Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare,
And left the flushed print in a poppy there.
— Francis Thompson (1859-1907)
Like those moments when other riders are climbing on and off of a Ferris wheel, we have slowly come to the very top of our ride and pause here for a few moments more. We know the descent is beginning, but for a little while still, time seems to stop and we are at the zenith of the light time of the year, and all possibilities are illuminated before us. This is the perfect opportunity from which to see the big picture, to consider the days ahead that will be crucial to nurturing a bountiful harvest.
This is a potent time of the year when the woods and the wild are bursting with bloom, and setting fruit. For many regions this period represents the height of the growing season and the air is thick, green and juicy. Gone is the tentative, gentle Spring warmth, all now is lush and full. The whole world seems to be wide awake and frolicking.
So it’s no wonder that this is a most magical time for making love charms and working garden magic. The Good People of the garden and wood are now very active and close by. If you have been respectful in your dealings with the land, they can be most helpful with your gardening and particularly herb collecting. In exchange, though, you would be wise to leave gifts for them, especially milk and honey, cookies, sweet liqueurs, or any sweet food, drink or spirits (not too much of the latter, however, as some, like some humans, have been known to grow surly when intoxicated).
They also love baubles and trinkets – anything beautiful or glittery. In my experience, they are not much impressed, and sometimes may even be insulted by, gifts of money. However, if you have one, a rare, shiny coin may be valued, not for its monetary worth, but because it is pretty.
For an especially lush garden, mix ashes from your Midsummer bonfire with any seeds you have not yet planted. In most places, there is still time to plant annuals and start a late summer vegetable harvest. Likewise, for fertility, lightly sprinkle bonfire ashes on any flowers or vegetables you have growing.
The hottest days now arrive, even as the light begins to decline. We in the Northern hemisphere are departing the magical pause that is the “standing still of the Sun.” Now the world is humming with the fullness of its light, and the Life around us is at its grandest and brightest. Take this day to gaze about you, and delight in the sunshine, the warmth, and the vast potential that lies still before you.
What magic will you make in the fiery days ahead?