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Summer Solstice 2023

Summer Solstice 2023

It’s that time of year again! Summer solstice has returned. This year is probably the coldest summer solstice I’ve experienced in a while. 32F or 0C the day before. So, for those of you under a heat wave, I’m feeling pretty chuffed with our weather. Skadi decided to make this summer a bit on the chilly side. All good.

Oh yeah, and for those in the Southern Hemisphere, a Happy Winter Solstice!

Roundup of Solstice Articles

Here is another roundup article of summer solstice themed articles I’ve written in the past. Check them out:

Watch the Summer Solstice Sunrise Over Stonehenge 2023

You can watch the entire sunrise over Stonehenge livecast HERE . Check it out.

Yeah, you may have noticed, I don’t exactly write enough about the summer solstice. Maybe I’ll change that in the future.

Have a terrific summer solstice. Stay cool! (Or if you’re celebrating winter solstice, stay warm!

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Celebrate Dísablót on May 14th

Celebrate Dísablót on May 14th

Dísablót, one of the most significant pagan festivals celebrated in ancient Scandinavia, is still remembered and commemorated by modern-day pagans and heathens. This springtime festival, which usually takes place on May 14th, was dedicated to the dísir, the female spirits and goddesses who were believed to protect and bless the fertility of the land, animals, and people. Here, we will explore the history, traditions, and significance of Dísablót.

Origins and Meaning of Dísablót

The word “blót” in Old Norse means sacrifice or offering. Ancient Heathens performed Blót ceremonies to appease the gods and goddesses.  Our ancestors sought their blessings and favors, and to ensure the community’s prosperity and protection. Dísablót, therefore, is a special blót dedicated to the dísir. Heathens consider the dísir to be our guardians and benefactors. The term “dísir” (singular dís) refers to ancestral female spirits. These ancestral spirits watch over their descendants and guide them in their daily lives. Eventually, the dísir evolved into a type of goddess, whom we honor.

Our ancestors held Dísablót in the spring or early summer, at the beginning of the growing season. They looked to spring as at time of renewal, hope, and optimism. The harsh winter had passed and the land was ready for planting and harvesting. People invoked and praised the dísir for maintaining fertility. People also prayed to them for protection and guidance in family, marriage, childbirth, and health. Dísablót is a celebration of life and fertility, and a form of ancestor worship.

Dísablót Rituals and Offerings

Not surprisingly, Dísablót practices varied from region to region and community to community. However, this festival had some common elements and themes. People offered food and drink to the dísir. The offerings could be meat, bread, cheese, beer, mead, or other delicacies. People placed the food on a special altar or platform, which they decorated with flowers, greens, and ribbons. The altar became the connection between our world and the dísir.

People lit bonfires to honor the dísir and to provide light and warmth. People also lit fires to ward off evil spirits and diseases. Our ancestors considered the smoke and ashes sacred, and sometimes used them for divination or healing.

Music, dance, and poetry were also integral to Dísablót. Singing and playing instruments were ways people praised and thanked the dísir, as well as expressing joy and gratitude for spring’s arrival. The bards and skalds, who were the Norse poets and storytellers, recited epic tales and sagas of the gods and heroes.

Dísablót was also a time for socializing and feasting. The participants, who could be family members, friends, or neighbors, shared the offerings and the food, and drank together. This communal aspect of Dísablót reflected the importance of kinship and community bonds in Norse society.

Dísablót in Modern Times

Although the practice of Dísablót ceased with the Christianization of Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, the memory and legacy of this festival have survived and been revived in modern times. Contemporary heathen and pagan communities have adapted and reinterpreted the rituals and meanings of Dísablót to fit their own beliefs and practices. Some groups hold public or private ceremonies that follow the traditional format of offering food, lighting fires, and reciting poetry. Others create their own variations that incorporate elements of personal spirituality or social activism.

Dísablót has also become a symbol of Norse identity and heritage. Some Scandinavian countries, such as Sweden and Iceland, have incorporated Dísablót into their cultural calendars as a way of preserving and promoting their historical traditions. Museums, festivals, and educational programs feature Dísablót as a way of educating the public about the pre-Christian past and the continuity of cultural values.

Moreover, Dísablót has gained popularity and recognition among non-Scandinavian pagans and heathens as a way of connecting with their ancestral roots and honoring the feminine divine. As the dísir represent a diverse range of female energies and archetypes, they are seen as a source of inspiration and empowerment for women and queer people. Dísablót, therefore, has taken on new meanings and significance for those who seek to reclaim their spiritual heritage and resist the dominant norms of patriarchal monotheism.

A Significant Holiday Worth Celebrating

Dísablót is a fascinating and rich festival that reflects the complex and diverse religious and cultural landscape of ancient Scandinavia. Its emphasis on fertility, ancestor worship, communal bonds, and artistic expression has resonated with people throughout history and across borders. Dísablót offers a valuable opportunity to explore and celebrate the feminine divine, the cycles of nature, and the power of community.

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Walpurgis Night and May Day

Walpurgis Night and May Day

Walpurgis Night and May Day are two festivals that are steeped in pagan and Heathen traditions. People have celebrated them for centuries in various parts of Europe. These festivals mark the beginning of the summer season. Both pagans and Christians associate these holidays with fertility, growth, and renewal.

Let’s explore the history and significance of Walpurgis Night and May Day. BY doing so, we can learn how they relate to pagan and Heathen beliefs.

The History of Walpurgis Night

Walpurgis Night in Jesenice in Prague-West District, Czech Republic by Chmee2, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Walpurgis Night is a festival that is celebrated on the night of April 30th. It is named after Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century Christian missionary who was canonized by the Catholic Church for her work in converting pagans to Christianity.

However, we can trace back the origins of Walpurgis Night to pagan and Heathen traditions that predate Christianity. In pre-Christian times, the festival was known as Valpurgisnacht. People celebrated it as a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest.

During Valpurgisnacht, people would light bonfires and leave offerings of food and drink for their ancestors and other spirits. They would also dress up in costumes and masks to scare away evil spirits.

Over time, the festival became associated with witches and witchcraft. Unfortunately, literature and folklore depicted it as a time when witches would gather on Brocken, a mountain in Germany. There, they would hold a Sabbath and perform spells and other magical rituals.

May Day’s Significence

May Day, which is celebrated on May 1st, is another festival that has roots in pagan and Heathen traditions. The festival marks the beginning of the summer season, and people associate it with fertility, growth, and the renewal of life after the long winter months.

In pre-Christian times, people knew May Day as Beltane. Pagans celebrated it as a time when the nature spirits awoke  from their winter slumber. During the festival, people would light bonfires and dance around a maypole, which was decorated with ribbons and flowers.

Beltane was also a time of fertility, and pagans believed that couples who spent the night together on Beltane would be blessed with fertility and good fortune. This belief is reflected in the May Day tradition of crowning a May Queen and a May King, who represent the union of male and female energies.

How Walpurgis Night and May Day relate to Pagan and Heathen Beliefs

Walpurgis Night and May Day are both festivals that are steeped in pagan and Heathen beliefs. They show a deep reverence for nature and the cycles of life.

For pagans and Heathens, these festivals are an opportunity to connect with the natural world and to honor the spirits that inhabit it. They are also a time to celebrate the return of life and growth after the dark, cold winter months.

At the same time, Walpurgis Night and May Day are also an opportunity for us to reflect on the deeper spiritual meaning of these festivals. For pagans and Heathens, these festivals represent a time of spiritual renewal and transformation, a time when we can shed the old and embrace the new.

A Special Reverence for Nature

Walpurgis Night and May Day are two festivals that have been celebrated for centuries, and they continue to hold deep spiritual significance for pagans and Heathens today. These festivals are an opportunity to connect with the natural world, to honor our ancestors and other spirits, and to celebrate the renewal of life and growth that comes with the arrival of the summer season.

Whether you’re a pagan, Heathen, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty and power of nature, Walpurgis Night and May Day are festivals that are worth exploring and celebrating. By honoring these traditions, we can deepen our connection to the natural world and to the deeper spiritual forces that shape our lives.

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Summer Solstice: A Time for Renewal

Summer Solstice: A Time for Renewal

Somehow each year, summer solstice sneaks up on me. Sure, the days get extraordinarily long here in the Northern Rockies, and sure everything is greening up fast. I have two goat kids who are now almost four weeks old, and yeah, the warmer weather is upon us. Still, I end up feeling unprepared for the solstice.

Shaking Off Skadi’s Powers

Skadi reigns much of the time here in the Northern Rockies. That being said, Thor, Freyr, Freyja, and Baldr take hold around now. I heard Thor’s voice this week, announcing his arrival. Freyr and Freyja show their might as new life appears. Animals’ offspring follow them out of thickets and dens; the forests take on a lush green. The time for renewal is at hand.

Warning: Science!

In a scientific sense, the summer solstice is simply the time when our planet’s tilt is closest to the sun. Imagine our planet is a toy top that has been set in motion. At some point in the spin, the top begins to tilt and wobble as it slows down. That is what our planet is doing right now.

We know that millions of years ago, our days were shorter because our planet was spinning faster. As our planet’s spin slows, our days grow longer by 1.8 milliseconds a century. Eventually that will add up to more noticeably longer days, but certainly not in our lifetime, nor in the lifetimes of our children, grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren.

It’s this small tilt that makes it possible for us to have four seasons. When our side of the hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, we have winter. When it is tilted toward the sun, we have summer. It is the furthest tilt that brings us the solstices.

If you don’t find it simply amazing that something so slight as a small wobble could affect life on our planet, there’s something wrong  with you.  That feels like magic, plain and simple, even if it is science.

Thanks to the Gods for the Solstices

I can’t help but think that these happy coincidences which brought life to flourish on our planet were part of the gods’ plans. I’m willing to accept the science, and yet, the coincidences are astonishing.

Think about it. We live on a planet that basically won the lottery when it came to supporting life. Even if you’re not a creationist-type person, you have to admit we lucked out. Our gods have set in motion an amazing world, and we are damn lucky to have it. We’re damn fortunate to be here, given all the times our species has nearly gone extinct.

Understanding the Solstices as a Threshold

The summer solstice is a threshold of sorts. I’ve heard the term “liminal” used to describe certain parts of the year. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, but at the same time, it heralds the loss of light until the winter solstice.

I think of the story about Baldr and Hodr. Baldr is made impervious to all things except the mistletoe. Loki gives Hodr a spear made from mistletoe and helps Hodr aim it. We think of Baldr as the sun on summer solstice. His blind brother, Hodr, is the oncoming darkness of winter. Each year, Hodr “slays” Baldr, but Baldr is eventually resurrected to shine once more.

The solstices mark when the days are the longest, and when they are the shortest. After the summer solstice, we begin our march towards winter. The sunlight retreats until the winter solstice, when it returns again.

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

As Heathens, the solstices are our holy days. During the summer solstice, we thank the gods for the light and for our growing season. We ask for health and good harvests, even if we no longer have anything to do with farming. We celebrate our families and friends.

I find there is plenty to celebrate when it comes to the solstice. We may have dealt with some pretty shitty things in our lives, but we have to be among the living to still be here. The wonder that is our life is still amazing, and there is still plenty to learn and experience in this world.

Our Renewal with the Summer Solstice

Nowadays, people are pretty jaded when it comes to our seasons. Sure, people enjoy the warm weather, but there isn’t a lot of joy in the seasons, themselves. There certainly isn’t a lot of wonder in them–we know what causes the seasons. At some point, people only look forward to the seasons as times for doing human activities, and not just marveling at the season, itself.

Think about it. I doubt seriously most people sit and just meditate on summer when the summer solstice passes. You might, and maybe your heathen and pagan friends do, but most people just don’t. And yet, the summer solstice is a time for renewal. That includes renewing yourself as a heathen.

No matter how old you are, you can take part in that renewal. It can be as short as a few minutes, or as long as you feel is necessary. And yeah, it’s a type of magic, I suppose. You’re going to get in touch with the landvaetr, the gods, and the ancestors.

How to Renew Yourself During the Summer Solstice, and Beyond…

Summer solstice is a time to thank the gods, the landvaetr, and the ancestors for everything. You may wish to have some mead or other offering to leave at your outdoor altar. If you don’t have an outdoor altar, you can choose a favorite tree outside. Whatever your offering is, be sure it is biodegradable and not poisonous to wildlife and pets.

  • Start by sitting comfortably outside, preferably in a forest, park, or other place within nature. You can sit in a chair, on a bench, on a rock or log, or even on the ground, if you so choose. Close your eyes, or keep your eyes open. Doesn’t matter.
  • Take deep breaths through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Let your mind still as you breath in this fashion, and focus on relaxing each muscle group as you do.
  • As you relax, you may notice your environment. Is it hot and sunny, or is it cool? Is there a breeze? What does the air feel like? What about where you are sitting? Are you comfortable, or do you feel uncomfortable because the ground is wet, insects are buzzing around you, or something is poking you in the butt?
  • What do you smell on the breeze? Sure, you may get the smells of the city, but can you smell the flowers nearby? What do the trees smell like? Do you get an earthy scent from the moss and wet ground nearby? Does the air have a taste? Acrid from the city, or does it taste like the flowers nearby? Sharp like a pine tree? Woodsy like an oak tree?
  • What do you hear? Sure, you may hear traffic and people, but is there a bird singing nearby? What does the leaves sound like when the breeze rustles through it? Do you hear the snort of a deer, or maybe the barking of a dog? Maybe the chittering of a squirrel.
  • Open your eyes, if they aren’t already open. What do you see? Try to not take in everything, but focus on something natural: a flower, a tree, a river or stream, a mountain top, or maybe the ocean. Some may be too big or too small to focus on. That’s okay. Just move from one natural thing to another, if you’re not focusing.
  • Look up and Sunna and thank her for the warmth of the first day of summer. Thank Baldr for the beauty of the sun at summer solstice. Thank Mani for the solstice moon.
  • Thank Freyr and Freyja for the new life around you, whether it’s animals, plants, or even human babies.
  • Thank Thor and Sif for the rains and the harvest that is to come. Ask for our farmers’ prosperity and a bountiful harvest.
  • Thank whichever gods you wish to honor at this time.
  • Thank the landvaetr for their tireless care over the land you sit on.
  • Thank your ancestors, for without them, there would be no you to enjoy the moment.
  • Pour an offering (or leave an offering) on your outdoor altar, or at the place you designated.
  • Spend as much time as you’d like (or as much time as you’re permitted) enjoying the solstice.

Other Fun Ways to Celebrate the Solstice

I have another post on Five Ways Heathens can Celebrate the Summer Solstice. Check it out.

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Book Review: A Guide to Celebrating the 12 Days of Yule

Book Review: A Guide to Celebrating the 12 Days of Yule

A Guide to Celebrating the 12 Days of Yule
Author: Jenn Campus
Available on Amazon and
Price: $3.99 or Free for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers
Format: Amazon Kindle (eBook)

For Yule, I decided to do a book review on celebrating Yule (seems appropriate). I’ve chosen A Guide to Celebrating the 12 Days of Yule. I’ve recommended this book in the past, but maybe, you haven’t seen this little gem. This Yule, since you probably are spending it alone or with immediate family, due to the pandemic, it’s helpful to have a guide in celebrating it.

Not for Recons

Now, this book is pagan and not necessarily Heathen, but even Heathens can get good ideas from it. It’s not a primer on Heathen celebrations and you won’t necessarily find something that will be 100 percent Heathen. That being said, if you’re a reconstructionist, avoid this book, because these are not the droids you’re looking for. For the rest of us Heathens, who are simply looking for good ideas to incorporate into our Yule celebrations, this is beyond helpful. It may give you even more ideas on how to celebrate the season.

What I Liked About A Guide to Celebrating the 12 Days of Yule

First, I’ll say that I like how this book is organized. She takes you through preparation and each day of Yule, and what she does to celebrate it. For those still starting out as a Heathen, this offers nice suggestions for each day and how to give offerings to the gods who preside over Yule. Some of the rituals are obviously the author’s design, but I look at them and think how wonderful it is that another Heathen has designed her own rituals according to her family. Other rituals, such as the Yule log and leaving oatmeal with butter out for the Tomte have their roots in Heathen tradition.  She includes her prayers to different gods and goddesses as well as cool things like recipes for a Yule log cake, glog, and crispy roast pork with cherry sauce. It all sounds delicious.

What I Didn’t Like About This Book

It’s really hard for me to come up with something wrong about this book. Yes, it’s more pagan than reconstructionist Heathen, but I’m okay with that. If I could make a complaint to the author, it would be that a paperback version isn’t available, possibly because it is a short book at 66 print pages. Lots of people can complain that it’s not in other eBook formats or with other vendors. But given that the Amazon app is available for most platforms such as Android and iOS, not to mention Windows, you don’t need to buy a Kindle Reader or Fire device to read and enjoy it.

So, if you’re looking for modern ideas with Heathen influences for how to celebrate the 12 days of Yule, pick up a copy of A Guide to Celebrating the 12 Days of Yule HERE.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from these links, I get a small stipend which helps support The Rational Heathen. I would encourage you to support my site. Thanks.

This post was made possible by Sarra Keene and all my patrons at Patreon. Did you know you can become my patron for as little as $5 a month? This entitles you to content not posted anywhere else. Plus you get to see posts like this three days before the public! Without patrons, I’d be having a very hard time keeping this blog going. Become a patron today!Become a Patron!


Happy Yule and Winter Solstice!

Happy Yule and Winter Solstice!

Happy Yule and Winter Solstice! Yeah, it’s that time of year when I tend to not do much on the blog. So, in keeping with that tradition, I’m going to provide links of all the posts I’ve made about Yule in the past, including at least one from this year, in case you missed it.  Anyway, have a good Yule and if the Yule Goat comes by to deliver presents, don’t roast him, okay?

What You Need to Know About Yule

Because I should be talking more about the history of Yule and how it relates to the modern Heathen.

Celebrating Yule with Non-Heathen Family Members

Yeah, everyone’s got them. And if they’re Christian, they may have a tough time with your Heathen ways (pun intended!). Here’s a way to make everyone happy.

When You Can’t Get in the Yule Spirit

Bah humbug! Are you the Scrooge around Yule? So am I. So, here are some ways to cope.

The Yule Goat Sneaks Heathen Tradition into Christmas

Heard of the Yule Goat or Yulebok? Well, if you haven’t, here’s your chance to add a little paganism to your relatives’ Christmas under the guise of Christmas.

8 Ways to Celebrate Yule for the Solitary Heathen

Yule can be a bit lonely for the solitary Heathen, so here are some cool ways to celebrate it by yourself.

Should a Heathen Teach Their Kids about Santa Claus?

Is Santa Claus Christian or Heathen? Should you teach your kids about him?

Yule as a Non-Event

When life intrudes and you can’t properly celebrate Yule.



As you all may know, I am a fiction author, and currently I’m working on a bunch of Urban Fantasy novels with a Heathen bent. Right now, several of my books are in promotions. That being said, you can visit the following newsletters, and if you’re lucky, you can download my books and enjoy them. (No, I’m not telling you my real name, dammit, and if you figure it out, please keep it to yourself.)

It’s All About the Dragons runs now through December 31st. Some free, most 99 cents.

Portal to Fantasy runs January 1st through the 31st, and is all free books!

Have a great Winter Solstice and a good Yule!

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