Sunday, June 19, 2016

Litha : Mid-Summer Solstice + June Full Moon & 10 ways to celebrate!


The 4 days surrounding June 21st is the time where the sun is reaching its peak and the tilt of the earths axis is most inclined to the sun, directly over the tropic of cancer (ps. happy birthday-time to all my fellow cancarians)
The word solstice is derived from latin and means 'sun stands still'.
Litha another name for the midsummer/summer solstice, marks the longest day and shortest night of the year.  (around june 21st for the northern hemisphere and december 21st for the southern hemisphere)
This has been a time of celebration and folklore for thousands of years.  Similar to halloween/Samhain, it is also known as a night where the vail is thin and connection to the spirit world is more open and accessible...
One of the most common folkloric associations with the summer solstice is the ability to see fairies on midsummer solstice eve and the day of.  Shakespeare's Mid Summer Nights Dream, anyone?  Be careful if you decide to trek off alone on midsummer eves- you could get 'Poake led' by the mischievous faery, Robin Goodfellow.. ;) 
In the Shetlands there is a tale about the beautiful mythical creatures called the Selkie (part human, part seal) they are said to swim ashore on mid-summers eve... They shed their seal skins and dance on the beach! If a human sees them, the selkie will grab their skin and get back into the ocean- However, if a human man takes a skin then the selkie woman must marry him until she finds her seal skin, then she will take off back to the sea.  If you are interested in watching a movie about the story of the selkies, i would recommend "Song of the Sea" & also "Ondine" 

"Summer Solstice is a time to celebrate and revel in the light and lighter side of life. In ancient times, most marriages were held during the month of June and the tradition called the ‘Honey Moon’ is a pagan tradition. The word honeymoon, came from the drinking of mead (made of fermented honey), which was used in wedding ceremonies held during MidSummer.
Ancient Celts lit huge bonfires in clearings and on roads to give strength to the sun and keep evil spirits at bay. People wore amulets made with herbs to protect themselves, while others leaped through bonfires for purification, good health and love.
The evening before, during and after the Summer Solstice is the most important time of the year to pay attention to your dreams. It is reported that during this three day period, that what is dreamed of, will come to fruition. It is also the time that the ‘fae’ (faries) bestow good luck upon the people and is considered to be the best day of the year to see a fairy. This magic was best popularized in Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’." -(sourced at end of post)

However, there is one more very special and rare occurrence coinciding with this particular Summer Solstice... 

The 2016 Summer Solstice is accompanied by a full moon, this special unison hasn't occurred since 1948! 
 On June 20th The sun will be very high, while the full moon will be very low, combine that with the humid summer air and we get a beautiful amber-honey colored moon with unique sunset lighting streaming through our windows.  

The best times to view this Solstice Honey Moon will be on Sunday night, Early monday morning and Monday night. 
Why have people celebrated the sun and the Summer Solstice for thousands upon thousands of years?
 Because the SUN = life! 
Our earth cannot exist as it does without the sun spreading its light and warmth.  All humans, plants and animals need sunlight in order to grow and be healthy. 
So why not join a very old tradition and add another day of celebration to your life? There are many ways to make Litha/ The midsummer solstice a special day, plus, who doesn't like waking up to a day where special, once-a-year celebratory preparations are in order? :) Who knows, maybe this can be the start a new tradition with you or your family. Or maybe you are a seasoned summer solstice celebrator? 

Anyways, I am sharing this blog to inspire those who may feel called to show some gratitude to the sun- or who just feel like having a little bit of fun. 

Some of the common moon names for Junes moon :
The Mead Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon, Strawberry moon, the hot moon.


10 ways to celebrate:  

1. Drink Some Delicious Honey-Mead
My husband, brewed a batch of turmeric-ginger mead a few weeks ago and we plan on straining some out today.  You can also find mead at local craft brew shops and grocery stores with a large craft brew selection.  Not interested in Mead? Try a nice cup of golden turmeric tea with honey, or chamomile tea- perfect to sip on while gazing at the full honey moon Sunday night. 

2. Create a flower/ rock/ crystal mandala outside.
This season, you are bound to have many flowers blooming around you.. Some herbs that are special for this month are ; sunflower, st. johns wort flowers, rue, verbena, chamomile, mugwort, calendula, yarrow, poppies, daisies etc.
Look for bright summery flowers and petals.
(photo from pinterest)

3. Have an herb garden? or some herbal tea? Make a batch of sun tea.
I love using calendula, hibiscus, chamomile, lemon or orange peel, rose petal, lemonbalm etc.  Simply strip the petals off the stem or flower heads or empty your tea bags into a large glass pitcher, cover with water and place in a nice sunny spot for a few hours. (it helps to put some cheesecloth or something over the top to prevent bugs from taking a sip) 

4. Make some cookies with sunny lemon frosting.
You can even add flower petals to the tops.  Check out this herbal solstice cookie recipe here: https://gathervictoria.com/2016/06/10/sweet-magic-summer-solstice-honey-cookies/

5. The combination of the solstice + the full moon makes a powerful time to charge/cleanse your crystals- just set them outside for at least 24 hours and let the sun and moon cleanse and charge them up.

6.  Make a flower crown.
You can use fresh flowers growing in the garden or go to a craft store and choose a summery blend of fabric flowers if you want one you can keep and re-use.  Below is a photo of me wearing a fabric flower crown that i made for my baby shower and maternity pictures while i was pregnant with  my son, Swayze. 



7.  Put together a Summer Solstice nature shelf/table.
Go on a hike and see if any flowers, stones, sticks call out to you... create a space inside to place all of your treasures, add a candle or other related festive trinkets and enjoy. 

8.  Live near the ocean or a lake or river? Traditionally the Summer Solstice was a time to take a cleansing swim under the sun.
A bath or shower can also serve this purpose if matched with the same intention of purification.

9.  The summer solstice is an amazing time to shed and release what no longer serves you and set intentions for the next half of the year... Also a good time for meditation and you might notice a more vivid dream life.. watch your dreams over the next few nights for potential glimpse of what is to come..

10.  Sun Salutations! Nothing like rolling out your yoga mat outside in the sunshine to solute the sun. stretching and breathing, grounding and and connecting. mmmm.... 

Well this concludes my blog post.  I hope you feel inspired and maybe even learned something new. Think you might try any of these? Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite! Or share another way you might celebrate.

Happy Litha!
Lots of sunlight and love to you

xoxo Rachael 

Ps. If you're anything like me, you have a couple of journals going or a scrap book you like to add inspiration to.. I've created a special piece of artwork called "Litha" and made it available for instant download.. Perfect for adding into your own personal journal/scrap book/ herb book. Find it in my
❤ etsy shop

resources:
 http://www.almanac.com/blog/astronomy/astronomy/summer-solstice-full-moon-june
http://exploreyourspirit.com/kalablog/2013/06/09/change-your-destiny-and-see-the-fairies-on-summer-solstice/

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Harp Music & Norse Goddesses : An Interview With Helisir

Im so excited to have my first blog interview with the founder and musician, Jacqueline of Helisir.  I am also excited and honored that my painting "Freyjas Tears" will be the album art for her new album "Fólkvangr"

Please enjoy this very special interview with Jacqueline as she shares her inspirations, stories about the norse goddess Freyja and more!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

DIY Herbal Teething Remedy

So this is a recipe inspired by Rosemary Gladstars Herbal Remedies for Children that I will share links to at the bottom of this post.  I basically chose two herbs from a list of herbs that are gentle and almost always baby safe. I am not a doctor so all of this is purely my opinion and based off of my own experience with my teething 4 month old baby. :)