As I’ve been doing my floral deliveries around the area, it’s been hard not to notice how many irises have been blooming recently. Partly because irises are so beautiful, and partly because the ones here at my house hadn’t bloomed yet. I was getting a little worried about them, but today as I left the house to meet a couple who I’ll be marrying in August – officiating their wedding, that is – I saw that they had finally come out. The blooms are smaller than I remember them being last year, but at this point, I’ll take any sign of impending summer that I can get!
Our Summer Solstice rite is coming up in a few weeks, and our first planning meeting is in a few days. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, despite what most folks think, the solstice wasn’t a big holiday to the ancient Celts, so this has left us with a lot of latitude in how we choose to celebrate it here in SLG. At our An Bruane sessions over the years, we’ve chosen to honor both Bel and Danu at our summer and winter solstice rites. Not because we think that we need to honor both a male and a female deity at the rite, mind you, because we don’t do the duotheist thing. (Only three of our nine High Day rituals have more than one Deity of the Occasion.) Nor can we cite any ancient practice to support it, though maybe a better scholar than I can do so. No, we’ve chosen to honor them both at those rites because they asked us to, during our guided meditations at An Bruane. And personally, it feels rite to me to honor both the warm solar power of Bel and the cold watery power of Danu at the same rite. Honoring one and ignoring the other would be unbalanced, and I don’t think it would work as well.
They both appear to us as grandparently types, and like most grandparents, they seem very pleased by any offerings we make to them. Bel asked us to burn things for him, so that’s been a regular part of our Summer Solstice rites. (And hey, people like burning things at ritual. Like to burn ‘em, like to watch ‘em burn. Sometimes I think we’re a religion of pyros.) Other than that, they seem very open to anything we want to do for them.
So remember, if you want to help us plan the rite, our Liturgists’ Roundtables will be on June 3rd and 17th, and yes, everyone is welcome to attend. (Though if you’ve never been to one of our rituals, it may be a bit confuzzling.) The rite itself will be on the 21st, and the night before that will be Fire Watch, and with only about ten hours of darkness it’ll be the easiest one to stay at all night, if that’s your thing. >8) The solstice rite may not be an intense one, even by our standards, but it’s certainly a fun one.
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF
Our event schedule in HTML: http://www.shininglakes.bravehost.com/schedule.html
Our event schedule in Google calendar: http://www.google.com/calendar/render?cid=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fcalendar%2Ffeeds%2Fkargach%40yahoo.com%2Fpublic%2Fbasic
PS – In case you were wondering, no, we don’t call it “Midsummer”, well I personally don’t anyway. Because it’s the beginning of summer, not the middle of it! Even if we define “summer” as the period from Beltaine to Samhain, i.e. the light half of the Celtic year, then the halfway point would be in early August, and the solstice would better be called “Earlysummer”. Which would be silly. So “Summer Solstice” it is!