Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Wishing You A Blessed Midsummer Night’s Eve!

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon’s sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.

The cowslips tall her pensioners be:
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dewdrops here
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits;
I’ll be gone: Our queen and all our elves come here anon.

— The Fairy, from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, today is the last day of Spring. Go outside and taste the rich fruit that has come of Spring’s blossoming; feel the subtle shift as we reach the crescendo of the Light’s journey that we began at Yule.

For this is Midsummer’s Eve, the night before the Sabbat of Litha (Summer Solstice) and besides Samhain and Beltane, one of the most magical nights of the year.

Dew gathered at Midsummer Eve restores sight. And tonight, those of us who love our herbs will be out at midnight, harvesting the plants that are sacred at this time. For instance, fern, which confers invisibility, was said to bloom at midnight on Midsummer Eve and is best picked then. The unopened fronds of a male fern should be gently dried over the Midsummer fire and then kept for protection and magic throughout the year.

In fact, any magical plants plucked on Midsummer Eve at midnight are doubly efficacious and keep better. In particular, St. Johnswort, mullein, wormwood, yarrow, and mistletoe should be gathered either at midnight tonight or noon tomorrow, to use as a charm to protect your house from fire and lightning, your family from disease, negative sorcery and disaster. Always remember to ask the plant’s permission first, never harvest endangered, stressed plants, or the last bit of one, and be sure to give an offering in return.

In addition, vervain is ideally gathered at Midsummer, as well as burned for offerings. For it is on this day that Pagans in many parts of England celebrate the Day of Cerridwen, the ancient Celtic Goddess of fertility, and Whose most sacred herb is vervain. With green ribbons tied to trees and green candles lit on altars for Her, celebrants burn vervain in their cauldrons and Litha bonfires in Her honor.

And speaking of the Litha fire, this is the one in which you may burn your Yule wreath, as well as any old amulets and charms that you may wish to dispose of (as opposed to re-charging). The timing for this is exceptionally good this year, as we are in the darkest waning Moon, two days away from the New.

There is a great deal of lore regarding how to contact the Faery Folk on Midsummer’s Eve, if that is something you dare to do. For instance, one of my favorite rituals is based on The Greater Key of Solomon, which contains instructions for making an aspergillum using nine holy herbs.

Mentioned in a number of old texts, there is some debate about exactly which ones are being referred to. But one Green Witchcraft tradition that I practice suggests a lighting a cauldron fire and sprinkling it with wood betony (Stachys officinalis, also known as bishopswort), chamomile, either chervil, fennel or lavender, lemon balm, mullein, rue, St. John’s wort, thyme and vervain. (Because wood betony is not readily available for me, I ordinarily am obliged to forgo it, but I have not noticed any reduction in good effect.)

Caution – you should only burn this mixture outdoors with lots of ventilation; and people with sensitivities or women who may be pregnant should avoid this powerful smoke.

But otherwise, burning these lovely herbs together is one of the most delightful, simple, and truly fae experiences one can conjure! Scrying with the smoke is especially powerful, and in my experience, its magic is very enticing to the Shining Ones.

However you and your beloveds celebrate this magical night and the Longest Day tomorrow, take your sweet time, and feel the stillness, the mysterious opening that is between rising and falling. We stand on the sacred threshold, as the Light reaches its most intense and powerful.

Let us honor what we have planted, and together bid a fond farewell to Spring.

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  • June 20, 2009, 9:49 am Marieke

    Dear Beth, I have just recently discovered your blog. It is great! Thank you for sharing your insights! I wonder, how does something like a Midsummer Night 'work' in the tropics? I live in Suriname, on the north eastern coast of South America. We don't have summer or winter, we have rainy seasons and dry seasons, both long and short. Does the magic of such a night work for us too, or do we have different magical nights and days overhere?
    Blessings, Marieke

  • June 21, 2009, 6:23 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Hi, Marieke! I'm so glad you're here! Welcome!

    Wow. Great question! I really don't know. Would the magic work the same when so much is traditionally based on northern European reckoning by the daylight hours, placement of stars, etc?

    It is bound to be different than what is happening in other parts of the world; for instance, for our friends in Australia, Brazil, and New Zealand, that are celebrating Yule today!

    But on the other hand, most of what magic is, is based on intention. How you attune to the rhythms of your home lands is part of it; these, in part, drive your magical needs, your expressions of gratitude, celebration and commemoration. But also, if your intention is to celebrate in ways that come from this particular European tradition, it does not matter, I would think.

    However, those are just my initial thoughts.

    Arie – I know that living in Israel, you have many of the same issues, right? How does it work for you?

    Anyone else care to comment?
    – Beth

  • June 21, 2009, 1:23 pm ARIE

    Hi Beth,
    Well not exactly the same issues.

    Israel is far way up the Equator. It is even over the Tropic of Cancer.

    So the seasons are the same as the North Hemisphere. The only difference is that the winter is short with not much rain and it is a time of renewal when the vegetation grows. The summer on the other hand is much longer than usual, and it is a time when most of the vegetation dies.

    Many pagans like me follow the European Wheel of the Year. I also believe that most of us here come from European origins.

    I myself was born in Brazil, lived there until 21, then moved to Europe for some years and only later came to Israel.

    The ancient Caanite rituals times where changed and adobted by the Jewish religion. Frankly I don't know much about these rituals besides some material I took here and there.

    Now, Suriname is one finger on the map from the Equator. That means there is no winter and that it is hot and that there is a lot of rain all over the year (if it is like Brazil).

    I think it is a mixture of English, Dutch and Spanish colonizers.

    So if I was living there, I believe I would follow the ancient religion of my ancestors. Maybe Voodoo which is a very rich tradition. Or if I where of european ancestors then maybe Wicca
    or the religion of my ancestors or maybe even ecletic.

    Litha Blessings
    Arie

  • June 21, 2009, 3:13 pm Beth Owl's Daughter

    Arie! Shows how poor my geographic knowledge is! I can certainly find most countries on a globe or a map, but off the top of my head, not always sure where the Equator is relative to anyone.. (blush…)

    Thanks for this insight.
    – Beth

  • June 22, 2009, 8:11 am ARIE

    Well, maybe it is time you came to visit us here. 🙂
    Arie