Midsummer is upon us!
I absolutely LOVE this time of year ~ even more than the season of Christmas and Winter Solstice. Midsummer, otherwise known as Summer Solstice, marks the high point in the solar year, when the sun rises highest on the horizon and we have the longest days. In agrarian times, people would work in their fields until the last lingering light dissipated.
Midsummer has been celebrated throughout northern countries, especially those in Scandinavia, and parts of Britain for thousands of years. In Sweden and Finland today, Midsummer is a national holiday celebrated with bonfires and weaving floral wreaths to wear in your hair, and dancing around Maypoles, similar to the way May Day or Beltane has been traditionally celebrated in Celtic cultures for thousands of years.
The Wheel of the Year crosses over a significant point at Midsummer, and if we are in tune energetically, and in tune with our bodies and the land, we feel it. We feel the stirrings of fertility, fecundity and the ripening of growing life. The veil between the world of form, and the unseen world, the world of spirit, is thin, and magic is in the air.
Midsummer is a season of joyful celebration that connects us back through the collective unconscious and through our collective DNA to the time when the Goddess was celebrated and included in daily life. The traditional celebrations of this season symbolize our connection to Her and served in previous times to invite her blessings, invoke her power, and express her creative, life-giving presence and essence for all of life.
Old practices of Midsummer included the bonfires, and flower wreaths, to be sure. But what were they for, and what did they symbolize? Midsummer is a fire festival ~ a time to draw upon the fire element for growth and purification. The bonfire was used for this purpose. The smoke was considered purifying, just as we may purify with sage. The bonfire was also a way to draw down the energy of the sun and direct it, and to use the fire element to magnify, focus and illuminate our intentions and actions, and to feel and direct the heat of your life force.
Wearing wreaths made of plants goes back to ancient times, coming from “the Greek myth involving Apollo, Zeus’ son and the god of life and light, who fell in love with the nymph Daphne. When he pursued her, she fled and asked the river god Peneus to help her. Peneus turned her into a laurel tree. From that day, Apollo wore a wreath of laurel on his head. Laurel wreaths became associated with what Apollo embodied; victory, achievement and status and would later become one of the most commonly used symbols to address achievement throughout Greece and Rome. Laurel wreaths were used to crown victorious athletes at the original Olympic Games and are still worn in Italy by university students who just graduated.”1
“Plants traditionally used to make Midsummer wreaths and garlands include white lilies, green birch, fennel, St. John's Wort, wormwood, vervain and flax. The flowers used in making the Midsummer wreath had to be picked early in the morning before the dew had dried; the belief was that once the dew dried, the magical properties of the plants evaporated with the dew.” 2
Symbolism of Midsummer
Midsummer evokes a time of perfection and playfulness, when the daily world of order, rules, responsibility and reason – the world of the masculine ~ is temporarily suspended and we re-enter the unseen magical, mystical, mythical world of the Goddess.. This is the world captured not only in myth, but also in the ancient Mystery schools, when the balance and partnership between the world of reason and the world of the Goddess was understood, respected and part of daily life.. Echoes and glimmers of this ancient source of Midsummer have been carried forward through the centuries in the form of poetry, plays, art and music, including the poetry and plays of the English Renaissance, which we still enjoy today.
Poems by Shakespeare or Christopher Marlowe, and Walter Raleigh, such as “It was a Lover and His Lass”, or “When Daisies Pied” or “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” and “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” evoke this time when spring time and summer were celebrated as an arcadian, pastoral time of idealized perfection, when love was enshrined as the highest pursuit, and when the ordinary rules of daily living and relationships were temporarily suspended for a time of magic, connecting with the power of the Goddess, seeding life, and ultimately, transformation.
What the ancients knew about healing, change, Soul-growth and transformation was quite profound, and quite advanced, actually. They knew that creation begins in the heavenly dimension with the subtle energy levels and moves downward to manifest in the physical world. They knew that progression on the Soul’s journey, required mastering directing energy. They knew that it takes more than the rational mind, rules, and order to move forward in Transformation on your Soul journey. They knew that the partnership and joining between the Feminine and the Masculine, the Goddess and the God, was central to the process, both in the outer creation of life, and the inner work of an individual Soul. They knew that when all was said and done, this process of Soul-growth and Transformation, is in fact a mystery ~ magical ~ and the work of the Goddess. And only now in the last 100+ years, are we beginning to discover, understand and describe with our rational, logical, male-dominant thinking, how this mystery and magic works.3
Even today, we can instinctively, viscerally feel this in the season of Midsummer. Next time you listen to jazz that sets those famous Elizabethan poems to music and moves you deep in your womb space, or attend a Madrigal Dinner, or a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, know that you are connecting back to this ancient stream of knowledge, wisdom, wonder and power. And celebrate by drawing down and focusing the fire element through lighting a bonfire, embrace and celebrate the verdency and abundance of life by wearing a wreath of flowers in your hair and make love with your Beloved with joyous delight.
Invite the Goddess in, and invoke Her power with conscious intention this year, through these time-honored practices. It is the joyful season of Midsummer!
And celebrate with other spiritually awakening women in The Sophia Women’s Circle, for our virtual Midsummer Seasonal Circle.
Debra Brown Gordy, MS MRET is a Women’s Energy Psychology therapist & Spiritual Life Coach, & founder of The Sophia Women’s Institute. She specializes in inner child healing, relationship coaching & intimacy counseling, & divorce coaching for accomplished, spiritually awakening women. Debra has advanced expertise in Energy Psychology approaches and is the creator of The Sophia Method™ of Energy Psychology.
Through unique Energy Therapy & Spiritual Life Coaching programs & Women’s Sacred Practices, she guides clients through the inner healing & transformation they need to achieve the outer results they Desire, & the soul-satisfying life they love.
Debra serves clients worldwide. To learn more, visit The Sophia Women’s Institute.