Saturday marked the Summer Solstice, and we celebrated by inviting folks over to our home for ceremony and feasting. It was also Aboriginal Peoples’ Day in Canada, so there was a good deal of ceremony and feasting going on across the continent. It was a good day to gather, the weather proving delightful. Even the mosquitoes quieted down long enough for us to gather outside for a few minutes.
Ceremonies around here tend to be a rich mix of youth and elders. Saturday’s gathering and ceremony took place at 8 in the morning; as you might imagine it was a gray gathering!The young people slept in.
We conduct ceremony to acknowledge our debt and gratitude to Mother Earth, and the Creator, and to place ourselves in the arms of the land. We make ceremony to remind ourselves of the immediate presence and generosity of the spirits and Ancestors. Saturday, unlike most ceremonies, the birds and animals were quiet, yet the world was expectant and attentive, and our hearts were warmed.
Our dear friend, and Abenaki elder and Clan Mother, Dee, blessed us with an opening prayer, acknowledging All-That-Is. Our friend, Bridget, a Six Nations person, spoke about the ancient summer solstice traditions of Native America. We then gathered around the Medicine Wheel and spoke about our life journeys. Some of the brief stories were poignant. Then we went indoors for the feast. It was a good day!
As we stood in the South of the Medicine Wheel, we were reminded of our lives as youth and young adults, the fires of life burning intensely in our minds, hearts and bodies. We remembered the joys and challenges of those times. Standing in the South we faced the North, the home of broad vision and the Ancestors. We acknowledged we will eventually be in the place of teaching the next generations; for many of us in Saturday’s circle, that time is now.
Our lives are great wheels of being: the intensity of youth and the South gives way to the West, and the hard work of our thirties, forties, and fifties. The West opens to the North, and the tasks of elderhood. In the North, we are close to the Ancestors, and we acknowledge we will eventually cross over and become Ancestors ourselves.
The sun has touched the apogee of its long arc, and we are moving slowly towards fall. The days are still long, and the heat of summer will continue to build for another six or eight weeks. We give thanks for strawberries, and other first fruits of summer, and look forward to the abundance that will fill our tables in just a few brief weeks. Still, the nights are lengthening, and by the Fourth the days will be noticeably shorter. The turning of the year is a great Medicine Wheel, reminding us we are inseparable from All-That-Is. This walk around the wheel is a good walk.
Blessings to you and yours.