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5 Ways Heathens Can Celebrate the Summer Solstice

5 Ways Heathens Can Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Ah, it’s already June again, which means we’re almost at Summer Solstice.  Saturday, June 20th is the solstice, which marks the longest day of the year. This is the time when we celebrate the spring and summer gods and goddesses such as Freyr, Freyja, Baldr, Thor, and Sif, as well as Sunna. Here are five ways you can enjoy the solstice, even though you may still have to be careful with COVID-19.

Get Up and Greet the Sunrise

Okay, this is for those early birds who can get up and greet the new day. Or, for those of us who are night owls, who stay up long enough to see dawn break.  The rest of you mere mortals will probably be a bit bleary-eyed for this. Even so, prepare a blot and offer it to Sunna, the wights, the ancestors, and to the gods and goddesses of summer.

Leave Summer Solstice Offerings to the Gods and Wights at Your Outdoor Altar

Thank the gods and goddesses for another year, and leave them offerings for good harvests and health. Don’t forget the wights and the ancestors either, especially when it comes to good harvests on the summer solstice. The local wights are said to make the difference between a good harvest and a bad one. So, even if you’re agnostic about wights, like I am, err on the part of superstition and offer them something. Don’t have an outdoor altar? Use this day to make one now! Follow this link for how to create an easy-to-make outdoor altar.

Do Something Outdoorsy

The best way to celebrate the summer solstice is to get outdoors and do something that helps you enjoy the long daylight. This includes simple things like taking a walk, going hiking, going fishing, or doing some type of activity that involves getting outdoors. With COVID-19, remember to keep your distance from people who are not in your household, and to wear masks if you’re heading somewhere people are present.

Sorry to be a killjoy about it, but we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. So, go outside, but do so responsibly.

Hold a Pork Feast for Your Family

Plan on preparing pork for your dinner on the summer solstice, whether it is pork chops, a pork roast, or even a ham. Pigs are special to Freyr, so having pork is a good way to celebrate the god.  So, crack open that bottle of mead and offer a toast to the gods, along with those who live with you to Sunna, Baldr, Freyja, and Freyr.

Tend to Your Garden

You do have a garden, don’t you? Even if it’s only a few herb pots or flowers, give them extra care today. Summer solstice is the longest day of the year when photosynthesis is at its peak due to all that sun. Even if it’s cloudy, the daylight provides extra time for growth.

I hope I’ve given you some cool ideas for this solstice. Let me know what you’re planning on doing for the summer solstice in the comments.

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Thoughts on the Summer Solstice

Thoughts on the Summer Solstice

I’m not a summertime person, really.  I hate the heat and, quite frankly, there’s not much hunting to be

Thanks to Magickalgraphics.

done during the summer and usually summer is the start of fire season here in the West.  Even so, this year I find that I’ve been enjoying the spring and summer because La Nina has made this summer cool (relatively speaking) and wet for us in the Northwest. So, I’m able to take a breather and actually enjoy the green landscape plus work on my garden. 

But all this got me thinking about solstice from a historical perspective.  So, whether you call it Midsummer, Lithia, or just the summer solstice, I like looking at the roots of the celebration.

Prehistoric Times

There’s little doubt that humans in prehistoric times recognized the solstice and celebrated the day with the most amount of sunlight. Stonehenge and Externsteine were places where people could observe and mark the longest day of the year. The altar at Externsteine has a keyhole that lights up at dawn on the summer solstice.  And Stonehenge is definitely a monument to the sun.  The heel stone gateway capture’s the sun’s rays on June 21st. 

Almost all prehistoric peoples worshiped the sun in some capacity. Bonfires were common both in prehistoric times and later to welcome the solstice. 

Medieval and Viking Times

During the Viking era, northern peoples held a Thing and used the time to solve legal matters and disputes.  Bonfires were common as were visiting wells that were thought to have magical properties. In northern Europe, it was customary to light a wheel encased with straw and roll it down a hill to determine if the harvest would be good or poor.  If the wheel went out before it reached the bottom, it would mean a poor harvest.  Methinks it’d be a good idea to pick a short hill.  Obviously with the droughts in the West, that would be a foolhardy thing to do.  At least I won’t be doing that anytime soon.

Thanks to Magickalgraphics.

Midsummer in Sweden

Not unsurprisingly, Midsummer celebrations are alive and well in Sweden.  A direct descendant of the Viking era solstice celebrations, Midsummer is celebrated with feasts, music, dance, the Maypole, and honoring nature.  Not surprisingly, the Church didn’t squash the tradition, it merely usurped it and made it the feast of John the Baptist. Midsummer celebrations still has kept their fertility roots, thus hearkening back to the much older tradition.  After all, who wants to let something like Christian conversion ruin a good thing?

My Own Midsummer Celebration

Solstices tend to be a special time for me.  I’ll be cooking a pork tenderloin and maybe make some special foods.  I’ll be honoring Freyja, Freyja, Sunna, Mani, and Tyr on summer solstice. Perhaps I’ll used the time to reflect on what I want to accomplish before hunting season is upon us. I’ll make offerings for a safe and fruitful season as well.

I hope you have a good solstice and let me know how you do to celebrate.

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