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.
~ From A Midsummer Night’s Eve, by William Shakespeare
Today is the last day of Spring in the lands above the Equator.
Today, 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, my friends! It is the night before the Sabbat of Litha (Summer Solstice) and besides Samhain and Beltane, one of the most magical nights of the year.
This is when Mother Earth is exuberantly alive and the Spirits of Nature are most active. Now the threshold between the worlds of humans and Others is wide open. Tonight is a night of enormous power and grace, when the Good Folk are most likely to visit with those of us who call them friends and family.
As I have often written, the enchanted realm of Faery has existed side by side with our human one for as long as we can recall. Stories of the Shining Ones by their many names are some of the oldest legends of humanity, weaving their brilliant thread through every single known culture in history.
They far predate every religion, and it can even be argued that the world’s religions are but the echoes and codification of our older interactions with our cousins and co-walkers.
It is said there was once a time when the human and Faery worlds were one. But our human ancestors became seduced by and then trapped in the material world. They became less and less aware of their own true nature, and the more profound reality that was hidden just beyond their physical sight. Thus the vision of Faery became lost to them.
Tonight, however, the way is open, and so we honor the Good Folk, the Elementals and the Tuatha De Danann. Said to be unmatched in their knowledge and beauty, many of the heroes, and even deities of the Irish pantheon are their descendants, as well as the Sidhe, the people of the hollow hills who are the Faery races of Western Europe today.
It is traditional on this night to make an offering of linden to the Folk, but be sure to be most respectful. Do not meddle in their travels, celebrations, and dances unless you are invited.
Speaking of herbs, Midsummer Eve is also known as Herb Evening. Many Druid traditions consider this the most auspicious time to harvest the blessed mistletoe, using their golden sickles.
Witches also like to pick their herbs and worts this Eve, particularly at midnight, as this is the time when they are thought to be at their most numinous and filled with divine essence. Now, at the peak of light and warmth, herbs are ideal for use in spells and spiritual healing.
In particular, St. John’s wort, mullein, wormwood, yarrow, and mistletoe should be gathered either at midnight tonight or noon tomorrow.
Use them for charms to protect your house from fire and lightning, and your family from disease, negative witchcraft, and disaster. Hang St John’s wort and fennel over your doors and windows for protection.
Always remember to first ask the plant’s permission. And never harvest endangered, stressed plants, or the last bit of one, being sure to give an offering in return.
Dew gathered at Midsummer Eve restores sight. And fern, which can confer invisibility, is said to bloom at midnight and is best picked at that time. The unopened fronds of a male fern should be gently dried over the Midsummer fire and then kept for protection and blessings throughout the year.
Midsummer is crowned with Magic. Under the nearly Full Moon tonight, may your celebrations be joyous and all of your meetings most merry!