Summer Solstice Ritual

Honoring Nature’s Abundance; Remembering Celtic Spirituality

Calling the Circle

             Light the altar candles

White candle in the center:
While lighting the center white candle, say
Mother of all life, soul of our being, center of all our longing,
who shines for  all and flows through all,
be with us, guide us, now and always

Candles representing the four directions:

As we light the candle of the east, we remember that it represents the
element of air, morning, spring, and birth.

As we light the candle of the south, we remember that it represents the
element of fire, noon time, summer and adulthood.

As we light the candle of the west, we remember that it represents the
element of water, evening, autumn, and maturity.

As we light the candle of the north, we remember that it represents the
element of earth, night time, winter, and old age.

The circle is open, where night and day, birth and death, joy and sorrow meet as one. 

 

Seasonal Reading

This is the time of the summer solstice in our hemisphere,
When the light part of the day is at its longest.
In our part of the earth, Life reaches Her fullness.
She spreads Her radiance; Her greenness peaks.
She fills to capacity; opens completely.
And so She turns back toward the dark…
We celebrate Her radiance, a fullness of being
And the generous pouring forth of it.
And we raise energy for healing remembering
We are open channels for the moving energies of life.
Adapted from Glenys Livingstone, Starhawk

 

Check in time

Share what we brought to the altar, or a life story.

 

Centering time (15 minutes)

Into the quiet with a reading; out of the silence with chimes

It is a difficult
lesson to learn today,
to leave one’s friends
and family and deliberately
practice the art of solitude [and meditation]
for an hour or a day or a week.

For me, the break is most difficult….
And yet, once it is done,
I find there is a quality
to being alone that is
incredibly precious.

Life rushes back into the void,
richer,
more vivid,
fuller than before!
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Celtic Daily Prayer

 

Ritual: The Four Paths and Celtic Spirituality

Creation Spirituality recognizes that all of creation exists within cycles, rhythms, and seasons of growth. Just as there are four seasons, four winds, four geographical directions, so too are there four paths of spirituality. Understanding these paths helps us find our place in our spiritual journey and in the larger scheme of things.                   (Matthew Fox)

Each of the four paths will be honored in the following manner:

•candle lighting

•reading

•short silence

•chant/drumming:

 

Via Positiva

Awe and wonder… These are the joyful, ecstatic moments in our lives when we are filled with praise and thanksgiving for the beauty and grandeur of life. (Matthew Fox)

•Light the small yellow candle 

In Praise of Air by John O’Donohue
Let us bless the air,
Benefactor of breath,
Keeper of the fragile bridge
We breathe across.

Air waiting outside
The womb, to funnel
A first breath
That lets us begin
To be here,
Each moment
Drawn from
Its invisible stock.

Air: vast neighborhood
Of the invisible, where thought lives,
Entering, to arise in us as our own,
Enabling us to put faces on things
That would otherwise stay strange
And leave us homeless here.

Air, home of memory where
Our vanished days secretly gather,
Receiving every glance, word, and act
That fall from presence,
Taking all our unfolding in,
So that nothing is lost or forgotten.

•(moment of silence)

•drumming

Via Negativa

Letting go…These are the lonely, quiet moments in our lives when we are asked to sink into darkness and nothingness, to let pain be pain, and accept the mysteries of life. (Matthew Fox)

Light the small black candle

For Suffering by John O’Donohue

May you be blessed in the holy names of those
Who, without you knowing it,
Help to carry and lighten your pain.

May you know serenity
When you are called
To enter the house of suffering.

May a window of light always surprise you.
May you be granted the wisdom
To avoid false resistance;
When suffering knocks on the door of your life,
May you glimpse its eventual gifts.

May you be able to receive the fruits of suffering.
May memory bless and protect you
With the hard-earned light of past travail;
To remind you that you have survived before
And though the darkness now is deep,
You will soon see approaching light.

May the grace of time heal your wounds.
May you know that though the storm might rage,
Not a hair of your head will be harmed.

•(moment of silence)

•drumming

 

Via Creativa

Creativity…These are the fertile moments in our lives when we find creative expression and outlet for all the joy and suffering of our existence.  Freeing creativity helps us move beyond our sorrow or stagnation.

Light the small green candle

In Praise of Water by John O’Donohue

Let us bless the grace of water:

The imagination of the primeval ocean
Where the first forms of life stirred
And emerged to dress the vacant earth
With warm quilts of color.

The well whose liquid root worked
Through the long night of clay,
Trusting ahead of itself openings
That would yet yield to its yearning
Until at last it arises in the desire of light
To discover the pure quiver of itself
Flowing crystal clear and free
Through delighted emptiness.

The courage of a river to continue belief
In the slow fall of ground,
Always falling farther
Toward the unseen ocean.

The river does what words would love,
Keeping its appearance
By insisting on disappearance;
Its only life surrendered
To the event of pilgrimage,
Carrying the origin to the end.

Seldom pushing or straining,
Keeping itself to itself
Everywhere all along its flow…

Let us bless the humility of water,
Always willing to take the shape
Of whatever otherness holds it,

The buoyancy of water
Stronger than the deadening,
Downward drag of gravity,
The innocence of water,
Flowing forth, without thought
Of what awaits it,
The refreshment of water,
Dissolving the crystals of thirst.

Water: voice of grief,
Cry of love,
In the flowing tear.

Water: vehicle and idiom
Of all the inner voyaging
That keeps us alive.

Blessed be water,
Our first mother.

(moment of silence)

drumming

Via Transformativa

A time of befriending new creation….These are the prophetic moments in our lives when we are called to share our talents and gifts with the hurting, fractured, dysfunctional aspects of our society. In so doing, we honor our connection to all of creation. (Matthew Fox)

Light the small purple candle

In Praise of the Earth by John O’Donohue

…Let us thank the Earth
That offers ground for home
And holds our feet firm
To walk in space open
To infinite galaxies.

Let us salute the silence
And certainty of mountains:
Their sublime stillness,
Their dream-filled hearts.

The wonder of a garden
Trusting the first warmth of spring
Until its black infinity of cells
Becomes charged with dream;
Then the silent, slow nurture
Of the seed’s self, coaxing it
To trust the act of death.
The humility of the Earth,
Opening to receive
Our worn forms
Into the final stillness.

Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.

Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.

That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.

(moment of silence)

ªdrumming/chanting

Concluding the Ritual:

Join in a circle for a circle dance, ending with this reading:

(From Anam Cara by John O’Donohue)

Old age is a second time of innocence. There is the first innocence when we are children; but that innocence is based on naïve trust and ignorance. The second innocence comes later in your life, when you have lived deeply. You know the bleakness of life, you know its incredible capacity to disappoint and sometimes destroy. Yet notwithstanding that realistic recognition of life’s negative potential, you still maintain an outlook that is wholesome and hopeful and bright. That is a second kind of innocence.  It is lovely to meet an old person whose face is deeply lined, a face that has been deeply inhabited, to look in the eyes and find light there. That light is innocent; it is not inexperienced but rather is innocent in its trust in the good and the true and the beautiful. Such a gaze from an old face is a kind of blessing.

Review & Commentary

5 thoughts on “Summer Solstice Ritual

  1. What you are doing is NOT Christianity. What you are doing is called WITCHCRAFT. Be eclectic if you wish, but stop calling it Christianity. And FOR GODDESS SAKE , don’t use the term WICCA. It isn’t EITHER. Here we go again, with Christians stealing our rites … can’t you just leave us alone?????????????? What you are doing is NOT ok. GET THIS THROUGH YOUR HEADS .. intolerance has JUST

    WICCANS VS (SO CALLED) CHRISTIAN WICCANS

    Every time I hear the term “Christian Wiccan”, I have to laugh.
    Now mind you , I’m not laughing at the *person* who actually believes there is such a thing but I *am* laughing at the concept.
    Now is the time for all Wiccans to stand up… and help these poor misguided and misled indivduals understand the oxymoronic value to this very thought or idea.

    In order to claim Christianity , one must first believe in both the old and new testaments of the Christian bible.
    These testaments and the Christian Doctrine .. include a belief in Satan or the devil .. they also believe in hell and the belief in *one* God. Their belief is that of a “Male Patriarchal God.” This is quite the opposite of the Doctrine of Wicca.
    Wiccans believe in *a* God and *a* Goddess. In addition, they believe in MANY Gods and many Goddesses. This is what is called dual polytheism. Or, as I have seen some refer to it “duo-polytheism”. Meaning there are many Gods and Goddesses to represent the many different aspects of the human psyche, nature and life. These many aspects of the God and Goddess are ultimately the many different facets (faces) and many different parts of the one God and the one Goddess. The God and Goddess of Wicca are never considered to be *one* God or *one* Goddess or *one* anything !! Our God and Goddess in Wicca remain separate at all times, never being COMBINED into ONE. (this is a Christian concept).
    Wiccans also believe in “reincarnation” , where Christians believe when you die , you either go to hell or heaven and that’s it.
    As you can see , these are very opposite belief systems.
    And, as you can see, it would be very difficult for a person to believe in both systems as it would be extremely contradictory. I have seen on many occasions however, a person claim to be a “Christian Wiccan.” IMO, it simply means you are truly mixed up individual. It simply does not work.

    Now , there *is* such a thing as a “Christian Witch”.
    We must remember, that not all Witches are Wiccan.
    There are many different kinds and types of Witches in the world.
    A Christian Witch would incorporate all the beliefs of Christianity into their lives and bring it into their “Circle” (yes , some Christian Witches hold Circle and have Covens), they call upon “Jesus” (who is their Patron God), for their aide, their requests and desires, etc.. Christian Witches can … and do … practice magic in the form of prayer.
    There is one thing that associates them with other Witches , and that is … they pay reverence to Nature , believing that there is “divinity” in all of Nature and they have respect for all living things.
    Besides “holding Circle and having Covens” , paying reverence to Nature is what sets them apart from other Christians.
    They are also much more open minded than the fundamentalist Christian.

    THEN, there is the ECLECTIC PERSON(S). They take from this religion, take from that religion, pull from here, pull from there, incorporate this, incorporate that .. and give it a name .. USUALLY something, something or another … Christian Wicca or PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY .. or TRINITARIAN WICCA .. OR … so forth and so on. You get the picture. Anyway, that bottom line is.. what MOST of these folks are practicing and what they’re believing in , has absolutely NOTHING to do with Wicca, Witchcraft OR Christianity. It is just “bits and pieces” from all sorts of religions. THIS IS ECLECTICISM. And THAT .. is ALL IT IS. Don’t allow anyone from any of these bogus groups .. lead you to believe they are Wiccan in any way, shape or form. THEY ARE NOT. And if you’ve got any concept of Christianity and the Christian beliefs, you know it isn’t THAT religion either. They want to hang on to their Christian beliefs .. and incorporate bits and pieces of Witchcraft or Wicca .. to make it more appealing to those who are trying their damnedest to get AWAY from Christianity. If people start doing their homework and their research, they’re going to find that most of what they are doing is totally absurd and oxymoronic to say the least.

    In short … what we have here is a communication breakdown …
    There is no such thing as a Christian Wiccan. There is however .. such a thing as a Christian Witch.

    While some folks describe themselves as “Christian Wiccans”, the term “Christian” (again) literally means a belief in both the old and new testatments .. which most definitely has a belief in hell and a devil , which most definitely .. is opposite of Wiccan beliefs.
    At this juncture , it would be oxymoronic to call oneself a “Christian Wiccan” or to start groups , organizations, etc. and make claims that its ok to call onself a “Christian Wiccan” or a TRINITARIAN WICCAN .. there is NO SUCH THING .. it does not exist in Wicca!
    ((I didn’t say these people didn’t exist … they do!! BUT THE TRADITIONS THEY ARE CLAIMING ARE NOT LEGITIMATE WICCAN TRADITIONS)).
    And , I would not want any novice or beginner to believe its ok to do this, or be told that any such Tradition is legitimate. It is not ok .. and they are NOT legitimate.
    These two words are NOT interchangable. They should NEVER be used together *because* of the differences of beliefs .. and not just a difference …. but totally OPPOSITE beliefs.
    Calling oneself a Christian Witch .. would be more appropriate.
    Why use the term “Wiccan” ? What is it about Wicca .. that a Christian believes ? Is it because they simply have a belief in a Goddess? Wicca consists of more beliefs than just a belief in the Goddess. We cannot call ourself a Wiccan just because we believe in a Goddess.
    There are other religions that believe in a Goddess as well. Not just Wicca. One could call themselves a “Christian Hindu” .. or a “Christian Mystic” .. or something along those lines and that would fit and be more appropriate too.
    But a “Christian Wiccan” .. no.
    Wicca’s doctrine is a non belief in hell. A non belief in satan or “a devil” and a belief in many Gods and Goddesses, reincarnation, a practice and belief in magic, etc. while Christianity is *clearly* opposite of that.

    I truly believe that “Jesus” (if that was even his name) , was more than likely Pagan .. after all , there was no such thing as a “Christians” during his day and probably more Pagan people around the world during that time .. than not !!
    As for the “Virgin” and/or Goddess worship , Goddess worship more than likely was still very strong during *Jesus’s* day as well. But Wicca is more than just Goddess worship. And this is what alot of people do not think about, are not taught about .. and do not understand.
    They feel they can throw the term Wiccan into anything .. when it is not ok to do any such thing. Wicca is much more than believing in a Goddess. There is much more to the religion than that .. and if one wants to “utilize” our Rede and believe in a Goddess, that’s fine. But that does not constitute being Wiccan.

    Again , the difference is this ; (and I am not trying to repeat myself , I’m just trying to re-iterate) .. lol.

    Christianity is a belief in the new and old testaments of the bible. It has nothing to do with the TRUE text of the scriptures.
    Naturally , this includes the belief of hell .. a belief of a devil or satan and a belief in ONE GOD , and a PATRIARCHAL God on top of that.
    My opinion is this ..
    If you meet someone who claims to be a “Christian Wiccan” , it might be wise to suggest to them to re-examine their beliefs.
    It could be that the term “Christianity” needs to be re-defined. ;)
    I don’t believe you’ll find too many Christian’s in the world today .. who would be “OK” with redefining the word or term Christianity .. and what it means, however.
    But we DO NOT plan to “redefine” the word Wicca .. Wicca is what it is. It is a RELIGION, it has a SPECIFIC SET OF BELIEFS, hence; a DOCTRINE. Christianity has ITS doctrine. It is a total disregard and disrespect to BOTH religions to try and “mix” or “combine” them, disregarding, ignoring and/or trying to change their specific doctrines. Who the hell gave anyone the authority to change the definitions of either of these religions?

    I have also found that Christian’s are very offended when someone calls themself a “Christian Wiccan” .. and rightfully so.
    I am offended when someone does it as well.
    It is clearly opposite doctrines and Wicca has nothing to do with Christianity at all and vice versa.

    So someone says “what’s the harm”? If its harming anyone at all .. its harming the person doing it. It could be they are confused about what they truly believe. It is very evident they do not understand the Wiccan beliefs. Or .. maybe they understand them but do not understand Christianity, not sure which. Then again, it could be .. they don’t understand either.

    Wicca is a noted religion. Folks have worked their butts off to get it noted .. to get it recognized .. and on the books. We can’t have it both ways. In order for the Federal Government to recognize something as a LEGITIMATE religion, IT MUST HAVE A DOCTRINE. Wicca has a DOCTRINE. We have finally got them to recognize it as a legitimate religion. So we cannot allow folks to run around the community .. claiming they are CHRISTIAN WICCANS !!! Do you think for one minute .. that the feds would take us serious about our religion .. if we allowed such a thing to be done? In addition, what was all the screaming and hollering about … to get it recognized .. if you are going to allow people to run around throwing the word Wicca around as if its a rag doll .. being tossed in any old toy box ???? WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. We cannot have our path open to be used and thrown into any other belief systems … and have it considered to be a legitimate religion TOO. Its ONE .. or the OTHER. Which is it YOU WICCAN FOLKS OUT THERE??? You better start standing up .. and speaking up. You better nip this problem while the nipping is good .. or YOU WON’T HAVE A RELIGION.

    Anyone can do candle magic , embrace the Rede, attend Circle , study herbalism , read the tarot and worship the Goddess !!! It still doesn’t make one a Wiccan. In fact, many people have used our Rede to have an excuse for different things .. things like their behaviors , their thoughts , ideas and beliefs.
    The Rede was written for Wiccans .. to help guide them the right way on their path.
    To help them understand how important it is to follow the Wiccan laws , with the most important one being “an it harm none , do as ye will”.
    To help them be better people , to be good and ethical .. to respect our path and not abuse it. THAT is what the Rede is for. An it harm none .. has been taken out and people have RAN with just that ONE STATEMENT .. not even knowing where it actually came from or what it means.
    It was not written for people to take and use it out of context.
    Or … to use it for their own selfish purpose.
    If you read the Rede in its entirety , you might see how it falls into place .. and what it truly means for Wiccans.
    And it certainly wasn’t written for Christians.
    Being Wiccan is a way of life that includes specific beliefs.
    Those beliefs cannot and should not be mixed up with anything else.
    Gardner had every intention of creating Wicca to be Wicca .. and nothing else.
    He was so very afraid that it was going to go under .. or by the wayside. And the reason ? Because he told Doreen that “there’s too many chiefs and not enough indians” .. and that is EXACTLY what is going on. This right here .. will be the CULPRIT .. of losing our Wiccan religion. We have folks out there who believe they are “chief” enough to throw our religion and mix it up with any other religion, as though it was some cake mix. IT IS NOT A CAKE *MIX* .. IT IS THE CAKE. Stop using our religion just because of your own undeciveness .. and because of your own CONFUSION about what you believe. Find someone ELSE’S religion to teeter totter with. How ’bout grabbing hold of BUDDHISM .. and calling yourself a CHRISITAN BUDDHIST.??? Stop using the word Wicca. Or rather, STOP ABUSING IT. It is not for you to abuse. It is not for you to change .. no one gave you the authority to change it.
    AGAIN ….
    There MUST be a non belief in hell , a non belief in satan or the devil , a belief in reincarnation , a belief in MANY GODS and Goddesses , not just the Goddess .. in order to call oneself a Wiccan. And THAT .. is the Wiccan doctrine. Don’t go putting a skirt on your Christian God .. and call yourself a Wiccan. The bottom line is .. it is OXYMORONIC .. it is NOT LEGITIMATE .. and to be out there creating Traditions that are considered to be CHRISTIAN WICCA .. is nothing but a farce .. and a total joke.
    If a person believes the Wiccan way, they are not a Christian.
    While some may believe there is no harm to anyone or anything with one doing such a thing .. everyone needs to realize that when someone DOES do this , it takes the focus off of what Wicca truly is. IT DISTORTS IT. It WATERS IT DOWN.. and eventually .. if we continue to allow folks to do this , we will not have it.
    I know and realize that things “change” .. that in fact, change is the only thing constant in this world .. and this is fine. And while the path of the Witch has changed DRASTICALLY over the many many years … Wicca is a specific religion with specific beliefs and it should NOT !!
    While the Wiccan beliefs DO NOT CHANGE AND SHOULD NOT CHANGE .. our Wiccan beliefs .. *CHANGE US*. The Wiccan beliefs are DESIGNED in a way .. to create a change in those who follow it. There is NO NEED in changing the BELIEFS of Wicca. They do their job. They are not BROKEN. They do not need FIXING. If you change the doctrine of Wicca, if you change the beliefs within the framework of Wicca .. if you allow just any old religion to be mixed with it, what purpose does it serve at that point and what does it become? IT SERVES NO PURPOSE AND BECOMES NOTHING.
    Alot of old timers ARE NOT OK with some of the changes that are going on with Wicca either. It is like taking something so beautiful and putting a “wet blanket” on it .. and that wet blanket has molded it …. and started to make it stink.
    There is no law .. saying one can’t do it. But I feel those of us who hold Wicca dear to our hearts and dear to us as our sacred religion .. that WE ARE THE ONES .. who should try and ensure that Wicca stays Wicca .. and ensure that it doesn’t morph into something so drastic, so ridiculous .. that we lose what it is all together. IT IS TIME TO STAND UP AND SPEAK UP.
    If we continue to allow people to do this to our beautiful path, and if we don’t begin to stand up and say something .. THAT IS EXACTLY what is going to happen.
    Wicca is a beautiful religion, and it has NOTHING to do .. with Christianity. Lets keep it that way.

    • What I meant to say .. is that INTOLERANCE has just BEGAN. People on both sides of the coin are NOT going to be happy about what you are doing. Christian’s are not going to like this and neither are the Wiccans. GET A GRIP … GET REAL .. call it what it is … ECLECTICISM …

      • You are very rude RainDove. As a 40 year old Wiccan Priestess who was in the craft for quite a few years I will tell you that indeed Wicca has much to do with Christianity. Spirit manifest in the World. Chants/Prayers, Ritual/Service, Incense, Blessed Water, Candles on the Alter, Sacred Song…. Where do you think Wicca came from? Have you researched the backgrounds and learned about the first man who coined the term Wicca? Before hurtling accusations and unkind words – think about what it is you say. What are you hoping to achieve by your comments? You are not displaying love, compassion and acceptance. You, nor any Wiccan has any ownership of rituals celebrating Nature and God. Wiccans borrow from church ritual at least as much as Christian holidays in format are borrowed from Pagan beliefs, but being the flip side to a fundamentalist coin serves neither yourself nor anyone else any good. If you are familiar with Progressive Christianity you will know that people who support the 8 points of vision are dedicated to learning, educating and compassion – no one here is discriminating against you, so please offer the same respect.

  2. This is very lovely.
    I have spent many years being a Wiccan and one thing I have found is that many Wiccans are just as intolerant as some of the more fundamental Christians.
    Wiccans have borrowed much from the rituals of the church (incense, blessing of water – that is NOT an ancient Wiccan practice. It was begun in Judaism as Incense offerings and water for Baptism and carried over into the Christian church) and is highly eclectic in nature. Wicca was founded by a man named Gerald Gardner who was an ordained Independant Catholic Priest and who heavily borrowed not only from Catholic rites, but Aleister Crowley’s Thelema – Garder was a registered member . The coven Gardner belonged to was very likely an offshoot of a more Christian based group in the same New Forest region called The Order of Woodcraft Chivalry. They had a ritual, a representation of the four quarters lighting the sacred flame, and they came into existence before Gardner began his path….
    Anyhow all I am trying to say is Wicca is not ancient. It draws upon older beliefs just as Christianity does. Current Christianity stemming from Pagan/Christian Rome.
    The hate has to stop. I offer a lovely letter from a Christian regarding the Wiccan Faith. http://mysticalmundane.blogspot.ca/2012/08/a-christian-speaks-on-faith-and-path-of.html#.UBlbnMIUqlY
    Polly – your ritual is lovely. It is so refreshing to see celebrations of Spirit within Nature. This reverence is not limited to Wiccan or other Neo-Pagan groups, the love and celebration and reverence for the earth is something to be mutually enjoyed by many.

  3. I am here in peace. I was Roman Catholic. I am a Wiccan. I am deaf. I am medium. I am Irish, French, Native American, Canadian American. I read everything and it is sad that people expressed hateful messages to Wiccan and Pagan. We came to this country because our Founding Fathers fought for our religion rights. Our Bill of Rights clearly say you have abused us. This is have to stop. Please go for Peace, Light, Love, Faith, Hope, and Truth. I am an American taxpayer homeowner and gay married. I was obese. I have experienced hate. This is much more. Too much. Sad go away. Mad go away. Love here and now. Truth here now. Hate go. Make it go. Hate go. Make it go. No more abuse. Women have won. Black slavery were abolished and slaves have freed. Black couples married legally won. Black voters won. Disbability have won. Animal rights have won. Gays are fighting to get married nationally. All because of hate. Too sad. Mad to go. Hate to go. Love here and now. Blessed Be.

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