Rituals for the Summer Solstice

Here in the central Coast Range Mountains of California, where I live, the Wheel of the Year is quite different from most other places in which Druidry is typically practiced. In order for my personal practice of Druidry to authentically connect with the land, sea, and sky with which I live, it was necessary to rewrite the Wheel of the Year and develop a completely new set of seasonal rituals, which honored our local spirits of place, and the wisdom embodied by the natural seasons and cycles, found here.

The following ritual activities are those which I perform alone, on or about the day of the Summer Solstice, in an outdoor wild-space, surrounded by drippy, morning fog – preferably surrounded by giant, coast redwoods.


FOG SEASON – READ-ALOUD

I come to the Sacred Grove today to celebrate Summer Solstice, time of longest light, when the sun reaches its northern-most position, and reverses its course along the horizon, with days now shortening, as we head back towards winter.

Here in the Coast Range mountains of Northern California, summer is the Season of Fog.

While the sun is in its summer home, it creates a Pacific high-pressure zone that sends us our summer westerly winds. As those winds approach our shores, they push aside the surface waters of the ocean, allowing a powerful upward surge of icy water from the depths.  As damp ocean breezes reach our shores, the chill of this icy upwelling causes the moisture to precipitate, giving birth to the Great Fog Bank of summer.

But the ways in which we experience that fog will vary with the microclimate in which we happen to live. Those who reside near the mountain gaps may find themselves surrounded by mist on most days. Those farther inland, who are more protected by the coast range mountains, may never see a wisp. And in all cases, the weather changes with the cyclical surge and retreat of summer fog.

Within the quiet stillness enforced by the thick grey veil of fog that blankets the world, I find myself drawn to the world within, where quiet stillness may always be found, and the voice of Divine Wisdom may be heard.


FOG SEASON – JOURNEYING

Holy Book of Nature, teach me;
Holy Powers of Nature, guide me,
While I kindle Inner Light.

Enter a state of receptive meditation, connecting with the Holy Powers of Nature and the Spirits of Place, and then, quietly close eyes, and enter the World Within, watching and listening for revealed wisdom, throughout the journey. When the inner journey is complete, return to the physical world.


FOG SEASON – ACTIVITIES

Using found objects along the coast or in the forest, create a work of nature art, exploring, expressing, and meditating upon any new insights discovered during the journey in the World Within.

Summarize the results of these meditations in the form of crafts, stories, poems, or songs.


**THE LOVELY PHOTO OF SAN FRANCISCO FOG, ABOVE, IS BY BROCKEN INAGLORY, VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

World-Game: Mexico

by Estifanos (age 6), of California, U.S.A.

  1. Country: Mexico
  2. Food people eat: Pancakes (I saw this in the “Families of the World” documentary on Mexico.)

    Photo by David Benbennick
  3. Animal that lives there: Rabbit
  4. Food that animal eats: Grass
  5. What eats that animal: Beaded Lizard (I saw a Mexican Beaded Lizard eat a rabbit, on David Attenborough’s “Dragons of the Dry” episode of the BBC documentary series “Life in Cold Blood.”)
  6. Climate/Biome: Arid Desert & Grassland
  7. City: Mexico City
  8. Game or sport: Football (Soccer)

    Photo by Victor Araiza

Lesson from Mr. & Mrs. Bewick Wren

1200px-bewicks_wren

A few weeks ago, the tiniest little Bewick wren I ever saw flew out of a bush and sat on the fence while I snipped some kale for dinner, peeping at me continually, to let me know that this bit of the yard was his, that he was watching me, and that he was NOT AFRAID of me! I wondered: should I be afraid of him?

So I introduced myself, and reassured him that I would never harm him or his family, and that he was welcome to my mini-farm as hunting ground.

A couple of weeks later, I discovered that he and the Mrs. had discovered that they can squeeze through the holes of our 1″ mesh hardware cloth (which protects our crops from rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and crows), and inside, they have found a completely protected location in which to vacuum up pest bugs for us. Top tier restaurant dining, that!

This morning, they came to our garden with their kid.  The three of them feeding voraciously on the caterpillars that have started pestering our caged and ripening blueberries.  Mr. Bewick even came by the window to peek in and say hello.

This is the essence of a thriving gift-economy at work: we work to offer them a protected hunting ground in the mini-farm area of our yard, and nesting sites in the restored native ecosystem; they work to keep the pest population down for us.  A lovely alliance.

**THE LOVELY PHOTO ABOVE IS BY MINETTE LAYNE, VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS. MY WRENS REFUSED TO SIT STILL FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.