Celebrating the Light

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where the oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.

from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Shakespeare

Midsummer, Litha, Summer Solstice…whatever you call it by, it is the time of year where the sun reaches its highest point in the sky. It is also the day with the most daylight hours, or the longest day of the year. This holiday, is tied to the movement of the Earth and things greater than ourselves. A perfect time to set up an altar. I like to set aside some time to just be present in nature and set up something beautiful that has zero utility except maybe filling up my soul. It can be difficult to schedule something like this because these types of things tend to get put on the bottom of our to-do list, but I find that creating something beautiful for the season is very liberating and rewarding.

I believe that building an altar is a creative process just like drawing or painting. I actively plan the final result like I would plan artwork. This year’s summer solstice altar was planned to be centered around Sulis in her solar aspect. I have a wooden solar goddess statue that I thought would work well for this. It is complete with sunflowers, a wonderful symbol of the sun and summer. I also thought the warm smell and color of beeswax would be perfect for the solstice, so I gathered my beeswax candles from around my house. Summer solstice is all about light and warmth so I used all of my mismatched brass candlesticks to give a warm effect. Flowers are also a great idea for a seasonal altar and sunflowers seemed to fit the bill nicely.

Altars are a very grounding and satisfying to create. They are a reflection of their creator so it is interesting to see what shows up. I am a true Libra in that everything must be beautiful around me! On this altar I tried to balance the warm brass and beeswax with some quartz “crystal balls.” I also have some sunny citrine scattered about on the black altar cloth. The rotary candle holder with fairies on it was actually purchased on Amazon. Midsummer is commonly associated with fairies or fae. I have a chalice type offering bowl with fresh white jasmine flowers picked from my garden. I use them in perfumery but decided to give them as an offering today. The peacock feather fan was hand made and given to me by one of my circle members. It reminds me of the beauty of living things at this time of year. I also included a card of a heart tree with a warm sun for summer. It sits in a card holder made with gold leaf bits. All of this looks wonderful in the shady fairy realm of my side yard. I painted the wall purple years ago and I still love it with the creeping fig that has grown over it.

Setting up an altar will be a different experience for everyone. The statue of Sulis and the other items reflect growth and light for me. Your altar will be personal to you and reflect who you are. You really can’t get it wrong. Happy summer solstice to you.

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