Summer heat is at its peak during Lammas, the ancient Midsummer Celtic festival of sun god Lugh. Rituals and the usual bonfires honored the power of the sun and the harvest bounty of Mother Earth. Cattle were taken to upper meadow pastures to graze on lush grasses. This was a time of feasting, marriages and market fairs, usually held during the first two-three weeks of August. Fairs are still commonly held at this time or a bit earlier, so attending them might help to awaken ancestral memory.
The ancients also believed that the fairy folk were active and close to humans in Midsummer. Humans could be spirited away into the elemental world if they weren’t careful. One of Shakespeare’s plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, dramatizes a woodland encounter between two couples and the king and queen of fairies, Oberon and Titania, who confuse and trick the mortals as they wander through the woods.
My friends and I reclaimed and recreated this festival and made it more inwardly meaningful by honoring the elemental spirits of the garden and holding a special fire ceremony. We symbolically burned away obstacles and old patterns by listing them on slips of paper and tossing them into the fire. Afterwards, we welcomed in creative and healing energies for ourselves and our home planet and then had a celebratory feast.
Doing this simple ritual at the high point of summer felt like passing through a portal of illumination and transformation. It seems to have taken effect for all of us who participated and was definitely a powerful moment of Midsummer Magic.
You could do a similar ritual for yourself or with friends if it appeals to you. How might you mark this special moment?