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(circa June 21)
by Scott Cunningham

Before the rite, make up a small cloth pouch filled with herbs such as lavender, chamomile, St. John's Wort, vervain, rose, lily, oak, ivy, yarrow, fern, elder, wild thyme, daisy, and carnation. Mentally pour all your troubles, problems, pains, sorrows and illnesses, if any, into this petition as you construct it. Tie it shut with a red string. Place this on the altar for use during the rite. The cauldron should also be there or nearby. Even if you use candles to mark the quarters, the red candle in a holder should also be on the altar. For outdoor rituals, light a fire - however small - and drop the pouch into this. Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle. Recite the Blessing Chant. Invoke the Goddess and God. Stand before the altar and say, with wand upraised:

"I celebrate the noon of summer with mystic rites.
O great Goddess and God,
all nature vibrates with Your energies and
the Earth is bathed with warmth and life.
Now is the time of forgetting past cares and banes;
O firey Sun, burn away the unuseful, the hurtful, the bane,
in Your omnipotent power.
Purify me!
Purify me!
Purify me!"

Lay the wand on the altar. Take up the herbal petition and light it in the red candle on the altar (or, if outdoors, the ritual fire). When it is burning drop it into the cauldron (or some other heat-proof container) and say:

I banish you by the powers of the Goddess and God!
I banish you by the powers of the Sun, Moon and Stars!
I banish you by the powers of the Earth, Air, Fire and Water!"

Pause, seeing the hurts and pains burning into nothingness. Then say:

"O Gracious Goddess,
O Gracious God,
on this night of Midsummer magick I pray
that You charge my life with wonder and joy.
Help me in attuning with the energies adrift
on the enchanted night air.
I give thanks."

Reflect upon the purification you have undergone. Feel the powers of nature flowing through you, washing you clean with divine energy. Works of magick, if necessary, may follow. Celebrate the Simple Feast (Cakes and Ale). The circle is released.

Midsummer Lore

Midsummer is practically the classic time to perform magicks of all kinds. Healings, love magick and protections are especially suitable. Herbs can be dried over the ritual fire if you're celebrating outdoors. Leap the fire for purification and renewed energy. Fresh fruits are standard fare for Midsummer.

Book of Shadows © 2001, Dana (Huntress of the Dark)