Summer Solstice Lore and Ritual

The Summer Solstice occurs on or about June 21st, when the Sun enters the sign of Cancer. It is the day with the longest amount of sun, and the shortest night. The Summer Solstice also marks the midpoint of the light half of the year. Depending on the mythology one follows, this is one of the times of battle between the Oak King and the Holly King. The Holly King wins the battle, and will rule until Winter Solstice.

June is traditionally the month that weddings are held. This is because May Eve/Beltane is believed to be when the wedding of the Lord and Lady happens, and it was considered unlucky to “compete” with Them by getting married in May.

With this in mind, Summer Solstice, to me at least, is Sabbat celebrating love. It is at this time that the Goddess becomes pregnant with the God, by the God. (This would depend on the mythological cycle one chooses to use.) This is also the time when the God begins to weaken. He knows that soon He will be leaving the Lady for the underworld, and the baby in Her womb is His gift to Her.

The Sabbat of Summer Solstice is generally seen as a time to perform healing and purification, perhaps because the sunlight makes us want to feel well. I also think that the weakening God is making His energy available to us for our healing work.  Its themes are growth, fruitfulness, abundance and strength.


Items needed:

  • fresh fruit (preferably fruit that is in season in your area)
  • summer flowers
  • healing herbs for your tool chest
  • your usual ritual tools

This ritual is best held outside. If this isn’t possible, there is a section of the ritual for which you will need to go outside, or at least be able to use direct sun.

Decorate your ritual space and altar with summer flowers, and include a few pieces of seasonal fruit. In Southern Ontario, we are finally starting to see wonderful, fresh local produce. These things are a gift from the Lord and Lady and deserve a place in the ritual.

Begin the ritual with your usual Circle casting. Be sure to state that you are holding your Circle in honour of the Summer Solstice. You could say something like: Today is the day we celebrate Summer Solstice. I have cast my Circle so I might celebrate with the Lord and Lady on this day.

When this is done, sit before your altar and meditate on the meaning of the Summer Solstice. Think about what summer means to you. Is it a time of family trips and BBQs? Does it mean that the kids are home and you get to spend more time with them? It is nothing but endless days of heat and sleepless nights? Think about how you can make this summer something special. Think of the Goddess. She knows that the God will be leaving Her soon, so She will surely make every day together count.

When you are ready, take up a piece of fresh fruit (or a small handful if you are using something like berries), and say the follow:

Today is the longest day of the year, and the shortest night. The fertile Lady has become pregnant, and the crops in the field flourish. The Lord, though, is weakening. He is giving up His strength so that the babe in the Lady’s womb may grow strong, and so that the crops will grow and feed us. In honour of the Lord, I eat this fruit and take in His energy.

Slowly eat the fruit, savouring each bite. Try to feel the energy of the sun contained in the fruit. Think about how it grew, taking in the rain and the sun.

When you are done, gather together your healing herbs. The herbs you choose will depend on the type of healing you want to do. Check out resources like Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham, or The Holistic Herbal by David Hoffmann, or other books dealing with herbalism.

Raise the herbs to the sun and say the following words:

The Lord provides His energy for healing. Today, in the light of the solstice sun, I will charge my herbs with the Lord’s light.

Feel the Lord’s energy enter your herbs. Don’t leave the herbs in the sun too long though, as some will lose their potency. You might also want to consider drying some of your own herbs, using a similar statement to charge this act.

Gently place the herbs back on or near your altar. Say the following words as you bring your ritual to a close:

It is the longest day, and the wheel is turning. Soon the nights will grow in length, and the darkness will come. But within Her womb the Lady carries a babe, and a promise of the returning sun. Let us honour Her, and let us honour the Lord, who’s life is slowly fading away while the summer heat grows.

Close the Circle using your normal method. For your post-ritual meal, include as many items of local produce as possible. Also consider serving mead, since this is the traditional drink of Summer Solstice.