Summer Solstice Symbols and Rituals

You don't need to find an organised celebration to enjoy the Summer Solstice - you can celebrate Midsummer just as easily in your own home.

Summer folklore

Northern European tradition holds the washing your face in the morning Midsummer dew, will give you a clear complexion and equally clear eyesight.

According to folklore, if you pick seven or nine types of wild flower in the evening, in silence, and place them under your pillow, you will dream of your future spouse. But you mustn't reveal whom you dream about to anyone.

midsummer flowers

Midsummer is the time to cut magical wands as the trees hold their greatest amount of light at this time.

Flowers or herbs picked at Midsummer are thought to be doubly potent. St. John's Wort is so named because it traditionally flowers on Midsummer's eve (or St. John's Eve, by its Christian name.) If it is harvested at this time, it can be kept until the winter and made into an antidepressant tea with the qualities it has absorbed from the Sun.

Oak and holly

In Wiccan lore, Midwinter to Midsummer is ruled by the Oak King, who represents the powers of light. The dark Holly King governs Midsummer to Midwinter.

midsummer oak and holly kings

A battle ensues between the Oak and the Holly King at Summer Solstice. There is no winner, but the Holly King does weaken the power of the Oak King. This story serves as a reminder that at the time of full light, the forces of darkness begin to grow. The Holly King will gain in strength until he reaches his full power at Winter Solstice.

Midsummer flames

In some parts of the world, mock weddings are held. A midsummer bride is chosen and she, in turn, selects a bridegroom. The other young men then choose 'brides' and the couples wander off into the woods to enjoy each others company.

Midsummer has always been associated with processions and bonfires. Traditionally, everyone would make a contribution of wood to the fire and there would be feasting, singing and dancing. Young lovers would toss flowers to each other over the flames.

celtic fire festival beltane

The more daring young couples would hold hands and leap together right over the fire - hopefully when it was reduced to embers!

Pentagram rose

By Midsummer, the rose is blooming beautifully. In ancient times the rose was used to decorate the sacred groves, and all the participants of the Midsummer festival would adorn themselves with roses.

pentagram flower

The wild dog rose, with its five petals like a pentagram, was particularly magical. Always associated with love, the rose was considered to be the most potent flower during the festival. Folklore has it that a young girl should pick a full-blown rose while she is blindfolded, just as the clock strikes midnight. If she then folds the flower into a sheet of white paper and doesn't take it out again until Christmas Day, it will be as fresh as the day it was picked.

Then, if she places it close to her bosom, the young man who she wants to marry will soon appear to snatch it away.

Sunwheel cake

One way of marking the Summer Solstice in your own home is to bake round cakes covered in yellow icing.

These traditionally represent the Sunwheel - a symbol used to represent the Sun in many ancient cultures - and should be eaten for breakfast.
Ideally you should get up before dawn and sit on a hilltop to watch the sunrise, while eating the cakes as the Sun's golden disc rises above the horizon.
Take any sponge or fairy cake recipe, add saffron for yellow colour in the cake, or to colour the icing, and add some honey to taste. Once your Sunwheel cake is baked, prepare a flask of mean - a traditional honey liqueur - to wash down a slice at sunrise.

solstice sunwheel cake

Away with the fairies

Make the most of this special time, when all that really matters is to sleep and to dream. Create your own energetic experience of fairyland, which you can share with your lover, or dream of the lover you will eventually have.

summer solstice away with the fairies

Go into nature where you can lie beneath a tree. Play 'he loves me, he loves me not' with daisy petals, and if you are with your lover you can make a daisy chain together. Gently bind the daisy chain over your wrists to join yourselves together in a ceremonial handfasting.

If you are with a group of closest friends, make a chain long enough to go around the wrists of all of you so that, when bound lightly together, you can affirm the love you have for one another.

Midsummer Energy

Make a midsummer incense for Solstice love energy.

  1. Mix and handful each of fresh or dried rose petals and lavender flowers in a non-metallic bowl.
  2. Add half a stick of crumbled cinnamon and two pods of star anise
  3. Add six drops of rose oil to the mix.
  4. Now grind the ingredients together.
  5. If you don't intend to use the incense immediately, keep it fresh in a sealed jar.
  6. Now you are ready to release the energy. Facing East, burn a teaspoonful of the incense on a charcoal block and, without holding a particular person in mind, ask for new love to come into your life.
  7. Close with the words "may this be for the highest good of all"