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Midsummer Solstice: Faeries And Divination
Midsummer is a time for Faeries, Divination and Superstitions. In times past, people felt Faeries were prevalent. You could see them on this night. As a result, protective devices became very popular. Talismans, amulets and other means of making sure Faeries avoided you, your family and livelihood became common. On the Solstice, they became an essential part of life.
Medieval times saw the placing of brooms outside the door to ensure protection. Fern seeds (spores) were worn for the same reason. People picked and hid away St. John's Wort. They watched it closely to see what would happen. If it withered away on St. John’s Night, it was a bad omen. Rowan (Mountain Ash) could also act as a powerful antidote to Faery problems. Other natural substances also became protective devices. Among them are lavender, rosemary, roses and oak.
This actually is somewhat ironic. Many of the natural materials used to repel Faeries are actually considered magical Faery plants.
Who Will I Marry? Divining For Your Lover And Other Things
As well as protecting yourself against Faeries, people, particularly women, used the powers associated with this time to try to find out who they would marry. The following are a few of the beliefs and practices associated with the days running from the Solstice to St. John’s Eve/Day.
1. Sew hemp seed. Got to a church porch at midnight and scatter the seed saying:
Hemp Seed I sow; Hemp Seed I sow,
He that will my true love be
Come rake the Hemp Seed after me.
Sometimes the person would actually walk 12 times around the churchyard repeating the verse while they sewed the seed.
2. Pick a rose at midnight on St. John’s Eve or at noon of this day. Keep it wrapped in paper until Christmas Day. Take it out and place it on your breast. The man who picks it from your bosom is the one who will marry you.
3. Sit on a church porch on Midsummer’s Eve at midnight. Watch to see if any apparitions enter and/or leave. If you see a ghostly someone you know enter but not come out, he or she will die. If the apparition enters then leaves, this person is one who will marry this year.
4. Make a “Dumb Cake.” Place it under your pillow. When you go to sleep, you will see the image of your lover.
5. Place your shoes at the foot of your bed. Make sure they form the letter “T.” Say these words as you do so:
I place my shoes like a letter T.
In hopes my true love I shall see.
In his apparel and his array
As he is now and every day.
Then the shoes are switched, the lines of verse repeated, reversed and repeated.
As a result, the entire process is performed 3 times – the magical number.
6. Wash yourself or your clothing in 3 wells on St. John’s Eve. When you dream, you will see all who will die in the coming year and, sometimes, those will wed.
7. Drop an egg or piece of lead into a bowl of water at either Midnight or High Noon. Watch the reflection of either the Sun or Moon. Examine the shapes that appear in the bowl. They will provide you with clues as to whom you will marry. E.g. if it is a book, you will marry a scholar or a librarian or a preacher. If it is a desk, a teacher or someone who works in an office.
Summer Solstice, Midsummer Eve, Litha and St. John’s Eve was very important to people in the past. The use of the bonfire, the emphasis on protection, the presence of Faeries and the turning to divination is indicative of the overall significance of this day. Modern Paganism continues to honour this day in a manner that extends far beyond the early morning greeting of the sun at Stonehenge.