In ages long gone by it was a time of maypoles, and dancing. A time of giving wreaths, a sign of affection between lovers, and of course the lighting of bonfires. Bonfires were lit to ward off evil witches who might damage the crops, much the way our ancestors would hallow the fertile fields with a Thor's Hammer to protect the crops from damaging storms. In some instances it was also considered therapeutic to jump through the bonfires to restore ones health. In the book, "The Troth", it says that New York City holds the largest Swedish celebration of the Summer Solstice, but I doubt very much that this celebration has anything to do with the customs and rituals of our Pagan ancestors.
Unfortunately at my age lighting bonfires, and jumping through them, or even dancing around them, would probably not be a good idea. Besides, I doubt that the local fire department would allow anything resembling a bonfire in my neighborhood. I have always enjoyed the quieter moments with the Gods anyway, and have usually steered clear of any loud tribal type rituals. A few candles, and altar, some mead or ale, and the presence of the Gods and Goddesses have always been more than enough for me. The Gods I speak to do not seem to care for the bells and whistles type of rituals. They have always shown me a direct, no - nonsense , get to the point type of an attitude. They want to hear what I have to say in a clear and concise way, and in a timely manner. Lets be honest, all the other trappings are really just a spectacle for us, not for the Gods. For me the Summer Solstice is about two main deities, Sunna and Jord. Sunna, who is about half way through Her lifespan now, is the most important deity in our nine worlds. Without Her there could be no life. Period ! Don' t worry about Her life being half over either, Her years are marked in billions ! Everything good comes from Her. Warmth, light, and of course life through that wonderful process known as photosynthesis, are all Her wonderful gifts. Sunna is not alone out there either of course. There are billions and billions of Sunna' s sisters out there wandering throughout our vast universe, to bring light, warmth, and probably life to other worlds .
Without Mother Jord, the great womb of life, Sunna's glowing charm would bring about no results at all. It is only when Jord's fertile soil mixes with Sunna's warm touch that life can take hold, and blossom into the great living planet that we live on today. Everything from the water we drink, to the food we plant, harvest, and eat, comes from our Great Mother Jord. Even the air we breathe is a by - product of the life that she nurtures in her fertile soil. How can we not be grateful for so many wonderful gifts !
Yes, the Summer Solstice is a time to thank Sunna, Jord, and for that matter all the Great Gods and Goddesses who have blessed us with the great gift of life. Whether you dance around a maypole, jump through bonfires, or stand respectfully before an altar of your making, we MUST give our Gods and Goddesses Their due, and honor them on this the Summer Solstice. Remember, DO NOT RECITE SOMEONE ELSES WORDS THAT YOU HAVE READ IN A BOOK, OR WERE TOLD TO SAY ! During your ritual open up your heart, and your mind to them, and express in your words how grateful you are to them for all they do for us. Let your love and respect shine through your lips to Their ears !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja' s love, and Thor's protection !