Wednesday, June 20, 2012

summer solstice

The Solstice is upon us.  The sun has reached its highest point and we feel drawn out into its heat after weeks of warm one day, cold and rainy the next, northwest weather.  Nature is finally flourishing and our senses are receiving quite the treat.   We gathered once more with friends this quarter turn to celebrate a gorgeous change of season.

We began our Midsummer celebration with a few hours spent dying play silks on camp stoves in the garden.  (Sadly I have no photos of the actual process since my camera battery died just as we began our festivities and I had to wait a few hours for it to recharge.)  The dying was surprisingly simple.  We had purchased acid dyes but decided we wanted the children to be a part of the process so switched to the artificial drink option some of us had read about online.

We pre-soaked in a vinegar and hot water bath then swirled the silks for 10 minutes in heated pots of KoolAid and hot water (about 3 packets per silk).  We were all somewhat repulsed by the sticky sweet odor emanating from the concoctions but happily surprised at the simplicity of the process and the soft beauty of the end products.

With the silks waving in the afternoon breeze, the children just frolicked happily in the yard until a surprise visitor emerged from the shrubbery!  Green Man crept out from the bushes to gather the young ones around him.  He held their rapt attention as he spoke a beautiful poem and gifted each child with a crown and wand.

"I am the Sun -
And I bear with my might
The earth by day, the earth by night.
I hold her fast, and my gifts I bestow
To everything on her, so that it may grow;
Man and stone, flower and bee
All receive their light from me.
Open thy heart, dear child, to me,
That we together one light may be."
                                                           (by Ch Morgenstern from Summer by Wynstones Press)

"With these crowns and wands, I knight you all princes and princesses of the Summer.  Together we'll hold the sun in our hearts to light the world all year long..."

Wearing their felt coronets the children dipped their decorative copper bubble wands into the bubble jar...

Woosh, swish... bubble magic ensued...

We painted a few faces, jumped on the trampoline, relaxed in the hammock and played in the tepee...

After enjoying a delicious community pot luck dinner we partook of the glorious sun cake (dairy and gluten free!)

Such an extraordinary afternoon with all the wonders of the season received as gifts from the earth.

Before we parted we each took a stone to the fire.  Holding it to our hearts, we made a wish and walked around the burning wood three times before tossing the pebble into the flames.

It was a simple but perfect afternoon organized with loving detail by an amazing village of adults for the imaginative, wonder-filled world of our children.  Actually, I believe the wonder was enjoyed by all.

Many thanks to our gracious hosts and to all who joined us to make this such a meaningful and memorable festival.


  1. In the future, to avoid the sticky sweet smell, you can dye playsilks with food coloring. Either way, it looks like you all had a great time. (:

    1. Would that still work without the citric acid in the KoolAid? I'm wondering if you've tried it with success because we were under the impression that it wasn't just the color that made it feasible. Let me know! I'd love to hear of a less nauseating dye bath :)

  2. Really nice to read posts about how you celebrate midsummer. This is the day when we celebrate midsummer and dance around the midsummerpole. The fires you light around this time we light on the last of april to celebrate spring and thats when you dance around your maypole ,right?

    1. We try to have fires for every seasonal quarter celebration (Solstices and Equinoxes). Our Maypole we do on May Day (May 1st) or thereabouts. I agree that it's so interesting to hear about everyone else's traditions. This is the first time we hosted the Green Man. He was quite lovely and I'd totally recommend enticing him to your soirees for Spring and Summer :)

  3. These are beautiful photographs. What an amazing celebration. So magical!

  4. I wanted to start celebrating the soltice and equinox since last fall, and it seems there's always something that happens those days and we end up missing it. So of course, we did miss celebrating this summer solstice again. But reading your post and seeing these great pictures, makes me realize that it's never too late to start. So I'm thinking I should do it this week, even if we are late. The kids and I will still enjoy it. Thanks for inspiring me :)

    Love the cake too by the way ;)

    1. Sorry for the late reply. (We were out on vacation and just got back) I think you can celebrate the solstice any time. It's still summer after all :) Enjoy!


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