / Summer Solstice.

Sigrdrifa’s Prayer One Page Book

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Last year, I posted an article about making little mini books out of a single sheet of paper. Since then, I’ve figured out how to make them digitally! Below you will find a simple version of Sigrdrifa’s prayer, the only direct invocation of the Norse gods preserved from ancient times. It is a classic and beautiful prayer that can be said anytime, but is especially appropriate at the start of one’s day, observing the sun rise, and at the Solstices.

Copy and paste image into a word processing program (set up with narrow margins) to make sure the image takes up most of a full sheet of paper, expanding as necessary.
After printing, trim away the margins on the outside of the thick black lines. Let your child color the pictures, then follow directions given in my article magic one-sheet-of-paper mini book to complete the book.

Sigrdrifa prayer magic bookFor more Summer Solstice fun, see Kids’ Activities for Midsummer / Summer Solstice.

Hallow Magic for the High Days

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Most ADF rituals emphasize worship over magical workings, or so I’ve heard. It doesn’t have to be so… why not have it all? The Druid-style rituals I piece together tend to be short and sweet, so there’s plenty of room to add a little magic. Here are some ideas I’ve had for High Day themed magical workings that are aligned with the Triple Hallows. Most of these ideas are for outdoor rituals. For some of these, you may want to have a crafting session ahead of time, then have participants bring their finished work to the ritual, ready to give it that final “oomph” of energy before activating in the Hallow.

In the following workings, I use the word “intent” a lot. What I mean by this is the goal of your magic, and the act of thinking about it and letting the energy of it flow into what your are crafting or doing. Your intent can be for increase (like for prosperity, wisdom, love, for a few examples), or your intent could be something you want to release to the universe (like negativity, bad vibes… things that hold you back) for the Kindreds to transform it into something better or make use of somewhere else.

As a general guideline, do “releasing” work in the waning part of the year (Lughnasadh to Yule) or during a waning moon, and “increasing” work in the waxing part of the year (Imbolc to Midsummer) or waxing moon. Whatever your intent, you can often change it’s nature by perspective and wording, to flow with the season. For example; if you want to do prosperity magic, but it’s a waning season/moon phase, make it a “poverty banishing” working instead.

FIRE
These are items that are fashioned to be burned in the Fire Hallow.

  • PRAYER LEAF: Hand out big Sassafras leaves (or other big leaves) and markers for participants to inscribe their intent through words symbols or pictures. This one is ideal for any High Day. I like to use it for Samhain, and with bay leaves on Imbolc. (For indoor rituals, use slips of flash paper instead; to avoid having a room filled with smoke.)
  • SUN SYMBOLS: Hand out thin straight sticks or wheat stalks and sun-colored yarn/raffia for participants to make rustic “god‘s eyes”, weaving with the energy and intent of their goal. This one is ideal for Summer Solstice.
  • HARVEST FIGURES: Hand out string, sticks, corn husks, raffia, and/or other dried plant materials for participants to shape and tie into human or animal form, representing a goal or intention completed. This one is ideal for Harvest holidays. I like to use it for the Autumn Equinox.

“At this time we shall infuse our ______ with the energies of our intentions.
When you are ready, you may come to the Fire and burn them.”
After all have done this, say:
“Our intentions have been released to the Sky, to the Kindreds,
and to the passing of the seasons. It is done.” ALL: “So be it!”

WELL
These are items that are fashioned to be placed in the Well Hallow. Consider using a flowing stream for your Well Hallow.

  • PRAYER BOATS: Hand out paper and markers/crayons for participants to make origami boats and inscribe their intent on them through words, symbols and/or pictures. I like this one for Lughnasadh/Freyfaxi.
  • FLOWERS: Let participants choose from a basket of flowers, the one that represents their intent, or make paper flowers. This one is ideal for Beltane.
  • PRAYER SLIPS: Hand out pens and strips of water soluble paper for participants to inscribe their intent. This is another good one for Imbolc.

“At this time we shall infuse our _____ with the energies of our intentions.
When you are ready, you may come to the Well and set them afloat.”
After all have done this, say:
“Our intentions have been released to the Waters, to the Kindreds,
and to the passing of the seasons. It is done.” ALL: “So be it!”

TREE
These are items that are fashioned to be hung from the branches of the Tree Hallow.

  • CLOOTIES (prayer flags): Pass around a basket of various colors of thin natural fabric cut in strips (or participants may bring their own; the magic is especially powerful when it is cloth torn from one’s own clothing). Participants choose color and pattern of cloth based on their intent and infuse them with the energy of their intent with touch and prayer. Each dip their cloth in the Well and tie to the tree. Ideal for any warm weather High Day.
  • TREE ORNAMENTS: Hand out toast, peanut butter, birdseed, string, and cookie cutters. Participants cut shapes from the toast, spread on peanut butter, and sprinkle on birdseed (all with intent!) then poke a string through for hanging. This one is a good one for Winter Solstice.
  • WISHING EGGS/SPHERES: Hand out papier-mâché eggs (with 2 holes poked in one end), paints, markers, and string. Participants use paint and markers to inscribe their intent through words, symbols and/or pictures on the eggs, then hang them on a tree or shrub with string.  Do this one for the Spring Equinox.

“At this time we shall infuse our ______ with the energies of our intentions.
When you are ready, you may come to the Tree and tie them.”
After all are tied, say:
“Our intentions have been released to the Land, to the Kindreds,
and to the passing of the seasons. It is done.” ALL: “So be it!”

UUFF Summer Solstice Ritual 2013

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This year, we had a Summer Solstice ritual at my local UU! We have had many Pagan holidays there before, but this was the first time we had a Summer Solstice there! It was also the first time the Fellowship had a Druid-style ritual. We had a pretty good turnout, even though a lot of members were gone to the UU General Assembly. The following is the script we used, much of it adaptations of my favorite liturgy from the ADF website. Our little group of planners divided up the parts amongst ourselves (speaking parts in italics) and those who did each Hallow, jointly called the Gatekeeper.

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Purification: Carry fire around ritual site [saying “Thunor (or “gods/spirits of fire”) hallow this holy stead. “] and smudge site with juniper long before people arrive, to let the smoke dissipate (in case someone has allergies to the smoke). Sprinkle site with water. Anoint people with water as they arrive.

~Sound singing bowl or loud bell to signal the beginning of ritual.~

Introduction
“The Wheel of the Year turns on and on, bringing us all to and from each Season, and from and to another… What will be is. What was will be. All time is here and now upon this sacred ground. We now pause to watch the Wheel turn, and to honor the Old Ways on this blessed day, to celebrate the Summer Solstice- the longest day of the year. In this moment between time, we come to praise the Sun and Spirits for blessings of light and life. This is the time that crops are growing, and as the earth grows so shall we. Each turn of the Wheel is a new beginning. We gather to celebrate in joy, love, and reverence as a part of the ever turning Wheel of Life, Death, and Rebirth.”

Earth Mother Blessing“…and now we ask the Earth Mother to bless our rite:
O beloved mother of all, from whose starry womb the green earth springs, you who are the bearer of all life, we pray you bless and uphold this rite.” (All touch the Earth.)

Three Realms Meditation
“Let us reaffirm our place in the cosmos. In each individual lies the potential of the World Tree- we are life, we are living– living at the center of the Three Realms of Land, Sea, and Sky.
We may attune ourselves to these realms with a centering meditation…
So close your eyes. Take a deep breath, and as you let that breath out, imagine you are a tree sending a taproot down into the Earth  … Now begin to feel the roots growing outward, spreading all around… Every time you exhale, send more and more energy down through those roots, until you feel firmly rooted to the ground…  When we send our roots down into Mother Earth, we are re-affirming our connectedness and love to and for her. She is the richness of life, the food that nourishes and incubates the seed. She is the grave and the womb. know that– we stand firmly upon the Land.
Your roots grow deeper… Be aware of the cavernous Underworld kingdoms below you, where underground rivers seep through the unutterable darkness to their ultimate destination…
know that– the Sea always surrounds us.
The powers of  Earth and Water are primal, creative, nourishing, life-giving powers. Life would not exist without them…
Now feel your roots absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. As you breathe in, feel this energy rising up though your roots, into your body… With each breath, the energy
rises… until your entire body is filled with the energy of earth and water… Breathe deeper and let it flow out through the top of your head like a fountain of light… Feel your
branches reach up and outward through the air… Become aware of your green leaves and how they turn toward the sun to receive warmth and light… Feel the energy of the light
charging the chlorophyll in your leaves… The heavens are bright and wondrous, the home of the Shining Ones. Breathe in the air and life giving energy of the realm of Sky…
know that– the Sky spreads itself above us.
We are the Children of the Earth, and we at the center of the Three Realms.”

Triple Hallows
“At the center, there exists three sacred Hallows, through which we connect with the Spirits of all the Realms. The Triple Hallows are the Fire, the Well, and the Tree…”
FIRE: Light the fire and make an offering of oil. Say:
“I kindle this fire in the presence of the Shining Ones. Sacred fire, burn within us.”
ALL: “Sacred fire, burn with us.”
WELL: Pour the waters and make an offering of silver. Say:
“In the depths flow the waters of wisdom, cleansing, and creation.
Sacred water flow within us.”
ALL: “Sacred water, flow within us.”
TREE: anoint the Tree with turmeric. Say:
“From the depths to the heights spans the world tree, interconnecting all things.
Sacred tree, grow within us.”
ALL: “Sacred tree, grow within us.”
ALL chant 3 times: “Fire, Well, and Sacred Tree, flow and flame and grow in me.”

The Gatekeeper
“Manannan mac Lir, Gatekeeper, come to us, ward us as we walk in safety!”
(Place offerings in bowl.)
“We ask in reverence, open now the sacred boundary between the worlds
so that we may commune more directly with the Deities and Spirits.”
(Hallow Keepers place hands over the Hallows.)
Hallow Keepers say together: “Let the Fire open as a Gate. Let the Well open as a Gate. Let the Tree open as a Gate…”
(Hallow Keepers  raise hand up in an arc, turn around, and take a step outward.)
“The Gates are open. We are now woven into the fabric of the universe.
Here the Kindreds can see deeply into our hearts.”
Hallow Keepers say together: “So let there be only truth here.”

Inviting the Kindreds
“Tonight we call upon the Spirits of Place, of the land all around us,
to be at peace with us and walk among us.” (Place offerings in bowl.)
ALL: “Noble Ones, come. Be welcome.”
“Tonight we call upon our Benevolent Ancestors, those who have gone before
and who watch over still, to join us at this celebration.” (Place offerings in bowl.)
ALL: “Mighty Ones, come. Be welcome.”
“Tonight we call upon the Deities whose names each of us hold in our hearts,
to be with us in reverence and blessing.” (Place offerings in bowl.)
ALL: “Shining Ones, come. Be welcome.”

Inviting the Spirits of the Sun
“We call upon the Lords of Light; the Vedic Surya, the Greek Helios,
the Slavic Dažbog, the Gaulish Belanos, the Roman Sol.
We call upon the Goddesses of Light; the Germanic Sunna, the Baltic Saule- goddess of the sun and fertility, the Irish Áine- goddess of love, summer, wealth and sovereignty,
associated with the sun and midsummer…
The sun is high above all- shining down upon the land and sea, making things grow and bloom.
Great and powerful sun, we honor you this day and thank you for your gifts.
You are the light over the crops, the heat that warms the earth,
the hope that springs eternal, the bringer of life.
We welcome you, and honor you this day, celebrating your light,
as we begin our journey once more into the darkness.”  (Place offerings in bowl.)

Calling the Spirits
“At this time we invite anyone who would like, to call the name of a spirit or deity you would like to invoke. You may also place a pinch of grain in the offering bowl if you will.”

Chant: “Tipping Point”
Blessed be, you Gods and Mortals.  Blessed be, you inner fire.
Blessed be, you Crown of Brightness.  Blessed be, you heart’s desire.

Blessing Cup
“Close your eyes and let your body still. Using your inner vision let your mind roam to look around and above us. Look at the crowd of friends gathered in this realm and in the other realms. Spirits of this sacred place, Ancestors, Shining Ones, Gods and Goddesses of the Sun, of Summer, of Life– all these Blessed Kindreds are here with us! We ask you now, Blessed Kindreds, return to us your blessings! Send them to us in this vessel of water. Gathered Host, we ask this of you! …Behold the Waters of Life! May we drink deep of Midsummer blessings.” (All drink.)

Faery Lore:
“The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, followed by the shortest night. Despite being the first day of summer according to our calendar, according to most pagan calendars it’s the very middle of summer, as from here on out our days start getting shorter. Many cultures celebrate this day and it’s known by many names.This is one of the days where the veil between the different planes of our world are the thinnest. This is when Fey or Faerie creatures and other spirits walk among us. There are many tales of how to protect against fey, by carrying certain herbs or faerie cakes with you or by turning your shirt inside out. Remember, fey can be tricky and not always nice. It’s also said that you may meet a fey person disguised and a person or animal and you may not even know it.”

Annointing:
“So now you may receive a special faerie blessing of Thyme oil on your forehead. (You can “pass” on it, if you choose, by holding up your hand.) While this is done, hear a story of the faerie queen Áine…”
Priest/ess goes around anointing each person on the forehead.

Áine’s Story:
“Some say that Áine’s true dwelling place is in her hill (Cnoc Áine in county Limerick); upon which every Midsummer’s Eve Night the peasantry used to gather from all around to view the moon, and then with torches, march in procession from the hill and afterwards run through cultivated fields and amongst the cattle to exorcise the land of all evil so that there may be good harvests and rich increase of flocks. Some times on such occasions it is revealed that the goddess herself has been seen leading the sacred procession! On one such night Áine appeared to a group of girls who lingered upon the hill to watch the festivities. She thanked them for the honor that they had shown her, but asked them to leave as her Otherworld friends wished to have the hill to themselves. She had them look through her magic ring, and through that ring they saw that the hill was crowded with the folk of the fairy goddess who had before been invisible!” (from “Kindling the Celtic Spirit” by Mara Freeman)

Faerie Vision:
Priest/ess walks around the circle for people to look through a wreath, or it could be passed around-
“As this Midsummer wreath goes around, look through it with your new sight. Open your eyes and open your heart to the magic and look all around… at each other… at ourselves… the very air around us. Bask in the magic!”

Chant: “Magic in the Air” (by Jenifer Reif)
There is magic in the air – Shining like gold and silver
There is magic everywhere – Sweet like rose and clover

After all have looked through the faerie wreath, and when the time feels right (perhaps at the end or height of the chant), place the wreath in the fire and then place the offerings from the offering bowl in the fire as well.

Thanking the Powers
“The Kindreds have blessed us. With joy in our hearts, let us carry the magic
from our sacred circle into our lives and work. Each time we offer to the powers,
they become stronger and more aware of our needs and our devotions.
So now as we prepare to close this rite, let us give thanks to those who have aided us…”

“We offer our thanks to the Mother of All.
We offer our thanks to the Kindreds of Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Deities.
We offer our thanks to the gods and goddesses of Summer, Light and Life,
and to all the blessed Spirits we welcomed here tonight.
May the Kindreds bring joy to all beings, and renew the ancient wisdom.
To the Land, Sky, and Sea, the Fire, Well and Tree- we offer our thanks.
May Wisdom, Love and Power kindle in all beings, and renew the ancient wisdom.”

Closing the Gates
“Now by the keeper of the gates and by our magic, we end what we began.
Now let the fire be but flame. Let the well be but water.
Let all be as it was before. Let the gates be closed!”

ALL: “Let the gates be closed!”

“May the Ancient Wisdom be renewed, and may all beings know: Peace, Joy and Happiness in all the worlds.”

ALL: “As it was, as it is, as it evermore shall be. With the ebb, with the flow, blessed be.”

“Now let us feast and be merry!”

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