And yet, at the same time, we know that this day also marks the beginning of the decline of the sun toward the darkness of fall and winter.
The day is celebrated again with bon fires, a powerful symbol of the sun, as many dance around them and jump over them in hopes for a good crops, luck, and health in the coming season. Some also celebrate by rolling a lit ball of straw down a hill into a river, symbolizing the coming decline of the sun. Prayers and wishes are set in various forms (whispered into stones, written on papers, energies set into flowers) and burned, in hopes that deity or Spirit will hear them and respond.
The ashes from these fires may be kept and made into an amulet or talisman, to carry the good energies from the flames with one’s self throughout the year following. Some may also fold the ashes into their gardens, to help the crop become bountiful as it grows into the harvest season.
Water magick may be done during this holiday as well, as the sign that rules astrologically (Cancer) is a water sign, and thus will lend its power to your spell work.
During this holiday, magick is widely believed to be powerful and fruitful.
Rituals may involve a battle between the Holly and Oak Kings, opposite the Yule holiday on the wheel, the Holly King now wins, and begins his reign into the darkness of winter.
The goddess’ belly grows as the god, conceived in the fertility holidays past, grows inside of her womb. This is a fantastic visual symbol of crops still growing before the harvest, as the earth is nurturing them now until they have reached their maturity and they are ready to be “born” in the fall.
Love magick also abounds at this time of year. You probably know this as a very popular month for weddings, and that is no surprise. In Rome, it was believed that the goddess Juno (for whom the month was named) was the patron goddess of marriage, and many handfastings (a pagan ritual of marriage) and weddings are performed during this time.
This heightened time of magick also lends itself to the widely held belief that this is the time of the year when the fairy kind are most active. Many believe that now, more so than any other time of year, you might find yourself seeing the fairy kind, and perhaps even becoming involuntarily involved with their mischief.
While some fairies may be inclined to be kind to you (especially if you’ve attempted to garner a positive relationship with them), it is generally believed that you should beware the mischief of fairies, for in many tales human kind have been lost to their world and never returned.
If you’ve ever read or watched the famed play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare, you’ve a good idea of the trouble the fairy kind can get into during this time of year. (Mr. Shakespeare seemed to believe with some certainty of the magick surrounding the Solstice – he wrote of it in more than one of his plays!)
The Solstice is celebrated in many different ways around the world, what I’ve mentioned here may only be a fraction of what you may see. But no matter how it is celebrated, I bet if you close your eyes and concentrate for just a moment, you can feel the magick coming from the sun and the earth on this, the longest day of the year.