The Summer Solstice marked the end of three weekends of celebration: first was the “Strawberry Fair” held on the appropriately-named Midsummer Common, a large field of common land in town still used for cattle grazing by local farmers. The fair is a combination of folk festival, craft market and food fair, and is always a lot of fun.
The second weekend brought the Town and Country fair, an agricultural festival with lots of local food and drink as well as adorable farm animals! I picked up a bottle of mead and also acquired that most practical of Druid tools, a stout hazel hiking stick (not one of those 7 foot high twisty wizard staffs with a knob on the end).
So to the Solstice itself. I got up at dawn (4:30am) to greet the day, and a bit later did a ritual at my home shrine. This was the first ADF “core order” ritual that I wrote from scratch, following the steps outlined in the DP manual. It was a Norse rite, as the Summer Solstice is central to that hearth culture, and it honoured Sunna, the goddess of the sun (or the personification of the sun itself). The “gatekeeper” in Norse rites within ADF tends to be Heimdall, but I feel more connection to the nature-kin so I chose Ratatosk, the squirrel who runs from the roots to the branches of the world-tree Yggdrasil, carrying messages for the gods.
Offerings were pure water to Nerthus, the Earth Mother, grain to Ratatosk and mead to the Three Kindreds and to Sunna. The ogham omens were positive, hinting at growth and movement as well as ancestral connections.
In the central section of the rite, I decided to finally make my First Oath as a formal sign of commitment to the Pagan path. The actual oath was unwritten and spontaneous, and I don’t recall the exact words used, but I vowed to learn and question, to seek nature, truth and knowledge, and to deepen my connection to the turning world.
After the rite, I went for a long hike in the local woods and fields with my other half, and then made pizza (not traditional, but it’s round like a sun-disc) from scratch for dinner. Not as dramatic as going to Stonehenge to see the Druids, but still a lovely way to spend the Solstice!