Intro to the Sabbats - Midsummer


Midsummer - Circa June 22 (Northern Hemisphere)

December 21 (Southern Hemisphere)


By this time the Goddess is heavy with her child that she conceived during Beltane, the sun is at its height of its power, and the crops are well into their growing season. Still, the fertility rites continue – nurturing that which was conceived and sown earlier in the spring months.  However the focus of this sabbat is really fatherhood – for every mother there is one, and to ignore the father’s (God’s) role in the wheel of the year is certainly one way to cause imbalance. Just as the sun is at its peak the Sun God it in the prime of his life, and we take this opportunity to celebrate his impending fatherhood.


This sabbat is one that honors the Sun, and since one of the significances of the Sun is protection, many choose to make protection amulets to be empowered on the sabbat itself over the balefire.  Some bury the amulets from the prior year’s Midsummer celebration and construct another.  One such amulet is comprised of Rue, Rowan, and Basil tied together in a gold or white cloth. Carried on your pocket, it can provide protection year round. A few cinnamon sticks tied together and hung over the entryway to your home can also be a good protective charm.


Another good protection charm, and one I am sure some of you have seen before is the South American God’s Eye.  You might know it simply as “God’s Eye”.  Its two sticks, dowels or some other type of post placed in a cross formation, with ribbon or yarn wrapped around each post.  It is customary to use contracting colors of yarn for the “eye” effect.  The four points made by the posts symbolize the two solstices and the two equinoxes.   An interesting thing to note here is that I used to make these as a craft with my church youth club all of the time.  I am sure they had no idea where the origin and symbolism came from though!


Another sort of “eye” that you might find at Midsummer is the Buckeye, which is also called a horse chestnut.  The Miami Native Americans considered them sacred and they used them as protection amulets.  This was due to their belief that these trees were the most sacred of the tree spirits and held power that could be used in protection of the tribe throughout the year.  They were usually gathered hammered through and strung to make necklaces.  They are also good to hollow out and make rings or other charms, and can be charged so the wearer is protected.




While all eight sabbats are considered fire festivals in some way, Midsummer is where it is most prevalent.  Fire, as an element of transformation, is most easily seen and felt.  It burns, purifies, consumes, cooks, heals, gives light.  Because of its heat it is most often associated with the Midsummer sun.  Because of this,  it was a time of fire rituals and magick.


In Greece and Rome, the night after Midsummer they held mock funerals in honor of the waning sun and as a celebration of the start of the harvest season.  This is one more reminder that death is not final, but part of the cycle.


In Teutonic tradition, this was the time to gather sticks to make wands or staves (a staff), typically out of ash, because they believed that this was the same wood that made up Yggdrasil, the Norse tree of life.



Midsummer is traditionally a time to gather the by now fully mature herbs and magickal plants to dry and store for the winter months.  Midsummer is also called Gathering Day in Wales just for this reason.


Celtic Druids also gathered their sacred plants at Midsummer, and one of their most sacred plants was Mistletoe, also called the “Golden Bough”.  They cut it down with a golden sickle reserved just for this event, and the harvested plant fell on to a white sheet.  It was harvested this way because if an herb or plant touches the earth, the magical energy within the plant goes into the earth (also known as grounding), and this would defeat the purpose for harvesting in the first place. 


Lavender is another herb that is considered a favorite, and is highly aromatic.  It is believed that just the scent of it was useful in love magick.  It is still burned at handfasting ceremonies & used in aphrodisiac recipes.  It is also considered to be the herb to use if you are honoring parents-to-be.


As I mentioned before it is essential to use a drop cloth when harvesting herbs to preserve their magickal energies, and it would work well to use one of natural fiber (as in cotton) in neutral colors (black or white is suggested by Edain McCoy).  Once you cut them you will need to hang them upside down in bunches to dry them.  Best places to do this is in front of a fireplace, in an attic, or in your kitchen – just as long as they won’t be disturbed.  I would avoid basements as they tend to be damp and can hamper the drying process.


Wedding Lore


June has always been a traditional month for weddings.  However in the pagan society it was considered to be thus because it was unlucky to marry during May which was the month of the sacred marriage of the Goddess & God.  The betrothals and pledgings that usually occurred during Yule, and in Ireland prior to the break up of the female clan system it was customary to wait until the woman was pregnant to marry.  Usually by late spring there were several conceptions, so the young men and women would marry at their first opportunity after the conception had been confirmed – which was usually June.


Several of the customs we see today have root in pagan tradition.  Rice throwing, sharing the wedding cake, and flowers were all parts of fertility magick, and the white dress equates the bride with the Virgin Goddess.  The ring is symbolic of the magick circle; the garter is a wreath, and carrying the bride over the threshold were all pieces of sympathetic fertility and prosperity magic.


Other Lore


The Oak king and Holly King once again battle for supremacy, just as they did at Yule.  In this case, it is the Holly King who triumphs and the Oak King is slain.  This represents the waning year.


Another form of representing the beginning of the waning year is Jack-in-the-Green.  Jack-in-the-Green is a man chosen from the community to dress like a verdant green bush and dance throughout the village.  At the end of his frolicking, he is symbolically killed in order to release the spirit of summer so the waning year can begin.


In eastern Europe they poured milk out over the ground to symbolically represent the end of the growing season and the beginning of the harvesting season.


The day after Midsummer sabbat is also the time where you could plant and perform blessings on autumn vegetables & fruits,  such as pumpkins, winter squash,  and Indian corn.  These will also be a nice addition to your autumnal sabbat rituals.


  • Other Names: Summer Soltice, Litha, Alban Hefin, Sun Blessings, Gathering Day, Feill-Sheathain, Whit Sunday, Whitsuntide, Vestalia, Thing-Tide St, John’s Day

  • Symbols: Fire, Sun, Blades, Mistletoe, Oak trees, Balefire, Sun Wheels, Faeries

  • Colors: Gold, Green, Blue, Tan

  • Deities: Father Gods, Mother Goddesses, Pregnant Deities, Sun Gods

    • Goddesses: All Pregnant Goddesses, All Young Mother Goddesses, Most War Goddesses, Aine, Aestas, Artemis, Athena, Banba, Bona Dea, Cerd, Chup-Kamui, Dag, Damona, Dana, Dia Griene, Ddjanggawaul Sisters, Elat, Eos, Erce, Eriu, Freya, Gerd, Gokarma, Grian, Hathor-Tiamet, Indra, Isis, Jord, Juno, Kali, Keca Aba, Kou-Njami, Kupulo, Mabd/Maeve, Marici, Mitra, Nut. Olwen, Robigus, Sekhmet, Shekinah, Vesta, Wurusema, Xatel-Ekwa, Zoe

    • Gods: All Sun Gods, Most War Gods,  Most Thunder Gods, Apollo, Baal, Balder, Bochica, Chacol, Dagda, Donnus, Dharme, El, Hadad, Helios, Hyperion, Ganges, Gwydion, Legba, Llew, Lugh, Maui, Oak/Holly King, Orunjan, Prometheus, Ra, Sol/Helios, Thor, Upulero, Xiuhtecutli, Zeus.

  • Activites: Jumping Balefire, Gathering Herbs, Clan Gatherings, Well Dressing

  • Taboos: Giving fire away, Sleeping away from home, Neglecting animals

  • Animals: Robin/Wren, Summer birds, Horses, Cattle

  • Stones: Emerald, Jade, Tiger’s Eye, Lapis Lazuli, Diamond

  • Foods: Summer Squash, Lemons, Oranges

  • Plants: Oak (honoring of the Sun/God at his power), Mistletoe (Saying farewell to the Waxing year), Frankincense (Preparation for Harvest), Lemon (Honoring the Pregnant Goddess), Sandalwood (Beginning of the Waning year), Heliotrope, Copal, Saffron, Galangal, Laurel, Ylang-Ylang, Lavender, Vervain

  • Attunement Teas: Anise, Carrot Drinks, Lemon, Nettle, Orange

  • Ritual Oils: Heliotrope, Cinnamon, Sandalwood, Lavender, Orange, All Mint Oils, Lemon, Saffron

  • Mythical Creatures: Satyrs, Faeries, Firebird, Dragon, Thunderbird, Manticore

  • Key Action: Nurture and Love