Chris Park is a Druid, artist, musician and storyteller, immersed and versed in the ancient lore and wisdom traditions of the Isles of Britain. He lives in a luxurious hedge with a wayward family surrounded by beehives and organic farmland in the Vale of the White Horse. There he teaches and researches old ways and new. Hosting community ceremony, working with bees and apitherapy, fostering peace and seeking an ever renewed sense of purpose and service
SUMMER SOLSTICE CEREMONY
This festival is both a time and a place.
Celebrating the spirit of time, the longest days of the year, and the shortest nights through which sacred vigils are made.
Celebrating ‘place’ we observe the sun’s northern most stations of setting and rising.
Ascending into the heavens at this time towards the height of heights – zenith at midday.
We gather at this time, in peace, in the light of awareness, with gratitude and grace.
Continually embodying the cycles and rhythms of the solar year, the dance of the moon and stars above, the burgeoning and of the greenwood, the ebb and flow of the tides.
At this festival the sun stands still, for some days, appearing to the naked eye to rise from the same place, and set into the same place. Like a still point at the end of a pendulum.
Within, one’s breath, relaxed and effortless, at the point between inspiration and expiration is this time. That still place between the in breath and the out. Where one’s lungs are expanded like the year. Expanded like the height of heights, the zenith of the light of lights.
At full power. Maximum strength. Mightiest momentous vitality. Summer – ‘Haf’ – ‘Mehefin’ – ‘heuldro’ haf’
At this great turning of the sun, we ‘Have’ so much.
We have warmth, food, daylight, energy, verve, fecundity and the strength of verdant oaks.
When we are at the peak of power, what do we do? We dedicate, we give ourselves in service to the land. We lay down our sword at the feet of the goddess. In Her name, however it occurs to you.
Whatever one’s mindset. If your Way is with science rather than sorcery, nor supernatural spirit belief, consider if you will how environmentalism is the highest form of materialism. How ritual enactment gives movement to such dedication and embodies oath and focus.
Traditionally, however, this time is strewn with otherworldly guidance, spirit activity and the veils are thin enough to glimpse through. Whether one calibrates that as spirits or the subconscious, collective unconscious, the time is ripe with opportunity to look and listen and feel.
Throughout vigil, teachings come, and the consolidation of the midday rite, in the eye of the sun, verdant floral offerings, horns of mead and heart to heart, hand in hand (screen to screen) we swear by peace and love.
At the climax of our midday ceremony, two step into the centre, as lady and lord, or queen and king. Representing the Land and the Tribe.
He kneels before her, in service, giving his sword and life and self. Receiving her blessing and being crowned.
The ego ‘king’ is dissolved, dedicated or directed towards the greater good. Through this sacred act, sacred marriage, with the goddess, the land.
Some traditions call him the Oak King whose power rises to midsummer sacrifice, giving way to the Holly King whose power rises to midwinter.
When full of the breath of life through inspiration, this magic of the summer’s still point, the thoughts and words and deeds abs songs that are sung through expiration, are guided by this principle of service.
When the oak has grown strong, integrating the elements, directions and seasons, drawing the lightning strike of illumination, bringing up deep water, by star and by stone, becoming able to cast a nourishment of acorns, be a welcoming shelter, a giver of life, a supporter of many, fostering community and wider work.
This is an invitation to join this sessional celebration in service to the land.
Have ready a consecrated place, perhaps an altar or space in which the ‘lord and lady’ can be symbolically acknowledged.
Gather together whatever feels right, dedicating and consecrating two objects for this purpose.
Or if you find yourself with others, discover who might embody which role. Through thought or divination.
I look forward to celebrating with you, however abstract and distant, we’ll join as one in spirit and screen.
With love, laughter and liberty, in the peace of the sacred grove.