December 22nd – Southern Hemisphere
June 21-22nd – Northern Hemisphere
As we leave the gateway of Summer that was opened with the Fertility Festival of Beltane our path brings us to the Summer Solstice also known as Litha or Midsummer to some. This Sabbat marks the longest and usually hottest day of the year, it is a solar festival honouring the zenith of the sun as it reaches its peak. In the Northern Hemisphere they will be celebrating their Winter Solstice in December and in June they will be honouring the Sun with the Summer Solstice. The Summer Solstice is also known as a lesser Sabbat although by no means lesser in any way. The Four Lesser or Minor Sabbats are the Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. These are also known as the Quarter days.
As the sun reaches its peak on this day so too does the Sun God as he approaches fatherhood. Symbolically the Goddess is pregnant of the God, who will be reborn at Yule. The pregnant Goddess is also worshipped in the summer celebrations along with many sun rituals, using ancient and traditional ceremonies from all corners of the world and all walks of life. This act of fertility between the God and Goddess is shown within the land and in the abundance of growth around us.
SUN GOD INCENSE
This incense honours the Sun God in all his forms. Place the following herbs into your mortar and pestle and grind them well until they reach a crumbly mix. Ensure when you are grinding the herbs always work the way of the sun, so in the Southern hemisphere this will be the opposite direction of the clock or anti-clockwise also known as widdershins. And yes some say this is for banishing work but we are working the way of the sun’s path here, there is no banishing in this mix! So once the mix is ready, store in an airtight jar until ready for use. It can be burnt on charcoals or thrown into the balefire.
1 part oak
1 part mistletoe
1 part bay
1 part rosemary
½ part dried orange peel
¼ part cinnamon
Botanical Name - Helianthus annuus
Other Names - Corona Solis, Lions Head, Marigold of Peru, Suns Face.
Family - Asteraceae
Known by its large flowering head, the sunflower is named after its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image are often used to depict the sun. It has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads of flowers. The flower petals within the sunflower's cluster are always a spiral design. Flowers are usually bright yellow but can range from orange to orange/red.
Gender - Masculine
Planet - Sun
Element - Fire
Deity - All Sun Gods, Goddesses, and Deity.
Harvest - Late Summer through to Autumn.
Fertility, solar magick, wishes, health, wisdom, rebirth and spirituality.
From the Summer Magickal Apothecary notes…
This charm is worn to encourage healing by use of the Sun energies. On the Summer Solstice find a Sunflower and explain your plight. If you cannot do this on the Summer Solstice then a Sunday closest to will be fine, providing that it is a sunny day and not raining. Are you seeking healing, fertility, wisdom, strength or good wishes? Ask the plant that you may pick nine petals only, if all is good then do so. Give thanks and place the petals into a cloth that is gold in colour. Wrap this bundle with gold or yellow thread so that it is tied up like a parcel.
‘Sun charm of yellow and gold, deliver to me all that I told,
with your energy to keep me safe, and always bless my sacred space.’
Carry this charm with you wherever you go for at least three weeks. Look at it daily and enforce your magick with the use of the ditty given or one of your own.
These Gingery little Gods will put a smile of any Witch or Pagans face. You can also use this recipe and cut sun shapes instead.
1 Tbsp honey
3 heaped tsp ground ginger
Pinch ground cloves
Cream butter, sugar and honey. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients and mix together with a blunt knife until the dough comes together. Wrap in baking paper and refrigerate for ½ an hour. Remove from fridge and knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth, refrigerate again for ½ an hour minimum. Roll the dough out into 0.5cm thickness and approximately a 25x25cm square, cut into shapes that will represent the God. A gingerbread cutter is fine for this, mine is 13cm high and 9cm at the widest point and made 10. Bake the Ginger Gods for 10-12 minutes in a 180°C oven. Leave to cool then ice.
You really only need a thimble full in order to pipe on the God symbols shown, however depending on your decorations you may need more. I used 1 teaspoon of icing sugar, coloured with ground turmeric and thinned with a few drops of water. You do not taste the turmeric but very fitting for this recipe as it is ruled by the Sun.