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Midsummer's day is the high point of the solar calendar, and the longest day of the year. In ancient times a great festival of the Druids, it is still generally celebrated today with gatherings and merrymaking at stone circles and other ancient places. Like Beltaine six weeks earlier, Midsummer's eve is also a time for celebration and the joys of nature. Traditionally Midsummer is also a time for long-term handfastings.
The ideal way to celebrate Midsummer is to gather with like-minded folk on Midsummer's evening, go to some outdoor place which takes your fancy, and as the sun sets late in the evening, light a fire and keep it burning through the brief dark hours, staying up all night and then greeting the dawn at Midsummer Sunrise. For Midsummer, rather than casting a small circle for your own group as you would at other times, invite all who gather at your chosen place (if you visit any ancient site at this time you are sure to meet others of similar mind) to join together and cast one large, simple circle for everyone to share.
A Simple Midsummer Rite
Note, this is a simple outline suggestion. The wording of each of the actual invocations and chants is left entirly up to those performing the ritual - we would suggest you gather together in advance and work these out in a form that you find both meaningful and beautiful. Remember, this is the work of the Gods, so you should put both your heard and your soul into it! Don't worry, though, if elaborate poetry or fancy phrasing is not your thing - a simple yet pure rite is every bit as beautiful as a complex and elaborate one requiring dozens of participants and a small orchestra for backing. It's also less likely to go wrong!
First, chose a place where you feel at home and won't be disturbed. Each participant should bring some food and drink, plus things like candles, incense, any ritual tools you want to use, etc. Traditionally, you should have some earth, or stone, for the North, incense for the East, a candle or small fire of twigs in a little pot for the South, and a bowl of water for the East.
Casting the Circle
Then, cast your circle. Invoke each of the quarters, North, East, South and West, all the while visualising the circle forming about you, creating a little bit of "sacred space" for you to work in.
Calling to the God and Goddess
Once the circle is complete, call to the God and Goddess to come and join you.
At this point, you've done the "basics", you've created your circle, and invoked the powers and gods, now you need to celebrate the actual festival itself. You are at the very top of the wheel of the year, with the season's harvest growing all arround and all the trees in full leaf. Breathe deeply of the scent laden air, feel the life and power of nature all about you. Give honour and thanks to the God and Goddess for their bounty, and for the joy of living in these sacred islands. Remember the countless generations of magical people who have lived here before us, and remember also the centuries of persecution inflicted by the greedy and the corupt. Finaly remember and celebrate the freedom we have in our modern age to once again follow the way of the circle now the religious dogma of previous centuries has been swept into the past. Sit by the fire, drink deep and eat well, and celebrate the joys of being alive!
Opening the Circle
As this is primarily a time of pure celebration, you can leave your greater circle cast through the night, but with it's borders open for free passage to all. Thus you can share your celebration with the God, Goddess and the elemental powers, and enjoy a truly magical night.
On through the night!
Continue your celebration through the brief darkness, coming and going as you feel is right. Towards dawn, gather in a place from which you can watch the eastern horizon, and watch and think on the wonder of nature as the midsummer sun rises above the rim of the earth.
The ancient way
As at Beltaine, if you are a couple or group, and all of you are happy about the idea, you can even do as out ancestors did and make love in the forest - though make sure you have privacy for this, and that all participants are freely willing. Those who mis-use pagan belief for their own gratificatuion will come to a sticky end, as the gods have ways of looking after their own.
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