midsummer celebration

Your eyes are like....

Please use your MOON and RISING signs ~

Aries: the first morning of the spring, fire reflecting through, warmth that melts the ice away gently but fast

Taurus: the first flowers of the year, dawn of the day, beauty of the world, relaxed and gentle, hot tea after work, silent but meaningful like forest

Gemini: the curious eyes of child, reflecting the colorful mind, like the morning breeze, little fairies dancing in the rain

Cancer: strong but full of understanding the complexity of empathy, the bright summer nights, reflection in the surface of the lake

Leo: work of art, bright like sun but understanding like moon, midsummer day and celebrating, sparklers in the water

Virgo: warm cup of coffee in the morning, small but strong flowers, the morning rain, shine of the diamonds and purity of first snow

Libra: the first star of the night, window reflecting you, understanding of the person, slowly burning candles on a winter night, cozy fall days

Scorpio: the moon and the stars of the night, coldness of the winter and heat of the summer, passion of the tiger and understanding of the deep sea

Sagittarius: the adventures of the summer, the sparkles of the fire, meant for understanding the life, snow angels and snowball fights

Capricorn: ambition that goes over the sky, the moon and the universe, warmth of a hug on a winter day, stability of a maple

Aquarius: understanding humanity and everything beyond, dancing in the summer rain, galaxies of the universe

Pisces: looking through the rose glasses, where the worlds top secrets are kept, white clouds of the sky, snowflakes falling from the sky

Summer Solstice Celebration!

Hello my lovelies! 
Only one week left until the Summer Solstice and I am just beaming for the upcoming celebration! I decided to make another post like my Spring Equinox celebration one since you all seemed to like it so much. I do plan on having a bit more of a ‘proper’ ritual and celebration of the day since that Monday I have off from work, but here are some other low-key ways that I am going to celebrate the day. I’ve split it into two sections of day activities and night ones because the Summer Solstice can go all night long and I plan on doing a whole cycle’s worth of things. 

During the Day:

  • Greet the sun! I know it’s going to be an early sunrise, but if you’re there to greet the sun, you’ll be starting the day off on the right foot! You can either just lay in bed and watch the sun rise from your window or head outside and do a sun salutation, both will give you energy!
  • Wear your favourite summer clothes! Shorts, tanks tops, t-shirts, sun dresses- even flip flops if you can get away with it! The colours associated with Liltha are reds, oranges, yellows/golds, blues, greens and white! 
  • I’m going to be setting my citrine, clear quartz and peridot stones absorb the sunlight throughout the day- other gems that would love to be out on the Summer Solstice would be fluorite, sunstone, agate, carnelian, and any stone that is green or yellow in colour! But you best check to see if it’ll fade in colour before you set it out all day. If that might happen, then the moon light will work just as well. 
  • For lunch, enjoy a summer salad filled with summer berries like strawberries and blueberries, apples, leafy greens and a sweeter dressing! The berries are a great way of celebrating what the summer will bring for you. 
  • Get outside! I don’t care if it’s for five minutes at your lunch break or an hour long hike like I plan on doing, but get outside and live in nature! Breath in the fresh summer breeze, feel the sun on your skin, meditate and be with nature. 
  • There are so many ways to drink summer in- literally! Lemonade, iced tea, fruit juices, herbal teas like chamomile, rose or lavender will be such a great way to get just that little bit of summer in you. 
  • Today is also a great day to try and interact with the faeries and fae folk. Leave a small offering of milk and honey (or a honey cake!) outside in your garden, in a park, on the outside window ledge, and the fae will appreciate the gesture! Who knows- that could be the start of a relationship between you and them. 

At Night:

  • Have friends over or go out to dinner! If nothing else, the summer solstice is about celebrating with friends and family! It’s about being thankful for what you have and getting excited for the summer, so get together and discuss your upcoming summer plans! Who knows what might come out of it?
  • Listen to music- your favourite music, and sing your heart out! The god Apollo (the Greek god of Light, Sun, music and poetry) is one of the many gods who will be thriving off the activities of today and you can honour them by just enjoying music and art. 
  • Light candles- or your barbecue! Traditionally, this sabbat is celebrated with a balefire (outside campfire), but if you’re like me and lack an outside fire pit, then lighting up the bbq and cooking up some veggie or meat kebabs will be a good way of making a feast and substituting the ‘real thing’. No BBQ? No stress- light up some candles and watch it glow. Bonus points if they are coloured or scented to match the holiday. 
  • Make a craft for the summer- a flower crown, a bird house, a sun catcher. I know I plan on making a flower crown and perhaps painting that day, but so long as you create something, spell or not, it can honour the day’s celebrations.
  • Watch the sunset- like watching the sunrise, watching the longest day of the year come to a close will be an amazing way to celebrate the whole of the Summer Solstice. 
  • Are you of legal age? Have a drink of summer wines or berry ciders- just remember to give either the first or last sip to nature, the faeries will find it! 
  • Decorate your home for summer and for the summer solstice by incorporating some common symbols as decor- seashells, fresh flowers like sunflowers, daisies, carnations, and peonies, little statues of birds, deer, faeries, feathers from birds, and shining crystals. The summer decor, beach house look is always a popular one during June and July so you’ll bled right in.

So this is the rough outline of what I plan on doing during the Summer Solstice! I am going to do a spell that day I think, but I haven’t decided what just yet. I’m thinking a motivation spell or a creativity spell, so I can charge up my summer and all the writing I plan on doing. All I know is that it’s going to be a great day! I hope that I have inspired you to celebrate, regardless of how busy you may be that Monday. 

I hope you have an amazing week and a fantastic Summer Solstice! Love you all and sending all my good vibes out to you for this summer.

-Faye xx

in the midsummer night i celebrate the leo light
dancing in the warmth, holding a glass of the sun, captured by a thousand
photographs flashed by the stars
i am in love’s arms, experiencing miracle after miracle

Midsummer Ideas

I’ll be going camping with the fam till mid next week, so I’ll leave you with some Midsummer/Litha celebration ideas for until I get back.

-It’s the longest day of the year, so you can create an altar for light, fire, and/or the sun with candles, a fire bowl, sparklers, stones and herbs associated with the sun, reflective objects, a gold altar cloth, etc.

-If you’re more into night and darkness, wait for sunset and do a little ritual to welcome the returning night, as now for the next six months, the nights will be growing longer and the days shorter. Light a gold candle shortly before sunset and extinguish it when the sun is gone, bury it and replace it with a black or silver one. Leave offerings and prayers for dark deities. 

-The sun enters Cancer this day, which is a water sign, so you can honor that too by swimming, visiting the ocean, pegging water balloons at those who have wronged you, taking a ritual bath/shower…

-Drum circles and other music making. (You can also include making the drums and shakers in your festivities, especially if you have kids).

-Making and leaving treats for the fairies because either a.) you genuinely like them, or b.) to give them a peace offering so they won’t hide your stuff or fuck up your house.

-Do research on sun deities.

-Meditate on the Sun’s energy. (*whispers* work on your tan.)

-This year it’s on the same day as the full moon, so take advantage of this glorious blend of solar and lunar energy. Work magick to promote harmony, healing, bringing much needed motivation, energy, or inspiration into your life, bringing in new relationships, or strengthening already existing bonds. 

-Watch Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 3: Fire, Chapter 13: “The Firebending Masters.” I’m not entirely joking, this episode gives a nice commentary on the properties of fire and the sun.

-Wildly dance around the bonfire like the heathen you are.

-BURN DOWN DONALD TRUMP’S MANSION

-Gardening.

Originally posted by butteryplanet

Have fun, ya’ll.

Honestly when I imagine Kent Parson being genuinely happy I think he has a boyfriend and a girlfriend who live with each other and think hockey is this super weird exotic Thing their boyfriend is into. He met them at Burning Man, or whatever local Beltane or Midsummer celebration the type of person who goes to Burning Man (or did, before it got unreasonably huge) goes to during other parts of the year. She’s a half-Maya spoken word artist who works for a wildlife rehabilitation centre, especially with wild hawks and vultures; he’s a California-born guitarist in a band that tours the Southwest but he probably waits tables or something to make money to get by. They live an hour or so outside of Las Vegas in a trailer with a henhouse full of laying hens and a garden made out of cinderblock. Kent drives there after morning skate some days and drinks his girlfriend’s lemonade and crawls into bed to nap with his boyfriend. Two friends of his SOs’ come by for lunch bearing beans and rice and guitars; they jam until dinnertime and Kent just sits in a beanbag chair and drinks it all in, incidentally eating all the tortillas in the house with cucumber and mint raita. He pays for the food they order, which arrives 10 minutes before his girlfriend gets home. At one point he joins a guitarist in enthusing about baseball and the guy says, “No shit, you’re into sports too?” Nobody cares about his team’s postseason prospects and the tight spot in his chest has stoped hurting. Kent’s so relaxed. On long weekends he puts his cat in a carrier and brings her too.

Wicca Weekly: Litha

Hello My dear Followers,


It’s been brought to myattention that it’s been a while since I actually wrote a Wicca Weekly post that wasn’t a personal update or the answering of a specific question. Let’s fix that. My goal in the near future is to finish the holiday series so that when someone asks me what they need to know in their first steps of pagandom I can send them to a Holidays post.


So far I have done


Since I have been (sorta) going in order, this means the next holiday up for explanation is Litha/Midsummer. Speaking from experience a lot of people know the name of the holiday..but haven’t the foggiest idea of what to do.


Well, I am here to help clear things up for you.



Litha: The Longest Day

History

Litha, also called midsummer, is celebrated on the longest day of the year. When that is depends on where you live. In the Northern Hemisphere it is June 21st or 22nd, in the Southern Hemisphere it is December 21st or 22nd. I would suggest looking into the solar charts of you area to find out exactly when this day is for you.

The name Litha comes from the Saxons and their name for the month of June, which was Aerra Litha. They celebrated this day as the day when the Light won the battle over the darkness. They would make huge bonfires at the tops of hills in order to connect the earth with the sky. One tradition that is depicted in old artwork has the people of Europe lighting wheels on fire and rolling them into water to connect the worlds of fire and water. The purpose of this has been lost and some people aren’t sure that it ever happened at all since wheels were particularly expensive.

Early Christian Monks even marked this day on their calendars, who would also build bonfires in order to connect themselves with the heavens and honor the sky that was in between. There  are only a few surviving documents that talk about this so it is hard to know exactly what Christians did at this time, though it is commonly called St. Hans Day. However it has become St John the Baptists Day in modern reckoning.

This day was also the day when Roman pantheons celebrated the goddess Juno, also called Juna de Luna, or Juno of the Moon. Juno is the Wife of of Juiptor and the goddess of women, childbirth, and marriage. Making this the day when man Roman citizens would get married. When celebrating Juno for this festival one would take offerings of salted meats to her temples, and  some of the most devout would even fast themselves for eight days to get closer to the goddess, ask for her blessings on their home or ask her to give them the gift of a fertile union or an easy childbirth.

Midsummer holidays are still celebrated (thought not always realized) by the following countries:

  • Austria with ships and the lighting of old castles,
  • Brazil celebrate St. John’s Day,
  • Bulgaria also celebrates St. John’s Day and Enyovden,
  • Canada especially in Newfoundland where the celebrate the discovery of Newfoundland,
  • Denmark celebrates St. John’s Eve, or sankthans
  • Estonia celebrates John’s Day
  • Faroe Islands celebrates jóansøka or John’s Eve by lighting a bonfire
  • Finland originally celebrated Ukon juhla or Ukko’s Celebration after their Grandfather God Ukko, who was also a god of thunder and of the heavens. It was heralded by twin bonfires at the highest points available to a village with a great deal of dancing and feasting. Young maidens looking for fertility or suitors they would toss gifts into the fire in the hopes of getting one of these blessings. It is tradition for a woman seeking a husband to gather flowers from seven different types of flowers to make a bouquet to place under her pillow so that she might dream of her husband to be. It is still celebrated  and as of 1955 it is always celebrated on a Saturday. As Finland became more Christianized, however, they began to call this festival Johannes Döparen. The real name of John the Baptist.
  • France: Fête de la Saint-Jean, the Feast of Saint Jean.
  • Germany: Sommersonnenwende still celebrates the Old Feast, and I found this following snippet that amuses me:
    • On June 20, 1653 the Nuremburg town council issued the following order: “Where experience herefore have shown, that after the old heathen use, on John’s day in every year, in the country, as well in towns as villages, money and wood have been gathered by young folk, and there upon the so-called sonnenwendt or zimmet fire kindled, and thereat winebibbing, dancing about the said fire, leaping over the same, with burning of sundry herbs and flowers, and setting of brands from the said fire in the fields, and in many other ways all manner of superstitious work carried on — Therefore the Hon. Council of Nürnberg town neither can nor ought to forbear to do away with all such unbecoming superstition, paganism, and peril of fire on this coming day of St. John
  • Greece: does Klidonas for John the Baptist
  • Hungary traditonally did St. Ivan’s Night. Until the 19th century Hungary called the month of June the Month of St. Ivan. Bonfires were lit and young ladies would jump the fire while young men watched. However, around the 5th century Christanization shifted the festivity from the pagan Feast of St. Ivan to a festival for John the Baptist. However, in true Hungarian fashion, the far reaches of the country still celebrated the feast of Ivan up until the 1930’s.
  • Iran celebrates Jashn-e Tiregân which is a lovely and intricate festival that I wont belittle by summarizing it in a couple of sentences, however likemany of the midsumemr festivals it incorporates fire and water.
  • Ireland is famous for it’s midsummer carnivals which has bonfires, fireworks, festivals, carnivals, and is sometimes referred to as St. John’s Night.
  • Italy has celebrated St. John’s Day since the Renaissance. Especially in Genoa since St. John is the patron saint of this area.
  • Jersey while almost completely forgotten now Jersey used to celebrate Les cônes d'la Saint Jean all the way up till 1970.
  • Latvia, still recognizes the feast of Jāņi. Celebrated by eating special foods, drinking bear, dancing and singing as well as the traditional bonfire. Women wear flower wreaths and jump the bonfire, and the wearing of Oak leaves by the men. There are a thousand of smalelr traditions that vary from one city to the next for a miriad of reasons, I highly suggest looking into the festival.
  • Lithuania celebrates the Festival of St. Johannes.
  • Norway recognizes St. John’s Wake were many did a pilgrimage to a specific church. Also mock weddings, bonfires, and the wearing of flowers are nightly traditions. It is believed that if a girl puts flowers beneath her pillow on this night she will dream of her husband.
  • Poland people wear tradition polka garments, and girls throw flowers into the water to ask for blessings of love.
  • Portugal celebrates Santos Populares which is the Feast of Popular Saints. It is a VERY big festival with far too many intricacies and traditions for me to put here. But dancings, merriment, tricana girls, and much much more are traditional.
  • Romania actually has two festivals Drăgaica or Sânziene. For  Drăgaica five to seven girls form a group, one of them is called the Drăgaica. She is dresses as a bride with a wreath of flowers the others have crowns of wheat. They dance and form the center of merriment for this festival.  Sânziene is the romani word for the latin term Sancta Diana. The festival revolving around this concept is more erotic in nature and revolves around a woman’s marriage prospects.
  • Ukrane/Russia Ivan Kupala was the old Kyiv Rus’ name for John the Baptist. Up to the present day, the Rus’ Midsummer Night (or Ivan’s Day…we know Ivan’s Day…right?) is known as one of the most expressive Kyiv Rus’ folk and pagan holidays. Ivan Kupala Day is the day of summer solstice celebrated in Ukraine and Russia on June 23 and July 6. This is a pagan fertility rite, which has been accepted into the Orthodox Christian calendar. Bravo Russia/Ukrane. You kinda rock. Once again girls with flwoers are a large part of this festival, as well as water (girls would place flowers into water for blessing of sensuality and fertility) Bonfires which both men and women would jump over. Also, nude bathing is a thing. Lucky folks.
  • Slovenia: Kresna noč use to be celebrated on June 21., but during Jugoslavia holiday was changed with maj. 1, international workers day. Kresna noč was once associated with the Slavic god Kresnik, who was eventually replaced by St. John the Baptist.If you haven’t noticed a trend here…you really aren’t paying attention.
  • Serbia has a LOT of tradition here. However it should be noted that St. John is referred to at the Dancing Saint in Serbia and to dance around a fire on this day is traditional.
  • Spain….do you guys do anything small? Ever? Spain wins the cake for incorporating pagan traditions into modern christian festivals. Go look up midsummer in Spain…you’ll see what I mean. However Fire, Water, and Medicine are themes here.
  • Sweden may be one of the most traditional in their celebrating of midsummer. “In modern Sweden, Midsummer’s Eve and Midsummer’s Day (Midsommarafton and Midsommardagen) were formerly celebrated on 23 June and 24 June, but since 1953 the celebration has been moved to the Friday and Saturday between 19 June and 26 June with the main celebrations taking place on Friday. It is one of the most important holidays of the year in Sweden, and probably the most uniquely Swedish in the way it is celebrated. When Sweden got its National day (6 June), discussions were held about making Midsummer the Swedish national day because of the strong civil celebration on this day.”
  • certain parts of the United Kingdom celebrated traditional midsummer bonfires and feasts up until the 14th century.
  • and believe it or not The United States…seriously…look for local fairs around this holiday…you’ll notice there are about 30x more.

The God at Litha

  • This Holiday falls opposite Yule, and in such is associated with the God. On Litha the God in his Oak King or Green Man form is at his strongest. In certain wiccan traditions this is when the Holly King and the Oak king battle or change power, in others this is when the God becomes Father. This holiday is equal and opposite to Yule.

The Goddess at Litha

  • Any goddess who is associated with the Mother or Maternal aspects of the Goddess is accepted, however Juno is most notorious on this day.

Themes

  • Fire/Bonfires
    • You will notice that the lighting of bonfires is a huge part of this festival. Today is the day when light overtakes the dark. Light a bonfire as the sun disappears and keep it going as long as possible, traditionally all night.
  • Looking for a spouse
    • Once again, an ongoing theme for this festival is to gain the attention of a partner, particularly if you are female. Wear flowers and place them in water or put them beneath your pillow in order to gain a dream-like glimpse of your future partner.
  • From Dark to Light
    • The Wheel of the Year is split into two halve, the Light half of the Year and the Dark half of the year. Litha is the beginning of the Light half of the year and will continue until Yule.
  • Fertility and Motherhood
    • Yes, this is a holiday for the God of the Sun, but do not ignore the fact that the world is ripe and yielding it’s bounty unto us. The heat of the world gives forth to the fertility in those who are capable of giving birth. 
  • Being outside
    • If ever there was a festival where you should close up your computer, leave your phone at home, and just go outside to be outside…this is the day for it. From the time the sun is up until you can’t handle being around the bonfire another moment, go outside. Go for a nature walk, pack a picnic lunch, and plan for a BBQ. No seriously…BBQ…in the covens I have been a part of having a BBQ on this day is a two fold thing. First you have your fire, second you are outside. And who is gonna say no to an awesome BBQ? 

Foods

  • Lemon
  • Oranges
  • Citrus in general as they are big into the soaking up of the energy of the sun
  • Sunflowers
  • Berry Pies
  • Summer Squash
  • Honey
  • All locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Anything that can go on a grill but especially chicken or pork

Rituals and Ceremonies

  • What you want to do as you Litha Ritual is entirely up to you please check the Themes in this post to give you an idea for your intent.
  • Do not be too serious on this holiday. If there is a holiday that is all about celebration this one is it. Dance, sing, rejoice.
  • Getting in touch with the God. I know of many pagans who do not have the same connection with the God as they do with the Goddess. My whole hearted advice is to use this holiday and the holiday of Yule to change that. This holiday is fairly easy…go outside. Go play. Bask in the warmth of the sun and feel the heat not just on your skin but in your very heart.
  • All women, both with vaginas and without, go collect flowers. Collect them, wear them, and put them in the water or under your pillow. Even if you aren’t looking for a partner this helps reestablish a connection to the sun, the earth, and the God.
  • All men, with penises and without, collect wood for the bonfire. As you collect each stick think on the Green Man and let his spirit wake up in you.
  • I know I’ve said this like three times…but host a BBQ. Invite friends and family. Turn on your radio, laugh, sing, dance, eat drink and be merry. This is the best ritual that you can offer this day.
The Midsummer Festival fic

Read it on my Fanfiction page here

Got inspiration from this Hiccstrid Confession:


Hiccup turned the parchment over in his hands, reading and re-reading its words. He was in utter disbelief. How could his father put him on the spot like this? Did he really expect his son to be so bold as to—. He sighed and put the parchment down on his work table. His fathers Terrible Terror; Razoreye, sat on his flight helmet, preening his wings.

It was approaching Midsummer Eve and the days were growing longer and hotter. Even the evenings were steamy. Dragon’s Edge had been the victim of several fires and heat waves. Hiccup got up to fetch his water skin, wiping the sweat from his brow as he did so. After taking a sip of cool, refreshing water, he raced back to the table to make sure what he read was correct.

Son, 
 As you are probably well aware, four days from now Berk celebrates the Midsummer Festival. It is tradition for everyone over the age of 17 to take part in the midsummer dances. As the chief’s son you will be expected to have a suitable dancing partner as you will be leading the dance this year.
Anticipating your return to Berk soon!
Stoick the Vast

Nope, he had read it correctly.

Hiccup had multiple issues with this message. Firstly, Hiccup didn’t know how to dance! He was possibly one of the most uncoordinated, clumsy vikings on Berk. All he knew was dragons and the things Gobber had taught him at the forge. He couldn’t dance! And Secondly, how could his father expect him to lead the dances! Why couldn’t Stoick lead the dances? Talk about getting thrown in the deep end. Thought Hiccup. And lastly, he had to have a ‘suitable dancing partner’? The first person who came to mind was obviously Astrid. But then, the thought of having to ask her made him a little skittish and nervous. He didn’t understand why though, they were just friends after all.

He glanced over at Toothless who was laying on his bed, watching the scene. Hiccup’s shoulders slumped. “Can you be my dancing partner, Bud?” Toothless gave a consoling gurgle, sensing his companion was troubled. Hiccup patted him on the nose. “Lets get some rest, I have er… a few things to get done tomorrow.”

Hiccup went to bed that night, running the words over and over in his mind as how he was going to ask Astrid. He was nervous. He didn’t want her to take it the wrong way. It was just going to be friend to friend. Plus he didn’t want the rest of the vikings on Dragon’s Edge teasing him about it for the rest of the month. So he had to plan his words carefully.

Astrid had been pretty impartial towards him over recent years. Hiccup had grown out of his crush phase toward her which he had to thank the Gods for, because from it, had blossomed an amazing friendship.

He thought back to when they were younger, and how she had treated him to occasional affections here and there. He recalled how happy it had made him whenever he received a token kiss on the cheek or even, less occasionally, on the lips. Unconsciously, Hiccup still had a deep-rooted fondness for Astrid that was beyond the friendship zone. However, he had, somehow, seemed to have buried it away so deep, that he hardly knew it himself.

He would just have to get her alone somehow and do it casually. Not make a big thing out of it, or she will get the wrong idea. He didn’t want to scare her off after all. Hiccup was very pragmatic about these things. If it was his duty, as the chief’s son, it had to be done.

Astrid had woken up early that morning to get in an early morning flight before starting her duties on the island. She had just left the stables, smiling to herself when…

“Hey Astrid!”

She turned and saw the young viking man striding towards her.

“Hey” she greeted, cooly. Brushing her hair away from her eyes.

“Look, I’m going to get straight to the point here.” He said, stopping in front of her. “My dad sent me this message last night, about the Midsummer festival? Yeah, well anyway, he says I need a dance partner or something. Aaand I reckon you and I would look pretty good on the floor together. Amiright?” He raised his eyebrows a couple of times. “ What do you say?”

Astrid was taken aback by his forwardness but recovered quickly. “Errmm, well the thing is… someone has already asked me. And I have already said I’d be their partner. Sorry, Snotlout.”

Snotlout’s eyes fell a bit. “Oh…” It was his turn to recover. “That’s okay, guess… I’ll have to ask Ruff then, right?” He laughed awkwardly. It was obvious that he hadn’t considered what to do if he had been turned down because, he assumed, who ever he asked would say yes. Classic ignorant Snotlout. Thought Astrid.

“Well, you better get on to that soon, because Fishlegs said something about ‘talking to Ruffnut’ yesterday… Bet that’s about the dance too.”

She watched Snotlout’s face fall through a mixture of emotions. Shock, jealousy, disbelief and then determination.

“Better go find her now or you will be the only one without a date!”

“Huh? … Who’s Hiccup and Tuffnut taking then?”

“Well, I’m assuming Tuff is taking his chicken and well…” Astrid blushed. “Hiccup is taking me.”

Snotlout looked incredulous. “Hiccup? Gee, didn’t think he had it in him. I assumed Gustav asked you.” He smirked.

“I would never go with Gustav. Erk.” She mimicked barfing up her breakfast. Snotlout laughed but then raised an eyebrow.

“You and Hiccup, huh? Never would have picked you two.”

Was he actually blind? She and Hiccup spent most their spare time together and she had even kissed him a few times on occasions. And it came to a surprise to Snotlout? Jeez he was thick. Astrid thought. But then she had remembered what Hiccup had said…

“We are only going as friends, though. So don’t get your dragon in a knot, okay? Look, are you going to go ask Ruffnut or not?”

Snotlout’s face, went from mocking, to focussed, in a heartbeat and said “Oh right! Yeah! See you later, Astrid!” And he climbed onto Hookfang’s saddle and flew off in search of Ruffnut.

Astrid giggled at the thought of all the boys on the island running around after girls trying to ask them to be dance partners. What did these messages from their fathers say? She wondered. She leant down and picked up a bucket.

“C’mon, Stormfly. Let’s get going before it gets too hot!” Astrid climbed atop her dragon mate and they took off for the caves on the East of Dragon’s Edge. She loved nothing more that riding her dragon and feeling the breath of the archipelago in her face and whistling through her hair. The sun beat down upon her freckled back and lit up her blonde hair like fire. She had enjoyed her morning flight with Stormfly. This morning had been an especially good flight though, because she’d had company.

She remembered how she had been swerving between sea stacks and plunging into hard dives when she had seen a black blur flit behind a cliff and up over the cove below. She smiled to herself.

She was not the only one up for a morning flight.

It wasn’t uncommon that she and Hiccup would rendezvous somewhere on the Edge to share their morning flights. It was always much more fun and challenging to have someone to compete with and the other young vikings weren’t really the early bird type.

Astrid banked left to follow behind Hiccup and Toothless. They hadn’t seen her yet. She wanted to sneak up on them. She had tried it a dozen times before but Stormfly could only hold Toothless’ speed for about 10 seconds so the timing had to be precise.

“Let’s do this. Stormfly. Catch me if I fall okay?” Stormfly let out a squawk of determination.

They narrowed in on their target, flying as silently as could be. She gained on Hiccup fast and mirrored his swift turns as he and Toothless glided around a cluster of sea stacks. Astrid was a fair way above him. She looked down and calculated the distance.

“Okay, now, Stormfly! Go!” Astrid leapt up from her saddle and steadied herself, ready to jump. Stormfly’s wings beat extra hard as they closed the gap between the Hiccup and themselves.

With a great heave of effort, Astrid flew from Stormfly’s saddle and free fell in mid air. The wind whistling in her ears had been almost deafening. When…

THUNK.

She landed right behind Hiccup on Toothless’ saddle.

Both Toothless and Hiccup jumped in surprise and they lost a few feet of altitude. “Holy Thor!” Hiccup almost slid off the saddle but Astrid caught him by the scruff of his sleeve. Toothless gave an indignant growl. But Astrid didn’t care she was too ecstatic that she had made the fall!

“YES!” She laughed, throwing her hands up in celebration. “I actually made it! Ha ha!”

“Astrid!”Hiccup puffed. He was still recovering from shock, yet starting to look a little amused by the situation.

Stormfly glided along beside them. “Stormfly! I did it! We did it!” Astrid punched the air. She had been trying, for months, to get that right.

Astrid was now in a very good mood. “Good morning, Mr Haddock!” She smiled brightly to him and wound her arms around his waist to secure herself on the saddle.

“Well, good morning to you, too! And nice job on the free fall, may I add. I should be hooking you up with a flight suit!” he called over his shoulder, as the wind was quite loud and blowy on this side of the island.

“I think, there are some rocks a viking should leave un-turned.” Her fingers, momentarily, traced the pockets of his suit which concealed the wings he used to fly with Toothless.

“Maybe!” said Hiccup rather unconvincingly. He patted her hands that were resting around his ribs. “Hold on tight.”

He twitched his foot on the stirrup and Toothless shot off into the sky.

Astrid loved riding on Toothless. She didn’t get to that often, but occasionally, Hiccup would treat her to a Night Fury flight. And she had earned it today! Flying Stormfly was great but there was nothing like the speed of riding on Toothless. The flight was so speedy, yet so smooth and graceful, it could lull you to sleep.

They spent about half an hour, circling the skies and darting between the cliffs. They would fly low above the water, zooming over the waves, and kicking up the seas as they went. The sun was still low in the sky, not too hot yet.

***

Astrid smiled to herself as she lowered the bucket into a fresh water pool inside the cave. The spot was a sweet relief from the steadily growing dry, heat outside. The air was cool and thick with moisture. She decided she would have a quick rinse and a cool down before she headed back to the base.

She left the filled bucket on the stone floor of the cave. She began to strip off her armour and clothing, leaving them on a rock, out of waters reach. Still in her underclothes, in case someone happened to walk in, Astrid picked a small pool to wash in. It was not large enough to sit in but she stepped into it so that it reached up to her mid thighs.

She wondered if Snotlout had made it to Ruff in time, before Fishlegs. She took out her braid and used part of her legging bindings as a rag. She began to wash herself. The cool water trickled down her skin, and over her developing curves. It was dim in the cave. A cool, blue light was being cast by the water, throwing watery patterns on the stone walls. She couldn’t decide who she was rooting for. Snot or Fishlegs?

She started wondering about the festival coming up. Her mother had taught her the steps for the dancing when she was growing up. Astrid had always loved dancing. She didn’t like to admit it, because she didn’t want to seem too girly. But she had always held a soft spot for a dance. Hiccup had admitted to her, his fears about the dancing. And she silently admitted, she thought Hiccup would be a terrible dancer. He’s all arms and legs. Plus, it can’t possibly help only having one leg, either. She had promised him she would take him through a few simple steps before they got to Berk.

Astrid’s thoughts always took her back to Hiccup. She delicately wiped a spot at the crook of her neck and down her chest. Water dripped off her body and rippled the water around her thighs. She was happy he had asked her. She would much prefer going with Hiccup as a friends, than going with Snotlout or Gustav as their… ‘prize’. Hiccup respected her and she appreciated that. Even the way he had asked her had been polite, despite his obvious nerves.

After about an hour up in the air with Toothless, the two vikings had decided to call it quits and head back to the stables. Astrid had jumped back on Stormfly now and they headed off to the base. It was growing hotter. They flew over Dragon’s Edge. Astrid saw mysterious smoke billowing out of the twins hut, which seemed to be the norm these days. They flew over the training arena and passed Snotlout, who was toasting a mackerel over a fire pit, with Hookfang. He waved and his gaze followed Astrid up to the stables.

She and Hiccup dismounted their dragons when they had landed on the platform outside the stables. Hiccups hair was a wind swept mess. He could probably say the same about Astrid’s though.

“Better start my duties before it gets too hot.” Astrid said, heading over to grab a bucket from a shelf. She was about to say her farewells when Hiccup cut in.

“Astrid, I err… my father sent me a message last night…” he looked nervous, as if he was in trouble.

“What’s wrong? Is everything okay back on Berk?!” She started to panic.

“What? Yes, everything is fine. Don’t worry.” He laughed nervously.

“Okayyy…” Astrid prompted.

“Yeah, well the letter was about the Midsummer festival.” He paused. “He’s put me in charge of a few things.” This was all very mysterious. What things?

She raised her eyebrows.

“Well, since us Vikings here are all of age this year… we’re all expected to take part in the midsummer dances.”

“Yes, I am aware.” She had a feeling she knew where he was going with this.

“And well, dad has, conveniently, put me in charge of… of leading the dances this year.” He didn’t sound thrilled about this idea.

Astrid laughed. “Hiccup, I don’t think i’ve ever seen you dance.”

“That’s exactly my problem, Astrid! I don’t know how to dance!” He looked a little stressed about it, in all honesty. “And well… I know you are a good dancer.”

“How do you know that?” Asked Astrid, despite being a bit flattered.

Hiccup smiled and turned a little shade of pink.

“I err… used to watch you dance when we were kids.” He admitted, hesitantly. “You were very good.”

Astrid laughed again, Hiccup was very cute when he was embarrassed. She would like it if he would ease up a bit.

“Look, the point is; I need a dancing partner who might help me look a little less hopeless out there on festival night. And plus it will be fun!” He gave her a warm smile. “So… will you be my dance partner?”

She was unsure about what he was asking. At first she was thinking, he just needed a hand with the dancing. But he was going all pink in the face and stumbling over his words. Astrid was making him… nervous! Now she wondered if his intentions were maybe… romantic? Her question must have been written on her face because he quickly added “As friends. I… er” he searched for the words, trying not to offend her or scare her off.

“As friends” said Astrid brightly, placing a hand on his shoulder. She was happy to be dancing as friends, yet there was something inside her that made her feel, subconsciously, disappointed. She easily disregarded these feelings though.

Hiccup looked relieved.

“So we are leading the dances then, huh?” She said, smiling.

“Yep, let’s hope it’s not a disaster.”

“Well, you better get some practice. I can come to your place tonight, and I can… show you a few steps, okay?”

Hiccup’s worried little face, brightened and he laughed “Really? Okay, that sounds great. Well, I’ll see you at training this afternoon, anyway.”

“Yep,” She leant down and picked up the bucket. “See you, Hiccup.” And she turned and left the stable, smiling to herself.

***

Astrid had tied her hair back up in its usual braid and pulled her clothes and armour back on. She grabbed the bucket and headed back out of the cave. She blinked blindly in the light of the sun. Stormfly was waiting at the mouth of the cave, hiding in the shade of the cliff. Astrid climbed on her back and they headed back to the base. Astrid’s thoughts still on Midsummer eve, dancing and Hiccup.



to be continued…

(x)

6

Loki & Sigyn

Disclaimer: Gifs are not mine. Some belong to becausehiddles

For snowangelaziraphale

It began during the midsummer celebrations. Although it was emphasised that the second prince of Asgard was detached from amorous affairs, the evidence displayed during the feast of the summer solstice was quite contradictory.

Rowdy cheers and merry laughter echoed through the great hall as Volstagg dug into his fourth helping of dessert, and Sif slammed Fandral’s hand down onto the table, claiming another victory for the second time. Loki sat at his mother’s side, quietly exchanging casual conversation over the matters of his latest discovery of the ancient scrolls he had come across down in the forgotten archives. But every so often, his eyes stole across to a figure sitting several seats across and further down, whose unblinking gaze began to beguile him more and more each time their gazes met amidst the passing of liquor bottles and exchanging of dishes. If this had been some attempt at a shared intimacy, it did not go unnoticed, for Frigga had followed her son’s unwavering gaze to the young woman sitting at the warrior Theoric’s side. Sigyn Iwaldidottir. A young child when she had first come to court under her father’s request that she be raised under Asgard’s halls and taught the traditions of her people in combat and sorcery until the time came for her to return to her family. Frigga continued to pass fleeting glances at Sigyn for the rest of the feast that night, and watched with careful attentiveness when Loki rose from his chair an hour later and offered her his hand to dance.

-

In the mornings, observation was not such an easy feat for Asgard’s queen, whose duties placed her some distance from the training grounds which her two sons sparred for an hour’s practice. Thor was knocked flat onto his back, his legs swept from beneath him as the illusion of his younger brother shimmered before disappearing. Rolling over and getting to his feet, he waggled a finger at Loki who stood before him, a faint smirk curling the side of his mouth.

“Now brother, we’ll have none of that. Your cheating tricks are merely just your way of trying to gain the upper hand.” Then he dove forwards, catching Loki in the stomach and sending him flying into the dust.

It wasn’t until they pushed themselves onto their knees that they looked up to see Sif and Sigyn standing over them. Amusement was painted across both of their features; Sif’s eyes were glittering with silent laughter while the ghost of a smile twitched at Sigyn’s lips. Thor was oddly reminded of the look Loki had previously worn.

“Care to challenge one of us to a proper match?” Sif unfolded her arms from across her chest and trailed a finger casually down her double-bladed sword.

As Thor and Sif broke away to find a separate sparring field, Sigyn took her hand off her tip, twirling a dagger between her fingers. He produced one of his own, gripping and testing its weight in his fist before bending his knees slightly in preparation for a quick movement. He was lucky to have done so, for the second he braced himself she lunged, swiping at him with such speed that he just managed to twist away. Wheeling back around, he saw the mischievous glint in her eyes, mocking him without words.

“You are a far cry from a fair fighter,” he remarked.

She darted to the side, the steel in her hand flashing as he spun away. He threw out an illusion to disorientate her, shattering her concentration and swinging a blow at her ribs. But what he did not expect was for his fist to pass through thin air. This in turn caught him off balance, and the illusion faded in an instant as she forced him to the ground, trapping him beneath her weight.

“Takes one to know one.” She was bent over him now, her words like a soft caress as her lips strayed mere inches from his ear.

But there was no chance that he was prepared to let her triumph last for long. When he felt her weight lift as she stood, he rolled quickly, hands flying to grab her elbows and pull her back down into the dirt with him. A short laugh burst from his chest as he rose to his feet gracefully, offering her his hand to help her up, but she ignored it, standing swiftly and brushing the dust off her trousers. Despite his childish tactic and her blatant emphasis of choosing to dismiss his gracious conduct, he saw the tug of a smile disappear as she steeled herself again. He found himself staring into the depthless blue of her eyes.

They continued their deceptive dance, wielding their magic in sneaky attempts to hoodwink one another. The morning eventually culminated in him beating her only by the skin of his teeth, but not before she had managed to floor him almost eight times and disarmed him by twice that number. He bit back the temptation to tell her that his ribs would be feeling the full brunt of her blows by the evening.

-

She sat beside him at dinner that night, their gazes often meeting over the rim of a wine cup or as he strung a playful recount about the morning’s events while his brother laughed and Sif smirked. Every so often, his fingers would stray down to her hand resting on her lap, rubbing his thumb over the inside of her wrist and playing with the bracelet on her wrist. When the meal was over, he waited until the majority of the party had departed the hall in order to follow her out onto the balcony. Frigga lingered behind, waiting to follow her youngest son’s wanderings for herself before taking Thor’s offered arm and allowing him to lead her out.

“Your brother seems to have developed a fondness for the Iwaldi and Freya’s eldest daughter.”

“I am glad that I am not the only one to have noticed,” the eldest prince replied with a mirthful note to his voice.

Both mother and son turned to glance over their shoulders, watching as Loki reached to take Sigyn’s hand in his own and kissed her knuckles before whispering some sweet nothing into her ear.

Midsummer Celebrations in Lithuania: The Magical Night of Joninės

Nature was worshipped in Lithuania for centuries. Before the country became Christianised, Lithuanians were pagans who praised and venerated nature. They believed in nature deities because they were wholly dependent on nature and its whims.

It’s said that when the Teutonic Knights came to Lithuania in the 13th century, they were frightened to enter forests even in the daytime. They believed that the forests were swarming with devils and demons that could grab passers-by and carry them off, never to be seen again. Many legends were told about Lithuanian customs and the local reverence for nature. Newcomers believed that the health, beauty and bravery of Lithuanian people were gifts from the wondrous and generous nature of Lithuania.

June 23rd is a magical night that all Lithuanians wait impatiently for just as their ancestors did – the shortest night of the year, the sun’s victory against night and darkness. On this night, vegetation seems more lush and luxuriant than ever, with every single tiny plant reaching maturity, ready to create new life. It’s a celebration of rebirth for nature and every living creature.

Rasos, Kupolės & Joninės

In the past, the celebration was called Rasos, a name derived from rasa – the glistening droplets of dew that cover meadows at daybreak. It was believed that washing your face with dew collected from rye could rejuvenate the skin. Dew was also used to moisten the bed linen of the sick in the belief it would return them to health. It was also used to water vegetable gardens as it was thought to make the soil more fertile. It was even given to animals to drink.

At one point this special night was called Kupolės because in the evening people traditionally picked medicinal herbs – an activity called kupoliavimas. It was believed that on this night medicinal herbs acquire their healing properties. They would later be used to brew teas or placed near the roof. St. John’s wort picked on Joninės was said to cure 99 kinds of illness.

After Christianisation, the celebrations were associated with the birth of St. John the Baptist, and named Joninės (from Jonas – the Lithuanian equivalent of John). The century-long traditions and mystical rituals were not forgotten, however.

Mystical healing rituals

As you arrive at the festivities, you must first walk through the special gates of Kupolės, which are decorated with herbs. Walking through the gates is a symbol of rebirth, and as you pass, you might be asked to dance or sing a song, but a smile will do just fine.

Unmarried girls must make a wreath from nine or twelve different herbs before midnight – it’s not only a traditional accessory, but also a mystical charm to draw the attention of your true love. The wreath is later set afloat on a river, and the faster the current carries it, the sooner the girl will get married.

One of the main rituals is the lighting of the fire. The fire is lit on a high hill at dusk and kept burning all through the night until dawn. It’s believed that the lighter the fields are, the greater the harvest will be. Another important custom is jumping over the fire of Joninės, as jumping guarantees good health and cleanses you of your sins. So it’s essential to jump over the fire, but wait until it dies down of course! If you jump holding hands with your loved one, you’ll get married the same year.

The most important and mysterious tradition of Joninės night is the search for the fern flower. The fern is said to bloom at midnight and anyone who finds its flower, which only blooms for a short moment, will gain incredible power – they’ll understand all the mysteries of nature, read minds, see what’s invisible and acquire wealth and lasting happiness. Traditionally, people are supposed to look for the fern flower alone, but for certain reason most people return in pairs. It is also said that the person who finds the fern’s blossom, one must cut it’s hand and put the blossom in it, in that way it won’t be lost.

If it happens that you’re not allowed to jump over fires, make wreaths, or search for fern flowers, don’t worry – simply being part of this ancient Lithuanian celebration will fill you with long-lasting positive emotions and good energy. 

3

Celebrating Midsummer with the Bard!

From our stacks: Pictured above, illustrations from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, taken from The Plays Of Shakespeare.  Edited and annotated by Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke. Vol. 1 - Comedies. Illustrated by H.C. Selous. Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, London, 1866.

In the midsummer night I celebrate the Leo light ~
dancing in the warmth, holding a glass of the sun, captured by a thousand photographs flashed by the stars
I am in love’s arms, experiencing miracle after miracle
5

As Midsummer is coming around I wanted to write about it but quickly realised that it would make a very long post, so it will be done in parts. This is the first one.

Scandinavian Folklore Midsummer 

The Basics

In mid-June, school is out and nature has burst into life. It seems like the sun never sets. In fact, in the north of Scandinavia it doesn’t, and in the south only for an hour or two. This calls for celebration!

Midsummer is a national holiday that is still celebrated in most of Northern Europe. The holiday is celebrated on or very near the summer solstice on the 23th of June, when the sun never sets and the nights are light and warm.

Apart from Christmas, midsummer is the most important holiday in the Swedish calendar. And for some, the very most important. In Sweden the Midsummer is such an important festivity that there have been serious discussions to make the Midsummer’s Eve into the National Day of Sweden, instead of June 6th.

According to Christianity, the purpose of midsummer is to honor John the Baptist, but it is highly doubtful it started out as a Christian holiday considering that literally everything a midsummer celebration entails is pagan as hell.  European midsummer-related holidays, traditions, and celebrations are pre-Christian in origin, with the Scandinavian Midsummer being mentioned in the old Icelandic sagas (800-1000 AD) .

The solstice itself has remained a special moment of the annual cycle of the year since Neolithic times. The concentration of the observance is not on the day as we reckon it, commencing at midnight or at dawn, as it is customary for cultures following lunar calendars to place the beginning of the day on the previous eve at dusk at the moment when the Sun has set.

The successful midsummer never-ending lunch party formula involves flowers in your hair, dancing around a pole, singing songs while drinking unsweetened, flavoured schnapps and downing a whole load of pickled herring, sill served with delightful new potatoes, chives and sour cream. The traditional accompaniment is a cold beer and schnapps, preferably spiced. Every time the glasses are refilled, singing breaks out anew.  The Vikings like their drinking songs, and the racier the better.