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. Today, go outside, 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 Nature 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 likely to visit with us.
As I have been discussing, the enchanted realm of Faery has existed side by side with our human one for thousands of years. It is said that there was once a time when the human and Faery worlds were one. But legend tells that our human ancestors became trapped in the physical world. They became less and less aware of what was hidden just beyond their physical sight, and 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 Faerie races of today. It is traditional on this night to make an offering of linden to the Folk.
And speaking of herbs, Midsummer Eve is also known as Herb Evening. This is the most auspicious time for Druids to harvest mistletoe with their golden sickles. And many Witches pick their herbs and worts tonight, particularly at midnight, as this is the time when they are thought to be at their most numinous and divine essence. Now, at their peak of light and warmth, the herbs are ideal for use in spells and making poppets.
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. Always remember to first ask the plant’s permission. And never harvest endangered, stressed plants, or the last bit of one, always being sure to give an offering in return.
Tonight is particularly auspicious for harvesting St John’s wort, vervain, mugwort, mistletoe, yarrow, ivy and fern seed. Hang St John’s wort and fennel over your doors and windows for protection.
Dew gathered at Midsummer Eve restores sight. And 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.
Midsummer is crowned with Magic. Under the nearly Full Moon tonight may your celebrations be joyous and all of your meetings most merry!