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.
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.~
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
“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.)
“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.”
“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.
“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)
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!”