Midsummer/ Summer Solstice
Summer Solstice is when the path of the sun in the sky is farthest north in the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the longest day of the year and the shortest night. Signifying Earth’s slow decent into winter and darkness. It usually takes place on or around June 20 - 21st (give or take a day) in the Northern Hemisphere.
Midsummer is a religious celebration held at the Summer Solstice. Second only to Yule in importance to the ancient Northmen. To some, this is a time to honour Baldur, the Fair God of Light for it is thought to denote his time of death. Whereas some see this time as sacred to Sunna/ Sol, celebrating her for her gifts of sunshine and heat and acknowledging the union of Frey and Freya. To our ancestors, Midsummer would herald a time of manifestation, a time to be productive. Symbolizing having all of our “seeds” planted, in whatever form the seeds may be, as well as a time to nurture that which we have planted in hopes for a good harvest. Midsummer embodies a feeling of fertility, new life springing forth, a promise for a bright future. A prelude to an active time where a lot can be accomplished in preparation for the cold winter months ahead.
One idea for midsummer is to remain awake all night, performing a Blot to Sunna/ Sol at sunrise. Feasts, bonfires, dancing and songs are some of the traditional ways of celebration that take place during this time. Often there is making of wreaths, decorating homes and fields with greenery and flowers, and the burning of the sun wheel or pushing a burning wheel barrel down a hill to mark the turning of the wheel of the year. Offerings and sacrifices can also be made to the Gods and Godesses, landvaettir and ancestors.